Sunday, February 1, 2015

No Asian food available? Make your own!

 If I have one complaint about Healdsburg - it's that we have no Asian cuisine. Hint, Hint Charles Phan. That is what I miss about The City - well that and my friends ; )

Anyway I decided to quite whining about it and make my own damn chinese food! And actually I was inspired when I went to the city a couple weeks ago and popped in at my friend Jen's house around 5:30pm on a tuesday- she wasn't home yet but her husband Andre was ready with a glass of wine for me. Jen walked in the door around 6:09pm and I said - let's go out to dinner! She said - no, I'm making Beef with Broccoli. By 6:45 dinner was on the table. My point of this story is that YES YOU CAN make your family a home cooked meal during the week - you just have to prep for it on the weekends. I've been thinking about this all week - as it's not that big of a secret - but really essential. First we decided you don't want to have to go to the grocery store and shop before you cook that night. Here's my suggestion - on the weekend look online (my blog hehehe) or glance at your favorite cookbooks or magazines and see if you get inspired. Next go to a local farmer's market if you have one - see what's in season - then finally go to the grocery store and get the rest. You should have what you need in the pantry for the seasonings and buy the fresh stuff. Now, I always have a stock of different meats in the freezer - which helps too. Take last night - I decided to make Egg Rolls - more about that later - and Kung Pao Chicken - but I realized I forgot to get chicken - luckily I had a little package of boneless chicken breasts in the freezer so I took them out around noon and by dinner I was good to go. Now obviously you are not going to make egg rolls on a weeknight - BUT this recipe made 10 so we ate 4 last night and 6 went into the freezer for another night - a weeknight if I want! So stay home and have your home cooked food - it's healthier and I'll bet tastier. And you get leftovers (unless your friend drops by and stays for dinner ; )

Kung Pao Chicken
A quick note on why I made egg rolls - last week we had our monthly Soup Night and this one was Asian themed so I decided to make Imperial Rolls - I used the recipe from The Slanted Door cookbook which I had never tried and they did not turn out so great - yes they were tasty but what a mess and greasy to boot! I think I either didn't have a great spring roll wrapper to start and maybe didn't roll them tight enough - but whatever - they were a mess! I lost at least 3 of them as they fell apart in the fryer! But just to show that I'm not perfect (don't tell my husband I said that) I brought them to soup night anyway - everyone said they were tasty but I knew they were f*d up. So this weekend I thought - I'm going to make egg rolls instead (egg roll wrappers are much easier to use) and they turned out delicious! Not greasy, but crispy and yummy - now the ready to be fried remaining 6 are in the freezer waiting for the next weeknight that I try the Beef with Broccoli!

Egg Rolls makes about 10

1/2 pound raw shelled shrimp (try to find rock shrimp)
1/3 pound lean ground pork
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice wine or dry sherry (I always have sherry so I used that)
2 green onions chopped
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger (I've been buying it in a jar - really good!)
about 4 sliced water chestnuts cut into strips
1 carrot cut into thin strips
1/4 of a head of cabbage finely shredded
salt and pepper to taste
10 egg roll skins
1 egg beaten
to serve: chinese hot mustard and sweet and sour sauce (yes, I bought these)
vegetable oil

Heat a wok (I realized I got rid of my wok a few years back as I never used it anymore in the city! I'm going to have to buy one again!) or large sauté pan and add the tablespoon of oil. Stir fry the pork until it is lightly browned and soy sauce, wine, green onions and ginger and stir a few more min. Add the carrots and cabbage and water chestnuts and cook a few more min. Move to the side and add the shrimp to lightly cook them, then mix it all together salt and pepper to taste and let cool mostly. Get out your egg roll skins and place them so that the corner is facing you and put about 2 tablespoons of mixture in an oblong heap at the end. Pull up the bottom corner then fold over the 2 sides brush the rest with a bit of the egg with your finger and tightly roll the rest of the way so that it seals. Like a little package. At this point they can be frozen or heat couple inches of oil to 370 degrees and fry them about 4 min until browned. Serve with sauces.

Kung Pao Chicken serves 2

1 whole boneless skinless chicken breast cut into cubes
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons grated ginger
2 green onions cut into slivers
2 tablespoons peanuts
1/2 can sliced water chestnuts
couple tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon dry sherry
1 teaspoon Hunan Paste (OK, when I first read this I was thinking in my head Hoisin Sauce so I didn't have any on hand - I used instead chili garlic paste which turned out very nicely!)

Coat the chicken with cornstarch in a bowl. Heat a wok (or fry pan!) and add oil and then chicken pieces. Let sit on one side until browned and then turn over. When mostly cooked remove to a plate. Add to the pan the ginger and green onions and sauces stirring a bit, then add back the chicken and peanuts and water chestnuts and toss it all to coat and cook just a couple min more. Serve over rice.

These recipes were adapted from my old Fast and Easy Oriental Wok Cooking book - which I'm going to be trying more recipes soon! So don't order take away - plan ahead and cook it yourself!

No comments:

Post a Comment