Mmm… sesame chicken

Call me crazy… but this is a food blog, sorta!  LOL


[Edited to add the recipe]


I don’t know what it is about ramen noodles that I like so much.  I think it may be because they are akin to a blank sheet of paper in that they are pure potential.  You are presented with an opportunity, a blank slate, an empty canvas.  There are so many things you can do with a plain bowl of noodles and in being known for my photos more so than my cooking talents there is an additional appeal for me.

Just about any kind of meat and vegetable will work in these  staple dishes.  This latest  one has shrimp, fried pork, and some of that fake crab meat.  I was determined to use up a few dried shiitake mushrooms I’ve has on the shelf for a good long time so I boiled some of them up with a few dried red peppers.  I used the broth from this as a base for the soup instead of chicken broth.  I thought about adding some cabbage sliced thin or some florets from a stalk of broccoli but decided to just keep it simple so that I could eat it in one sitting.  Mrs J was sure to refuse anything with red peppers so obviously featured.

The brand of noodles I used today comes with a couple of additional packets-one was dried veggies and herbs of some sort which I included and the other was a hot chili seasoning that I left out.  More often I put it in.

They don’t have to be soup!  Drain the water and use them in a stir fry!  Yum!

Here are some examples from today’s dish and others previous.  Enjoy!

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Freezing Bok Choy

I visited the local farmer’s market today to see what produce November offered.  I don’t get by there very often, this may have been the second time this year is all.  Probably wouldn’t have gone today except it is very close to the Asian grocery where I buy all my shrimp.  It’s only open on Saturdays and I usually get to that grocer on a weekday.

Anyway, they had the usual:  Broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, greens of several varieties, a bit of expensive cheese, the odd craft item, squashes and pumpkins, several kinds of radishes, and turnips galore.  I bought some poblano peppers that I have in a low oven right now to see how well I can dry them.  What caught my eye was the bok choy-several sellers offered it and it was nearly all of the “baby” styled young plants.  I love that stuff and I bought more than I should have it was so inexpensive.

I got them home and figured the Google could tell me if it would freeze OK–and it  seems to be a decent candidate for storing frozen.  I read several “how tos” and went with the method most commonly used.  Blanch the stuff for 2 minutes, cool it quickly in ice water, drain,  then spread it on trays to freeze.  Once frozen the stalks are gathered and stuffed into plastic freezer bags for longer term storage.  This is similar to the way I froze peppers this summer except for the blanching.  I like the results so far, I have it all put up and it looks good.  I’ll mention how it cooks up when I get there.

The Asian grocer had a big box of fresh shiitake mushrooms.  Again, I bought more than I could use right away.  Google mentioned a few different ways to freeze them and I went with the saute in butter for a little while and then put into zip lock baggies in usable portions.  Wish I  had bought more of them now.

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Gadget Post

Just about every one of the cooking shows has had an ad for one of these skillets: The Calphalon “Slide”.  I’ve been enjoying the 10″ non stick omelet pan I have and have been itching to get one a tad larger.  Finally clicked the button at Amazon for the 12″ version of the pan that the food just “slides out of”.  It came today, and to break it in I decided to go with a stir fry recipe to make use of the baby bok choy I bought today.  I followed the recipe pretty closely (for me, anyway) and tho I can’t imagine that all the measurements are correct in my iteration I believe it came out pretty well.  I used some rehydrated shiitake mushrooms along with some fresh buttons I had left from the frittata instead of the mushrooms called for in the recipe.  I used more garlic than called for, and I didn’t have any fresh ginger root but I did have a large jar of  ginger paste.  I used a heaping spoonful of it in the sauce.  Also, I marinated the chicken chunks in soy sauce and Chinese cooking wine.

First impression of the pan?  Very positive-the stuff does slide right out.  I used some cooking oil in it but the oil didn’t seem to form a film on the pan, it kinda “beaded up”.  I didn’t cook the chicken by itself for very long, but it appeared that it was going to brown alright.  Clean up was about as I expected:  A couple of swipes under a hot faucet with a dish rag and it was clean.  This pan came with a glass lid-very handy at times to have a lid, and with glass you can see what’s going on in there without taking it off.

The pictures will tell the story:

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Bok Choy Stir Fry and More

The stir fry was just the last episode in a fun day.  Took off to town this morning to go to the stores, and to drop by the credit union for some cash.  I wanted some more dried red peppers for the chorizo I planned making, and needed to pick up some dark ale for another batch of mustard.  Had great success finding everything I needed, and found a few items I wanted.

Once I made it home I got busy grinding the peppers and other spices for the sausage.  Made 5# this time, this batch has more red pepper in it than the last, and some ground cumin seeds this time (one of the things I bought today-cumin seeds).  I stuffed the fresh made chorizo into a gallon sized plastic storage bag where it will mature for a few days, then I will divide it into smaller portions for freezing.  I think half pounds will be about right.  I fed Mrs J the chorizo hash last night and she was full of ideas on how to use more of it, tacos, burritos, etc etc.

I also brought home some black mustard seeds and started a batch of the whole grain mustard recipe.  Used a different ale this time, still a dark ale, and used all black mustard seeds. Last time I used 1/3 yellow seeds because I didn’t buy enough black ones, I had plenty of the black seeds today.  Ran out of red wine vinegar, though I had just enough for this one batch.

Oh!  And Mrs J took Homer to the vet for routine shots, and the vet took the cast off!  Yay!

OK, almost forgot the stir fry.  I’ll run down the sauce recipe as best as I can remember:  Chicken stock, soy sauce, oyster sauce, a dab of plum sauce for sweetness, some red pepper flakes, some hoisin sauce, dry sherry, and corn starch.  The chicken was marinaded in half soy and half sherry, then drained and mixed with some corn starch and flour in a bit of water for a thin batter before frying.  Cook the chicken first, then set it aside, add more oil to the same pan and toss in the mushrooms, the peppers, and the stems of the bok choy, add the ginger and garlic, stir in the sauce, then add the chicken back.  Last thing stir in the leaves.  Serve over rice, I used brown rice today.


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