Thursday, January 28, 2010

Shrimp and Pork Potstickers, with Fried Rice

Made this the other night, they were SOOOOOO good! Here's the recipe (for the potstickers that is, fried rice is whatever you have in the fridge chopped up, cold cooked rice, and soy sauce)

½ lb Napa Cabbage
½ lb Ground Pork
½ lb Shrimp (chopped)
2 Tbs Soy Sauce
2 Tbs Dry Sherry/Rice wine
1 tsp Fresh Ginger (microplaned)
1 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
1 tsp Granulated Sugar
¼ tsp Freshley ground black pepper
1 large Egg
1 package Thicker cut potsticker wrappers (found in asian markets)

For the filling:

Place cabbage and salt in a fine mesh strainer and toss with your hands to coat cabbage with salt. Place strainer over a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
1. After 10 minutes, squeeze any liquid from the cabbage with your hands, discard liquid, and place cabbage in the bowl used for straining.
2. Add remaining ingredients and, using hands, mix thoroughly, pressing mixture against the side of the bowl until it forms a sticky mass.

To form and cook:

Fill a small bowl with room-temperature water; set aside. Lay a wrapper on a clean work surface and place 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center. Dip your finger in the water and trace around the edge of the wrapper to moisten. Fold the wrapper in half by bringing the bottom up to the top, then pinch the midpoint to seal. To the right of the midpoint, and only on the top side of the wrapper, fold three pleats angling back toward the midpoint. Pinch each pleat to seal. Repeat with three pleats to the left of the midpoint, making sure the pot sticker is completely sealed (that last step is from the official hands shake something awful, and did a piss poor job making the pleats, and it still came out great, so don't sweat it if they look kind of hinky). Lift the pot sticker off the work surface from the midpoint so that the pleats are vertical and facing you. Gently push down to form a flat bottom. Place on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining filling and wrappers. At this point, the pot stickers can be frozen and cooked later (that's what I did, they freeze great!).
1. In a large nonstick pan with a tightfitting lid, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place 12 pot stickers in a circle facing the same direction (they will look like the spokes of a wheel). Fry undisturbed until the bottoms are light golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Reduce heat to medium and carefully add 1/4 cup of the room-temperature water (be careful because the oil may spatter). Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Uncover and, using tongs, turn the pot stickers onto their unpleated sides. Continue cooking until all the water has evaporated, the filling is cooked through, and the unpleated sides are golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove the pot stickers to a plate, wipe the skillet clean with paper towels, and repeat in 2 more batches. Serve with a dipping sauce made with soy sauce, ginger, scallion, and toasted sesame oil.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ubuntu Linux, Free, Fast, and Very Easy to Use

If you were to need a new operating system for your computer, might I make a suggestion? Ubuntu Linux Distribution is an excellent OS for you to consider. It's an open source project, which means it's community created and 100% free to use. It's also significantly smaller than any Windows install, and uses far less resources, that means it will run faster and more efficiently, and can even breathe life back into an older machine you might have lying around...sort of making it a green product! Installation is quick and simple, once you create an ISO image of the install disk on a cd (instructions are on their website), and can even be installed inside Windows without having to create a partition!!! This will let you test it out and see if it's for you prior to making the full plunge. It does everything an OS is supposed to do, and it comes with OpenOffice and an email client to boot, it's the complete package. Save yourself the 300$ Microsoft would have you pay them for an OS, and stop feeding a corporate Juggernaut, and give this bad boy a try! You heard this straight up from an IT professional!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Despite 8 years of schooling, doctors can still be idiots

does this guy look disengaged to you?

So I mentioned this last week, and thought I would share this experience with you. My wife a few months back had brought my little pal to the pediatricians for his checkup, and he was deemed physically healthy, but his doctor thought he was a bit behind in his speech development (I agree somewhat with that assessment), and was not making sufficient eye contact for his liking (seriously dude, you are stabbing him with needles, are you surprised he's not looking lovingly in your eyes and saying what a great guy you are??). At the doctors suggestion, we made an appointment with some specialists to ascertain what, if anything, was going on.

December rolls around, and my wife, son, and myself are off to see said specialists on the 17th. Both of us are somewhat leery of the idea that our little man might have some sort of disorder, his doctor thinks he "may be on the bubble" of the autistic spectrum. I think my pediatrician might be "on the bubble" of losing some patients.

We get to the facility, and are ushered into a small, drab, brown room that is littered with what had to be the saddest, most depressing collection of dirty lame ass toys I have ever seen. Sitting on one of the tiny, dirty, children's chairs is the specialist...kind of an older hippy type lady. Her intention was to engage the little guy in play, and try to get a handle on where he was developmentally.

Now, I want to make this clear. Nate's health and well being are of the utmost importance to me. When his doctor made his suggestion, both my wife and I felt it was incumbent upon us to follow through with his suggestions, to do otherwise would be a disservice to our son, and in the end, what is the point of taking him to the doctors if your not going to do as they suggest. Much like in the IT world, when someone calls me about an issue, and I tell them why it's happening, and they say something along the lines of "hmm I don't think that's it". If you know so much about what's going on, why the fuck did you call me?

For the next 45 minutes this woman engaged Nate in what can only be described as the least fun form of play I have ever seen. At one point, she plopped a clothe less baby doll, just a creepy plastic head and a dirty cloth body up on the table in the room, and then, from under her chair, she pulls out a plastic bag containing a lump of old, dry, once white, but now streaked with grey, cracked pile of play dough. Just looking at the dough made me sad inside. She takes this lump, and presses down on it, causing cracks and fissures to form on the sides, as all moisture has long since left this depressing, circa 1970's lump of dog poop. Pressing 3 wooden sticks into, she starts cooing in a high pitched voice "Look Nathan! It's the baby's birthday!! We made a birthday cake for the baby!!!". Never have I been so proud of my little man when he looked her right in the eye, and said "yeah, that's play dough". Three more times she tried to get him to do this, and three times she was denied. That was not a cake. That was a sadness patty.

We left the doctors office kind of annoyed with the appointment. But were really upset when a few weeks later we got the written assessment. The doctor had determined that Nate was PPD-ONS, or Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. I diagnose the specialist with BULLSHIT. Tell me, how can you diagnose, after just 45 minutes in a depression chamber, playing games that NO CHILD OF ANY AGE would play, a child with something as serious and life changing as autism? Is Nate behind on his speech? Yes, a little bit, but as I understand it, boys tend to be just that. Was Nate not making eye contact with the hippy lady? Yes, but to be honest, I can't blame him one bit, she was creepy and weird. Did Nate not engage in the kind of play that this woman wanted him to? No he did not, but I challenge you to find any kid, of any age, play the god awful "games" that this weirdo had laid out. In the assesment it stated that Nate would not engage in an activity or conversation if he was not interested in it. No fucking shit lady, neither do I, or anyone I know for that matter unless it's work related. I only do shit I like to do when I am 'playing'. Sheesh!

At one point, she asked us why we didn't see his affinity for traffic signs as odd behavior, and a warning flag that something might be wrong. That really got me steamed, his affinity for signs has been a great tool for us to teach him letters, colors and shapes, and while for a bit there he was bordering on obsessive behavior, he has totally backed off of that now, and only talks about his street signs when he is stressed out (like when we were at this appointment!). I mean, at the end of the day, how is his clinging to a stop sign toy any different than another child clinging to their 'blanky'? There is no difference in my eyes. My boy is fine.

We have decided not to pursue this further. As his parents, we have the right to refuse the diagnosis. And funny thing is, the milestones that the doctors were pointing out that our little friend had not hit? He hit them about 2 weeks after his appointment, suck on that hippy. Autism is real, and tragic if a child has it, especially the more sever cases. But when every little boy in your neighborhood has been diagnosed with some kind of autism, that's a red flag to me. Something is not right with the system.

This would be funnier if it wasn't so painfully close to reality

It's a hot cup of teabagging my friends