what jess wore: October 2012

October 29, 2012

Extra crispy. Read all about it!

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The following are general steps of how my family makes pan fried dumplings (gyoza, potstickers or whatever you prefer to call them).

 What you'll need
  • Carrots (1-2 carrots)
  • Taiwanese cabbage (use half a head or a quarter if it's on the larger size)
  • Scallions (5-6 sprigs but the more the merrier)
  • Ginger (at least 1 teaspoon)
  • Ground Pork (about 1 lb.)
  • Dumpling wrappers (buy at least two in case you have more filling)
All ingredients do not have to be exact and you can use more/less vegetables or protein depending on your preference. For example, you can use scallions and ginger with pork and skip the cabbage and carrots. You could also switch the protein for beef, chicken or turkey if you don't like pork.

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Seasoning
  • Black Pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • Sesame oil
  • Five spice powder
  • Lite soy sauce

Cooking utensils
  • Non-stick pan with a lid
  • Wooden chopsticks

Prep Work

(1) Peel and wash the carrots, cabbage and scallions.
(2) Cut up all of the fresh ingredients (carrots, cabbage, ginger and scallions) into smaller pieces. This ensures that they will be diced more evenly by your food processor instead of ending up with large chunks of carrots/cabbage.

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(3) Place the carrots, cabbage, scallions and ginger through the chop setting in your food processor. If you have a smaller food processor then you will have to put it through in batches.

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My family used to use a cheese cloth to wring the extra moisture from the veggies but I skip this step.

(4) Add the ground pork to the diced vegetables in a large mixing bowl.
(5) Season to taste. I recommend erring on the side of less soy sauce otherwise you'll end up with wet filling and it will be harder to wrap. You can always make a savory dipping sauce for flavor so it's okay to keep it light on the seasoning.
(6) Mix together the protein, vegetables and seasoning using a spoon (or your hands using latex gloves).
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How to wrap a dumpling

There is no correct way to wrap a dumpling (as long as you close them securely so that they don't fall apart during cooking). I doubt my method of folding them (pictured below) is the prettiest.

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Rather than reinventing the wheel, you can visit this link for a quick tutorial of how to wrap a dumpling (three different ways).

Storage

You should freeze any uncooked pieces as soon as possible to prevent the dough from becoming soggy. I usually line the surface of my cutting board with tinfoil or cling wrap to prevent the bottom of the pieces from freezing onto the surface and ripping off when I try to remove them later. I like to keep my frozen extra dumplings into Tupperware or Ziploc bags.

Cooking your dumplings

The cooking method I use for achieving perfectly crispy dumplings (fresh/frozen) is called the pan fry and steam method. Please follow the instructions I've outlined below.

(1) Add oil to a non-stick pan and put on medium-medium high setting on your range.

(2) When the pan is hot, arrange the dumplings in the pan.

(3) Wait for the pan to get hot again (you should hear sizzling) and then add a quarter to half a cup of water. The water should coat the bottom of the dumplings but there should not be too much water (you are not trying to boil them).

(4) Close the lid allow the water to evaporate and steam cook your dumplings thoroughly.

For frozen dumplings, repeat Steps 3-4 two to three times especially if you used a protein. For a crispier bottom keep frying the dumplings a few minutes after the water has evaporated.

You can check the readiness by lifting a piece to see how charred it is on the bottom.

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What the bottom of your dumplings should look like

Dipping Sauces

I use a mixture of toasted sesame seeds, chilli paste, organic sugar, lite soy sauce and water to caramelize the yellow/white onions. My family likes to eat their dumplings with fresh garlic and soy sauce and I know other people like to eat it with soy sauce, ginger and vinegar. The combinations are endless. I used to enjoy eating mine with ketchup when I was little (don't judge... ketchup is awesome!).
WhatJessWore Signature

October 28, 2012

Banana Republic Haul from 40% off weekend sale

Here is a quick review on my haul from Banana Republic's 40% sale (10/27-10/28 in stores only). Did you get anything or are you planning to visit in store to check out the sale this weekend?

Banana Republic Grosgrain button cardigan (product no. 323435) and Bella Silk Scarf (waterfall knot)
Grosgrain button cardigan (product no. 323435) and Bella Silk Scarf tied using the waterfall knot
Banana Republic Bella silk square scarf in navy (product no. 232951)
Bella silk square scarf in navy (product no. 232951) with my MaiTai scarf ring

 I've been on the lookout for this scarf since I first spotted it in tan at end of July on BR's IG account.
I'd love to get it in tan too but I loved the navy more. It also comes in a burgundy color.
Aside from the great color selection it's also a bigger size so it makes it easier to tie in fun knots.
Banana Republic Grosgrain button cardigan (product no. 323435), in regular XS
Grosgrain button cardigan (product no. 323435) in gold orchid
I usually wear petites but I purchased this in regular XS. I think the sleeves and length are already petite friendly on me.
This is also my first mustard piece of clothing. :)
Banana Republic Pinwheel Necklace (product no. 905741)
Pinwheel Necklace (product no. 905741)
This necklace appears to be an older item since I noticed that another Pinterest user pinned it 25 weeks ago.
It happened to catch my eye in the jewelry section before checkout. :)
Banana Republic Striped lightweight open cardigan (product no. 327499), in sz XS
Striped lightweight open cardigan (product no. 327499), in sz XS
Unfortunately I noticed there's some rayon in this. :(
From my experience rayon clothing can shrink a bit even if you wash in cold water and air dry.
If you have any care tips (aside from dry cleaning) please share!
Banana Republic Shawl Collar Open Cardigan (product no. 195920), in sz. Petite S
Shawl Collar Open Cardigan (product no. 195920), in sz Petite S
This is so cozy and I love the drape so much even though this pictures is meh.
I originally tried it on ivory but I found and preferred the grey color.
Banana Republic Flats
Super comfy flats! I can't say enough good things about these babies.
Purchased all in sz 7 and I think they fit TTS. It feels like you're walking on Cloud 9.
 I have foot/ankle issues so I try to wear flats over heels if possible.
Banana Republic Breanna Bow Ballet Flat in Sahara, in sz 7 (product no. 228821)
Breanna Bow Ballet Flat in Sahara, in sz 7 (product no. 228821)
Banana Republic Abby Ballet Flat in flame red, in sz 7 (product no. 230422)
Abby Ballet Flat in flame red, in sz 7 (product no. 230422)
These are also my first pair of red shoes ever!
Banana Republic Abby Ballet Flat in black, in sz 7 (product no. 230422)
Abby Ballet Flat in black, in sz 7 (product no. 230422)

It was very busy/crowded in the Copley store due to the sale so I ended up grabbing a few things that caught my eye (including a very shiny/pretty necklace) before checkout. I always try on what I pick in the comfort of my own home to make sure they are keepers. I'd love to know what you think. Do you think I should keep them all?

In full disclosure, I caved today since there was no limit on the number of items you could purchase. However, I probably should have waited to buy some of the newer items. I've been sitting on a stackable 20% off coupon (click here to see why I received this special code) and I anticipate a 35% off sale across all three Gap Inc. stores (this usually happens some time in November). Combined with the stackable coupon my total savings would be close to 50% off.

As an aside, all pictures from today's post were taken with the Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS ('free' after trading in our credit card points). Based on today's use, I think it takes such nice pictures that I don't have to edit them which is a bonus for me because I'm a lazy picture taker. e.g. Uploading them from the camera to my computer to online is already too much work.
WhatJessWore Signature

October 24, 2012

Bow Obsession


I've been obsessed with bow tie blouses for a while and the one that Annie recommended at the end of this post (option #4) has been stuck in the back of my mind. Last night, I happened to be nearby an American Apparel store where I found two prints in my size (XS). I asked the sales associate if there were any promotions and I also inquired about their return policy since I wasn't really familiar with shopping at AA. I wasn't surprised to hear that there was no sale and I also didn't like their return policy (you have 45 days to return the items for store credit or exchange) but I still went through with the purchase anyway.

I tried them on again at home with a few of my work staples (refer to the below pictures) and I was pleased to find that they were fun, girly blouses that I'll enjoy wearing this fall/winter. As a fit comparison I found that the size XS is a very similar cut to my size 2 H&M blouse.

For the first blouse I chose the secretary blouse in black dots and bows on white:


American Apparel secretary blouse, in black dots and bows on white, sz XS
Paired with my high waisted Zara skirt
American Apparel secretary blouse, in black dots and bows on white, sz XS
Paired with by Banana Republic bow pencil skirt.
American Apparel secretary blouse, in black dots and bows on white, sz XS
Paired with my Theory jumper and Forever 21 patent belt

For the second blouse I chose the secretary blouse in white black narrow stripe:

American Apparel stripe chiffon secretary blouse, sz XS
Again, paired with my Zara high waisted skirt
American Apparel stripe chiffon secretary blouse, sz XS
Paired with my J.Crew wool mini skirt
American Apparel stripe chiffon secretary blouse, sz XS
Again, paired with my Theory jumper

Both blouses are 100% polyester which from my experience washes well in cold water and they will air dry fairly quickly too.

WhatJessWore Signature