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Smokey Split Pea Soup

In an effort to make my mornings easier, save money and eat better, I am back to making a soup on Sunday night that I can have for lunch throughout the week. Last week, it was a hungarian mushroom with smoked paprika (and mushrooms were on sale) and this week, its a split pea soup.  I’ve been also trying to utilize what goods I have in my pantry/cupboards. And so, this pea soup came together easily using ingredients that I already had on hand.

Smokey Split Pea Soup

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 celery stock
  • 2 strips of bacon
  • bacon fat or olive oil (I have rendered bacon fat from my local pork)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 4 cups of stock
  • 1 cup split peas

Heat pot to medium and melt bacon fat.  Cook the aromatics and bacon for 10 minutes. Add cumin and cook for an additional  minute. Add stock and peas. Cook over a simmer for 90 minutes. 

It’s up to your own preference, but I used my immersion blender to puree the soup.  And now, I’ve a wonderful soup for this short, 4-day work week.

Good Morning, Latte

Simple beauty.

The inspiration for this pizza came by way of my roommate eating at Otto’s pizzeria in Portland, Maine.  She noticed a squash pizza on the menu and thought it would be interesting.  However, she didn’t sample it that evening, as there were other items on the menu that caught her eye. 

What did end up happening was an at-home gourmet pizza night.  Using whole wheat crust from Portland Pie, we assembled our version of a butternut squash pizza.  It was amazing.

Butternut Squash Pizza

  • 1 pizza dough
  • 1 cup butternut squash
  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella

Assemble pizza to your liking. Cook at 450F for 10ish minutes.

It still amazes me that I can *cook* a dish in 5 minutes. Yes, I know… the prep time is 3 times as long but it somehow still feels manageable for a weeknight. With practice and familiarity with recipes, asian cooking can become a speedy, mid-week meal.

This recipe is the first one that I am to try from the Steamy Kitchen Cookbook.  I usually have most of these ingredients on hand, which is one of the reasons why this dish appealed to me.  I began by prepping the chicken and getting it into its slurry bath. Then I prepped veggies and the sauce.

Thai-style sweet chilli chicken:

  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 lb chicken, sliced
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3 shallots
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sweet chilli sauce
  • handful of basil leaves (Thai or Italian)

Marinate the chicken in the slurry for 10 mins.  If you begin the chicken first, by the time you make the sauce and slice up the veggies, you’ll be ready to cook.  Heat wok to medium high, add oil and swirl.  Add chicken in one layer, cook 2 mins, flipping halfway. Remove chicken, leave oil.

Lower heat to medium, add shallots and garlic, 30 seconds. Add peppers and (and mushrooms if you are so inclined). Cook 1 minute.  Add sauce and stir well.  Add chicken. Simmer for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat, add basil.  Serve with rice.

P.S. Or.. serve with fresh spring rolls!

Ms. Ray has nothing on me with this recipe. I can seriously have it tucked in my bowl with chopsticks in hand in 15 minutes or less. This is the ultimate “I need to eat now!” noodle dish.

There really isn’t any ‘recipe’ that you need to follow for this noodle bowl supper.  And, to be honest, I probably wouldn’t make it the same way twice.  This dish is about what you have on hand and how to best use ingredients that are already in your fridge.

What I had available was: red, green and yellow peppers, grated carrots and mushrooms.  I already had a bottle of peanut sauce and one serving of udon noodles left.  But wait. Where’s the tuna?  Ah… my secret weapon!

Say hello to spicy tuna in a can.  Currently, I can only find these gems in Canada now.. so I usually stock up whenever I go home to visit.

Peanut Satay Tuna with Udon

  • 2 cups of veggies (peppers, carrots, onions, mushrooms, broccoli… etc)
  • one can of spicy peanut tuna
  • 2 tbsp peanut satay sauce
  • 1 serving udon noodle (small or large, your choice – its what you have on hand!)

Bring a pot of water to boil, salt and cook udon according to package directions.

Meanwhile, prep veggies.  Heat wok, add 1 tbsp of cooking oil (I’m currently using canola). Stir-fry your veggies until al dente. Yes, like pasta.  I like my veggies to retain a bit of crunch.  Next, toss in tuna and sauce.  Heat through.  Add drained udon and mix up.

That’s all there is to it!  Happy wokking and see you on another Wednesday!

There are certain dishes that you always reach for when you are at the Chinese buffet.  For me, sweet and sour pork is definitely one of those.  The crunchy batter, the tender pork all coated sweet sauce that tingles with heat.  *sigh*.  I’m wanting to make it again, just thinking about it.  Especially when you toss in some peppers and pineapple. Yum yum yum.

sweet n sour pork

As I learned while making the Orange Zest Chicken , it really is all about the prep work.  This experience with a ‘busy’ recipe went much quicker once I knew the game. Prep EVERYTHING first.  And then its mere minutes til chopsticks are in hand.  I started my rice in the cooker just before I started cooking the pork.

Sweet and Sour Sauce –  { Adapted from Rasa Malaysia}

  • 1 1/2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp plum sauce
  • 1/8 tsp Chinese rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp water

Marinade

  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp rice wine

Frying Batter

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 oz. flour
  • 1 oz. corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 egg
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 pinch salt

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb pork tenderloin (bite size pieces)
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 2 stalks scallions (white parts only, 2″ pieces)
  • 1/2 cup pineapple (bite size pieces)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • oil for frying

I began by cubing my pork and letting it sit in the marinade for 20-30 minutes.  This gave me time to assemble the sweet and sour sauce and dice my veggies.  Next, I mixed together the batter. 

Prep Work

Once the batter was finished, I tossed all my pork cubes into it and swirled them around to coat.  I used the wok for shallow frying and even used the oil from the previous frying event.   I only cook about 4-6 pieces of pork at a time, for roughly 1 minute per side.  I use a fork to flip.

Pork Fry

Once the pork pieces were all cooked and draining on paper towel, I drained the oil from the wok.  Then gave it a quick wipe with paper towel and drizzled 1 tbsp of canola.  Once hot, quickly cook garlic for 1 minute.  Then toss in peppers and pineapple, about 2 minutes. Next, pour in the sauce. It will thicken quickly. Once thick, stir pork into the sauce and veggies, add scallions.  Serve immediately.

Pork w veggies

I paired mine with long grain brown rice and it was amazing.  My only comment from making this recipe is that you could easily double the sauce.  I like sauce. I like my rice to mingle with the sauce.  So if you like sauce too – double the quantity!

Now that I’m in the possession of an amazing iron wok from the Wok Shop, I’m on a mission to use this wok as much as possible.  About a year ago, I found a 1st edition copy of The Key to Chinese Cooking by Irene Kuo online.  I believe it was on Slashfood that I read a blog that spoke highly of this book.  And I want to use this book as a foundation to learning how to cook real chinese cuisine. I do feel really inspired to create asian dishes with my wok.   Or maybe asian fusion would be a better category, because I’m so prone to recipe tweaking.  I’m also going to use food blogs as another resource in my attempt at creating an asian fusion recipe bank. 

Now, of course, all of this will be more fun if I had friends to join in and help me! And I do! Linda, from One Scoop at a Time , is a west coaster I met while at BlogHer Food ’09. And she, too, is an avid wok user.  We’ve decided that something needs to be done to encourage more wok-style cooking.  Now, from her perspective, woks can be used to make ANY kind of dish – not just chinese or other asian creations.  And, I am beginning to see that.  A wok is very versatile, quick and simple to clean.  All excellent characteristics to have on a busy weeknight.

So, I invite you to join our special event.  Either weekly, monthly or when you have a chance.  I can’t promise that I’ll always have a post every wednesday, but I do promise to provide you with interesting and healthy dishes that I’ve made with my wok.

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