Leftover Potsticker Pasta

So after making potstickers the other day, I found myself with a good bit of the filling left over.  A good chunk went into some fried rice, and I saved some for this.  It turned out really well, and I’ll probably end up making it again before too long.

You’ll need:

  • 1 c. leftover potsticker filling
  • 1/2 granny smith apple, diced
  • 1 large button mushroom (or a crimini, or whatever), diced
  • 2 c. cooked egg noodles
  • 1/4 c. chicken broth
  • 1/4 c. corn start slurry
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. Hot chili oil

Put a bit of olive oil into a pan over medium heat, and toss in the mushrooms and apples.  Let them cook for a few minutes, until the apples are just soft and starting to darken.  Add the posticker filling and let cook for a few more minutes, until the pork is done.  Add in broth, soy sauce, and chili oil, and let simmer for about a minute.  Add the slurry, then remove from the heat.  Mix well and toss in the noodles.  That’s it.

 

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Potstickers

So I was wandering around the internet the other day, and came across a potsticker recipe.  I didn’t use it really, but it got me wanting some.  I hunted down a few other recipes, just to get an idea at how it’s done, and set off to make my own.  The only thing I really ‘went by the book’ on was the wrapper, but it’s hard not to follow a 2 ingredient recipe:

Potsticker Wrappers

  • 1.5c All-purpose flour (I used bread flour, which made them a bit chewy, but still good)
  • .5c water (plus a bit extra, just in case)

Yeah, that’s it.  Mix the flour and water in a bowl, until it comes together kind of loosely, rough looking.  Add the extra water just a little at a time until everything is together, but still fairly dry looking.  Flip out onto a floured counter-top, and knead a few minutes, until everything’s smooth.  Put aside and let rest for a good 30 minutes or so (I actually let mine sit for about an hour while I ran to the grocery store.)  When rested, roll out onto a floured counter, and halve.  Then halve again.  And again.  Then third.  You should end up with about 24 pieces, all the same size (or close to it).  Take each piece, roll into a ball, then press onto the counter and roll out into a circle, fairly thin, somewhere in the 4 to 5 inch range.  It’s hard to do with a full size rolling pin, so use a piece of 1″ dowel rod, it makes it easier.  These don’t have to be perfect.  By the time you fold and crimp the seams, you’ll never notice if they weren’t exactly round.  Just get it close.  As you roll them out, lay them on a paper towel dusted with flour.  When it’s full, just stack another paper towel on top and keep going.

 

Potsticker Filling

  • 3/4 lb Ground Pork
  • 1/2 Red Onion
  • 1 Green Onion
  • 5 or 6 Baby Carrots (or maybe just one regular carrot, but I already had the little ones)
  • 1 c. Red Cabbage (Most everyone says use napa or chinese cabbage, I like the red, it seem hardier and has more crunch when cooked, plus it was on sale)
  • 1/4 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Celery Stalk
  • 2 Cloves Garic
  • 1 Tbsp. Chopped Ginger (Or fresh, if you think you can use it all before it goes bad)
  • 2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
  • 1 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
  • White Pepper to taste

I think that was it.  Chop/mince everything until it’s very fine, mix well, cover, and stow in the fridge for about an hour for everything to come together.  You’ll have plenty of time to kill while you’re making the wrappers.  Now we need to figure out what we’re going to dip it in.  I tried a few things (this makes a good many dumplings, so there’s room for experimentation) and this is the one I think I liked the most:

Potsticker Dipping Sauce

  • 1/2 c. Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Hot Chili Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Molasses

Combine everything in a small bowl and beat the hell out of it, otherwise the oil sits on top and you end up eating the first few dumplings covered in it.

Putting Everything Together

Take one of your wrappers, set it on the counter, and place a spoonful of the filling in the middle.  I’d guess around a “teaspoon” (not the measuring kind).  Wet one half of the round with a little water and your fingers, then fold over.  Press the seam together well, trying to get as much air out of the dumpling as you can.  Then pinch and crimp the edges 4 or 5 times (it’s hard to explain, watch a video on youtube or something).  Put the finished dumpling on a floured paper towel and keep going.  You’ll be here a while, but it’s worth it.

When you’re all done, it’s time to cook.  You’ll need a fairly heavy bottomed pan that has a tight fitting lid.  Yes, if it’s non-stick, they won’t technically be “potstickers,” but I didn’t really see an issue.  They still browned on the bottom, plus after you steam them, you don’t have to worry about them sticking again.  You’ll also need a bit of water (or chicken broth) and some tongs.  Put a little oil (I used a combination of vegetable and sesame, peanut is good, too) in the pan over medium-high heat and swirl around to coat the bottom.  Place your potstickers in the pan in a fairly tight spiral.  You don’t want to crowd, but you should be able to fit a good number in each batch.  And be quick.  It doesn’t take long for everything to cook, so they need to go in and come out as close together as possible time wise.  Let them sit and fry for a couple of minutes.  DON’T MESS WITH THEM!  After 2 minutes or so (maybe 3 if you want them browned a bit more) toss in about 1/4 c of water or broth and slap the lid on.  DON’T MESS WITH THEM!  Let the steam do it’s work.  Like cooking rice, if you lift the lid, you let out the steam, which is doing our cooking.  After a couple of minutes, pull the lid off and you should see some puffy little bags of goodness, that suddenly shrivel up and look wrinkly.  It’s a  good sign.  Remove them from the pan onto a plate and set aside while you do the rest.  Deglaze a bit between batches, so you don’t end up with a gummy pan, btw.  When they’re all cooked and cooled enough, time to eat.

You’ll probably end up with some of the filling left over.  I’m not big on measuring, so it makes a good bit extra.  Not a problem, though.  You can always make more potstickers, or use it in other things.  Just remember and adjust accordingly.

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Steampunk(ish) Skull

For Alexis:

Full view (almost)

Detail

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Film Strip

A film strip on Sarah:

Filmstrip

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Angelic

Angel

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Celtic Tree

A tree I did on my boy JR, his first tattoo.

Celtic Tree

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NC-1701D

A before and after:

The Enterprise, before

The Enterprise, after

I was pretty happy with this.  There’s a few things I could have done better, but it got the job done.

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DIY Laptop cooler

So my laptop (HP G60) gets REALLY hot.  As in 200°, gotta scale back the processor hot.  There’s some design issues that aren’t really fixable, so the next option is external cooling.  I’ve had a couple of cooling pads before, all usb powered, with single and dual fans.  They did alright, but it still wasn’t so great, plus they’re damned expensive for what they are.  So the next step?  Just build my own.

I started with a wire document rack.  I had originally wanted one that was already slanted, like the magazine racks you can mount on the wall.  After checking 4 stores and not coming across one, I settled on this:

Mesh Tray

I didn’t document modifying the tray, so no pics of that.  It’s easy to see what I did, though.  I cut way the front uprights, and the uprights on the handles, then bent the top bar down to the bottom, and epoxied them together with a bit of Water Weld.

Next I actually used it for a day.  I set it on the desk, put the laptop on it, and slid a fan from and xbox 360 (that I wired to a 12v wall wort) under it.  Once I figured out the best place to have it, I moved on to mounting and wiring it.

First, a switch:

Mounting a switch

Then the fans:

Xbox fans

Mounting the fans.

To mount the fans, I just drilled a small hole in the tabs on each side, then ran a bit of wire through the mesh and the hole together.  The I used a drill to twist the wire down tight to hold the fan in:

Power Tools!

With that done, it’s time to get some juice to all of this.  I used a random 12v, 2A wall wort that was laying around, and wired it up.

Wiring up the switch and fans

Then ran the wire in the corner, and secured it the same way as the fans:

Running wire

Since there’s nothing to keep the laptop from sliding down (it’s own feet wouldn’t cut it), I added two little rubber feet to the front to hold it in place:

Rubber feet

So now we end up with this:

Finished?

Finished?

And that was it…I thought.  It made a rattling noise, from the vibration of the fans.  I thought maybe it was having the fan directly on the mesh, so I cut them off, added some rubber between them.  Didn’t help.  Next I tried using soft PVC tubing on the bottoms, thinking maybe it was the bottom rattling.  Nope.  Then a bit of hot glue on the wires I used to hold the fan.  Nope.  Finally, I figured out that the mesh itself isn’t exactly tight (shoddy manufacture), so I ran nylon cord around the left, right, and bottom, and laced it tight to take up slack.  Problem fixed.

Yes, it’s loud.  It’s dual fans running at a full on 12v.  No mercy.  But using Google+ hangouts, I saw a 25° decrease in temperature at full load, so it’s worth it.  Plus having the switch right there means that if I’m not doing something intensive, I can just turn it off for a bit.  Having it up off the desk, essentially completely open underneath improves things already.

Oh, and total investment?  About $4.  The only thing I had to buy was the tray.

Now to build something else…

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The Brushbot’s Humble Beginnings

Well, I’ve seen a lot of brushbots online. You know, those little bots that move forward just because they jiggle… insert joke here. So, I needed a project while I was waiting one the bearings for the CNC machine, so I decided to build one. BAD idea. I started with one little brush and one little vibe motor… pretty soon, it got out of hand.

This is where it started getting out of hand. I decided that sponges would be awesome. This thing is going to end up cleaning my tub, so I want it to do a bang-up job. Sponges help bang-up jobs, right? Right.

 

Yeah. ALREADY out of hand. The red brush on the front was the original brush, had to incorporate it, you know? The little black feet sticking out of the back are there to make sure it goes forward, since the sponges aren’t… well, since they aren’t brushes, duh. I made it so that it would be easy to change the sponges out, used auto rivets for molding. Sweet set-up. I’m an idiot, but we’ll get to that.

 

See? Easy change-out. Yeah, well. SHUT IT!

 

This is a vibe motor out of an XBOX 360 controller. DID YOU KNOW that each one of those things has TWO of these?!? Yeah, they do. One has a bigger weight and requires more amperage than the other, btw. This is the bigger one.

 

Skipping a few steps, since who cares, this one didn’t work anyways. All wired up here, you can see the smaller aforementioned motor.

 

All wired and hotglued. Cause hotglue rules, and you know it. You might notice two 9-volts where 4 AAs used to be. Yeah, I go for power.

So this is the last iteration of this version. Two reasons… One, see those motors mounted upright? Should have mounted them sideways, because it caused a rotational effect and made the thing turn the way the motors were spinning instead of scooting forward because of the vibrations. Two, sponges weight A LOT when they absorb water. When I decided I could get past the rotational effect (it was more of a “I like to turn right as I move forward”, not so much of a crazy five-year-old getting dizzy), I tried it in the tub. DIDN’T MOVE AT ALL. I got mad and went to Wal-Mart.

 

$25 at Wally-World. Well, a little aggravation and $25, anyways. This is what I had planned on it looking like, and as I type this, its not to far from the truth, actually. I’ve since discarded the squeege on the back, as well as the smaller, aft-positioned brushes.

 

Well. Here is the main body of BrushBot 2.0 bolted together via a plate that someone threw at me at work. It flies like a small, heavy, sharp, metal freesbie, unsurprisingly.

See that controller? It has two more of those vibe motors, and I needs them! Die controller!

 

Moments later. I ain’t got time for screws! You have no hold over me, M-soft! Oh yeah, remember me mentioning the CNC machine? Yeah, that’s the bottom railbox I’ve been building this thing on, btw.

 

This is a little holder I made for all four vibe motors. Made sure to mount them on their sides, this time. Big ones in the middle, smaller ones on the outside.

 

So… two brushes are better than one, right?

 

So, of course after my experience with BB1.0, I’m not relying solely upon vibrations to make BB2.0 move. It’s gonna have wheels! Well, after a fashion, anyways. I heated the already-attached gears on the motors with a blowtorch, and allowed them to melt themselves into the stand-offs. I like fire…

 

Alright, so this is the current state of things. Sad, I know. I broke my vice bending those plates, which really shouldn’t surprise me. It was the cheapest one that Lowe’s had, after all. I plan on the two brush-wheels being on the back, mounted at 45 degree angles. Still curious about my power source. I picked up a 6 volt lantern battery, but I’m not sure if thats enough amperage or not. Or if it has enough amp-hrs to get the whole tub clean before it dies. Also, who wants to replace a fairly expensive battery like that everytime? I was considering making the whole tub an induction coil…heheheheheh… yeah, definately…

-J

 

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Just thought you should

go check out this website.  If you’re into surreal art (or just art in general) it’s worth a look, and maybe a few hours just stumbling around.

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