Friday, January 29, 2016

Wok Wednesdays | Stir-Fried Clams with Spicy Bean Sauce

WW wokking thru Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
by Grace Young




The hubby had no problem polishing these off; this after him saying, clams? with no excitement whatsoever, when I mentioned to him all I had left to do was wash the clams before I started stir-frying (he's not much of a fan of shellfish). To my credit, I did ask him beforehand, like a week before, if he was good with clams for our next WW meal - his answer, if you are making them.

 Mise en place.

Bowl 1: Shallots, ginger, garlic
Bowl 2: Clams
Bowl 3: Thai red pepper
Bowl 4: Chicken broth, bean sauce, soy sauce
Bowl 5: Scallions

 Four of the clams had cracks - so I tossed them; just to be safe.

Nature's art.




Super easy weeknight meal!! I served this with a spinach salad and French bread. The clams would go nicely served over pasta as well, as a couple of our members did. To see how beautiful the clams look nestled amongst a swirl of linguine, check out Lisette's photo on the WW Facebook page.

This took no time at all to get on the table. This of course depends on your clams. Audrey, another member tells me, if you have access to really fresh clams, like harvesting them yourself, or from a clam fishery, you may need to soak them in cold water for about an hour for them to release their sand. For me, I purchased them at our local higher-end market, which meant they probably had been sitting around, and soaking long enough to expel most of their sand before I purchased them. I had very little residue after rinsing and brushing - and no grit at all while eating them.

If you Google how to prepare clams, some sites say to soak the clams in salted water - probably not the best idea, for clams can be salty on their own, and this recipe calls for bean sauce, which has a fair amount of salt. I felt this stir-fry was a bit too briny, though Andy thought it was fine, and there were no complaints from other members in regards to it being too salty.

A couple of other Wok Wednesday members recommend soaking the clams in water with cornmeal of all things; and Grace even mentions in the book, that old-fashioned Chinese cooks swear by placing a carbon-steel cleaver in the bowl with the clams, this being the best way to clean them.



We have been asked not to post the recipes here on our blog. If you would like the recipe, you will find it on page 169, of  Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, which you can purchase at your local bookstore or find it at your local library.    

The recipe is also available here; however, I highly recommend purchasing the book - you won't be disappointed.


 



 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Wok Wednesdays | Singapore-Style [Chicken] with Chinese Celery

WW wokking through Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
by Grace Young





This recipe was picked for the upcoming Chinese New Year. The actual recipe is made with duck, however, I had to substitute chicken for this one.

According to Grace: "Celery is popular to eat for the lunar new year. The belief is that eating celery has positive meaning, because the word for celery in Cantonese, kun choi, is a homonym for diligence." I also read that duck symbolizes fertility - good thing I'm past that stage in my life, being I had to substitute chicken.

To read more on traditions during the Chinese New Year, see Grace's posts, Chinse New Year Traditions and Gifts for the Gods: Food for the Chinese New Year.

 
As you can see, Chinese celery is very similar to American celery. The difference is the stalks are a lot thinner, and the flavor is more pronounced; unlike Western celery, it is vary rarely, if at all, eaten raw, for it is not as tender.  Personally, I enjoyed it raw, more-so than our celery.

 The Kitchen God, with offerings of wine and fruit (blood orange), overseeing my mise en place. 

Bowl 1: Five-spice tofu
Bowl 2: Ginger, shallot, Thai red pepper (my addition)
Bowl 3: Salted soy beans
Bowl 4: Chicken, soy sauce, rice vinegar, cornstarch, sesame oil, rice wine, salt, pepper, five-spice powder, sugar
Bowl 5: Chinese celery, Anaheim chilies
Bowl 6: Chicken broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar, rice wine


The Kitchen God, overseeing the soon-to-be stir-frying (I hope he is not too tipsy from the wine). 

I ended up using chicken in place of the duck, for the duck I had in the freezer was unfortunately freezer-burned, and my meat market only had frozen available. I can only imagine what the "wild" taste of duck would impart on this stir-fry; the chicken made a fine substitute, but missing that "gamey" flavor of duck.

The recipe calls for Anaheim peppers, which I'm sure is what I used (no sign stating what they were), but they did not have any heat to them, so I added four small, dried Thai red peppers with the ends snipped; the amount of heat was spot on.

You can't go wrong when a recipe calls for Chinese five-spice powder - amazing flavor. However, do read the labels! The ingredients vary between brands; my friend Karen, of Karen's Kitchen Stories mentioned hers had six ingredients!! Check out a previous post here for a list of different brands and their ingredients.


The recipe states this will serve two to three as a main dish with rice. I forgot to make rice, and too bad too, for it had a fair amount of sauce; even without the rice, this stir-fry was quite filling!



We have been asked not to post the recipes here on our blog. If you would like the recipe, you will find it on page 131, of  Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, which you can purchase at your local bookstore or find it at your local library. I highly recommend purchasing the book - you won't be disappointed.





Thursday, January 14, 2016

Wok Wednesdays | Stir-Fried Lettuce with Garlic Chili

WW wokking thru Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
by Grace Young




Grace mentions that this is a recipe to be served for Chinese New Year, birthdays, and graduations; for lettuce symbolizes prosperity, and translates to "growing money".  Maybe I'll have good fortune, for I also recently made Grace's recipe Minced Pork in Lettuce Cups - which by the way is so, so good.

 Mise en place.

Bowl 1: Garlic, serrano pepper
Bowl 2: Romaine
Bowl 3: Salt, white pepper
Bowl 4: Dry sherry, chicken broth, soy sauce


The tomatoes were my addition, for I felt it needed a splash of color. This dish also looks pretty just sprinkled with some sesame seeds, as other members of the group had done.

With just a few simple ingredients, you have a quick and tasty side dish. 

 Here are the Minced Pork in Lettuce Cups - you really need to make these...




We have been asked not to post the recipes here on our blog. If you would like the recipe, you will find it on page 195 (p.99 for the lettuce cups), of  Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, which you can purchase at your local bookstore or find it at your local library. I highly recommend purchasing the book - you won't be disappointed.


  


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wok Wednesdays | Noodle Soup with Stir-Fried Scallops and Enoki Mushrooms

WW wokking thru Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
by Grace Young




Who knew a stir-fry could turn into such a beautiful, satisfying soup.

Mise en place.

Bowl 1: Ginger
Bowl 2: Scallops
Bowl 3: Bok choy, carrot, enoki mushrooms
Bowl 4: Salt
Bowl 5: Dry sherry, bean sauce, sambal olek
Bowl 6: Fresh Chinese egg noodles

This recipe takes a few more pots to make, but so worth it. Before beginning the stir-fry portion of the recipe, you have two pots going, one for boiling the noodles in, and one for simmering the broth. You bring both pots to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cover until needed - later in the recipe. Genius. It never occurred to me in the past, to cover the pot of simmering water. I had always heated up the water and kept it at low heat, and by the time I was ready for it, it had boiled down too much, and I would have to add more water. Thanks for the tip, Grace!


I did sub out a couple of ingredients. The recipe calls for chili bean sauce, which I did not have, so I used equal amounts of bean sauce and sambal olek. I also used vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth, for we had a surprise visit this evening from our daughter, who is a vegetarian.

Speaking of the broth.. it is simmering away with a few slices of smashed, fresh ginger - this really kicks the flavor up a notch. I can just imagine, sipping on the gingered broth alone, on a chilly winter evening, especially if one is suffering from a cold.

As the two pots are simmering away on the back burners, we start the stir-fry portion. First a little garlic is sautéed until fragrant, then the scallops are added and allowed to sear (which mine did not - they released a lot of liquid!) Next, the vegetables are stir-fried just until the bok choy starts to wilt. Salt is sprinkled on and the sherry mixture is stirred in, and cooked just long enough for the scallops to cook through.

To serve, and this I found interesting; soy sauce, sesame oil, and white pepper are placed into the bottoms of individual soup bowls. The noodles are divided amongst the bowls and tossed with the "dressing" before being topped with the scallop stir-fry, and then ladled with broth.


We have been asked not to post the recipes here on our blog. If you would like the recipe, you will find it on page 270, of  Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, which you can purchase at your local bookstore or find it at your local library. I highly recommend purchasing the book - you won't be disappointed.








Monday, December 7, 2015

Book 120 | Martha Stewart Living: Annual Recipes 2003 | Pomegranate Pilaf

by the editors of Martha Stewart Living



What a colorful (the photo doesn't do the colors justice) and festive side-dish to grace any holiday table; or spruce up a weeknight meal, for this was a cinch to make!


To make this lovely pilaf, red onion is sautéed in a small amount of butter until softened. Rice is added and stirred until the grains have been covered in butter, at which time chicken broth is added and brought to a boil, the pan is covered, and the heat is set to low, and the rice is cooked for about twenty minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Once the rice is cooked, and has been fluffed with a fork, apricots, almonds, pomegranate arils, thyme, salt, and pepper are added and combined; and voilà! You have one beautiful pilaf.


 

amazon  



Thursday, November 5, 2015

Wok Wednesday | Sandpot Stir-Fried Chicken Rice

WW wokking thru Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
by Grace Young



 

What is a sandpot you ask? It is a pot made of clay; it is said, that it is made from a unique clay found only in China. It is normally glazed on the inside, and has a sandy rough texture on the outside. They are easily found in Chinese markets or in your local Chinatown. I found this particular one on Amazon.

 Mise en place.

Bowl 1: Rice
Bowl 2: Chicken broth
Bowl 3: Chicken, ginger, egg white, rice wine, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, cornstarch, salt, pepper, oil
Bowl 4: Shiitake mushrooms
Bowl 5: Mushroom liquid
Bowl 6: Scallions
Bowl 7: Prosciutto


Lovin' my new sandpot! Well, actually this is a Japanese donabe hot pot; very similar to the Chinese sandpot -  both are made of clay, glazed on the inside and unglazed (the bottom of mine) on the outside. Precautions need to be taken when cooking with these type of pots. They need to be heated gradually, and never placed on a cold surface right after heating, or they may crack, for they are sensitive to temperature change.

For additional lore about sandpots, check out Grace's own post on her blog.



As the rice cooks in the sandpot (Grace also includes instructions for using a saucepan if you do not have a sandpot) and about seven minutes before it is done, the rice is topped with a stir-fry made up of chicken, ginger, egg white, rice wine, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, cornstarch, salt, pepper, oil, mushrooms, and the mushroom liquid (leftover from soaking the mushrooms); scallions are sprinkled over the top and the pot is covered allowing the rice and chicken to finish cooking. Just before serving, it is topped with shredded prosciutto - yum!


Grace says she serves this dish with a large serving spoon, scooping up the rice along with the chicken mixture, or you can stir the chicken mixture into the rice before serving; either way, it looks beautiful.

This dish was enjoyed by all.




For additional information regarding clay pots, check this site out.

We have been asked not to post the recipes here on our blog. If you would like the recipe, you will find it on page 252, of  Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, which you can purchase at your local bookstore or find it at your local library. I highly recommend purchasing the book - you won't be disappointed.





Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wok Wednesdays | Hong Kong-Style Silky Stir-Fried Minced Beef

WW wokking thru Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
by Grace Young



 This is one stir-fry you'll want to file under "comfort food."

 Mise en place.

Bowl 1: Onion, garlic
Bowl 2: Flank steak, garlic, soy sauce, oyster sauce, oil, cornstarch, dry sherry, sesame oil, pepper
Bowl 3: Salt
Bowl 4: Peas
Bowl 5: Chicken broth, dry sherry
Bowl 6: Dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, cornstarch, water
Bowl 7: Egg, egg yolks
Bowl 8: Scallions

The flank steak is cubed into 1/4-inch dice, then the dices are roughly chopped. The chopping of the diced beef was not working for me (even after sharpening my knife!), so I left them at the quarter-inch size.

Grace mentions that Chef Danny Chan (who taught her this recipe) hand-minces the beef, rather than using ground beef (which crossed my mind), for it will give an inferior texture and taste to the stir-fry; which I wholeheartedly agree.


This just screams comfort food, doesn't it?

The aromatics (onion/garlic) are first stir-fried till fragrant and pushed aside, then the beef and salt is added and allowed to sear for a bit. Then the peas are stirred in, the broth mixture is added and the contents are stir-fried till the beef is no longer pink. Next, you add the dark soy sauce mixture, and cook till it starts to thicken slightly. The beef mixture is then spread out evenly in the wok, then the beaten eggs are poured over the beef, the heat is reduced to low, and the eggs are allowed to cook till barely set, at which time the scallions are added and stir-fried until the eggs are set and everything is combined.

I'm thinking a little minced Thai red pepper, or chili oil added to the soy sauce mixture would be a delicious addition.. as most of you know, I like my food spicy. :)

I may have cooked it a bit too long at some point, for it wasn't as saucy as in the picture that Grace posted on the WW Facebook page.

This would be delicious served with pasta as well. 



I was struggling with writing this story. Andy asked, having trouble? Yeah, I don't know what to write. I'll tell you what to write, "Shit is good! Just make it!" Ha ha. Maybe I should start thinking in simpler terms.



We have been asked not to post the recipes here on our blog. If you would like the recipe, you will find it on page 99, of  Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, which you can purchase at your local bookstore or find it at your local library. I highly recommend purchasing the book - you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wok Wednesdays | Hakka-Style Stir-Fried Shrimp and Vegetables

WW wokking thru Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
by Grace Young





This stir-fry is chok full of vegetables (my kind of dish!) and according to Grace, only a modest amount (by Western standards) of shrimp - a half pound - this to serve two to three people. However, I found the amount of shrimp to be just perfect. I would add more cabbage next time though, for I like cabbage.


 Mise en place.

Bowl 1: Garlic
Bowl 2: Carrot
Bowl 3: Shrimp
Bowl 4: Napa cabbage
Bowl 5: Broccoli, cauliflower
Bowl 6: Salt, white pepper
Bowl 7: Carrot water
Bowl 8: Carrot water, cornstarch


The carrots are first soaked in cold water for one hour before stir-frying; this, it is said, makes for a crisper carrot. The left over carrot water was also used in the stir-fry to add a little sweetness.

I was surprised how much flavor this dish had, with the only seasonings being salt, pepper, and garlic. Granted it had over a tablespoon of garlic! - that along with a little wok hei, made for a simple and tasty stir-fry.


We have been asked not to post the recipes here on our blog. If you would like the recipe, you will find it on page 175, of  Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, which you can purchase at your local bookstore or find it at your local library. I highly recommend purchasing the book - you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wok Wednesdays | Stir-fried Salmon with Wine Sauce

WW wokking thru Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
by Grace Young



I was waiting with anticipation for this recipe to come up in rotation, for salmon is my favorite fish - we have it quite regularly.

Mise en place.

Bowl 1: Scallions, ginger
Bowl 2: Salmon, cornstarch, oil, garlic, dry sherry, sesame oil, black pepper, egg white, salt
Bowl 3: Chicken broth, dry sherry
Bowl 4: Straw mushrooms, carrots
Bowl 5: Chicken broth
Bowl 6: Salt
Bowl 7: Snow peas
Bowl 8: Sesame oil

Stir-frying fish takes a little finesse, for fish is quite delicate and will fall apart if tossed around the wok like you would do with a typical stir-fry. This is why the recipe calls for salmon with the skin left on - it will help hold it together as you gently give it a stir.

However... as I was slicing my salmon, the skin just did not appeal to me, and finding fish scales all over the place, I started thinking these little scales are going to stick to the back of my throat, and I'll be coughing all through dinner - so, off came the skin! And yes, my fish did fall apart somewhat - not too bad though.


Once the aromatics have been added to the wok and stir-fried until fragrant, the salmon is added in an even layer and left undisturbed (no stirring). The broth mixture is added along with the mushrooms and carrots and allowed to cook for a short time (one minute), still not stirring the fish, just ever so gently sliding a spatula under the fish to loosen it from the wok. The rest of the broth is added with the salt, and again gets cooked while leaving the fish undisturbed, aside from just loosening it again from the pan if needed. The fish is then very carefully turned over, and the snow peas are added, and the wok is covered, and the fish is allowed to cook just long enough until it is cooked through. The wok is uncovered, the sesame oil is added, and the contents are stirred ever so gently to combine everything together.


It's hard for me to admit, but I really did not care for this recipe (so sorry Grace!! However, Andy and a co-worker of ours did enjoy it). It just did not have enough bang for my tastes. I found the flavor of this dish to be subtle, and I was also expecting... a sauce; where my sauce was non-existent. I just had a vision of salmon drizzled with a wine (maybe even a cream) sauce.. I know, I know.

With regard to sauces in authentic Chinese cuisines, the sauce just coats the ingredients, not anything like our western counterparts, where it is swimming in a pool of liquid, and I'm quite happy with that. Can't win them all (most yes, with this book)!

Looking forward to the next recipe!


On a completely different note:

I've had the above condiment dish for I don't know how long, and I just noticed it has a fish in the belly of the fish! Did you notice it? I always felt there was something "off" about it. Ha ha ha.

Wok on my friends!!

We have been asked not to post the recipes here on our blog. If you would like the recipe, you will find it on page 162, of  Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, which you can purchase at your local bookstore or find it at your local library. I highly recommend purchasing the book - you won't be disappointed.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wok Wednesdays | Stir-Fried Cellophane Noodles with Enoki Mushrooms

WW wokking thru Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge
by Grace Young



 

This is a simple recipe (well, they all have been pretty effortless - the joys of stir-frying!) that consists of garlic, hot pepper flakes, enoki mushrooms, carrots, soy sauce, chicken or vegetable broth, snow peas, salt, sesame oil, and cellophane noodles; the noodles are made from mung beans, a plant species in the legume family. They have a translucent look to them, hence there alternate name of glass noodles. Be forewarned, they do need a twenty minute soak before stir-frying.


Bowl 1: Garlic, red pepper flakes
Bowl 2: Carrots, enoki mushrooms
Bowl 3: Cellophane noodles
Bowl 4: Vegetable broth, soy sauce
Bowl 5: Snow peas
Bowl 6: Sesame oil
(Not shown: Salt)


Here is a picture of the enoki mushrooms - reminds me of some type of oceanic creature, doesn't it? I found them alongside the other mushrooms in the produce department, enclosed in plastic.


The recipe calls for the snow peas to be julienned. I sliced the peas into thirds; this also allows for some of the peas to be sprinkled throughout the dish. 

 

My original thought was to have this as our main (and only) course; however, after reading several other members comments (the benefit of being late..) on the WW FB page, we too served this as a side dish to a grilled market steak. 



We have been asked not to post the recipes here on our blog. If you would like the recipe, you will find it on page 280, of  Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge, which you can purchase at your local bookstore or find it at your local library. I highly recommend purchasing the book - you won't be disappointed.