South Charlotte

Chinese treats for Olympics fans

I'm in the grip of Olympic fever.

I love to watch the games, especially the unusual events: badminton, archery, sculling, water polo. I've never even heard of team handball, but it is fun to watch! It's kind of like ice hockey without the ice or soccer without the grass, and I'm still not sure what the rules are, but figuring them out is half the fun.

My neighbors, Connie and Brad McKeown, lived in China for a little over five years, and I asked Connie, who's a marvelous cook, to share some recipes you can enjoy during the Beijing games.

“Ma Po To Fu is quick and easy ,” says Connie. “It's spicy.” This is a great dish for vegetarians who want something with a kick. The trick is to find the Szechuan spice packet. (Try an Asian market.)

The potstickers are not hard to make and they, too, are delicious. Buy your favorite brand of sausage and the meat is already seasoned, Connie says. If you can't find the round wonton skins, buy the square. I used a glass as a template and cut them into rounds with a knife to make the pleated half-moon-shaped dumplings.

I made the purse-shaped ones with square wonton skins, but I would trim them to rounds next time. The excess dough at the top was tough and chewy. Not terrible, but not as good as the half-moon shapes.

I bought a couple of different frozen potstickers to compare, and don't bother. Homemade were much better.