Saturday, May 14, 2011

Rosie Woks Again.

I love a good stir fry. And that's exactly what I have in mind for lunch.
I have a freezer full of pork loins, bought on sale, of course. I'm only using one loin for our lunch today and I'll be using lots of veggies.
Rosie Tip #298: When cutting meat for stir frying, I like to cut the meat while it's still partially frozen. That way I can get paper thin slices. Once again, do as I say, not as I do. While this was thawing, I got distracted with something else, and when I came back to it, only the middle was still slightly frozen.
For a quick marinade for the pork: I minced 3 cloves of garlic. I peeled and nuked a one-inch cube of frozen ginger and squeezed the juice into my bowl, then minced the ginger.
Added a little oyster sauce and soy sauce.
Use your hands. It's the best way.
The secret to a proper stir fry, as well as the secret to proper cooking, is to have all your ingredients prepared and ready to go. This is known as your mise en place. It's French for "setting in place." It's a culinary term that refers to preparing and measuring ingredients ahead of time. However, mise en place is more than just a term. It is a concept or a state-of-mind that when applied to any kitchen, will result in a smooth-flowing, time saving cooking process. The above picture is just a hint of what my mise en place will be. I have all the ingredients in place, but I need to prepare them. But first ...
Cup of water and scant teaspoon of chicken base. Yes, Rosie has whored over to McCormick's Chicken Base even though I have my homemade chicken consomme in the freezer. I need to read the ingredients in the base and find the amount of sodium and other crap in it.
I used another one-inch cube of frozen ginger, peeled and nuked and squeezed to get the juice. Garlic pressed the rest of the ginger pulp into the chicken "stock."
Add the cold cup of liquid chicken base with garlic and ginger into some corn starch. Maybe 2 tablespoons. Stir to dissolve. Set aside and save for the very end when you want to make a nice, embracing, comforting sauce to bring the whole stir fry together.
I decided to give a little kick to this finishing sauce. I'll be adding soy sauce and mirin.
Mise en place for my stir fry. Everything is sliced and ready. All I need is fire. Ingredients: mushrooms red and green pepper garlic ginger onion celery carrots marinating pork bean sprouts And therein lies the beauty of stir frying. You can use whatever veggies or meat you want.
Heat up that wok. Or skillet. High heat. I like to use peanut oil for wokking because of its high smoke point. You can get your wok hotter so your vegetables cook in practically no time. Toss in sliced mushrooms.
It's all a matter of personal taste, but I like my shrooms browned. Never add salt to sauteeing shrooms. The salt brings out the moisture in the fungi and they will steam, not saute. Brown the shrooms for about 1 minute.
Then add in the sliced celery.
The red pepper.
The green pepper.
The onion.
The water chestnuts.
One right after the other. Quickly. Add in about a tablespoon of sugar to bring out the natural sweetness and to caramelize a bit. Add in a handful of julienned carrots.
And it's done as soon as you add the last vegetable in. Pour into bowl and cover.
Take the marinated pork and sugar it. Just a teaspoon or two.
Add in meat a few pieces at a time. Do not dump the bowl of meat and marinade into the wok. Keep the meat separated.
After about a minute, add in the marinade and the cornstarch thickener.
Pour the liquid down the side of the hot wok. Cook until thickened. Add in the rest of the vegetables to coat with the sauce.
Place stir fry on bed of rice and top with bean sprouts.
I love a good stir fry. Crisp-tender vegetables with lots of flavors and textures.
Now, go to your kitchen and stir fry!

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