Tag Archives: spicy

Fastest Stir-fry Ever


Over the past couple of weeks, Ben and I have been slowly settling into our new apartment.  Trying to get boxes unpacked and recycled seems to be a never-ending process and I can’t help thinking that boxes are like bunnies, they just keep multiplying!

One of the first rooms I unpacked was the kitchen and, although pretty much everything is out of boxes and on shelves, it is by no means organized. This has resulted in much eating out rather than cooking….but last night, I decided to stay in and actually cook.

I chose to make a stir-fry.  They’re easy and fast…and usually they can be made with whatever you have on hand so it’s almost possible to never create the same stir-fry twice!

Sadly, I have no pictures…okay, I lie…I have one taken on my blackberry that is utter crap so we’ll leave that image aside.  Just use your imagination to visualize an awesome looking stir-fry…and pretend that it’s mine! *wink*

This stir-fry was one of the fastest dishes I have thrown together in a long time. Part of this is, I believe, due to my growing comfort with chopping and prepping ingredients.

I roughly chopped up onion, celery, green pepper and some chicken breasts…all of which is whatever I could find in my fridge. 

By “roughly”, I mean I didn’t worry about size or shape, I simply cut them into small bite sized bits.  Usually I’m more anal-retentive about chopping/dicing/slicing perfectly but last night my knifework felt very freeflowing…as though my wrists and hands knew what to do!

I put a little oil in a wok and threw in the onions, allowing them to saute until they turned somewhat translucent. At that point I added the green pepper, celery and chicken.

Now, this is where creativity came into play.  I wanted a stir-fry sauce that would be very slightly spicy, yet tangy too. A friend once told me that if i wasn’t sure about putting ingredients together, to try smelling them together and see if the mingling scents work.  So I did.

I opened bottles of Worcestershire sauce, soya sauce, Thai sweet chili sauce and Dijon mustard…held them all up to my nose and inhaled.  They seemed to work quite well together!  I hesitated, but finally decided to jump right in and try mixing them. 🙂

I also added a dash of dried chili flakes and pepper.

While the stir-fry mixture sauteed, I boiled rice in another pot. When it was halfway done, I borrowed another idea from a friend and added some chili powder to the remaining water to flavour the rice a bit.

I would like to toot my own vuvuzela here for a moment and say….It was damn good!  B liked it too and we spent the evening with stirfry, wine and watching Robin Hood!  Success!

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Bah, okay…here’s my crap-ass picture 😉 One day, I’ll get a *real* phone with a GOOD camera!

Nom nom nom! This stir-fry turned out SO good!


Easy-Peasy Slow Cooker Chili


Click here for the recipe or scroll to the bottom of the post.

Chili is one of those dishes that you have to work hard to ruin.  I’ve done so twice.  That’s talent!

That isn’t to say that I have never made *good* chili…just that I have *bad* chili experience to build upon.

I remember the very first time I made chili…I drowned it in cumin.  (At that point in my life, I also pronounced it “come-in”….don’t do that unless you want to be laughed at! Loudly saying something like “I put too much cum-in!” in front of a bunch of people is something you never live down!)

The reason for the second failure is unclear…I think I went a little wild on the spices.  One outweighed the other, too much of this, not enough of that…It was one of those dishes that made your tastebuds go “WTF?” and simply shut down.

As I have said, though, I HAVE made good chili and this past weekend is an example of  that.

For the actual recipe I followed, visit my twin blog: Recipes from Edible Noir

Cue the ingredients….

The first step was to dice up some cloves of garlic and onions and then caramelize them over med heat.  I forgot to take a picture of this…so use the artistic rendition of that step below to help you visualize the process.

A frying pan, sort of. I think the onion and garlic bits are quite accurate. 😉

 

Once the garlic and onions were tender and softened, I added the ground beef.  I used extra lean to reduce the amount of fat I would have to deal with later on.  As the beef browned, I added a few drops of hot sauce and a dash of oregano for some zip and flavour.

One cool thing about chili is its flexibility.  You can choose to add or avoid pretty much whatever you wish.  The vegetables I decided to add were all I had in my fridge at the time and it worked out quite well.  As the beef browned, I chopped up some carrots, celery, peppers and mushrooms.

The beef didn’t take too long to brown completely, at which point I used a slotted spoon and added the mixture to the slow cooker.

Followed by the two cans of beans and the vegetables…

Finally topping off the whole thing with the can of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and various spices I wished to add…(hot sauce, chili powder, cumin *that’s cue-min, NOT cum-in*, chili flakes, paprika, salt, pepper).

I left my chili in the slow cooker on high for a couple hours, stirring occasionally, and then let it sit on low for another couple of hours.

Chili is SO easy and straightforward! (Says the girl who has messed it up a couple of times!) It took me barely an hour to get everything in the slow cooker, and then you simply leave it to cook.

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One thing I have learned during my various experiences with chili is that you really need to have fresh chili powder.  The older it is, the less potent and the more you have to add (which still doesn’t have the zip that new powder would).

Also, DON’T over-add cumin!  I speak from experience when I say…Ugh!

Add a bit at a time.  That actually goes for all the spices.  Each time you add some spices, give them a bit of time to sit in the chili, as it cooks, and allow the tastes to mix before you decide to add more.


RECIPE

* 2 small onions
* 2 lbs ground beef
* 2 cloves garlic
* 2 carrots
* 2 celery stalks
* 1/2 red pepper
* 1 cup mushrooms
* 1 can black beans, strained and rinsed
* 1 can red kidney beans, strained and rinsed
* 1 can crushed tomatoes
* 1 can tomato paste
* oregano
* hot sauce
* Chili powder
* Cumin
* Chili flakes
* Paprika
* Salt/Pepper
* Can add cayenne pepper for some extra heat if you wish

1. Fry onions/garlic until softened

2. Add ground beef plus a bit of oregano and a few drops of hot sauce and cook until the meat is completely brown

3. Add meat mixture to your slow cooker with a slotted spoon

4. Chop up your vegetables of choice. (I decided to add carrots, celery, peppers, and mushrooms.) Add them to the slow cooker.

5. Add your strained and rinsed cans of beans, followed by the crushed tomatoes and the tomato paste.

6. Finally add the spices (hot sauce, chili powder, cumin, chili flakes, paprika, salt, pepper) and gently stir the mixture together.

7. Cook in slow cooker on High for approximately 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

8. Turn slow cooker down to Low and allow to continue cooking for another 3 hours or so. Again, check/stir occasionally.

NOTE: If you find you are low on sauce, as I was, consider adding another half can of tomatoes/ready-made sauce/etc.


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