Menu Notes 5-12-14

Monday

Dinner - May 12, 2014

Choy Sum Stir-Fried in Ginger Oil
Pan-Fried Pork Chops in Onion-Soy Sauce
Tomato-Corn-Onion Soup

Pretty successful meal today. Heated up some oil and fried some ginger slices before adding the choy sum and stir-frying until most of the water was gone, added a little salt and plated.

Pork Chops in Onion-Soy Sauce Choy Sum Stir-Fried in Ginger Oil

For the pork chops, first seasoned one side with salt and pepper, then fried that side for about 3 minutes before seasoning the other side and flipping. Plated and then stir-fried some sliced onions in the same pan before adding the sauce mix: soy sauce, sugar, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, water, and alcohol (I used Chinese rice wine). It’s great when you put the sauce in and it sizzles and evaporates with much fanfare. Cooked onions until tender, scraping off the pork chop bits. Poured over chops.

I had some leftover chicken broth so I added some water and threw in a tomato, a corn on the cob, and some of the onion from the pork chop. Cooked until the tomato fell apart. Corn is in season now so it was sweet and tender. Great!


Tuesday

Tuesday Dinner

Chicken Breast with Lemon-Caper Sauce
Bok Choy Stir-Fried in Ginger Oil

We bought some capers a while back and thought to make lemon-caper chicken, and this week we finally had a chance to try it. This one is super easy to make. We like our breasts a little thinner (plus they’re easier to cook that way) so I first split the breasts down the middle. Season with a little salt and pepper, then pan-fry until done, about 3 minutes each side on medium heat. Plate, then make the sauce and pour over. I improvised the recipe from here. Once again, the final product went really good with rice. In Chinese cooking, it’s sort of blasphemy to put butter in rice, but from this dish I can understand why it’s normal or acceptable in Western cuisine.

Pan-Fried Chicken Breast with Lemon-Caper Sauce Bok Choy Stir-Fried in Ginger OilBok Choy Stir-Fried in Ginger Oil

The bok choy was cooked in exactly the same way as the choy sum from yesterday. In San Francisco we called this vegetable 上海白菜 (as opposed to regular bok choy, which has white stalks), and here in Hong Kong it’s called 小唐菜. Either way, it’s all the same plant, just at different stages of development. More here.


Wednesday

Wednesday Dinner

Beef Vegetable Soup
Bok Choy Stir-Fried in Ginger Oil
Pan-Fried Chicken Thigh with Montreal Seasoning

Wasn’t sure what to make today until I saw a cabbage at the grocery store and decided to make beef vegetable soup. We still had a corn left over from Monday, and we had tomato, onion, and potato, so I bought some barley, carrots and a piece of beef shin/shank in addition to the cabbage. Beef is less popular in Hong Kong which means prices are relatively higher, and beef shank is one of the cheaper cuts. Even so, it’s pretty good in soups and stews. For this one, I didn’t do any browning or sweating or anything else. Just cut everything up, put it in the pot, add water, salt, and pepper, and cook for 3 hours. Came out great.

Beef Vegetable Soup Chicken Thigh with Montreal Seasoning

The other two dishes were more like accompaniments to the soup, just some small plates to go with the rice (though the soup itself was pretty good with rice also). The bok choy was a reprise from last night, still had some left, and we had a piece of chicken thigh in the freezer so I used that up. Nothing fancy there, just season with McCormick Montreal seasoning and pan-fry, then cut up, and serve with some English mustard on the side.

Pretty good dinner today!


Friday

Dinner - May 16, 2014

Beef Vegetable Soup
Water Convolvulus with Chili and Fermented Bean Curd
Stewed Chicken Wings with Bittermelon and Potatoes

Finished up the rest of the vegetable soup today and added a couple of new dishes. I bought a big bag of chili peppers for $5 and used a couple to cook some 水通 also bought from the wet market. Finally bought some fermented bean curd to go with it. IMHO, a lot better than shrimp paste. There are two in the picture because I made one without chilis for JC.

The chicken wing dish was a miss. Stewing chicken wings has always been difficult for me. The end result is usually a bland dish, and this one was no different. Perhaps the secret to chicken wing stew is in the broth. Since I used plain water, it probably didn’t do anything. I used the entire bittermelon because the sparerib dish last week was so good and I found myself wanting more bittermelon, but in the case of the chicken wings, ugh, wasted a perfectly good bittermelon. Today is Monday and there’s still a bit pot of it in the fridge. I’ll have to finish what I created.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before but we have only one stove. For this meal, I tried making the veggies ahead of time, then microwaving for about 30 seconds just before serving. Made for a less stressful experience trying to time everything, and the veggies didn’t seem to suffer any ill effects. I might do it more often in the future.


Saturday

Corn on the Cob

Corn on the Cob

Didn’t have a full meal tonight, but I did boil up some corn to snack on. I learned from here that the water should not be salted when boiling corn. It did seem better, but I think I’ll cook the corn a little longer next time, maybe 7 minutes.


Another week goes by. Happy cooking!

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