Amy’s Basics

Sometimes a recipe will call for ingredients that you can buy ready-made at the store, or make on your own. Oftentimes it tastes better when you make it yourself and you can tweak it to your liking which makes it even more gratifying to make!

Here are some basic ingredients that can be made easily at home, and more will be added as I cook!


Blanched Almonds


  • raw almonds
  • water enough to cover the almonds


  1. Bring the water to a boil.

  2. Place the raw almonds into the boiling water and boil for 1 minute.

  3. Drain and run cold water over it to cool.

  4. The almond skin will be shriveled. Squeeze them between your fingers and the almond will slip right out of its skin.


Chinese Five Spice Powder


  • 1 Tbsp. Sichuan peppercorns
  • 6 star anise
  • 1 1/2 tsp. whole cloves
  • 1 stick cinnamon (or 1/2 tsp. ground)
  • 2 Tbsp. fennel seeds


  1. Throw all the ingredients into a spice grinder and grind.


Pork Sausage

Amy's basic sausage spice mix


  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 2 tsp. dried sage
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. marjoram
  • 2 tsp. fennel seeds, ground
  • 1 Tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • pinch ground cloves


Check out the video on this post to see it in action!


  • 1 head green cabbage
  • kosher salt


  1. Core a head of green cabbage and shred in a food processor with the slicer blade. If you don't have a food processor or a slicer blade you can cut it up by hand as well.

  2. Weigh the cabbage and add 2% of that weight in kosher salt.

  3. Mix and then pound it with a meat tenderizer hammer, potato masher, and/or knead by hand for a few minutes. The point is to get it juicy.

  4. Cover and let sit for about 20 minutes and then knead again. When kneading, wear gloves so your hands don't get raw from the salt. Repeat this process until a lot of brine develops. The cabbage should be much reduced and swimming in brine.

  5. Put the cabbage into a clean mason jar and pack it down. Only fill the jar about two-thirds full--the top should be just brine. If you don't have enough brine, you can make some by dissolving salt in water with the same 2 to 100 ratio.

  6. Weigh the cabbage down with a pickling stone if you have one. I just lay some plastic wrap and place a small plate in there.

  7. Put the jar in a bowl or plate (to catch any brine that may overflow) and place it in a cool dark place for 3 to 12 days (depends on the size of the batch). You should start seeing some bubbling action.

  8. Place in the fridge and wait a week.

  9. Check on the kraut to make sure there is enough brine in there or push it down so that all the cabbage is covered with brine. If mold develops just skim it off. Add brine if necessary.

  10. Let sit for 3 to 6 weeks. I have kept kraut in the fridge for a year and it tastes fantastic.

Recipe Notes

Watch it in action on this video (0:07 to 1:18)!


Sourdough Starter


  • all-purpose flour
  • cool water


  1. Choose a medium-sized jar with a wide mouth and gasket lid (see note)

  2. Mix 100g all-purpose flour and 50g cool water until all the flour is incorporated.

  3. Leave the lid open and cover with a wet cheese cloth. Leave it out at room temperature (about 70°F).

  4. Stir to aerate about 3 times a day.

  5. Check for bubbles after 24 hours.

  6. If you don't see bubbles, discard half of the mixture and add again 100g all-purpose flour and 50g cool water.

  7. Repeat steps 4-6 until you see bubbles.

  8. Once you start seeing bubbles, discard half and now stir in the same amount of flour and water paste as the starter.

  9. Stir to aerate about 3 times a day.

  10. It should start rising. If it takes more than 12 hours to double, keep feeding as in step 8. If it can double in 12 hours or less, proceed to step 11.

  11. Feed it at a 1:2:2 ratio. I like to do 50g starter, 100g flour, 100g water.

  12. Does it still double in 12 hours or less? If not, feed it once a day as in step 11. If yes, feed it twice per day for a week.

  13. Can it double in 8 hours or less? If not, continue to feed twice a day. If yes, feed it, let it double, close the lid and put in the fridge.

  14. Once you have successfully gotten to this step, feed once a week. For example, my feeding routine is to take out the starter, leave 50g in the jar, add 100g flour and 100g water, and mix (it does not have to be a smooth paste). Put the jar back in the fridge and with the starter that was just taken out of the jar, bake bread!

Recipe Notes

I use a jar with a gasket lid like these. Since you constantly pour out the starter and add flour and water, the lid can get pretty gunky. Screw lids are not recommended.


Wonton/Dumpling/Gyoza Wrappers

Makes about 60 to 70 wrappers depending on the shape and size you cut it.


  • 250 g all-purpose or bread flour I like bread flour to give it some chewiness
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 100 ml hot to boiling water Amount is approximate, see instructions.


  1. Put flour and sesame oil in a bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle.

  2. Start mixing and add the water little bit at a time. Add until the mixture starts to resemble pea-sized crumbs.

  3. Bring the dough together by hand into a rough ball.

  4. Divide into about thirds. Take a ball and flatten it out to feed through a pasta roller.

  5. If using a Kitchen Aid mixer pasta roller attachment, feed through the thickest "1" setting several times (feed through the roller, fold in half then feed through the roller again with the fold to the side).

  6. If using a Kitchen Aid mixer pasta roller attachment, I find that the "5" setting is the best thickness for dumplings. Any thinner then it breaks while boiling or frying. Any thicker and it's a little doughy, but if you like that then go for the "4".

  7. Cut into approximately 3" squares with a knife or use a circle cutter that is about 3.5" in diameter.

  8. If freezing, coat with a bit of all-purpose flour, stack, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and stick in the freezer.

Recipe Notes

See it in action on this video (0:52 to 1:42)!


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