Pork & Shrimp Gyoza

A few years ago, we went on a bike tour in Kyoto, Japan and the tour leader took us to his favorite gyoza shop in his neighborhood. It was hands down the best gyoza we have ever had. This inspired us to make our own homemade gyoza with a twist – gyoza with green spinach wrappers!

Gyoza is a dumpling filled with meat and vegetables, wrapped with a thin envelope of dough. Think of it as a delicious envelope filled with meat and veggies. Originating in China, these dumplings are immensely popular in Japan. During World War II, Japanese soldiers were exposed to jiaozi (Asian dumplings) in Northern China. The Japanese loved the dish so much, they recreated it. In fact, gyoza is the Japanese pronunciation of jiaozi!

Fun fact:
There are three main types of gyoza with Yaki Gyoza (pan fried) being the most popular. Yaki Gyoza are pan fried on a skillet, giving it a crispy bottom while maintaining the soft, juicy-ness within. Sui gyoza are boiled and often served in a light broth. Age gyoza are crispy deep fried gyoza found mostly at Chinese and specialty gyoza restaurants.

The green spinach wrappers we used are infused with spinach puree. It doesn’t taste different in our opinion, but it’s nice to know that there are added nutrients. And we just love the color!

Ingredients:

For gyoza:
0.5 lb lean ground pork
0.5 lb peeled and deveined shrimp
1 cup of minced green or napa cabbage
1 tbsp minced ginger
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Spinach gyoza wrappers
1 tbsp ghee

For dipping sauce
Soy sauce
Sambal chili sauce
Rice vinegar

Steps:

  1. Combine pork, shrimp, ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, and a little bit of pepper and salt and pulse in food processor
  2. Microwave a tsp of the gyoza filling for about 50 sec to taste. Add more salt or pepper if necessary
  3. Place a tsp of gyoza filling into the center of the gyoza wrapper and use your finger to wet a line around half of the gyoza wrapper and fold it over. You can either pleat the ends or use a fork to seal the gyoza
  4. Heat a pan up and coat it with ghee
  5. Place wrapped gyoza into the heated pan and flip once one side is brown
  6. Then place 1/4 of a cup of water straight into the pan and close a lid over it.
  7. Remove lid and let water evaporate
  8. Flip gyoza over to brown both sides
  9. Enjoy with gyoza dipping sauce

Tips:
-Using less water is better than more water when making gyoza because the wrapper can break with too much water
-Smaller amounts of filling is better for gyoza to ensure a good seal
-You can use vegetable oil instead of ghee. We just wanted to try frying it with ghee because we like the buttery taste it adds to the gyoza

Gyoza is always a good compliment to any main dish, but really shines as one of our favorite bar foods. A good beer and gyoza will always put us in a state of nirvana – maybe that’s more the beer, but who knows. Let us know your favorite type of gyoza!

Rice Cake Combos

If you’re looking for a quick, crunchy snack you can dress up with limitless combinations, these are for you! Rice cakes are relatively lower in calories (60 cal/rice cake) compared to other carbohydrates such as bread or crackers. Rice cakes don’t have an overly impressive nutrient profile, but they can be a great snack when you balance them with other nutritious toppings. For instance, pairing rice cakes with almond butter/peanut butter and bananas or blueberries would give you a balance of carbohydrates, protein and fiber.

Quaker rice cakes (salt free): Calories: 35, Carbs: 7g, Fats: 0g, Proteins: 1g

Quaker rice cakes (chocolate – pictured): Calories: 60, Carbs: 12g, Fats: 1g, Proteins: 1g

A vast majority of rice cakes are gluten-free, making them a great snack for those with gluten sensitivity.

You can find a wife variety of sweet and savory flavors such as Cinnamon, Chocolate, Popcorn, Tomato & Basil, etc. but be mindful of the amount of salt and/or sugar added.

Cycling Across Golden Gate Bridge

One of our favorite things to do in San Francisco is riding bikes across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. We did this for the first time a couple of years ago when Lisa lived in the city. We had such a great experience, we knew we had to do it again on our trip there!

Fun facts:
1) At the time of its opening, the Golden Gate Bridge was the longest and tallest suspension bridge in the world.
2) Instead of the widely recognizable “international orange” color the bridge is today, it was almost painted yellow and black to make it easily visible for naval ships to pass. However, the bridge was painted orange to compliment the natural surroundings and enhance the bridges visibility in fog.

It’s not often that we ride bicycles (in fact, we don’t own any here in Arizona), but there isn’t anything like riding freely, hair flowing through the wind, on one of the most well-recognized bridges in the world. It brings Lisa back to simpler times when she was in a bike gang in elementary school (story for another time).

We always rent from Sports Basement because of its proximity to Golden Gate Bridge, reasonable pricing and their staff is always helpful in adjusting our bicycles to our specified needs. They also have an extensive collection of outdoor clothing and equipment. If you’re planning on cycling across the Golden Gate Bridge, make sure to rent from the Presidio location as they have another one located in the Mission District. We paid $24 each for our bike (helmet included) and our friends Grant and Summer paid $50 to ride on a tandem bike together for 3 hours.

If you start your route from Sports Basement, you will pass Crissy Field, a former U.S. Army airfield. This is a perfect spot for picnics, playing frisbee, walking your dog and getting that Instagram-worthy picture of the Golden Gate Bridge. From there, you can head down Marine Drive where you’ll be riding along the coast and approaching the bridge. At this point, you’ll need to bike up a fairly steep hill, so make sure to change your gears as needed.

Crissy Field

The Golden Gate Bridge is 1.7 miles across and has east and west sidewalks. We spent approximately 30 minutes crossing the bridge each way (including stops to take pictures). The east side walk (bay side) are open to pedestrians and cyclists on weekdays until 3:30 P.M. On weekdays and holidays, it’s pedestrian only. Since we biked on a Friday, we shared the east sidewalk with pedestrians. Luckily this day wasn’t crowded compared to the last time when there was an anti-vaccination rally being held (again, story for another time). Be mindful when riding your bike and make sure to always be aware of pedestrians. Always stay to the left side of the sidewalk and tell pedestrians when you are passing. There are a lot of seasoned cyclists out there, some who think they are the next Lance Armstrong, but don’t let them intimidate you. Once you cross the bridge, you can ride to the Golden Gate Bridge View Point for another spectacular view of the bay and bridge from another perspective. The west sidewalk opened around 4 P.M. for bicyclists only, so there was more more room to cycle freely. On your way back, you’ll see the other side of the bridge (not as scenic but extremely relaxing with breathtaking views of the Marin Headlands. Once you’re back on the other side of the bridge, you can return your bike and make sure you have all of your belongings.

Golden Gate Bridge View Point

Whether it’s your first time riding or a seasoned cyclists, make sure to appreciate your surroundings, take memorable pictures on the bridge and most importantly have the time of your life cycling across one of the wonders of the modern world. The Tanners would be proud (hope you’re old enough to get that reference)

– Colin