TedBook is dedicated to the musings and pseudo-literary efforts of Ted Strutz and his ‘friends’ who care to comment. The Book is kept in Friday Harbor, on San Juan Island in the Great Pacific Northwest, and is open 24/7 for any who care to turn a page.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
STIR-FRY and THE WOK…Chinese Cooking Revisited
You know how one thing leads to another? Well, yesterday my sister Mariya gave me some snow peas from her garden. I thought ‘what in the hell am I going to do with these’, and then remembered that I liked snow peas in a stir-fry. So I went to the grocery store and picked up some veggies to go with them. I forgot to get some tofu, and that bummed me out when I started cooking, remembering I liked tofu in my stir-fry. I used to do a lot of stir-fry!
See, when I was in the middle of my mid-life crisis in the late ’70s I figured out that a great way to score with women, was to invite them to my house and cook them dinner. I wasn’t wrong. Unfortunately I only really knew Mexican and German cooking and they were not showy or sexy enough to impress. So, I took cooking classes. (also a great place to meet women) I signed up for classes at William Glen in Sacramento. A gourmet food and cookware/lifestyle store, they held classes in a kitchen/classroom at the back of the store. Those guys were no dummies, as after class you had to pass all the merchandise to get out of the store… no easy feat to escape the cash register. The instructors were first-rate… I took Italian from Biba Caggiano and Chinese from Martin Yan. I decided that Chinese would be showy and Italian sexy. My first class was Chinese taught by a young woman just arrived from Taiwan. She lived in Chinatown in S.F. and came to town to teach the class. She was very shy but a good teacher. The recipes she gave the class were hand written and I still have them.
I took two classes from her and became quite adept at The Art of the Stir-fry, or so I thought. But, it was a lot of fun and I did like to show off.
I always served warm Sake (I know, not culturally correct) with Chinese and red wine with Italian. And, always Ambrosia for dessert. (I didn’t dress as a chef for my dates… I know you are thinking ‘What a Dork’) A funny thing… years ago after I moved to Friday Harbor, a friend invited me to dinner at her house and did a stir-fry with tofu and stole my heart. I’m thinking the tables were turned… had she heard my secret?
So yesterday I dug out my wok (which I bought on the way out of William Glen after my first class). I don’t think I have used it for 10 years and was very unpleasantly surprised to find that it was all rusty. And I don’t mean a little rusty… I mean a lotrusty. I was ready for a little cleaning, but I ended up having to sand the rust out. An hour later I had a clean if unbroken-in wok. I paired some grilled chicken with a sesame orange glaze and the meal was a success. Next up… The Mongolian Fire Pot!
So, it guess woking is a little like riding a bicycle… although I don’t remember as much food on the floor.