Cookbook author Mindy Toomay's blog about eating for health, cooking with spirit, and celebrating life in northern California. Here she dishes up food rants and raves, recipes, and plenty of kitchen wisdom.

By your own efforts, waken yourself, watch yourself, and live joyfully.
-- The Dhammapada

Why not make a daily pleasure out of a daily necessity?
-- Peter Mayle


Working late

In the writing and editing business, deadlines rule the day (and week and month...). Though I most enjoy lingering with loved ones over a long, luxurious supper, many times I make due with a quick and simple one-dish wonder and then go back to work.

And then there are times when I don't even stop working to eat.

Last night was such a night. I knew I needed to work another couple of hours on the editing job at hand, but my energy was slipping and I knew I couldn't put off eating that long. Frozen gyoza to the rescue! I have made gyoza -- the Japanese version of potstickers -- from scratch, and they're the most delicious little morsels. But of course that is a labor of love, not to be undertaken when other love-labors are pressing.

Luckily, I live just a few blocks from a massive Asian grocery store that stocks many different varieties of gyoza in the freezer case. Pork and chicken and shrimp are most popular, apparently, but they also sell varieties filled with mushroom and spinach and chives and tofu. Trader Joe's sells a perfectly good vegetable gyoza, in case you don't have an Asian market nearby.

For an added flavor kick, make up a little dipping sauce to go alongside. Mine starts with equal parts tamari soy sauce, rice vinegar, and the Japanese rice wine called mirin. Then I add about a teaspoon of roasted sesame oil and a short squirt of that bright red Asian chili sauce. It's a quick and really delicious condiment.

I love those same Asian flavors in salad, too, so I tossed together some shredded red cabbage, thin coins of carrot, red onion bits, and fresh arugula. For dressing: a splash of tamari, another of rice vinegar, and a few grinds of black pepper. Scattered some toasted sesame seeds over the top, and done!

It came together in about 10 minutes and I ate it ravenously, accompanied by a tiny cup of warm rice wine. Did the trick, and good thing... I ended up working until almost midnight!

I don't recommend the latter, but I do suggest you try whatever frozen veggie gyoza you can find. It sure comes in handy when time is short. Then someday, when it isn't, maybe you'll be inspired to make your own.

Blessings and bon appetit!


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