Potstickers: Week 9

Found it. New May Wah’s on Clement Street and 7th Ave. Don’t look at the chicken, meat or fish sections. Do look at the fresh noodle aisle and the myriad of bottled sauces. Potsticker wrapper heaven, the thicker ones, that even come in spinach green (don’t worry, the flavor is the same, you just get a lovely contrasting color).
We found a recipe for a low meat filling that allows you to pre-cook the meat part of the filling, which helped our timing. We could make the filling itself one day, then focus on filling the wrappers and cooking the next. Potstickers would be a good one for an event, the many pairs of hands caught on quickly and produced almost 100 potstickers in no time. The trick would be to make sure to keep them from drying out and to plan out the cooking of them adequately. But this was voted one of our best “meals” of the quarter.

Visiting NOPA

Laurence in his kitchen as we work.

One Tuesday at the end of last quarter we were able to visit Laurence at NOPA restaurant for our 5th period afternoon class.  Laurence Jossel, one of the owners of NOPA and Nopalito restaurants, has been a wonderful support to our cooking with teenage youth.  From letting us forage in their walk-in to jumping in over the summer with over thirty interested teens without any warning, he has a magnetic way about him and a contagious passion about food and cooking.
I was amazed as he spent a few hours with us that afternoon in his restaurant as we peeled garlic together for one of the spreads used on pizzas.  Amazed at how much value to cooking that could transpire as the students continually peppered him with questions.  I wish I could have taped the conversation. He made peeling garlic a pleasure and the students loved the fact that we were making something people were going to pay for and enjoy, while a number of NOPA chefs made a point of coming over to admire our work.  Our walk back to the high school was full of that excited talking after a wow experience.  “He is a really nice guy,” was the unanimous refrain.
How do you measure the value of this afternoon?   We know in our hearts that coming together around food is valuable and when we take it this direction, where community and food can connect with working practice, it opens unmeasured doorways in one’s mind.  Thank you Laurence for keeping your door open with a smile.