Fridays are always nice, but this past Friday was a bit blue for me since I saw that there were not many visitors to my blog when I checked my stats early Friday afternoon. I said to myself, it shouldn’t bother me. I do this for myself. Despite my efforts to keep my mind away from thinking about it, the fact affected my confidence for my blogging ability a little.
However, there were two events that changed my somber mood. (I’m made very simple.)
I learned that my favorite blogger “nordljus” posted a new entry. It was delightful to see her new post with stunning photographs. Looking at her pictures allowed me to have a peaceful moment on Friday afternoon which filled my heart with warm feelings.
There are two blogs I check religiously; nordljus and sweetfineday. They are the reason I started this blog. Both blogs have gorgeous photos and give me many inspirations. I stumbled into nordljus thanks to sweetfineday. I found sweetfineday thanks to another blog “My Favorite New York by Asako Ueno” which I also check everyday. They all changed my world.
I was especially intrigued by “nordljus” because the author, Keiko, is a Japanese woman who lives outside of Japan. It is always inspiring to find Japanese women having successful career overseas. She started a food blog and taking photos of the food she cooked. Because she was so good at blogging and photography, she has become a well-known food blogger in the world of food blogging and has started working as a freelance photographer and food stylist. The world of blogging is fascinating. As I read more of her posts and learned more about her, I started to get more and more interested in blogging.
Another event that lifted up my heart was a party I went with my family on Friday evening.
We were invited to a farewell potluck party that our dear friends from a Japanese play group organized for several members who are moving away this summer. In the past two years I have taken my girls to this Japanese play group once a week so that I could meet other Japanese moms while I give my daughters opportunities to be exposed to a Japanese speaking environment. It’s been fun and become an integral part of our life here.
The best part of the evening was the food. Japanese potluck is my favorite kind since I get to eat some home-made Japanese food that I didn’t have to prepare. It was quite a spread. I stuffed myself with pretty much everything I could get my hands on. There was a nice selection of dessert as well, but once again I forgot to take their photos. Sounds so familiar. When it comes to dessert, I’m such a pig… Forget pictures, I’m diggin’ in.
There are four other people who are leaving this area besides us. Two families are moving back to Japan after finishing the assignments in the States. One family is moving to another state. Another family and we are moving to overseas. This is not unusual in the D.C. metro area. Our friends who stay behind gathered for us to say farewell as well as to cheer us up. I was quite touched by the gesture of our friends. It’s sad to say good-bye to our wonderful friends, but I am grateful for having met them during our 2-year stay here. I love our friends.
So, it was a potluck. What did I bring to contribute to the table?
I made some gyoza which is Japanese pan-fried dumplings or pot stickers for the potluck.
ground meat (your choice of pork, beef, chicken or turkey) ………. 500 g/1 lb
green onion ………. 2 bunches finely chopped
rice wine ………. 1.5 Tbsp
soy sauce ………. 3 Tbsp
sesame oil ………. 1.5 Tsp
pepper ………. a little
ginger ………. 1/2 piece finely chopped/1 tbs
gyoza wrappers ………. 1 package *see photo below
Soy sauce and rice vinegar (ratio 2:1)
1. Mix all the ingredients in a. in a large bowl with a hand.
2. Put some water in a small bowl. Place a gyoza wrapper on one palm. Dip your index finger of the other hand in the bowl of water, use the finger to put some water on the edge of the wrapper. Use a spoon to scoop some meat mixture and place it in the center of the wrapper.
3. Wrap the meat mixture with the wrapper.
*Obviously I was not able to wrap gyoza while taking my own photos doing that, so I took some pictures of my daughter wrap some. She does a simple and easy way to wrap. You simply fold the four sides like an envelope. I hope it is helpful.
4. Heat a skillet with medium heat. Pour 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet. Place gyoza dumplings in a hot skillet. Cook for 3.5 minutes. Pour 1/4 cup of water and place a lid. Steam the dumplings for 3 minutes or until they are fully cooked.
5. Mix the ingredients for the sauce. Use it as a dipping sauce for the cooked gyoza dumplings.