Mmm…more ramen

I just love this stuff.  It cooks quickly, the dishes are colorful, I can make them spicy to my heart’s content.  I usually whip this dish up when Mrs J is off to the shelter.  I don’t have to worry about not feeding her, or rather, fixing a spicy dish that she would refuse to eat.

This time I have some broccoli, a nice bit of those sweet Vidalia onions, some shredded carrot, the last of my dried shiitake mushrooms (note to self:  get more), shrimp, and some dried red chilies to go with the noodles.

While the noodles boil, stir fry the veggies and the peppers in hot chili oil, toss in some ground szechuan peppercorns for a little extra kick.  I made a quick sauce of chicken stock, corn starch, chili paste, ginger paste, and some minced garlic, leaving out the soy sauce this time.  Add the shrimp to warm, drain the noodles and dump them in and stir about to coat everything.

Deep Fryer-Gadget Post

I decided to finally get a counter top deep fryer the other day.  I think it was the breaded onion rings that tipped me into it.  I did some research on line and came across this one.  It was rated as the best by one of the online groups and the reviews I read didn’t contradict that assessment.  After a couple of frying sessions with it I’m comfortable recommending it.  I doesn’t hold a lot but if you use the oven as a warmer you can get around that.  Large families may want to look for more capacity

Unlike every other fryer I’ve seen, this one has a tilted, revolving, basket.  The well holds about half the usual amount of oil and the revolving basket dips only a portion of the food into the oil at a time.  Because the basket and the well are tilted, the oil covers the food only at the bottom of the circle.  It seems to work well.

Tonight we had an all fried dinner-shrimp breaded with panko, onion rings breaded with some stale bread crumbs, and broccoli tempura.  Everything came out nicely and the big baking sheet with wire rack was perfect at keeping everything warm in a 200 degree oven.

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Brussels Sprouts and Pasta

I wanted to use these sprouts up before they dried out on me.  Roasted in the balsamic vinegar/oil recipe like the cauliflower yesterday would have been fine.  I wanted to do something a bit different and looked at several recipes including a few that called for heavy cream.  I had the carton of whipping cream out and ready but I changed my mind.

Instead of a cream sauce I went with a chicken stock based sauce with plenty of lemon juice and zest.  The reason I backed away from the cream was the addition of the diced tasso.  I just couldn’t quite picture how it was going to work so I chickened out.  Not that I could quite figure how the lemon sauce was going to act with the tasso, either.

Anyway, I halved the sprouts and added them to a pan with red onions and several sliced cloves of garlic.  Added some olive oil and butter and cooked them with salt and pepper over medium heat while the pasta boiled.  I zested a lemon and squeezed the juice into the pan, added some red pepper flakes.  I added a cup and a half of chicken stock with some cornstarch mixed into it.  That soon thickened into a pretty decent sauce that hinted at being something you could put on a bread pudding.  LOL!  When the pasta was done I dumped it on top of everything in the pan and hollered in Mrs J for dinner.

She sat there looking at her plate and then said “oh, those are sprouts, I thought they were olives”.  Well now, there was a good idea!  Some cracked green olives and some grated parmesan worked just fine in there.


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BBQ Sauce

We were having an interesting discussion in comments here about BBQ sauces that might work with turkey.  I remembered a sauce made by the fellow that ran a now defunct BBQ pit in my hometown.  I half remembered the recipe and tried to describe the sauce in one of my comments.  I wasn’t too far off!  Mostly..

Anyway, Mrs J mentioned just a while ago, “I have a recipe for that sauce, we got it from one of your pipefitter pals, it’s in this big folder here”.  Kerplop

Now it would have been a miracle if the thing had flopped open to just what I was looking for.  It didn’t happen that way.  But I found it!

You can probally read that, but in case you can’t:

2 c each of vinegar and water

2 c sugar  (I used Splenda this batch)

1/3 c cornstarch in water (make a slurry-use minimal water)

1 t salt

3 t pepper  (I used white pepper, and added 1 more of black pepper)

1 t red pepper (ground cayenne)

8 oz can of tomato sauce   (I didn’t have any so I used a good dollop of tomato paste and whisked it in along with a little water-May have used too much as the end product seems a tad less translucent than I remember the original sauce.)

That’s pretty much it, mix everything but the cornstarch slurry in a saucepan over medium heat, bring to a good simmer, add the slurry and whisk it as it returns to the simmer.

It’s not a bad sauce, won’t be to everyone’s liking.  I think it’s pretty good, and I don’t think I would hesitate to dredge a slice of turkey breast through it.

I used cider vinegar but I can easily imagine this made with white vinegar or red wine vinegar.

Shrimp and Baby Bok Choy

I bought the bok choy a while ago and Mrs J alerted me to the fact that it was going to have to be used today or it would be too limp and yellow to be of much use.  She was right, and I ended up tossing nearly half of it due to condition.  Salvaged enough for a meal.

I’ve always thought that head on shrimp dishes looked just great.  I remember watching a famous TV chef eat a meal of them and remarking that “this is the only way to eat shrimp”.  Well, I bought some (frozen) at the Asian grocery last time I was there.  Tonight was the night!  I chopped the bok choy, and sliced some mushrooms to go with the shrimp, and dragged out some noodles I’ve been meaning to cook.  I made up a sauce from chicken stock and sesame oil.  I added a good tablespoon of garlic chili paste and thawed some of my minced red bell peppers.  A tablespoon or two of corn starch went in to thicken it in the pan later. Last was a couple of tablespoons of Splenda for sweetness.

I started the water boiling for the noodles, and then set about stir frying the shrimp.  They went into some hot oil in a pan where garlic and ginger were just starting to brown.  I let the shrimp cook for a minute then flipped them over, and dashed in an ounce or two of water and quickly covered the pan to let the steam help cook them.  After another minute I set the shrimp aside.

I added more oil to the pan and heated it up again, then tossed in the onions and mushrooms, then a few minutes later  the greens.  Covered those for a minute or two and let them cook.  The sauce mix went in next, and it thickened nicely as it bubbled, next the cooked shrimp were added back, and then the cooked and drained noodles.  Some stirring about with the tongs and it was ready to plate.


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Lemon Garlic Basil Shrimp

This dish sprang fully formed from the brow of Zeus.  Sorta.  Started out the afternoon peeling and deveining shrimp.  Plenty of different ways to go from there.  I was thinking garlic-buttery shrimp and Mrs J agreed.  Lemon kinda snuck in there.  And those few asparagus spears left over and lonely looking in the veggie drawer.  Needed some carbs.  Rice?  Yeah, rice is fine but looky here:  Bow tie pasta in the cupboard!  The basil in the patio container has a new lease on life since Mrs J added a bit of fertilizer.  Chop some of that…  Zest a lemon..juice it, take out the seeds, chop the asparagus, start the pasta water…grate some parmesan..on a roll here now.  Slice a buncha garlic…mmm mandolin thingy…watch those fingers.  Ok, pasta in, splash some water in a pan, add the asparagus, cover, steam for a few…add butter, olive oil, the garlic, stir it around, add the shrimp, mix some chicken paste with a cuppa water, stir in some corn starch.  Shrimp are done, add the chicken stock, stir as it thickens, pasta done, drain and add to the pan, add the chopped basil, the grated cheese..holler, “Dinner’s ready”!

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Green Bean Stir Fry

I wondered if there was a good recipe out there for stir fried green beans.  Yes, there are many good recipes.  This is a synthesis of several I found.

Trim a bunch of beans into lengths you are comfortable with.  Too long and they can be hard to eat.  Two inches seems a good length, longer and you may find you are having to fold them into your mouth.  The basic procedure:  Steam the beans for a few minutes, meanwhile heat some oil in a pan and toss in ginger and garlic.  Time this so you can add the steamed beans right atop the garlic before it burns.  Stir fry the beans for another few minutes then add some liquid and cover for a little while.  Stir up the sauce and add it to the beans, stir to coat as the sauce thickens, serve hot.

The timing on this will vary according to your beans, some may be tougher than others and you may need to nibble a bit as you go along to make sure the beans are done enough.  I like  them still with some crispness.  Just a rough guess on the cooking times for this dish today: 4 minutes steaming, 3 minutes stir frying with the garlic and ginger, 2 minutes covered after I added a splash of stock, and another 2 minutes after adding the sauce.

The sauce is where the dish gets interesting.  I mixed about half a cup of chicken stock from a powder, added a tablespoon of sesame oil, a couple tablespoons of soy sauce, a tablespoon of red pepper flakes, some sweetener (you can use sugar), a tablespoon of garlic/chili paste, and a tablespoon or so of corn starch.  I imagine this is going to be one of those sauces that will vary a bit every time I make a new batch.  May go with some Szechuan peppercorns next time.

You will note that there are also some red onions in the dish, as well as some shiitake mushrooms.  You can add those or other things as it suits you.  The chicken in the pictures is a deli bought Gen. Tso’s Chicken.


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Shrimp/Asparagus Stir Fry

This dish was insanely great.  No kiddin.  I was browsing around at the site of commenter Rice Palette looking at some interesting recipes when I was struck with the inspiration for this one.  You all go on over there a nose around a bit. I stole parts of this recipe from there.

Make a marinade for some shrimp as follows:  A bit of salt, half teaspoon of Splenda (or sugar), a teaspoon of chicken broth paste, a bit of garlic powder, a splash of oil, a teaspoon or so of soy sauce, a couple teaspoons of corn starch, and a finely diced shallot.  I used some dried shiitake mushrooms so I set those to soaking in water.

While the shrimp and mushrooms were working I chopped some asparagus into 1-1/2″ pieces or so and chopped a few green onions the same.  Stir a tablespoon of the chicken stock paste into a cup or so of water, and then stir in a good tablespoon of corn starch and set it aside for thickening your sauce at the end.  Dice a half dozen cloves of garlic (or more).  Slice the mushrooms when they are soft.  Have everything ready when you start to cook.

Here we go:  Heat a large pan and add some oil when it’s hot.  Toss in half of your diced garlic, give it a few seconds then add the shrimp.  Stir it around and remove the shrimp when it is cooked, or almost cooked.  Add more oil as required and the rest of the garlic, toss in the green onions and the mushrooms, add a few tablespoons of Chinese cooking wine or dry sherry,  give those a minute then add the asparagus and a splash of water and cover.  Give the veggies a few minutes then add back the shrimp, give the corn starch/chicken stock mixture a quick stir and add that, stir as it thickens.  Last thing, stir in a tablespoon of sesame oil.  Serve over rice.


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