We try to do a stir-fry on a semi-regular basis because it’s tasty and a great way to work more veggies into our diet. I’m pretty sure I’ve never made it the same way twice. Partly because I’ve only recently hit upon a decent technique. The major breakthrough was when I stopped using my wok and switched to my cast-irons. The problems with the wok are that it has a rounded bottom so it doesn’t sit well on our electric burners and that it just doesn’t hold the heat like it should to get a good char on it. Also, part of that is our stove doesn’t get hot enough over a large enough area. Cast-irons to the rescue! In my experience nothing holds heat like good ol’ quarter inch thick iron. I put in about two tablespoons of oil in the skillet and heat it on high until it shimmers. Then I cook the mixed veggies in batches (about 1 layer thick) so that I’m not steaming anything while the rest browns. When the last batch is done I put everything back in the skillet and sauce it off heat and mix it. There is plenty of residual heat in the skillet to heat up the sauce and warm up the previous batches. And serve over rice. (duh!)
This evening we went to see our friend Dave preach at a nearby church. He did very well, thank you for asking. Lindz and I didn’t get a chance to eat supper before we had to leave, so we ended up inviting Dave over for some supper after church. Turns out he was planning on inviting himself over to de-stress anyway, so it worked out well. I had a leek that needed to get used up, so I decided to pan fry it and put on top of the burgers that I was making. From there, I decided to use up some onion as well. And digging around, I found a jalapeno that I could fry up too. That last item is where things went wrong. I decided to skip over the seeding and just slice and fry it. When it came time for the jalapeno’s turn in the pan, I was its first victim. You know how you can tear up from an onion? Yeah. This was ten times as bad. Anytime I got near to the pan to look and see how things were doing I was assaulted with the vapors. Finally, it dawned on me to turn on the fan. Even though it just blows air over my head, it was at least out of my eyes. This was the point it claimed its next victims. Dave and Lindz were sitting in the living room talking and happened to be directly in the path of the fan. They started tearing up and coughing, so Lindz opened the window. That eventually helped and we ate and all was good. However, this wasn’t the first time that I accidentally waged chemical warfare on people with my cooking.
While still living in Decorah, I was making a satay sauce that I’ve made several times. I never noticed the “side effects” of the cooking process until Lindz was there hanging out. At one point she was asking what was going on. This was motivated by the fact that Ophelia (the little cat) was doing her best Bast impression in the door to the kitchen staring at me, eyes watering, squinting, and silently yelling “Dude! What the *$&#@ are you doing?!?!?!?” Again, this isn’t the first time either.
To the best of my recollection, the first time was when I had some people over for a very impromptu after-the-bar-snack. I decided to do a stir fry because it was quick and easy. I wanted to add some heat because this group of friends liked spicy food. In my cupboard, I found a small can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Not having used it before, I just dumped the whole can in. In my defense, and I’ve said it many, many times, it was a small can. It couldn’t have been more than five or six ounces and I had a lot of things in the wok. By this point everyone was ravenous and started digging in even though the rice wasn’t done yet. Somewhere around the second bite was when it hit everyone. I’m honestly not sure why we kept eating it, it was that spicy. The only thing I can think of was we were just that hungry. I say this because one friend, who shall remain nameless, went down to his car and found a stale loaf of bread and we started eating that with the stir fry to cut the heat. Please don’t ask why he had a stale loaf of bread in his car. I didn’t ask because I didn’t want to know. I suggest you do the same. Those unwilling to try the mystery bread started eating the half cooked rice. Not surprisingly, I received quite a few jabs about my “infamous chipotle stir fry”. I don’t care. They were the fools who kept eating it.