Ribs for Lunch

Alas, we have come to the end of July, which means the conclusion of my National Blog Posting Month. I have posted every day for the past month, and I have enjoyed sharing both food stuffs and life stuffs with you. Although there were a couple days when I wasn’t feeling well and wouldn’t have blogged, if not for my commitmend, I stuck it through, and I’m glad I did.

For this last post, I have no real food stuffs because, unfortunately, I’ve been out all day, to a company-sponsored BBQ lunch. Ribs was the main idea. Accompanied by the traditional potato salad, coleslaw, Boston baked beans, and a myriad of other sides. The meat was juicy but could have been cooked a tad longer, for more smokey goodness. I had strawberry shortcake for dessert, and make-your-own ice cream sundae for post-dessert.

Sadly, no other pictures of food since I have both an old camera and old batteries, which means the battery life is about 30 pictures. They are happily getting replaced soon.

I’m currently baking my brother a birthday cake. It will be in the shape of a soccer ball. Wish me luck! 🙂

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Double Bean Fried Rice with Cashews

We always have leftover rice at our house. Always. It’s because no one like rice, except my brother. But my dad actually gets offended and yells at me if I give Franklin more rice at the dinner table.

That is why we always have leftovers.

Which is the blank canvas for a plethora of different kinds of fried rice. Lunch was fried rice with green beans and green soy beans (available at Asian food markets). Also toasted cashews, which adds a great nuttiness and crunch to every bite.

Double Bean Fried Rice with Cashews

2 c. leftover white rice, fluffed
1/2 c. whole cashews, coarsely chopped
1 c. trimmed green beans, cut in 1/4 inch segments
1 c. frozen green soy beans
1/4 lb. kielbasa sausage, diced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 green onions, sliced
2 Tbsp. oil
salt to taste

  1. Heat oil in a hot wok over medium high heat. Add green onions, garlic, and cashews.
  2. Toast, stirring, for about a minute. Add the sausage and brown for about a minute.
  3. Add the green beans and cook for about three minutes, or until tender.
  4. Add the soy beans and heat through. Finally add the rice and distribute evenly throughout the vegetables.
  5. Heat for an additional three minutes. Salt to taste.

Green Beans with Onions

If I could only eat three vegetables for the rest of my life I would choose:

  1. Broccoli!!!
  2. Green Beans or asparagus (although apparently asparagus makes one’s er, urine, smell funny…)
  3. Onions

And this dish has two of the vegetables on my list. Gotta be good right? At least to me it was. I like to cook green beans till they are a little soft, not crunchy at all. My dad claims that not well-cooked green beans, i.e. crunchy beans, are toxic, but I’m not sure he has actual proof for that. I just like the softer texture better.

I also used a little bit of bacon grease. I am fairly health-conscious, but bacon grease is good stuff. I actually have a tupperware of it in the fridge, mixed with Chinese sausage as well as Italian sausage grease. Might sound kind of gross to you, but a little pat of the thing melted in a wok does wonders on vegetables. You get a meatiness without using actual meat. Of course, if you are a vegetarian, skip.

This is terribly simple to make. Trim the beans, slice the onions. Melt the bacon grease, or add a couple tablespoons of oil. Add the vegetables and stir. Place the lid on and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring every few minutes. The beans will be tender and the onions soft. Great quick side dish!

Chicken Stir-Fry with Broccoli and Carrots

Here is a fairly classic stir-fry combination, at least around my house. You get kind of a tri-colour effect, green-orange-white, which is very eye appealing. The key here is to marinate the chicken briefly with cornstarch added to incorporate flavour and to promote tenderness. If you just slice and fry, the chicken breast will dry out.

Another very important thing is to fry the chicken first, then the vegetables, then add the chicken back to the wok. This prevents the chicken from becoming overcooked.

I used about one tablespoon of a Korean sweet chili sauce. It’s not enough to get a discernible increase in the heat of the dish, but it does give an anonymous sweetness and very very subtle kick to the dish. Feel free to leave it out if you don’t have the ingredient.

Chicken Stir-Fry with Broccoli and Carrots
serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as part of a multi-course meal

1 lb. chicken breast, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. light soy sauce
1 Tbsp. Chinese rice wine
generous pinch of salt
1 Tbsp. corn starch
1 crown broccoli, broken into florets
2 medium carrots, cut on a bias into slices
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 Tbsp. minced ginger
2 green onions, sliced
3 Tbsp. oil, divided
1 tsp. Sichuan peppercorns
1 Tbsp. Korean chili sauce, optional
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Mix together the chicken, soy sauce, rice wine, salt, and corn starch with your fingers. Set aside for 15 minutes, while you chop the vegetables.
  2. Heat a wok on medium high heat. Add 2 Tbsp. oil when hot. Add the peppercorns and toast for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the ginger, garlic, and green onions. Fry for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
  4. Add the chicken, stir-fry until cooked, about 5 minutes. Be sure to separate all the pieces. Remove from the wok and set aside.
  5. Reheat the wok with the remaining Tbsp. oil. Add the chili sauce and fry for 30 seconds.
  6. Add the broccoli and carrots, toss in a couple Tbsp. cold water. Stir well and cover. Cook 2-3 minutes and stir again. Continue to add little bits of water and covering the wok until vegetables are cooked crisp tender. Salt to taste.
  7. Add the chicken back to the wok and stir together. Heat 2-3 minutes until all is heated through. Serve with rice.

My Stir-Fry Truths

If you’ve ever made a stir-fry, you know that it’s easy and quick and has great potential to be healthy. There are a few things, if applied, will make your stir-fries better. Or at least they did mine. These are my personal stir-fry truths, learned by hanging out with my mom in the kitchen over the years, as well as cooking on my own.

  1. Don’t be afraid to use a non-stick wok. Yes, I know, it goes against most stir-fry advice out there. And it is true that stainless steel holds a high heat than nonstick. I’m not arguing with that. But for most everyday uses, you don’t need super high heat anyways. As a bonus, it makes clean up so much easier. (Ever scrubbed that stubborn layer of
    “fried-on” rice?)
  2. Do use a wok though. It makes the stirring part of the stir-fry easier.
  3. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try out new combinations of meats and vegetables and aromatics. You never know what tastes good to you until you’ve tasted it.
  4. But do learn the classic combinations. They don’t fail. Try garlic broccoli, celery with dried shrimp, tofu with Chinese cabbage, eggplant in fish sauce (which has nothing to do with fish), etc.
  5. Use aromatics! Very important! They go a long way to flavouring your dishes! Green onions go with almost everything. Ginger is good with meats and seafoods – it removes the unwanted “fishiness” or “xing” as Chinese people know it. Garlic is a wonder and your gift to a stir-fry, makes everything tastier. (And good for you too!)
  6. Heat the oil until hot, so hot that foods sizzle and spatter and spit. Just keep your face and arms out of the way. (The add oil to hot pan rule applies here too.)
  7. Go easy on the oil, a couple tablespoons or less is plenty for vegetables. Meats require a tad bit more. Make it healthy! You will be happier too.
  8. Cook the meat and veggies separately in most cases. This avoids overcooking either.
  9. Don’t be afraid to add a little bit of water if foods are burning. China doesn’t have conveniently packaged chicken stock when my mom learned to cook so I didn’t learn to use it either. I find that chicken stock sometimes interferes with the flavours because stir-fries typically uses simple flavours. Cover to cook faster if needed.
  10. Go easy on the soy sauce. It doesn’t belong in every dish.

These are the main things that I go by. I hope that they will help you. Stir away! If you prep food ahead of time, i.e. chopping veggies and slicing meats, which come in handy on the nights when you came home late, you can give Rachael Ray a run for her money on the 30 minute dinner!

So Nice When Someone Else Cooks…

These days, generally I make lunch and Mom makes dinner. This is what we had for dinner today.

Garlicky Broccoli with Tomatoes. Broccoli is one of my favourite vegetables of all time.

Tofu. With green onions and soy sauce. Not sure what else is in it. I just eat. 🙂

One of the easiest ways to make eggs Chinese style. Just add green onions and scramble. It’s very good!

I hope you are having something yummy for dinner as well. I further hope that you’re lucky enough to have someone else cook for you. 😀

Ribs for Lunch

My church always serves lunch every Sunday. Usually it’s tofu and vegetables, or chopped up stewed chicken, practically every week. This week they made stewed chopped up ribs instead, but it was better than chicken.

Some days the food is good, cooked by the more practiced people, and some days, well, some days it is rather lacking. I forgot to take pictures. I was too busy eating. It sure takes skill to cook for a good 50-60 people and a lot of chopping.

That’s it for today, I was feeling unwell so nothing exciting to report. Do check out the Sunday cake at ButteryBakery!

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