Speaking of Chinese Food
John ShoreBesides here on Crosswalk, John blogs on JohnShore.com.
- 2007 Nov 15
I have food issues (he typed, whilst chowing on a huge slab of bread made with figs and anise). My issue is that I like to eat, and yet am not huge on cooking. I do all the cooking in our house, because I stay home and write while my wife Cat leaves the house every day to go out and have an Actual Life. So I do all our cooking. Cat, thank God, is not a picky eater. Neither am I. I'm happy to eat pretty much anything that comes out of a box.
Tonight though, I made Chinese food. I think. Or something. Anyway, here, in order, is what I did to arrive at what my wife and I will be eating in about an hour:
Went shopping. Bought veggies. Didn't buy enough to make dinner for tomorrow night, because apparently I'm congenitally incapable of buying food for more than one meal at a time. I have no idea how to change this.
Came home. Busted out large pot, cutting board, big knife, small knife, and knife sharpener. Sharpened knives. Felt very Samurai Chef as I did. Wiped blade of knife (and thus carbon dust) on my pants when I was done sharpening each knife, cuz it makes me feel cool to do that.
Into bottom of pot poured extremely generous amounts of olive oil and sesame oil (mmmmm....sesame oil....) -- and then threw in a slice of butter just to be safe, because I hate things to go dry when I'm trying to fry/saute them. Turned on gas low-medium to start heating up oil(s).
Cut up onion (using my Awesome Onion Cutting Technique, which I learned a zillion years ago in one of the best cookbooks ever, Tasajara Cooking). Put onion in heated oil.
Cut up red bell pepper. Added to onion.
Sliced up celery. Added to onion and bell pepper. Let simmer/fry a bit.
Chopped up garlic cloves. (I'm more of a chopper than a crusher of garlic, for some reason. I hate the waste of crushing, which is so stupid.) Put results on little plate.
Took chunk of raw ginger; used sharp little knife to shave off woody outer part; chopped ginger until I had about the same amount as I had of chopped garlic; put on little plate next to chopped ginger.
Now I had a little saucer plate with a small mountain of chopped ginger on one side of it, and equal size mound of chopped garlic on its other. For some reason this makes me very happy. I feel like Spice King.
Dump garlic and ginger into pot.
Take bunch of asparagus. One by one, bend each stalk in half until it breaks naturally. Throw the bottom half away. Wash top halves. Cut in fancy diagonal slice for no reason other than that I think it might impress wife. Throw in pot.
Wash carrot. Slice into pieces so thin you can practically see through them, which takes forever. But they're as much for color as anything else, and I need them to cook through. Put in pot.
Wash, chop bok choy; throw in pot. Enjoy, because bok choy seems like love child of spinach and celery.
So now I have stuff in the pot that I really want to cook together, and get all juicy and soft and yummy. So I add a little water to the pot -- just enough to allow the veggies to cook and release their own veggie juices -- crank up the heat, get it boiling, reduce to low, and then cover. The key is to keep it wet without turning it into soup, cuz we're going to have this over rice. (I use a rice maker, always. I'm insane for rice makers. They work so well that ... well, that even I can use them to make Actual Rice. I generally use brown Basmati rice from Trader Joe's.)
Drain, wash, cut up tofu. Be slightly dismayed the degree to which the company that made the tofu wasn't kidding when it labeled it "Firm Style." It's like a brick. So I cut into very small pieces, and add to the Chinese Rice Topping Sauteed Stuff That's Wet But Not Soup that I'm making.
Add salt, more soy sauce and more sesame oil, since I know that if I don't I'll end up having to eat something that tastes like vegetables and soy bean curd.
Clean kitchen. Write this blog. Wonder what in the world has moved me to write about what I made for dinner tonight. Fear it means the end of all my good ideas of things to write about. Wonder what I'll do for a living when I can't write anymore. Know it won't be cooking.