cooking notes, 15-21.II.21

Due to my February theme, most recipes will come from Young & Richardson’s The Breath of a Wok, unless otherwise noted. For most meals, unless I make noodles or fried rice, I also have broken jasmine rice going in the rice cooker for the 40 minutes leading up to mealtime. In general, I’m thinking noodle stir-fries on Mondays, this month, with fried rice on Sunday (or, more realistically, as often as I have 4 cups of rice on my hands).

Previously, onigiri worked well as a boxed lunch to take hiking, but I might try something from Christina’s Cucina, instead. And fresh fruit served alongside tea made a great last course, so I want to keep that in mind if the other food seems less filling than expected–or if we want more leftovers.

15.II.21: I had a rough day, so the spouse threw together a protein-packed skillet of chicken meatballs with eggs & onion.

Fat Tuesday: I really wanted to make mu shu because of the pancake connection to the day before Lent, but with this week already off to a weird start & the cookbook header warning me of a complicated dish, I pushed off that idea. Instead, we had Chicken Lo Mein, which had enough brightly -sizzling oil to feel fat, but enough veggies to keep it weighing me down. Reviewing the cai dao tutorial really helped my carrot technique.

Ash Wednesday: I wanted to choose a seafood dish, in keeping with Lenten fasting days, but the leftover chicken noodles belied my dedication to that thought. On top, Ken Hom’s Stir-Fried Peppers with Scallops, p105, tasted sinfully good, though the scallops released so many juices (even after drying them several times) that they didn’t exactly fry, as such.

18.II.21: As promised, Virginia Yee’s Moo Shoo Pork was a technical challenge, even without the Mandarin pancakes to accompany, with lots of soaking & slicing in the prep. Not as good as the expertly-sliced stuff you get in the restaurants, but I felt pleased that the same flavors stood out. We served it over rice, though I think next time I will send out for a side order of Mandarin pancakes (if I don’t make them myself).

19.II.21: Once again using the cookbook’s recipes as a template, I threw together fried rice with Chinese sausage & Napa cabbage. I could have stood to slice the cabbage more thinly, as it didn’t mix easily in the wok. Well-paired with the sweet & salty sausage, garlic shrimp stole the show.

20.II.21: Finally got round to making garlic lettuce, p139, a simple dish. Lettuce traditionally associates with the new year due to some prosperity wordplay. Meanwhile, I found myself happily surprised at how well my homemade chile-bean paste harmonized the flavors in Stir-Fried Pork & Chilies CCTI.

21.II.21: We tried the cucumber sandwich recipe from Christina’s Cucina; come summer, we will keep tweaking the ratio of ingredients & probably add some mint. Then later I made Mrs. Miu’s Stir-Fried Chicken with Cashews, p71, which I consider an absolute winner, especially using Chinatown’s superbly-flavored American celery & freshly-toasted cashews.

I’ve decided to slightly rework my 2021 goals, since over the course of this month I have enjoyed a perfect pair of cookbook & kitchen tool. Stay tuned for more-fixed matchups! I still am & will throw myself on the mercy of a die’s roll, just not as severely. On that note, I can luckily inform you to check the weblog in March for Nowruz–Persian New Year!

The boxed food from church noticeably reduced the grocery bill (though some of that frugality also came from extra plans from last week & hitting my stride with the Chinese pantry staples). My major concern is food waste, here, but I think the only leftovers are sour cream, a cabbage, & precooked chicken taco meat. I got chicken meatballs again, so I’m thinking of making a buffalo sauce for them & mixing the sour cream with blue cheese. Another idea is serving them stroganoff-style.

Leftover ideas: make-ahead onigiri from Alford & Duguid’s The Seduction of Rice, Napa cabbage, Singapore squid

Readers, respond: From the recipes I’ve made so far (or others from The Breath of a Wok, if you’ve taken a peek), what would you add to your list to try? And share your advice: What would you do with a couple pounds of chicken meatballs?

2 thoughts on “cooking notes, 15-21.II.21

  1. The chicken lo mein sounds very yummy. I would probably start with that first. Second would be to make the Cashew Chicken.

    As for the chicken meatballs, I had never thought of such a thing. I probably would put a barbeque and brown sugar sauce on them because I enjoy barbeque on both regular meatballs and chicken.


    1. Great dishes, the both of them–I hope you get to try making them, someday.

      Good idea for the meatballs! I wish I just had ground chicken, and then I could spice the meatballs into whatever dish I chose. Precooked makes for a quicker dish, but the pseudo-Italian flavors don’t adapt well.


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