17 January 2009

Catching Up

Late, late Wednesday night, I remembered that I had volunteered to bring soup to CBS the next day for lunch. Good thing the recipe I had in mind was for a slow cooker!

This recipe for Lentil Stew with Butternut Squash is from the January 2009 issue of Good Housekeeping. The only thing I changed was the amount of salt & pepper; after the stew had cooked for 8 hours, I found the flavor to be a little weak or maybe a little too sweet for me, so I doubled up on the salt & pepper, which was perfect. As I was serving it, I was also very generous with the parmesan cheese. And of course I served it with rice. The ladies seemed to like it, though the Italian Wedding Soup and Creamy Vegetable that other friends brought were fierce competitors as well...not that it was actually a competition.

Back to the present: when I came back from the gym this afternoon--you heard me right, I went to the gym TWICE this week!--at 5 pm, everyone was hungry and I needed dinner on the table fast. The pressure worked on me and I had it on the table in about 35 minutes.
*fried rice; we call it "chahan" and you can find instructions below (I won't be so presumptuous as to call this collection of notes an actual recipe)
*potstickers; we call them gyoza, and these are frozen gyoza. Gyoza is one of those things I've never really taken on in a "homemade challenge". I've been at a gyoza-making party but didn't come away terribly inspired because I wasn't very good at it. In any case, gyoza requires dipping sauce. Mixing it up is Aogu's job. It's made of soy sauce, rice vinegar and chili oil (ra-yu).
*water for me
*raspberry iced tea for Koji and Aogu, leftover from lunch at Costco
*lemonade for Izumi, same as above
*Asian pears--actually, these said "Japanese pears" on them so we couldn't pass them up when, as mentioned, we were at Costco earlier today.

Fried Rice
(Chahan) recipe adapted from "Okazu Ichinensei," one of the two cookbooks that Aogu brought into our marriage; the mabodofu recipe I wrote up the other day is also from this book, or did I already say that?
Serves 4

cooked rice, reheated in the microwave--leftovers from the day before are better than freshly cooked
2 eggs, beaten
green onions
other vegetables that strike your fancy--today I threw in some orange pepper
ginger, minced fine
sesame oil
soy sauce
salt, pepper

Heat up some sesame oil in a wok or large skillet with straight sides. Pour in the beaten eggs and let cook until almost set (don't scramble them). Set them aside on a plate.
Put some vegetable oil in the skillet and stir fry the vegetables and pork. I used thinly sliced pork belly today, but in the past I've also used pork chops that I scissored into little pieces. When the pork and vegetables are browned, transfer them to another plate.
Add more sesame oil to the skillet and stir fry the minced ginger until fragrant. Pour in the microwaved rice; cook and stir until the ginger and sesame oil are uniformly distributed and the rice isn't clumpy at all. Return the vegetables and pork to the skillet and stir them into the rice.
Make a space in the center of the rice and pour in soy sauce (the original recipe calls for only 2 tsp. but I've found that's not enough, so I usually dump and taste). When the sauce boils, mix it into the rice. Return the eggs to the skillet and stir them in, breaking them up as you stir. Taste for seasoning and add more soy sauce, salt and pepper to your liking.

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