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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Category Archives: stir fry

This method I learned for cooking thick pork chops and put into practice makes delicious tender and juicy thick cut pork chops.

Make a simple brine:
I adapted a recipe from The Great Meat Cookbook by Bruce Aidells.
The recipe makes enough for 4 regular pork chops or 2 thick ribeye chops.

Ingredients

4 cups ice-cold water
1/4 cup Diamond Crystal Kosher salt
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

Directions

Stir together the water, salt, and sugar until dissolved. Place pork chops in a zipper-lock bag. Pour in the brine and seal the bag. Place the bag in a bowl in case it leaks and refrigerate for 2 to 6 hours, depending on the thickness of the chops. Remove the chops, discard the brine, and pat the chops dry. Proceed with the recipe, or wrap the chops in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook, up to 2 days.

Ribeye Pork Chops

4 servings: One 16 oz chop was enough for my husband and me for one dinner. I made both with the recipe below and saved the other for a second dinner. See below.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 thick bone-in pork ribeye chops (2 ribs on each chop; 16 oz ounces each), brined
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Freshly ground pepper
8 sprigs sage
2 garlic cloves, peeled, smashed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions

Heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high. Season pork chops all over (including the fat cap) with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Cook pork chops until the bottom sides are golden brown, about 1 minute. Turn and cook on the other side about 1 minute before turning again. Don’t forget the sides of the chops.

Repeat this process, turning every minute until chops are deep golden brown on all sides and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 138°F, about 8–10 minutes (total cooking time will depend on the thickness of the chops).

Remove the pan from the heat and add the sage, garlic, and butter, smashing garlic into butter. Return pan to the heat, tilt skillet and spoon foaming butter and drippings over the pork chops several rimes, making sure to baste the fat cap as well as the rib. Transfer pork chops to a cutting board and let rest at least 5 minutes (or until the pork registers 145°F).

Thinly slice the meat and transfer to a serving platter or cut the pork between the ribs and serve whole with any juices from the cutting board spooned over the top.

Serve with your favorite sides. The first night I cut one pork rib in half and served Eggplant Parmesan and Sauteed Spinach with the chop. I wrapped the second chop in foil and refrigerated it for later in the week.

Later in the week, I cut the second rib chop in half and brushed it with Chili-Ginger Sauce/Marinade. I placed the cut chop under the broiler to glaze the pork on both sides. Use storebought of my recipe below:

Chili-Ginger Sauce

Ingredients

1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha chili sauce or hot pepper sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

Directions

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan, bring to boil, stirring, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

I served the glazed pork over my recipe for Asian Stir Fry Vegetables and Noodles. See recipe. 

 

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Baby Back Ribs

2 servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 rack pork baby back ribs
Plum Sauce reserved from the skirt steak dinner: link to the recipe

Directions

For the ribs:
In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, salt, and paprika. Place the ribs in a baking dish large enough for the ribs to lay flat. Rub the ribs evenly on all sides with the sugar mixture. Cover the dish with foil and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Bake the ribs covered with foil until tender for 2 ½ hours.


Add 1-2 tablespoons of Sriracha (depending on how spicy you like your food) to the sauce and stir well. Remove the foil from the baking dish and spoon one-third of the sauce all over the ribs. Return the pan to the oven uncovered and bake for 20 minutes. Repeat the process another 2 times, until the coating on the ribs is thick and sticky.
Preheat the broiler to high heat or heat an outdoor grill.  Broil or grill the ribs for 5 minutes to crisp the ribs.

Stir-Fried Bok Choy with Ginger and Garlic

2 servings

Ingredients

1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
4 cups chopped fresh bok choy
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Salt and ground black pepper

Directions

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute. Add bok choy and soy sauce cook 3 to 5 minutes, until greens are wilted and stalks are crisp-tender. Season to taste, with salt and black pepper and serve with the ribs.


 

Marinade
1/4 cup oyster sauce
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon regular soy sauce
1/4 cup beef stock
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, minced
Stir Fry
1 small flank steak or half of a large flank steak
1 medium onion, quartered
2 large stalks from one bunch fresh broccoli
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch or arrowroot
3 scallions, sliced

Directions

Slice the steak into thin strips, about 1/4 inch thick.
In a large ziplock plastic bag, combine the oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, beef stock, sesame oil, ginger, red pepper flakes, and garlic.
Add the steak to the bag and mix until all pieces are coated. Let the steak marinate in the refrigerator for an hour or up to 24 hours.


While the meat is marinating, cut the florets off the broccoli stalks and peel the stalks. Slice the stalks into thin rounds. Separate the onion into single pieces.

Heat a wok or a large high-sided skillet over high heat. Add the oil to the pan.
Once the pan is very hot, remove the meat from the bag with tongs, letting the marinade drip back into the bag and add to the hot pan. Stir-fry for 2 minutes. Remove to a serving bowl. You made need to do this in two batches.


Add the broccoli and onion and stir fry 5 minutes or until tender. Add the cornstarch to the marinade in the bag. Shake and pour into the pan, Add the scallions and browned beef and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
Pour the mixture back into the serving bowl. Serve with rice if you prefer.


Pepper Steak

Servings 6

Ingredients

Prepare the marinade 1 day ahead.

Marinade
1-1/2 pounds flank steak, skirt steak or sirloin steak, cut into 1/4-inch thick strips
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine or dry sherry

Sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
1/2 cup low-sodium homemade or store-bought chicken stock
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons freshly ground coarse black pepper

Vegetables
3 green bell peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch squares
2 large onions, peeled and cut into 1-inch squares
2 medium cloves garlic, finely minced (about 2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger
3 scallions finely minced
4 tablespoons vegetable, peanut or canola oil
Kosher salt to taste

Directions

For the marinade:
Combine beef, soy sauce, and Shaoxing wine in a plastic ziplock bag and toss to coat. Marinate for overnight in the refrigerator.

For the sauce:
Combine the soy sauce with cornstarch and stir with a fork to form a slurry. Add remaining Shaoxing wine, chicken stock, sesame oil, sugar, and pepper. Set aside.

Combine peppers and onions in a bowl and set aside.

Combine garlic, ginger, and scallions in a bowl and set aside.

When ready to cook, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok or large deep skillet over high heat until smoking. Add half of the beef and cook without moving until well seared, about 1 minute. Continue cooking while stirring and tossing until lightly cooked but still pink in spots, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with 1 more tablespoon of oil and remaining beef, adding the second batch of beef to the same bowl.

Wipe out the pan with a paper towel. Heat 1 more tablespoon oil and cook half of the peppers and onions. Transfer to bowl with the beef. Repeat with remaining oil and remaining peppers and onions. Place the pan over high heat and return the peppers/onions/beef to the pan and add the garlic/ginger/scallion mixture. Cook, tossing and stirring for 30 seconds. Add sauce and cook, tossing and stirring constantly until slightly thickened, about 45 seconds longer. Carefully transfer to a serving platter and serve.

Sesame Rice

You can cook the rice in a saucepan instead of the oven if you prefer.

4-6 servings

Ingredients

1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
2 low sodium chicken bouillon cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-1/2 cups hot water
Sesame oil

Directions

In a large saucepan, saute sesame seeds, garlic, celery and scallions in the sesame oil; add rice and saute until the rice is lightly browned.

Spoon into an ungreased baking dish. Dissolve bouillon and salt in hot water; pour over the rice mixture.

Cover and bake at 325°F for 50-60 minutes or until the rice is tender. Drizzle with a little sesame oil and serve.


Asian Salmon

2 servings

2 center-cut skin-on salmon fillets, 6 to 8 ounces each
1 teaspoon Asian chili oil or vegetable oil

Glaze
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh garlic

Directions

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Combine the glaze ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat the oil in a 10-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking.
Place the salmon fillets, flesh-side down, in the skillet and cook until well browned about 1 minute. Using a fish spatula ora flat spatula, carefully turn the salmon over and cook on the skin side for 1 minute.

Remove the skillet from the heat and spoon the glaze evenly over the salmon fillets. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the center of the thickest part of the fillets are cooked and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of fillets registers 125 degrees F, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer fillets to individual plates and serve with Asian fried rice.

Asian Fried Rice

4 servings. Makes a great leftover for lunch,

Ingredients

4 cups leftover cooked rice or uncooked cauliflower rice
2 bacon slices, cooked and diced
2 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
2 tablespoons Asian chili oil or peanut oil, divided
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons soy sauce or coconut aminos
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup finely diced banana pepper or other thin-skinned pepper
1 teaspoon Asian Fish Sauce

Directions

Heat 1 teaspoon sesame oil in a large heavy skillet over high heat. Add the beaten eggs and cook, without stirring, until fully cooked on one side, about 30 seconds. Turn the omelet over and cook for 15 seconds. Transfer the omelet to a cutting board and cut into ½-inch pieces.

Add 1 tablespoon chili or peanut oil to the pan along with scallions, ginger, and garlic; cook, stirring until the scallions have softened, about 30 seconds. Add banana pepper and celery; cook, stirring, until just tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer everything to a large bowl.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon chili or peanut oil to the pan; add the rice and stir-fry 2 minutes.

Return the vegetable mixture, bacon and eggs to the pan; add soy sauce, fish sauce and remaining sesame oil and stir until well combined. Serve with the salmon.


Stir-Fried Beef with Asparagus

I had enough Pork Fried Rice leftover to serve with this dish. See the recipe.

Ingredients

1 pound lean, tender beef steak (tenderloin, top sirloin, ribeye or strip steak) sliced into thin strips
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 tablespoons peanut oil or vegetable oil, divided
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 pound thin asparagus, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 small bunch green onions, cut on diagonal into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 large garlic clove, grated
1/2 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon fish sauce (nam pla)
1 teaspoon sugar

Directions

Combine beef and cornstarch in large bowl. Using hands, rub to coat well.
Heat 2 tablespoons peanut oil in large skillet over high heat. Working in batches, add beef in single layer and cook, undisturbed, until the meat begins to brown, about 1 1/2 minutes. Turn the slices over and cook until the second side browns, about 1 minute. Transfer beef to large plate.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons peanut oil and 1 teaspoon sesame oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add asparagus, green onions, garlic and ginger; sauté until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add broth, fish sauce, and sugar; bring to boil. Return beef to the skillet and cook until the sauce is slightly thickened about 1 minute. Transfer to a platter and serve with rice or fried rice.

Asian Cucumber Salad

Ingredients

2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and cut crosswise into half moons
1 teaspoon sea salt
One small red onion, thinly sliced (about ½ cup)

Garnish
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
¼ cup unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Dressing
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Mirin
1 scallion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (chili)
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar

Directions

Place sliced cucumbers into a fine-mesh strainer suspended inside a medium-sized bowl. Season with the 1 teaspoon sea salt. Toss thoroughly to combine. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes up to overnight to drain the cucumbers of excess moisture.

To make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine the rice vinegar through the sugar. Whisk well and set aside.
Transfer the cucumbers to a clean kitchen towel. Pat dry. Combine the cucumbers and red onions scallions to a medium-sized bowl. Add the dressing and toss. Place the salad in the refrigerator and allow the flavors to develop, for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

When ready to serve, garnish with sesame seeds and peanuts.


Mu (or Moo) Shu is a dish of northern Chinese origin and it is believed to have first appeared on the menus of Chinese restaurants in the United States in the 1960s.

In its traditional Chinese version, moo shu pork (木须肉 / mùxūròu) consists of sliced pork tenderloin, cucumber, and scrambled eggs, stir-fried in sesame or peanut oil together with thinly sliced wood ear mushrooms (black fungus) and enokitake mushrooms. One of the first restaurants in Manhattan to serve the dish was Pearl’s, one of the best known New York City Chinese restaurants at the time. A 1967 article in The New York Times states that another of the first restaurateurs to serve the dish in Manhattan was Emily Kwoh, the owner of the Mandarin House, Mandarin East, and Great Shanghai restaurants.

At the time of its introduction, the dish was prepared in a traditional manner, but, as wood ears and daylily buds were scarce, a modified recipe was developed. In this modified recipe, which gradually came to be the norm in North America, green cabbage is an ingredient, along with scrambled eggs, carrots, scallions, and bean sprouts, along with lesser amounts of daylily buds and wood ear mushrooms. The American version is more like the filling for Chinese Spring Rolls. Shiitake mushrooms, bok choy, snow pea pods, bell peppers, onions, and celery are sometimes also used, and dry sherry is often substituted for the huangjiu.

Although most commonly made with pork, the same basic dish can be prepared by substituting another meat or seafood. Many Chinese families use chicken but shrimp and beef are less common in home cooking. The dish is served with rice or noodles and soft tofu in China. In America, the dish is served with hoisin sauce and several warm, steamed, thin, white tortilla-like wrappers made of flour, called “Mandarin pancakes”; these are similar to those served with Peking Duck.

Now, here is my version:

Ingredients

Marinade
3 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 clove garlic, grated
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice powder
1 pound chicken breasts, cut into ½-inch strips

Stir-fry
2 medium stalks celery, thinly sliced
3 cloves grated garlic
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
6 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced into ½-inch strips
1 cup sliced green onions (scallions)
4 cups sliced cabbage (½-inch strips)
8 oz can Bamboo shoots, drained
1 cup bean sprouts (mung beans for stir-frying)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon peanut oil
Chinese Pancakes, recipe below

Directions

Mix together the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl, add the chicken, and mix to coat. Prepare the vegetables, and grate the ginger and the garlic so everything will be ready when it is time to cook.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with the oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken, and stir-fry until just cooked through, probably 3 to 4 minutes depending on how thick you cut the chicken. Remove the chicken from pan to a bowl.

Add the celery, ginger, and garlic to the skillet. Saute for one minute.

Add the rest of the vegetables in the following order: mushrooms, green onions, cabbage, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, stir-frying for 1 to 2 minutes after each addition:

Add the soy sauce and the chicken. Toss to combine. Serve with warm Chinese pancakes and hoisin sauce.

Chinese Pancakes

Options for the Pancakes:
Use regular, low carb or gluten-free tortillas
Make Crepes – regular, low carb or gluten-free
Or make authentic Chinese Mandarin Pancakes

Mandarin Pancake Ingredients
1½ cups flour
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon oil

Directions

Mix the flour and salt in a heatproof bowl. Pour the boiling water into the flour mixture and use chopsticks or a spatula to mix until a dough ball forms. Once it is cool enough to handle, knead the dough for 8 minutes until smooth, adding flour if the dough is too sticky. Cover with plastic and allow the dough to rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

Roll the dough into a cylinder and cut into 12 equal pieces. Form each piece into a dough ball, then flatten them out into a small disc about 2 inches in diameter. Lightly brush all areas of 6 of the discs with oil. Layer the remaining 6 discs over the 6 oiled discs so you have 6 pieces, each composed of 2 discs.

Use a rolling pin to roll the discs into 7-inch circles, turning the pancakes frequently so both of the dough discs are rolled into the same size.

Heat a wok or frying pan over medium-low heat, and place one pancake in the pan. After 30 to 45 seconds, you should see air pockets begin to form between the two pancakes. Flip the pancake; it should be white with just a couple of faint brown patches. Any more than that, and they are overcooked. After another 30 seconds, the air pockets should be large enough to separate the two pancakes. Remove the pancake to a plate, and let it cool for another 30 seconds. Now carefully pull apart the two pancakes at the seams. Place finished pancakes onto a plate and cover with a warm kitchen towel. Repeat until all the pancakes are done.



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