Montana Jones

Montana n: A state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. Admitted as the 41st state in 1889. The fourth largest state in the union, it includes vast prairies and numerous majestic mountain ranges.
Syn: Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Last Best Place.

Jones n: slang. An addiction or very deep craving.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Stir Fry

  • 2 Boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 Red pepper
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 can water chestnuts.
  • 2 garlic cloves (Or minced garlic)
  • Veggie oil or olive oil
  • Teriyaki sauce or stir fry sauce
  • Spices
  • Rice
  • Bottle of wine.

Optional additional veggies:

  • Green or yellow pepper
  • Carrots
  • Mushrooms
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Snow peas
  • Baby corn

I like to start by pouring a glass of wine. If you are in a hurry to throw a meal on the table you can skip the wine and use frozen veggies and pretty much slop everything together. Sometimes the journey is more important than the destination, in which case I prefer making a ritual of meal prep which calls for tidying the kitchen, sipping wine and hand chopping fresh veggies.

Dice the chicken into bite sized cubes and put it into a bowl. Mince a garlic clove over it, pour teriyaki sauce over it, stir, cover and put in the fridge to marinade. The longer you marinade the better but however long it takes to prep the veggies is usually good enough.

Pick your veggies by color. You are trying to create a visual kaleidoscope here. I like to use red pepper, green broccoli and white onion. Carrots or baby corn add nicely to the colors. The more colors you add the better it will taste. Onions and peppers are my favorites for flavor, but too much of anything will overwhelm the dinner so I avoid using several different colors of peppers even though it looks good. Add water chestnuts for texture or bamboo shoots to make it more authentically Asian. Be careful about the size of your pan, I have at times gone so overboard with my shopping and chopping that I have overflowed my wok.

Chop your veggies into bite sized pieces. Be sure to use a different cutting board, or thoroughly wash your cutting board after chopping the raw chicken on it. I like to cut my onions and peppers into strips instead of cubes because it looks nice, but in the end whatever is easy to fit in your mouth is the right size. Feel free to nibble raw veggies as an appetizer.

Be sure to wipe your work surfaces and keep the kitchen orderly while working. I have actually forgotten to add ingredients when they were hidden in a cluttered kitchen. When you are taking proper care with a meal preparation the kitchen will be cleaner when you are finished that when you started. It is NOT the job of the spouse or guest to clean up after the cook.

I like to start a pot of rice at this time; it can sit on the back of the stove until you are done with the stir fry.

Heat a wok or large pan with a couple tablespoons of oil until it is hot. Add the chicken and marinade. You will have to stir pretty much constantly (it is a stir-fry). If the pan gets dry add another splash of oil, teriyaki sauce, or soy sauce. You don't want the meat burning or sticking to the pan. The chicken is done when there is no pink inside. Cut into the bigger pieces with a knife to check. Put the chicken aside in a bowl when done. (Not the same bowl the raw chicken sat in.) If needed throw another splash of oil in your wok then add the veggies. This is a good time to mince in another garlic clove, add a dash of salt, or other seasonings. I like basil or Italian seasoning on the veggies. You can spice it with pepper or chili powder if you are into that. Be careful though, whatever seasoning you add can't come back out or be masked with other flavors. Stir and cook until the onion separates and is more transparent than white. When the veggies are done add the chicken back in, stir everything together, add some more teriyaki sauce and make sure everything is evenly seasoned and heated. Take off the heat and serve over rice.

As a variation I will occasionally use frozen concentrated orange juice mixed with soy sauce for the marinade. Use milder tasting green peppers, onions, carrots and bamboo or bean sprouts for the veggies. Mandarin oranges will make a good addition, add them later in the cooking. Add a few drops of lemon or lime juice when cooking the veggies, enhance the citrus flavor with orange peel or lemon pepper. Serve garnished with orange or lemon slices.

mmmm...are you for hire?
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