Welcome to my home at the birth of this new year

This Christmas was full of a mixture of things. Our granddaughter came from school in Ireland to bake and prepare for the holiday and enjoy spending time with us. Our grandson (he was vaccinated but got pretty sick anyway) had recently recovered from Covid and was tired but glad to be out of isolation. Another granddaughter learned that she was exposed to someone who tested positive and had to skip the Christmas Day fun. Meanwhile, the day came and went, love was expressed and gifts were exchanged. We were all left feeling the need to enjoy the times we have together and not take them for granted. Happy New Year to all of you. May your 2022 be filled with warmth, light, goodness, and peace.

In Cooking This Week

POT STICKERS

Recipe of the Week

I have been making this recipe since early in my marriage when I first tried my hand at Chinese cooking. It is a favorite treat of everyone in the family and pretty easy to do though it does take some time to roll the little dumplings. Then brown on one side, add water, cover and steam until done. They have a very addicting little dipping sauce accompanying them. I’m sure you will love them as we do if you just give this recipe a try. I always roll my own dough, though purchased wonton wrappers could be used. I don’t love them that way nearly as much. You can’t match the firm bite of the fresh dough and the melting taste.

Pot Stickers with Dipping Sauce

Makes 48 Chinese Dumplings

To make the dough:

Measure 4 cups unbleached flour into a mixing bowl. Use dough hood if available.

Add one cup plus two tablespoons of water. Knead for 10-15 minutes. Let rest, covered for about 20 minutes while you mix together the filling ingredients.

To make the filling:

Peel and chop finely two tablespoons of fresh ginger and slice finely 3 tablespoons of scallions, green and white parts. Add a pound of ground pork, raw, and a defrosted and partially drained package of chopped spinach. Mix then pour on one tablespoon soy sauce or tamari, one tablespoon dry sherry or dry white wine, one tablespoon dark sesame oil as well as one and one quarter teaspoons salt. Mix well.

To shape dumplings:

Divide dough into four equal-sized logs about one inch by 8 inches long. Then, keeping the rest covered by a towel, cut one of the logs into 12 equal pieces. Take one piece and roll it in three or four swipes into a rough 4-5 inch circle. Place a teaspoon of filling into the center, pull one side over the other, and fasten it down firmly to the far edge, ending with a sort of half-circle. Pleat the edges of the sides to make them fit. The pleating can become your signature way of making these little gems, so don’t worry about doing it right. As you continue to make them you will develop a sense of how you want them to look. These should stick together easily if the dough is just right. If necessary, add drops of water. Repeat with the rest of the pieces and logs.

These can be cooked now, or frozen for later.

To Cook:

Add a few tablespoons oil to the frypan, add as many dumplings as will fit comfortably, and fry until brown on one side. Pour in a cup of water and cover, steaming them until done and all water is absorbed. This may take 5 minutes for fresh or more time if they have been frozen.

Dipping Sauce:

2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil. I usually double this.

God is Not a Christian. God Accepts as Pleasing Those Who Live by the Best Lights Available to Them That They Can Discern”, Said Desmond Tutu.

Some of us believe in a universal God, some in a particularly Christian or Hebrew or Muslim God, and many don’t believe in a god-principle at all. It’s no wonder there is such a variety of beliefs about the source of life.

(Photo credit: Davide Cantelli on Unsplash)

The End of This Year of Piano Practice Brings Hallelujah and Important New Learning

My practice this month has been especially enjoyable as I linger over many familiar and evocative pieces of music that are some of my favorite parts of Christmas. This year, I decided to use as part of my sight-reading time the score of Handel’s Messiah. Today, I decided to try the Hallelujah Chorus

(photo taken by the author)

When it’s Time to Start Taking Care of Ourselves It Might be Wise to Have a Piece of Earth With Access to Growing Things

This is me cutting the dirty and dead parts off a crate full of leeks and scallions. I live in Maine, and one night last week, before the ground had frozen and just before we were expecting a significant snowfall, my husband went out into the garden after dark and dug up a crate full of leeks and scallions. They sat in the breezeway for a few days, we covered them with old coats on the nights when the temperatures were going to get into the teens. Finally, this morning, I got around to cleaning them up and putting them in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.

The photo was taken by the author

The Four Days of Christmas Were More Than Enough to Satiate This Seventyish Woman — I’d Never Survive Twelve

As a Seventyish Woman, I know I have to do things differently than I used to. Mostly because I can’t tolerate as much rich and sugary food as I used to eat. It creates all kinds of havoc in my body and I don’t like the results. I can tell when I have eaten too much several days in a row because my body starts acting up. That is my cue to dial it back. Cut down on portions, cut out the junk, especially sugars.

My granddaughter is attending the University College of Dublin and gave me this cute tea cap. Never seen such a thing. To keep your tea warm while it’s brewing. I can think of her with my afternoon tea.

Happy New Year to all of you.

Published by Jean Anne Feldeisen

I was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, raised in Galloway Township, and graduated from Oakcrest High School in southern New Jersey.I attended Cedar Crest College in Allentown, PA, and graduated from Stockton University in Galloway, NJ in 1974 with degrees in Philosophy, English Literature, and (almost) music. After that, I taught piano to local children and adults in the 70s and 80s, had a catering business "Jean's in the Kitchen" from 1980 to 1992, then went to graduate school at Rutgers Camden to obtain my Masters's Degree in Social Work. Since 1996 I have worked as a therapist and counselor first in New Jersey for five years and then, when our family moved to Maine, in Augusta, Maine for five years. For the past 17 years, I have had a private psychotherapy practice in Gardiner, Maine, During the pandemic, I packed up and moved my office home to Washington, Maine. In the year of my seventieth birthday, I decided to write and self-publish a memoir about our parents' World War II romance, Dear Milly. I began blogging on Medium in earnest in 2020 and have posted more than 240 stories including a block of stories about my catering career which I hope to turn into a book in the next year. I have been writing and collecting poetry since childhood but never showed it to anyone. Recently, I learned how valuable it could be to join a group for feedback and support for my writing. I have taken several courses and written many poems and recently had my first poem accepted for publication. Off in a new direction, again.

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