Sunday, January 17, 2010


This stir fry was disappointing. Boo. Disappointing because I normally make a mean stir fry. I have a repertoire of sauces and, naturally, the methodology down pat. This one went horribly awry because it had to sit for too long. All the vegetables decided that they had had enough and released all their liquid, completely drowning the sauce out. Yuck. Why did they sit? Do I plan poorly? Sometimes. But last night was definitely Sam's fault for not wanting to go to bed. Grrrrrr. Your sympathy flows when your child calls your name a couple of times. But when he won't calm down and just go to sleep at 8:45 when you haven't had dinner yet, enough is enough.

You'll note the brown rice - oven-baked. What? You don't bake your brown rice in the oven? Oh, you must. Put 1.5 cups of short grain brown rice in a glass 8x8 baking dish. Bring 2.5 cups of water to a boil with 1T butter or oil and 1 tsp. salt. Pour it over the rice after it boils. Wrap the dish up with (heavy duty, if you've got it, normal if not) foil, and pop it in the 375 oven for 1 hour with no touching. Take it out and fluff. Perfect every time ... except when I don't make my measurements precise. Soggy rice is nasty.

Perhaps I will try arancini with the leftovers.
During the time when the veggies ruined their own sauce, I decided that I could make the aforementioned Simply Ming's Zucchini-Tofu Fritters. And I don't know that I will put the recipe out there because, although you see His Highness indulging, they are a serious pain. When you use lots of recipes, you come to appreciate well-written ones and despise their opposite. This recipe is not horribly written, but it lacks the appropriate specifics. For example, the corn flour that one should roll the quenelles in should be finely ground. I like the crunch on the medium grind, but it is clearly wrong. Second, had I not watched this recipe on TV, I would not have known that the quenelles do not hold together. This is the kind of thing that makes me come unglued in the kitchen - and I've been doing so well in the swearing department, you'll be happy to hear. In that, I'm not cursing, of course ... not that I am doing better in the sense that I use the words incredibly well. Mark Twain said that sometimes curses are the only appropriate words for the occasion (paraphrase), and I do think that's true, but who wants to hear a kid - my kid - dropping F-bombs with aplomb? Yeah. Not me.

Darn. I digressed again. So, the quenelles are blobs and you just scoop and drop with two spoons. It worked fine, but not superbly. Third, and last, WHAT ARE QUENELLES?! I mean, that's what simply Ming put in the recipe! What is the adverb "simply" all about? I happen to know what quenelles are because I watch way too much food TV, but come on! They are not simple.

Quenelle: a light, delicate dumpling ... formed into small ovals and gently poached in stock.

Or deep fried, apparently. And, please note, you use two spoons to adroitly caress your mixture into said ovals. Not simple, Ming. Not simple.

But they came out pretty good. My oil temperature dropped and I think that is when the oil seeps into your food instead of immediately forming a nice crust around it. This results in some soggy fritters that taste like oil, which is not yummy, especially at the end of the frying when the oil is full of detritus.
According to the recipe, I was supposed to mix balsamic and Chinese "black" vinegar (made from seaweed and mushrooms), boil it down to a syrup, and drizzle. I bought the black vinegar, but decided to go with tempura sauce for simplicity.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there

    I came across your lovely blog and thought you might like to take a peek at mine. I live in the French Alps and write about food and renovating our old watermill. Would you be interested in exchanging links?