Traveler Bill Test Kitchen: Dim Sims

While Traveler Nell is away in her homeland I have had a lot of time to fill up, as well as I have been left to fend for myself. I decided to mash these two problems together to form one solution… Make myself Dim Sims.

Dim sims, or “Dimmies” are Chinese dumplings for the the Australian palate.  They are a particular favorite of Traveler Nell.  And while there are countless varieties her preference is for the Pork, Prawn and Cabbage.

In all honesty we have been planning on trying to home-make these for some time.  In fact, a while back when we found ourselves in Chinatown, we picked up a package of wonton wrappers.  Knowing that I had these in my pantry I decided to put them together this weekend.

With Traveler Nell out of town I had to determine a mix for the filling.  I opted for this recipe as a starting off point.

So this past Sunday night I ventured into the fray.  Essentially tripling the recipe, it ended up looking like this…


The Filling Mix for the dumplings. Ground pork, shrimp, cabbage, scallions, fresh ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, eggs and corn starch.

After making the filling I pulled out the wrappers…

They were stale.

And moldy.

So needless to say I was disappointed.  I had over a kilo of filling and nowhere to put it.  While on lunch the next day I went to a local hippy foods establishment and grabbed a couple packages of egg roll wrappers. Then, as soon as I got home, the steamer was set to HIGH and I set to assembling.

A dim sim is supposed to be larger than a typical dumpling.  That said, my dimmies were extremely generously filled.  After I had three ready I placed them in the steamer.


Raw dumpling in the steamer basket

Let me take a break from the blog to do a little algebra

Raw Pork + Raw Shrimp = Bad News

That in mind I made sure to steam them for a generous 15 (closer to 20) minutes. Nerdishly I took the internal temperature of the dumplings before opening them up. The all registered around170° F. (75° Celsius)


Serving suggestion, with low sodium soy sauce.

The first one out was opened in the kitchen for examination. I wanted to double check the doneness and give it a try.  It met my (admittedly low) bar of edibility.  I put the remaining two on the plate with the low sodium soy sauce and allowed them to cool as I wrapped the remainder, prepping them for the freezer.


With one of the dumplings cut open


Detail of the cooked filling.

I was amazed how easy it was to put these Dim Sims together. It was ridiculously simple (As long as you have wrappers!) and I will not hesitate to make these again. I’ll probably try to make them a skosh smaller as I only got a dozen dumplings out of my supersized adaptation.

WABAC Whensday- On Broadway

Sherman, set the WABAC Machine to May 2004 in New York City. Today we are going to revisit one of Traveler Bills greatest projects…his walk On Broadway.

It was Memorial Day weekend in 2004. The Saturday was my birthday, I decided that the way I wanted to celebrate was to complete a long planned project to walk down Broadway and to photograph myself all the way down. To give you an idea how long ago it was, the original plan was to make a flip-book of the journey.

The original version of “On Broadway” had a song that I have no rights whatsoever to use. For this version I went to the and downloaded Blue Bossa by Jazz at Mladost


Traveler Bill On Broadway – Again! from Traveler Bill on Vimeo.

How to Canceive an Art Exhibit

For those of you that aren’t fortunate enough to spend a great deal of time in the World Financial Center like I am, you may not be aware of “Canstruction NYC.” They are, according to their website

a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that holds annual design and build competitions to construct fantastic, giant sized, structures made entirely out of canned food. In each city after the structures are built and the winners declared the creations go on view to the general public as giant art exhibits. At the close of the competition all of the CansculpturesTMare dismantled food used in the structures is donated to the local food banks for distribution to community emergency feeding programs.

Now I have been lurking around this area for years and I seem to recall the structures being free standing without the aid of platforms, wire structures and packing tape. I’ll wager that the farm that a careless foreign visitor or blackberrying businessman walked into, and thereby destroyed some poor artists hours of blood sweat and tears.

I walked through the World Financial Center recently and captured the following images.

Here is the Jefferson Memorial…


Made out of Goya Vienna Sausages.


A set of stairs20130201-150720.jpg

A pinwheel


The Big Wheel from the Showcase Showdown of the Price is Right20130201-150811.jpg

A Ferris Wheel20130201-150824.jpg

A dinner table20130201-150829.jpg

A dozen sundry pieces in the Winter Garden.  I see a balloon dog, a bees nest and a Google Android 20130201-154404.jpg

No idea what this is to be20130201-154355.jpg

I thought this was a light house, but I’m not sure now.20130201-154349.jpg

A chess set.20130201-154342.jpg


Back in 2005 and 2007 I “Commissioned” several charcoal drawings from various artists in Central Park.  And while none of them look exactly like me, they do remind me of other celebrities.

Mid-2005: Bald headed and clean shaven…


I’m thinking Detective Lieutenant Theodore “Theo” Kojak.

Theo Kojak

Sept 2006 – Bald, glasses and a goatee…


Lee Arenburg as Kramer’s friend “Mike” in the Parking Space Episode of Seinfeld?

Lee Arenburg in “The Parking Space” episode of Seinfeld

Oct. 2005: Bald and clean shaven, retro glasses and a hat


 Phil Silvers maybe?  A doughy Phil Silvers then?

Sweet Rome, Italia: Parte Quinta

Last year Traveler Nell and I visited Europe starting in Rome. Before we had even left Lazio we had agreed that we had to return someday to the Eternal City. And so we are…only ten months later. Leading up to our return trip I am posting some of the things I love about Rome.

Numero Cinque: Euro in contanti (Euro cash)

We are nearing the days of a cashless society but we aren’t there yet. You always need to have a couple bills here and there for a cab, espresso or whatever. So before we head to the airport we make sure to have some local currency. In this case Euros.

When I bought these the exchange rate (and charges) were such that I got €355 for $500.  We will get an additional €50 or so in €1 and €2 coins for offerings when we visit all the churches we love to explore.


WABAC Wednesday: The G Train Conductor

Sherman, set the WABAC Machine to February 2011 in Fulton Street in Brooklyn. Today we are going to learn about the how to be a great conductor for the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

There was a time when Traveler Nell and I would ride public transportation as a lark. Imagine us…with the regular Joes that commute via subway.

Well, back in those days we would occasionally get the Crosstown G train in Brooklyn. It was on this train that we would encounter the Best Conductor in the MTA.

Here is a taste of what we would hear every now and then.

Sweet Rome, Italia: Parte Quarta

Last year Traveler Nell and I visited Europe starting in Rome. Before we had even left Lazio we had agreed that we had to return someday to the Eternal City. And so we are…only ten months later. Leading up to our return trip I am posting some of the things I love about Rome.

Numero Quattro: il nostro allogio (Our lodging)

As you know Traveler Nell and I live and work out of our home at Two Travelers Plaza in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. And while we have countless holiday estates and manors where we will take up residence when abroad, there is only one that we consider “Home”.¹

Domus Australia. Via Cernaia 14/B 00185 ROME, ITALY

View Larger Map

We came to stay at Domus Australia in the most unexpected manner. It was October 2011 and we were traveling through rural New South Wales on our way to Parkes.  One of the towns we stopped at along the way was Gundagai.  There atop a hill, at the high point of town, is St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church.


St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, Gundagai, NSW

Wherever we go, Traveler Nell and I like to explore the various Catholic churches we encounter.  Among the various pamphlets near the entrance was a sheet of paper announcing the grand opening of Domus Australia in April 2012.  Domus is the brainchild of Australian Cardinal George Pell as a reasonably priced place to stay for Australian Catholic pilgrims to Rome.  I have no idea why Nell picked up that pamphlet but when we decided to go to Europe just a few months later our Roman accommodations were already settled.


Domus Australia

On of the things that is so special about Domus is that your accommodation includes a full Australian brekky (breakfast). This is important as in Italy, “Colazione” a continental breakfast.  This is (along with a cup of coffee) is what you will find for breakfast in Italy.


Typical Italian Colazione (Breakfast)

But when you stay at Domus you get all that plus some meats, cheeses and tomatoes…


Fruit, cereal, and lamingtons…


Eggs, bacon, sausage, beans and roasted tomatoes.


Despite being owned by the Church, Domus is open to everyone.  That said it IS owned by the Church.  The hallways are appointed with photos of the Australian parishes that supported the creation of Domus.  And I previously wrote about the San Damiano Cross that was in our room.


The star of Domus Australia is the Chapel of St. Peter Chanel.  Below is a panorama I shot while there last year.

¹ Please note that we would also count our parents domiciles in Melbourne, Victoria and Albany, New York as “Home” as well.

Traveler Bill Test Kitchen: Skillet Cookie

My sweetie Traveler Nell and I love to cook, and we also love quirky kitchen items and kitschy foods. All these things came together with the Skillet Cookie! I can’t even remember where we got this thing it was in our cabinet so long.
(Update: In searching for the instructions online I found that it is offered at Walmart.)
(Update 2: At 6:20 Traveler Nell remembered this was actually a gift from her Auntie Joan of Easton, PA)

I made dinner recently and decided to surprise her with this looooooong overdue treat. The package came with a cast iron skillet (and instructions to “season” your pan); a bag of sugar, flour, (probably salt) and chemical leaveners and a small sachet of “chocolate” chips. To this I added an insane amount of butter, an egg and vanilla. Beat all that together and heat at 375°F.

Cookie in a Skillet from Traveler Bill on Vimeo.

It wasn’t terrible though I would have preferred one of Traveler Nell’s chocolate chip cookies be in the pan. It should have stayed in another minute or three, and a scoop of ice cream would have gone a long way toward improving it overall.

Nellie Loves Drama: NYPD Edition

Nobody, and I mean nobody loves “Drama” more than my beloved Traveler Nell. And by drama I mean something that involved Flashing Lights and the occasional Siren. I mentioned this in my post from last week Fire Truck Drama. Typically though it presents itself either when we are not together, or it is out of our way. (And when I say our I really mean my. Nellie would walk well out of her way to see what was going on when flashing lights are involved.)

So how did fortune favor us as we were walking to the subway together last Monday, as we turned the corner at West Street and Rector Street, but a NYPC squad car, lights ablaze, behind a car. And not just any car, but a Bentley.

Now When I started this post I knew that Bentleys were luxury vehicles. What I was not prepared for what that the car we saw getting a ticket was worth between $296,000 and $350,000. That said, according to, in the NYC area that model goes from $289,000 up to $377,000!!!

NYPD Drama from Traveler Bill on Vimeo.

Note: You will hear me talking in the video, but not Traveler Nell. Fortunately I COULD hear her. That is how I avoided the dog dirt on the sidewalk. Listen for me to exclaim “Poos!” and you will know precisely when that occurred.

Sweet Rome, Italia: Terza parte.

Last year Traveler Nell and I visited Europe starting in Rome. Before we had even left Lazio we had agreed that we had to return someday to the Eternal City. And so we are…only ten months later. Leading up to our return trip I am posting some of the things I love about Rome.

Numero tre: Storia Romana (Roman history)

After we returned from Europe I found a podcast that provided a very detailed history of the City of Seven Hills. It is aptly titled The History of Rome Podcast. I am still making my way through the episodes but I have enjoyed what I have listened to thus far. Bear with the podcast through the occasional mispronunciation and audio issue that do tend to pop up every now an then.