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Archive for April, 2011

Holy crap, I made a stir fry dish that didn’t suck (not including fried rice)!!!

Five or six years ago, while simultaneously being so excited and so overwhelmed at IKEA, I stumbled upon a wok.  FOR $5!  So crazy!  I had to buy it.  I was so excited about my new smart purchase that I stir fried my heart out.  Veggies, rice, frozen meals from TJ’s, you name it.  It was glorious.  But I never attempted any real Asian dishes, if you will, I just made stuff up.  Fast forward to three months ago when I started receiving Food Network Magazine with the occasional, deceivingly delicious looking Asian stir fry recipe.  Out of the dozens of recipes from FNM I have tried, the three wok recipes I tried were the only three I disliked.  They all were soupy and gross, SUCH a disappointment… especially coming from my beloved FMN.

Last week, while browsing Ranch 99, I forgot my recent wok adventures, and bought some chow mein noodles.  Then I got home and realized what I had done.  Fourth time’s a charm?  I searched allrecipes.com and foodnetwork.com for recipes.  As I usually do, I picked out parts I liked from some recipes and mushed them all together to make my own.  And by golly, I was victorious!!  It was really delicious, and EASY, yay!  I apologize for lack of pictures, I was too busy sleeping off a chow mein food coma to worry about such details.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chow mein noodles, cooked according to the package (mine said to boil for about a minute, then drain)
  • 1 – 2 pounds of cut up chicken pieces (I used one pound, and it worked, but 2 would be better, also some stores have already cut up stir fry pieces!)
  • 5 – 6 tablespoons toasted sesame oil (you can use veggie, or olive, but the sesame really adds to the taste!)
  • 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger peeled and minced (food processor really helps)
  • 5 – 6 garlic cloves, minced (if you already have the food processor out…)
  • 2 – 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 large carrots, peeled, trimmed and cut into matchstick-size pieces
  • 1 or 2 heads of broccoli, broken down into florets
  • about ½ head of cabbage (I used regular ol’ green), sliced up into strips approximately ½ inch wide
  • 1 (8-ounce) can baby corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ¾ cup hoisin sauce
  • ¼ cup soy sauce

Obviously you can add whatever other veggies you like; mushrooms, bok choy, snap peas, etc.

PS You will need a really big wok!  Or cut the recipe down if you don’t have a whole family to feed/ don’t like leftovers.

Directions

  1. Boil the chow mein noodles as necessary, no more than a min or two, drain
  2. In your super cool wok, heat the oil over high heat.
  3. Add the ginger, garlic and carrots. Cook for a few minutes.
  4. Add the noodles and chicken!  And cook some more, maybe another 3 minutes, constantly stirring
  5. Add all other veggies.
  6. Add the broth, hoisin, soy sauce.  Continue cooking and stirring until all the veggies and most importantly chicken are cooked.  Keep the sauces handy in case you need more to add in as you are cooking.
  7. Garnish with the green onions and eat your delicious meal!

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My spaetzle adventure

You might all think that I am an amazing chef, but in reality,  I just have a great knack for finding recipes that are easy, but seem fancy, and taste great.  When I read about making spaetzle on my favorite food blog, smitten kitchen, I thought for sure I had found another “kristen” recipe to add to the rotation.  I was wrong.

First things first, here is the original post and recipe from SK:  it all seems so easy…. :/

And now for my experience.  Things started out great, easy, even!

Just throw three white things together and mix!

Yay, unnecessary use of Kitchenaid!

So the batter was decidedly easy.  Measure it, mix it, throw it in the fridge for an hour.  Whoo hoo.

While the batter was chillin’, I prepped my shrimp (saute in a wok) and asparagus (roast), along with the ice bath (pretty much guessed at WTF that was…), the boiling water, tools and butter, green onions, onions, garlic and spices to saute the spaetzle in later.

Handy dandy colander that fits right on the pot!

Ready for a nice saute

SCRIMPS!

My best guess at what an ice bath is

So everything was prepped, ready… It all seemed to be going so well!  Then the batter was ready, I was so excited!  That lasted about 3 minutes then gave way to frustration, confusion, then hope, then more frustration, then finally dejection and a little tipsy.  Here is how it played out.

Put 1/4 of the batter in the colander over boiling water.  Started pushing batter through holes.  Quickly realize the batter is getting steamed/ cooked while still INSIDE colander, and batter is clogging holes.  FRUSTRATION AND CONFUSION.

First round of spaetzle, made with colander

It looked okay, but it became clear that I needed another method.  Mostly because the colander was completely clogged and down for the count.  Then I remembered we have a broken, flat grater that has bigger holes than the sad, cloggy colander.  Yay!  New ideas, HOPE!

My new spaetzle maker!

Except, the grater also kind of sucked.  After a few pitiful rounds of attempting to make it work with the grater, and also burning myself on steam, I gave up.  I just took a spoonful of batter and started pouring it by hand, in bigger clumps.  This worked about as well as my previous methods.  Also it was less hurty (no burns) and more hilarious, as the spaetzle all looked like spermies swimming around.  Did I mention I popped open a bottle of wine after my first attempt?

just keep swimming...

After using about 2/3 of the batter, I was over it and just started sauteing it.

In the end, it did taste delicious!  But I highly doubt I will ever attempt this one again.  Like I said, I need easy.  And for what you end up with, I could have make pasta, or grits, or cous cous, or gnocchi, or rice, or orzo (you get the idea…) WAY easier and it would have tasted comparable.  And I wouldn’t have 27 pots and tools to clean.

I did learn one very important lesson:  wine is ALWAYS easy to make.

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So I am trying to be a better blogger, and post more often, so today you will get TWO.  Savor it, folks.

I love tacos.  Who doesn’t really?  If you don’t, I wouldn’t really want to be your friend.

So when it’s taco night, we (me, BF and Frito the cat) get pretty damn excited.  This time around it wasn’t really anything fancy… Basically lean ground turkey with some onions, garlic and TACO seasoning.  Then I got creative and sauteed some zucchini with more garlic and onion (I had a lot to use!), then threw in some frozen corn for good measure.  Everything was topped with DELICIOUS salsa stolen from my favorite local taco shop with the best salsas ever: Lucha Libre.

Below are some pics, along with some successful (and hilariously failed) attempts at making tortilla chips. My sister taught me how to make, and burn, your own corn tortilla chips!  Gotta use up that huge bag of 1034 corn tortillas from Costco somehow…

corn and zucch!

Cut up, coat in oil and salt, bake at 450 for about 10 mins

FAIL (do not let this happen to you... it is VERY SMELLY)

yum

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