3 competition-style recipes -- Kansas ProStart student competition

The Abilene High School culinary team has been working and is ready for the Kansas ProStart competition being held in Wichita March 3-4. Below are the recipes they are preparing. See the story I wrote about this competition, "Abilene High School Students Cook Up Talent!" on the Abilene Kansas blog. All photos were taken by Sarah Geiger

Teia Potter’s POTSTICKERS     Makes 2 portions
Pan frying is the technique employed in this dish. It’s a shallow frying method where the food is only partially covered in oil. Teia drops her potstickers in oil that is hot enough to ensure that the moisture in them can escape in the form of steam. The force of that steam also keeps the oil from soaking into the potstickers. Concerning the origin of her recipe, she explained, “It’s a mix between what I found online and my mom’s family recipe for egg rolls.”

Potsticker Filling
   ¼ lb. ground pork
   ⅛ cup (2 tablespoons) chopped scallions (green onions)
   1 ⅛ teaspoon grated ginger root
   3 tablespoons vegetable oil
   2 tablespoons finely chopped cabbage
   1 tablespoon soy sauce
6 wonton skins  
   1 tablespoon granulated sugar
   1 tablespoon rice vinegar
   1 tablespoon water
   ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
Additional vegetable oil for pan frying 

Potsticker Filling: Brown the pork in a skillet. Combine cooked pot with remaining ingredients.
To Assemble Pot Stickers: Brush edges of the skin lightly with water; place about a rounded ½ teaspoon of the pork mixture in the center of the wrapper. Fold, shape and seal edges.
Pan Frying: Heat just enough additional vegetable oil to partially cover pot stickers as they fry.
Sauce: Mix together sauce ingredients and serve as an accompaniment to pot stickers.
 Teia works on plating her potstickers.

Teia’s offering includes three potstickers with dipping sauce.

Issaih Lopez’s KUNG PAO BEEF     Makes 4 servings
After consulting with Mrs. Farr, his culinary instructor, Issaih decided to use a cookie cutter to mold the rice that accompanies his Asian entrée. He also noted, “I combined two recipes but the first time I made this dish, we determined it was too salty.” He tried two more adjustments, and after his third try, he said, “I got it just right this time!”

1 ½ lbs. boneless beef sirloin
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine or sherry
1 egg white, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons peanut or corn oil
4 dried red chiles, split
1 tablespoon minced garlic
½ tablespoon grated ginger root
1 teaspoon Szechwan pepper, toasted and crushed 
2 scallions (green onions), cut in ½” pieces
1 red bell pepper, cut in pieces
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine or sherry
2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar or balsamic
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
⅓ cup roasted peanuts

Trim fat from the steak and cut into 1” cubes. Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine/sherry, egg white and salt in a glass bowl. Add the beef and stir to coat. Marinate for 1 hour, covered in the refrigerator.
Place peanut/corn oil in a wok, swirling to coat the sides, and place over high heat. Add the chilies and cook until they begin to darken. Add the garlic, ginger and Szechwan pepper; continue to cook to infuse the oil. Add the scallions and bell pepper. Remove the steak from the marinade and add it to the wok. Stir-fry the beef for 3 minutes until brown. Blend in soy sauce, rice wine, Chinese vinegar, sugar and chicken broth. Dissolve the cornstarch slurry and add it to the sauce, stirring, to thicken. Sprinkle in the peanuts and stir to coat. Serve over rice.
Issaih Lopez stirs the ingredients for his Kung Pao Beef as Stephanie Mikulecky assists in the background.

Rice accompanies Issaih’s entrée dish that is garnished with a carrot flower.

Addie found the strawberry filling recipe online but had to tweak it to adjust the sweetness. She adds that filling and chocolate sauce to squeeze bottles for ease in dispensing, and to create the eye-catching chocolate designs on her dessert plate. She put her own spin on this dish by creating flower-shaped wonton cups that hold the sauce.

Strawberry Filling (this makes enough for several serving)
   1 cup fresh strawberries
   ½ cup granulated sugar
   2 teaspoons cornstarch
Mix ingredients together on a stovetop in a pan, mashing the strawberries. Cook over medium heat until the mixture becomes a thick paste.

Wonton Cups (ingredients & instructions for 1 serving of 3 wonton cups)
   3 wonton skins
   1 tablespoon vegetable oil
   1 tablespoon granulated sugar
   1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Using a cookie cutter, cut each wonton skin into a flower design. Lightly fry the skins in a pan with a small amount of hot oil. Remove and place them in the bottom of a small bowl (the bowl of a measuring cup works, too), allowing the skins to form into a cup shape. Mix sugar with cinnamon and sprinkle this mixture over the cup shapes.

   Chocolate plating sauce
   Whipped cream (made by whisking ½ cup heavy whipping cream with 1 tablespoon
   granulated sugar)
   Whole strawberries, partially cut lengthwise and fanned, then dusted with granulated
   sugar (1 per dessert plate)
To Assemble: Decorate dessert plate with chocolate sauce. Arrange 3 wonton flower cups on plate and fill with strawberry mixture; top each with a dollop of whipped cream. Add a fanned and sugared strawberry to each plate.
Addie sprinkles cinnamon sugar over a lightly fried, flower-shaped wonton dessert cup.

Pleasing to look at, delicious to eat—Addie’s Strawberry-filled Wonton Cups.       

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