Stir Fry is one of my favorite dishes to cook and to eat. You can literally clean out your refrigerator and almost always come up with enough items to make a delicious Stir Fry Dinner. Beef, Pork Chicken or Fish or even Tofu will serve as the Protein. Vegetables such as Cabbage, Celery, Carrots, Onion, Spinach or Broccoli will complement your protein items. Asian Condiments such as Soy Sauce, Bean Sauce, Hoison Sauce and even Oyster Sauce will add the flavor enhancements. A Stir Fry Dish can be served with either Rice or Noodles.
The Noodles that I prefer with Asian Stir Fry are Rice Noodles which only need to be cooked or soaked for a short time. (This will depend on the manufacturer and the directions on the package they come in)
This particular night we had decided that we wanted Stir Fry Shrimp. While I had the Shrimp in the freezer I did have to go out and purchase a few of the Vegetable items for the Stir Fry. The Vegetables that I did have on hand were:
Broccoli Stalks – I love the crunchiness of the stalks – peel the stalks and then slice thinly.
Green Cabbage –
Orange Carrots – Carrots can be had in a variety of colors these days – Red, Yellow, White or even Purple.
Garlic – an absolute necessity when it comes to Stir Fry
Eight Ball Zuchinni – an interesting shape – this is a round zuchinni just about the size of a pool table ball ‘8’ ball.
Ginger Root – adds amazing flavor – a little zing! Cut off the amount you need (usually a piece about the size of a quarter) and peel. This can be done with a teaspoon as the skin has a contrasting texture to the Ginger itself. Then mince before using.
Maitaki Mushrooms – these are also known as Beech Mushrooms which also come in a white variety. They grow together in a cluster which you can cut apart at the base leaving tiny mushrooms on a slender stem.
The Vegetables that I purchased for this dish were:
Bean Sprouts – I usually use Mung Bean Sprouts – just add them at the very end – these also need very little or no cooking
Chinese Pea Pods – wash and remove the strings – they need very little or no cooking
You will want to marinate whatever Meat you are using in your Stir Fry; Shrimp or any other Seafood should not be marinated for more than about 20 minutes. Chicken, Beef Pork or Lam on the other hand can be marinated for several hours or even overnight. For our Stir Fry this night I did use Shrimp. For the Marinade I used:
Hoison Sauce – 1-2 Tbsps.
Black Bean Sauce – 1- 2 Tbsps.
Fish Sauce – 1 Tbsp.
Peanut Oil – 2 Tbsps.
To make your Stir Fry start with the Onion; sauté in a wok or large sauté pan just to soften and then add the Garlic. Next add the Vegetables that would need the most cooking, starting with the Cabbage and then the Carrots and lastly the Zuchinni which needs very little cooking.
Once these Vegetable are almost done (about 2-3 minutes) remove them to a covered dish and then Stir Fry the Shrimp. Stir Fry the Shrimp in the same vessel as the Vegetables were cooked in – Shrimp should take 3-4 minutes to cook. Add the Noodles (if the Noodles have stuck together, just rinse them with some warm water) and combine with the Shrimp Mixture.
Once the Noodles have warmed and been coated with the Sauce, add the cooked Vegetables along with the Pea Pods, Bean Sprouts and the Bell Pepper.
Once everything is combined and hot serve immediately. This is a great one-dish meal or can be served as a second course after a soup or salad starter.
Mushroom Barley Soup
Saturday, March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day and many of us will be making Corned Beef and Cabbage for the Green Event. Almost always when Corned Beef and Cabbage is prepared for dinner, there are bound to be leftovers. The usual leftover fare for Corned Beef and Cabbage is Corned Beef Hash or Red Flannel Hash as it is known in the New England States. Corned Beef Hash is a very good breakfast or supper item when served with poached eggs on top. However, if you are tired of this version of Corned Beef leftovers try my latest creation “Mushroom Barley Soup”. Mushroom Barley Soup is usually made from Lamb Broth but the cooking liquid from the Corned Beef serves as a perfect vehicle for this hearty Winter fare.
When you have finished cooking and serving your Corned Beef Dinner, skim off any meat particles or fat residue and cook the Barley in the same pot as the Corned Beef was cooked in. Set aside the leftover meat and vegetables and cover and refrigerate them. Follow the directions below and you will have a hearty meal for your family.
MUSHROOM BARLEY SOUP
1 medium to large Onion (yellow or white)
2-3 ribs Celery
8 oz. Mushrooms
Cooking liquid from Corned Beef
1 cup Barley
1 Qt. Chicken or Beef Stock, as needed
Leftover Vegetables from Corned Beef & Cabbage (not potatoes)
2 large additional Carrots
Salt and Pepper as needed
- After you have removed the Corned Beef and Vegetables from the cooking liquid, add 1 cup of Barley to the pot with the liquid still in it.
- Bring to a boil, turn down to simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until the Barley has softened.
- Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature; place in a covered container and refrigerate, being sure to retain as much liquid as possible.
- When you are ready to make the soup, remove the leftover meat and vegetables and the cooked Barley from the refrigerator.
- Cut the Vegetable up into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
- Clean and slice 8 oz. of Mushrooms and dice 1 medium Onion.
- Using a large pot, cover the bottom with a thin layer of Olive Oil or melt 4 Tbsps. Butter; add the Onions and Celery to the heated Oil or Butter and sauté until they start to soften.
8. Add the Mushrooms and continue sauteing until the Vegetables begin to caramelize or start to turn
a light brown.
9. Add the Barley and its liquid to the pot; add more water as needed or 2-4 cups of Chicken or Beef Broth.
10. Simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes (add more liquid if needed) and then add the remaining Vegetables and the leftover Corned Beef, if desired.
11. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary by adding Salt and Pepper as needed.
12. Serve hot in large soup bowls with Rustic Bread and a Green Salad.
Yield: 6-8 Hearty Servings
- NOTE: The Vegetables that I used in the Corned Beef and Cabbage dish were: Cabbage, Carrots, Golden Beets, Baby Red Potatoes (did not use the potatoes or cabbage in the soup)
Our last day of Camp was desserts which were chosen by the students on the first day of camp. There were some interesting requests, most of which we were able to do. Two students put down vegetables on the dessert list. Not knowing whether someone was just trying to be funny or really meant it, I decided to accommodate them. Two of the desserts that we made were Carrot Cookies and Zucchini Muffins with Cream Cheese frosting.
Two other requests were Cheesecake and Key Lime Pie. I combined the two and the students made Key Lime Cheesecake. These were made in mini-tart pans that the students were able to take home. Another request was for Pie; no particular kind of pie, but just pie. I provided Peaches and Apples for the Pies and we made half and half. Half were French Apple Pies with a streusel topping and the other half were Peach Pies with a double crust.
The two favorites of the day were the Chocolate Lava Cake and Strawberry Shortcake. The Chocolate Lava Cake had a molten interior and if you like chocolate, you certainly like these. These were made in individual disposable custard tins so that they could be brought home, if so desired. No one was able to wait long enough to take them home and they were all eaten in class. Of course, they are better when they are warm and the chocolate is molten, so the students made the right choice. Of course this way, they didn’t have to share the Chocolate Lava Cakes with eager siblings.
The Strawberry Shortcake was made with an actual ‘shortcake’. That is, sweetened biscuit dough. Some of the students had never made whipped cream before and they were amazed that you could whip up cream to that wonderful consistency that whipped cream is. The students did end up taking home their Apple or Peach Pie along with Carrot Cookies and their Zucchini Muffins. A few actually had not eaten the Key Lime Cheesecake and were able to take those home as well.
All in all, it was a very sweet ending to a wonderful week of learning the basics of cooking and of being able to apply their new skills. Each of the students ended up the week with a binder packed with recipes that were used in class along with a packet of Basic Information that included Safety Guidelines, Abbreviations and Equivalents, Cooking Terms and a list of Basic Equipment needed. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to take any pictures for this class so none will be posted. For some photos of our baking camp though, you can go to our Flicker Link and there will be many up there.