Okay, yes, I will be staying in Paris for a while. Before I wasn’t too sure because to be perfectly honest, I think there are other cities that have more to offer me personally and the ugly truth is that as much as I like Paris, I don’t love it.

It’s probably just that, almost a year in, I have yet to completely adapt to this city. When I moved back to LA after a year teaching in France, I was devastated. I grew up there and so to me, moving back home felt like I was taking a step backwards. I promised myself that if I was going to stay, I would have to find reasons to love this place. I decided to approach it with new eyes and realized that when you love you a city, it loves you back. I stayed for four years.

For now, I’m okay not loving Paris and I still want to live here.

Okay, so what happened this week?

First, two of my friends and I have decided to move in together by the end of summer because we want some of that communal feeling that’s vital to big-city living.  We collectively agreed that our main criteria for a place is that we have a proper kitchen. It won’t be  huge because this is Paris, but a well-equipped kitchen is all I’m asking. We talked about having some serious things going on at our place too: dinner parties, barbecues, supper clubs, brunches and cook-offs.

Then last night, I had a gyoza making workshop party with some friends. I realize when I cook with people, they are friends for life. It’s fine and fun to go out for a drink or a picnic in the park but cooking together is a sign that you really like spending time together rather than that you’re passing time together. It’s taking me a while to make close buddies but I’m getting there.

But geez, people were impressed by how easily it is to make potstickers. I try to keep it easy with the filling. I tend to have carrots in mine for a tiny bit of crunch (my mom prefers water chesnuts), some kind of green vegetable like napa (or regular cabbage), leek and green onions. However, I don’t see green onions and napa very often at my local market here. We made a batch of chicken and pork dumplings but with the same veggie mix.

Potstickers (gyoza)

2 carrots

1/2 head of cabbage

1 onion

1 tbsp. ginger, minced

2 cloves of garlic

500 grams of ground chicken or pork

1 tbsp. sesame oil

1 tbsp. soy sauce

freshly cracked pepper

1  package of potsticker skin

small bowl of water

2 tbsp. canola oil

1/2 c. of water

For the filling: Finely chop the carrots, cabbage, onion, ginger and garlic either by hand or using a food processor.  Transfer into a mixing bowl and add the ground meat. Season with sesame oil, soy sauce and pepper. Mix well.

To make a potsticker, start with a generous teaspoon of the filling and place it in the center of the skin, making sure to keep the filling off the edges. Dip your finger in water, line the edge of half of the skin and fold it in half so that it resembles a crescent. Both sides should stick. From there, pleat the potsticker by pinching. Place them on a lined cookie sheet.

When frying, use a shallow non-stick pan with a lid. Heat the pan on high and once it’s hot, add the oil. Place the potstickers in the pan and let it brown for about 2-3 minutes. Then add the 1/2 cup of water and immediately cover with a lid and bring the temperature down to medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until the water has all evaporated. Once the water has evaporated, take the lid off and let the potsticker skin get a bit crunchier by leaving it in the pan for another 4-5 minutes.

To serve, I usually put a plate on top of the pan and flip it over, so it resembles a tarte tatin. I like to eat it with miso soup, rice or noodles on the side.

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