I thinks Me needs a Challenge

Quite often after a project I find myself in a quandary as to what to make next.  It's a bit silly to be in such a dilemma with nearly a hundred Japanese craft books in my collection!  So I offered myself a challenge..of sorts : To make at least one project from 50 books by the end of the year.

Oh yes, many a fine blogger have subjected themselves to such challenges, be it taking photos every day, or baking through an entire book, writing thank you notes, or ???  Will I succeed??..I am as certain as finding my Prince Charming (to replace the grumpy guy sitting next to me on the sofa, who touches his IPAD more than me). 

My first project from the first book is in the spirit of Valentines, a heart-shaped potholder.

I didn't follow the pattern exactly, adding a bit of gathers down the center. 

ISBN 978-4-14-031170-7
This book, a favorite, is the source for two other projects made in past ... but as usual, I changed it up to fit my style.

In between projects, I must remember to take care my family! Today, I made fresh gyoza to freeze for a quick meal...perhaps a gyoza curry dinner..yummmm.

Want to make some?

Chinese Dumplings & Potstickers
1 pkg. gyoza wrapper

Filling Ingredients: 
1 pound ground pork
1 cup won bok / Napa cabbage
3 stalks green onions
7 shiitake mushrooms, minced
1/4 cup ginger root, minced
3 T. soy sauce
2 T. sesame oil
2 T. cornstarch

  1. Soak shiitake mushrooms in hot water if using dried mushrooms.  Soak first for 3 minutes, then rinse to remove any grit.  Then, soak in warm water for 30 minutes to soften. Mince.
  2. Combine all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl; mix thoroughly.
  3. Assemble gyoza : Place about 1 teaspoon of filling in the center of the gyoza wrapper  Leave enough dough around the filling to allow you to close the warpper without the filling oozing out.  Brush edges of wrapper lightly with water. Pinch top edges together and while holding it; pleat the edges using your finger to create a fold. 
  4. At this point, the dumplings can be frozen for future use : Place dumplings on a pan; without sides touching.  Freeze about 20 to 30 minutes until no longer soft.  Place in ziploc bag. Freeze up to 2 months. When preparing frozen dumplings allow extra cooking time.
 3 Cooking Methods :
  • To Boil : Bring a large pot of water to boil and add dumpling to pot. Boil dumpling until they float. At this point the dumplings are fully cook. Remove from water. 
  • To Steam : Using a bamboo steamer, place dumplings on a well greased surface and steam for about 6 minutes. 
  • To Pan Fry : Place dumplings in a frying pan with 2 to 3 T of vegetable oil. Heat on high and fry for a few minutes until bottoms are golden.  Add 1/2 cup water and cover pan. Cook until the water has boiled away. Uncover and reduce heat to medium or medium low.  Let the dumplings cook for another 2 minutes then remove from heat and serve.

Don't forget the dipping sauce ~
2 parts soy sauce
1 part vinegar (red wine )
a few drops sesame oil
sugar to taste
chili garlic sauce (optional)
minced garlic (optional)
minced ginger (optional)
minced green onions (optional)

Until next time ~ Happy Day 


  1. I think this is a great idea, and I am tempted to follow suit just to prove to my own grumpy guy that 'yes I did need all those craft books' (and yes I do need more!). Love the cute heart

    Kate x

  2. Hi Kate ~ We are planning a trip to Seattle this year and I can't wait to visit the Kinokuniya Book store...quite pricey but so many gorgeous Japanese craft books for the eyes to behold...oh yes, we need help with our addiction ... but later.

  3. I wish you success in your challenge! I tried a similar challenge last year but I was not able to keep up, on the contrary, you seem to be on the way to reaching your goal.
    Craft books is my weakness as well!!! Oh well, better books than something else, right?