After a week and a half away from my kitchen, I was excited to spend some quality time cooking last night. Sadly, the reason for my kitchen absence was not a vacation to a tropical island nor a business trip in a fun city; a kitchen-based injury was the basis. Needless to say, my mandolin and I are not on speaking terms. It even may take some online therapy to repair our relationship.
So. . .after a week and a half of letting others prepare meals and making the simplest of dishes on my own, I was ready to embark on a culinary journey. With a snowstorm forecast for Tuesday, I gambled on having two assistants while preparing the menu. Fortunately, school was canceled, which meant the kids’ evening events were also. Ta-da! Instant help!
Still working at a slightly limited capacity, I put my two foodies-in-training to work. They made pork filling for dumplings and assembled them. (They were fabulous!) They also did most of my chopping and dicing work. While it took 1-1/2 hours to create our entire, belated Chinese New Year meal, it was worth every second. We got to spend time working together with minimal bickering (which is a miracle when the kids are 11 and 13) and produce a meal that everyone loved.
Being me, I wanted there to be at least one veggie dish on the menu, so we created Kung Pao Broccoli. Simply substitute fresh broccoli for meat, and you have a whole new dish. To keep it healthier, we stir fried the broccoli instead of deep frying it. Everyone had a serving of it, without being coerced into doing so, and enjoyed it.
- 1 lb. broccoli florets
- 1 Tb. water
- 1 tsp. cornstarch
- 3 Tb. low sodium soy sauce
- 1 Tb. red wine vinegar
- 1 Tb. sugar
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- sesame oil, optional
- Heat a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Coat pan with 1-2 tablespoons of peanut oil, if desired.
- Add broccoli, and saute for 5-6 minutes, or until crisp tender. While broccoli is cooking combine water and cornstarch in a small bowl.
- Add soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar, and stir well. Add garlic to broccoli, and saute for 1 minute. Add soy sauce mixture, and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
- Top with walnuts and a few drops of sesame oil, if desired. Serve immediately.