Monday, July 27, 2009

Hot day, garden bounty

Stir fries are rarely a planned thing in our home, but more of a "kitchen sink" sort of meal. ( in "everything but the kitchen sink.") I had some broccoli cleaned and ready in a bag, given to me by my sister before she left on vacation (don't you love finding homes for all your perishables while you try to remember to pack enough underwear?). I also had matchstick carrots. I decided to get beef to round out the meal. Between making that decision, however, and coming home for the evening, I managed to acquire a zucchini and some green beans, both from my mother's garden. While putting Baby Girl to bed, Darling Husband found half a green pepper from his aunt's garden. And so grew the stir fry.

I finished it off with a spicy orange sauce, made from orange juice, hoisin, sambol olek, a dash of soy and some black pepper. I thickened the sauce with a water/cornstarch slurry. My trick to thickening and coating the mixture is to scoot all the veggies and meat to the left 3/4 of the pan, then tipping the empty right side end so that it's more in the flames of the stove. Then I pour the sauce into that newly formed hot spot oasis and hold it there until it bubbles and boils, thereby (thanks to the corn starch) thickening. Then I can lay the pan back down on the stove like normal and toss the veggies to coat. That way I don't have to transfer the pan contents into a bowl, dirtying another bowl, but they don't overcook waiting for the sauce to do it's thing.

It was a hot, sticky evening. We haven't had many of these lately. Perhaps it was cool and refreshing outside (one never knows, but I doubt it) but it was summer in Vietnam in my kitchen. (I remember when I was a little girl, my mom would put on a light cologne when she was hot, to freshen up and to cool the skin with the alcohol. We would do the same, sometimes, and it was quite refreshing. I had a friend who took it a step further and kept body spray in her fridge for hot days.) A stir fry should go quickly, so it's not a bad hot day meal. For some reason, tonight's seemed to take forever. Ironic, as several of the items arrived pre-sous cheffed and Darling Husband finished the rest while I put Baby Girl to bed. Just one of those nights, I guess.

One of those nights, in fact, where it's tempting to just sprawl naked in the air conditioning after a cold shower, allowing the fan to dry you off so that you maximize the cooling power of evaporation. Dinner be damned--order pizza!! Eat it in bed!!

Ah, but we ordered pizza last night. And we're grown ups with a child and a mortgage. Honestly, I don't know what that has to do with anything other than I have to play with her, feed her dinner, give her a bath and put the little angel to bed before I can sprawl naked and tell the world to go to hell.

While listening for her on the monitor.

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