Cooking Chinese Dumplings with Mom, Christmas Eve, Indianapolis

Early in the day, Jahnu was hard at work playing the same game on two different devices. Digital natives, indeed.

Later in the day, Stacey was telling me that Jasmine would be competing in an annual violin competition – the same annual one that Stacey and I used to compete in, when we were kids.

Jasmine’s just learning, but she was going to play a song from Book 1.

Debating whether or not to get an accompanist, Stacey was considering learning the piano part herself and playing with Jasmine. So she borrowed the piano book from Jasmine’s teacher.

There, inside the book… was an old program from 2008.

Near the bottom of the program was a mention of an endowment from the founder, Alberta Denk. Ms. Denk was the violin teacher Stacey and I had for many, many years.

Though music plays less of a role in my life currently, it was a large part of my childhood and my formative years. It allowed me to play in so many orchestras, quartets, led me to perform with my high school orchestra at Carnegie Hall, and also enabled me to be concertmaster my senior year.

I owe a tremendous debt to her, and it was lovely to see her name again. And to know that her legacy lives on through this endowment/foundation.

In the late afternoon/evening, Stacey, Shane and the kids went off to visit with Shane’s family. During that time, Liz and I got my mom to show us how to make chinese dumplings from scratch.

I’ve known this recipe for some time, as I first got her to walk me through the process back in 2002. But the last time I actually made them in person with her was when I was a kid (and I just did the stuffing part).

The ingredients are still mostly the same as what I originally posted, but as my mom told us… a lot if it is approximation.

While we were in the kitchen, my dad was sneaking cookies.

Adding soy sauce to the mixture of pork and napa cabbage.

Mom, talking about the different types of soy sauce to use.

Rolling out a small bit of dough, to make a test dumpling.

Showing Liz how to roll and prep the dough.

Liz, cutting each piece (and rotating the dough before each cut).

My dad, relaxing and watching “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I remembered a similar moment back in 2005, and shared the photo with him.

Liz, getting practice with rolling out each dumpling skin. I did all this as well (though I did stop to take these photos from time to time).

Prep area for adding in the pork to each dumpling. Mom was showing us a better technique for sealing each one (in the past, I pinched them together with my thumb and index finger – an incredibly time-consuming and laborious technique).

She also brought over a small cooker – which partially steamed the dumplings, and seared the bottom to make pot stickers.

The cooker in full force. We also had a large pot of boiling water on the stove, and made most of the dumplings over there.

Liz, chopping up some Chinese sausage for the fried rice.

My mom, walking us through the steps of how she makes fried rice. I still never got this technique down, due in large part to the fact that I always used fresh rice (as opposed to day-old rice, which is better).

A delicious meal of dumplings, pot stickers, and fried rice. If I was asked to manifest my childhood as a single meal, this would be it.

Later on in the evening, we introduced Two Dots to my mom and dad. My dad loves his games on his phone, but has mostly been contenting himself with Solitaire. He seemed pretty into this game, as he stood in the family room for some time, just like this.

A shot of Koa, who just looks more sad than he is.

Another shot of Koa (and Layla in the background). Layla is super relaxed, and so incredibly friendly. And Koa is also incredibly friendly, but still just a youngster – and so excitement tends to get the better of him, sometimes.

Chinese Dumpling Recipe (2002)
Chinese Dumpling Recipe, Revisited (2011)
Christmas Eve in Indianapolis

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