Ever since I was a little girl I have LOVED Chinese food. My very first memories of dining out involve an old Chinese buffet on Wade Hampton in Greenville, SC. My family ate there every Sunday lunch after church for many years. I have never found another restaurant that duplicated the flavors of their food. The only memories of make-at-home oriental food involved packaged frozen “stir fry” mixes from the grocery store but the favors and textures made me want to gag (I love you, Mom). The only saving grace being that my mom makes amazing egg drop soup.
Thankfully, with the help of some foodie bloggers’ tutorials and the Cooks Illustrated magazine articles (I highly recommend this magazine!) I have mastered several “take-out menu” favorites in the comfort of my tiny(and dishwasherless I might add) kitchen using just a simple skillet. The beauty of these recipes is that they cook up SO FAST as long as your skillet is hot. I can literally whip them up in 10 minutes after I get home from work.
My favorite oriental recipes(from the web) to date:
Sticky Garlic Ginger Venison Stir Fry (I substituted ground ginger for fresh, worked great!)
But here is the kicker; I like real rice : the kind that takes forever to cook. I brown the rice in oil with garlic and onions. And then I let it simmer and steam (in beef or chicken stock) for at least 30 minutes. So what’s a single girl to do with all that yummy stir fry and sticky garlic beef without time-consuming rice? To be continued….
I promise this post will make sense soon.
I have an obsession with Le Creuset stoneware. LOVE LOVE LOVE the stuff. It cleans up so well (which is important because I do not have a dishwasher). And the greatest thing is that it goes from freezer to oven. No thawing required. Le Creuset even makes a single serving stoneware set. I bought 4 singles because I knew I would use them ($5.99 each, Marshalls).
My rice dilemma was solved. I simply make one batch of rice that lasts me 4-6 dinners worth of homemade oriental food. I fill my little individual stoneware pieces with yummy rice, cover with foil and presto! Wonderful
Instant Minute Rice beef/garlic/onion infused rice ready when I need it.
But you might ask how to do get your rice to reheat quickly? Well before I leave for work in the morning, I take the rice from the freezer to the frig to thaw during the day. At dinner time I just pop it in the oven to warm(adding a little water if the rice seems dry), cutting the prep time by 3/4 simply by preparing rice once and then re-heating it in single servings.
But the greatest part is they just came out with a new design! It’s like they heard my cry of Oriental stoneware need.
A freezer to oven stoneware wok! How much better could it get?!