Lo Mein

DSC_7248 (1600x1060)I had a yen for lo mein after seeing some pictured at another site.  That one was beef and broccoli and we were going to do the same but got side tracked.  Chicken works for me.  I thawed shrimp but decided to go with those another time.  I’ve found good Asian recipes at Rasa Malaysia and used their recipe for this one.  A few minor tweaks, maybe.DSC_7259 (1600x1060)We paid a visit to the International Grocery this morning and brought back some noodles and sauces.  These noodles say they are Cantonese style and I will take their word for it.  I thought they were egg noodles from their color but they are wheat based.  I cooked up three of the bundles for this but that was at least one too many.  Leftovers!DSC_7256 (1600x1060)I bought the tamari and some more sesame oil along with the noodles.  I had the sweet soy sauce already and was thinking tamari was about the same thing but it’s not, exactly.  Tamari is about halfway between regular light soy sauce and the syrupy sweet soy sauce.  Tamari is thicker and darker than light soy, not as salty, the sweet soy sauce is pretty thick, like molasses. In a day or two I will try the same basic recipe with shrimp and another style of Chinese wheat noodle.

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Ooo…them’s some spicy noodles!

I started this as a tryout of the pot stickers and the meal evolved a bit from there.  Let me just say that the dumplings were bought frozen in a bag and all I did was follow the directions.  They were a smashing success!  Best frozen ones we have ever eaten (not that our experience is extensive).  This makes the forth or fifth try of different makes of dumplings, we’ll be getting these again.

[Ed. to add:] The pot stickers are a Wei-Chuan brand pre-steamed pork and vegetable item from the frozen foods aisle at my favorite International grocery.

Now, the noodles.  Spicy!  Easy enough to see the red chilies but what lurks under the sauce is the real kicker.  Szechuan peppercorn-lots of ’em.  Ground in a mortar along with a heaping helping of crushed red pepper flakes.  And a generous dollop of chili-garlic paste.  Mercy.  That all is with a generous slug of oyster sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame seeds, and water.  I used the same stuff for the dipping sauce, the noodles were thickened with a bit of corn starch and beef broth.  In with the noodles is a sliced onion, and a few sliced shiitake mushrooms, re-hydrated from dried.

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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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.

Enjoy!

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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.

Enjoy!

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Fried Udon with Chicken and Veggies

This was really good.  I’m building on this post where I was just looking at what I had.   That was the first time messing with these noodles so I kept it very simple.  This dish used the same sauce as before with the addition of some chicken broth and corn starch for a thickener. Also going in are shiitake mushrooms, red peppers, carrots, pre cooked sliced chicken breast, and snow peas.  The mushrooms and red peppers were soaked in boiling water till soft.   The pictures will tell the story.

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Chicken and Snow Peas

Spent most of the day thinking about this dish.  Didn’t think hard enough, as we’ll see.  The dish was going to be relentlessly green/brown and I needed something to relieve that.  Trouble was I really didn’t have much to hand that would work.  It wasn’t until too late I remembered that dried red chilies would be perfect.  You’ll see where I remember them in the slide show.  And then only when I tasted a bit of the chicken and thought “needs more heat”.  Face palm.

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Bow Ties

I don’t think I have ever made anything with bow tie pasta.  Gave it a try tonight.  It’s really pretty good, easy to handle with a fork-none of the twirling of spaghetti and the “loose ends” that always end up staining my beard with sauce.

The sauce tonight was my usual: Italian sausages cut into discs and sauteed with onions and minced garlic, a can of diced tomatoes, another can of tomato puree, dried oregano and basil, salt and pepper.  Tonight I also used some minced yellow bell pepper and some dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked and then sliced.  Occasionally I add some minced carrots.  The mushrooms did add a different taste note, a kind of “earthy” flavor for lack of proper vocabulary.  No, that doesn’t mean it tasted like dirt, LOL.

Enjoy!

ps: I keep forgetting to remind you to click on the pics for a nice big version.

Click the pics!