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Old 01-08-2006, 06:26 PM   #1
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Alternate Methods

We've all heard the saying "There's more than one way to skin a cat." right? That especially applies to the world of cooking techniques. Tonight's supper was just such an example. I was hungry for stir-fry, but wanted it quick. And I didn't want to cook the meat with the veggies. I have the tools, and the know-how, but decided to try another approach to get the same flavor, make it a bit healthier (maybe), and satisfy my crew in 30 minutes or less. Here's what happened. I thawed a 1/2 lb. English-cut beef roast, placing it on a suitable surface this morning. It was thawed by the time I was ready to cook, but still very cold. I wet it down by running warm water over the surface and tenderized by stabing it with a regular table fork. This 1.4 inch thick chunk of beef was then cut into thre equal chunks to be pan fried in cast iron. The veggies included 2 stalks of fresh bok choy, 1 carrot, peeled, washed, and sliced, 1/2 onion chopped, and 2 cups of fresh bean sprouts. For a starch, I used whole wheat spaghetti. I have a three quart pot with a steamer pot and lid. I brought about a quart of water to a boil. While it was heating, I set a dry cast-iron pan on another burner to heat. I then prepared the carrots, bok choy, onion, and bean sprouts. I placed enough spaghetti noodles in the lightly salted boiling water for three people, placed the steamer on top, added the veggies, covered and set the timer for 9 minutes. I put about a tbs. of cooking oil into the hot cast-iron pan and added the meat. I cooked it for 5 minutes per side. When the meat was done, I removed it from the heat. I placed the steamer basket into the clean sink and drained the spaghettie noodles into it. I put about a tsp. of cooking oil into the pot and poured the contents of the steamer back in. I added a dash of ginger, a half-dash of Chinese 5-spice powder, two shakes of granulated garlic powder, a touch of dark sesame oil, and a quarter tsp. of black truffle oil. I then stirred it all together and served with the steak. It tasted just like stir-fry but took about 20 minutes total to make, and used only two pans. The point of this isn't to give you a recipe, but rather to show that you can use different techniques to achive your cooking goals. If you lack the proper tools for a stir-fry, like a wok, or a high output gas stove, you can still enjoy something very similar using alternative techniques, like the one I used tonight. I invite everyone to share there unique cooking techniques, especially ones used to get around not having all of the right tools or ingredients to make a particular dish. Of course, I ask for ingredients and techniques that work. So, let's share our collective knowledge so we can all learn abit more about this magical thing we call, cooking. Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North


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Old 01-08-2006, 09:49 PM   #2
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Thanks Goodweed, sounds like a good "stir fry" to me. Quick, healthy, and I bet tasty.

As far as unusual cooking techniques I have one that I use often. I love jerky and I dont have a smoker or a dehydrator, so I make it in the oven.
All's I do is
cut meat into very thin strips, lean meat works best, you can also flatten it with a mallet, marinade overnight in a palstic bag ... be sure to squeeze out the air and mix it around a couple times Dry it off. Sometimes I reseason the outside. Preheat oven to as about 170 or 200, depending on how low you can go. Then line a baking pan with foil, and I have a couple baking racks that I hang the meat from. As long as the meat isnt touching other peices and it isnt touching the bottom of the pan it dries. You also want to leave the oven open just a hare so the moist air can escape. Takes between 2-4 hours depending on the temp of the oven,the type of meat you use, and the desired doneness.
makes great jerky, and the house smell good for hours
I agree, dont ever let lacking one tool or not having time to do it stop you.

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Old 01-08-2006, 09:52 PM   #3
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A couple of weeks ago, I made a new recipe - siu mai. It's a seasoned pork stuffing in a circular wonton skin (gyosa wrapper). They are steamed an served with a dipping sauce.

I have a metal steamer insert that fits into a 3-quart sauce pan but that wasn't enough to do these in quantity so I wanted a second steaming device.

I brought some water to a boil in my wok then laid two chopsticks in the wok to form a platform above the water for a plateful of siu mai. I then popped the lid on the wok and steamed away!

It worked perfectly and doubled my capacity! You just have to be careful not to bump the wok while steaming as the chopstick platform isn't a very stable thing.
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
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