Cooking on the Go
By Janet Groene, F47166
Using a wok allows cooks to make sizzling meals with little cleanup.
Dedicated wok users cook almost everything in this one pan. Cooking in a wok is fast, helps food retain its color and nutrients, conserves fuel, and doesn’t overheat the galley. Prep work can be done in the cool of the morning, and it takes only minutes to stir-fry most dishes. Here are recipes to try in a wok or large skillet.
Serve these lemony scallops over linguine or bowtie pasta to make a seafood fiesta for four people.
1/4 cup lemon or lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 – 2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 pound bay scallops
2 medium zucchini, diced (approximately 3 cups)
4 servings pasta, prepared according to package directions
Italian parsley, finely chopped
Whisk together the lemon or lime juice, salt, pepper, and dried basil; set aside. Heat the olive oil and garlic in a wok and stir-fry the scallops until they turn white, gradually stirring in the zucchini, cooking until it is crisp-tender and the scallops are firm. Stir in the juice mixture; spoon over the pasta; and sprinkle with parsley. If you don’t have fresh Italian parsley, sprinkle with dried parsley or freeze-dried chives.
Shrimp With Tomatoes, Lemon, And Parsley
This dish is from 300 Best Stir-Fry Recipes (see below). It really brings out the flavor in shrimp.
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon dry sherry or rice wine (sake)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons onion, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
8 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 plum tomatoes, chopped into large chunks and drained
3 tablespoons Italian parsley or cilantro, chopped
3 tablespoons green onions, chopped
In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, sherry, soy sauce, salt, and sugar. Stir well; set aside. Place the wok over high heat; add oil; and swirl to coat. Add the onions and garlic, tossing well. Add the green pepper and toss for another 30 seconds. Push the vegetables aside and add the shrimp in a single layer. Cook, undisturbed, for approximately one minute; toss; and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the lemon juice mixture; toss well; and cook for one to two minutes until the shrimp are cooked through. Add the tomatoes and toss well. Cook for one minute, tossing once. Add the parsley or cilantro and green onions; toss well. Serve hot or warm over rice.
Serve these fiery meatballs on skewers as a meat course or on toothpicks as appetizers. As a main course, this recipe makes four servings. Add rice, steamed snow peas, and matchstick carrots.
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon mild molasses
1 16-ounce package small, fully cooked meatballs, thawed
Whisk together the coconut milk, curry paste, peanut butter, fish sauce, and molasses. Set aside. Coat the wok with nonstick cooking spray and gently stir-fry the meatballs. Add the coconut milk mixture and gently turn over the meatballs in the sauce until everything is heated through. Serve with the sauce.
Hot Apple Slaw
This side dish perfectly complements ham steaks hot from the grill. Complete the meal with slabs of cornbread slathered with honey butter.
2 Gala or Granny Smith apples
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1 package (12 to 16 ounces) angel hair slaw cabbage
1/2 teaspoon celery seed (optional)
1/3 cup broken pecans (optional)
1/2 cup red wine vinaigrette dressing
Quarter the apples, remove the seeds and cores, and cut each quarter into four or five slices. Heat the butter in a wok and stir-fry the apples and sugar. Gradually stir in the cabbage and cook until it’s crisp-tender. Stir in the optional ingredients, then add the salad dressing, tossing until everything is heated through. Serve warm. This recipe makes four to six servings.
Variation: Use baby spinach instead of cabbage, eliminate the celery seed, and substitute 1/4-cup real bacon bits for the pecans.
Awaking A-Woking Breakfast
1/2 stick butter
2 large corn muffins, cut into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons real bacon bits
Melt the butter in a wok and toss with the corn muffin bits until they become brown and toasty. Whisk the eggs with the salt and pepper, and toss with the muffin bits, gradually stirring in the bacon bits until the eggs are done. This recipe makes two servings.
Toasted Pecan Orange Rice
Serve this starch course with freshly grilled pork chops, a medley of steamed vegetables, and fruited gelatin for dessert.
1 cup broken pecans
1/2 stick butter
1 cup water
1 cup orange juice
2 cups instant rice
2-ounce jar diced pimientos, drained (optional)
Stir-fry the pecans in the butter over medium heat until they begin to brown. Take care that they don’t burn. Remove the pecans with a slotted spoon. Add the water and orange juice to the wok, and bring to a boil. Add the instant rice; cover tightly; turn off heat; and allow to stand for five minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. Stir in the pimientos if using. Sprinkle with the hot, buttered pecans.
Approximately 1 pound raw chicken breast, cut as for fajitas
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon sugar
1 small green bell pepper, diced
1 small red sweet pepper, diced
1 firm head lettuce, coarsely shredded
1/2 cup Italian dressing
Lightly salt and pepper the chicken and stir-fry it in the peanut oil with the garlic until the chicken turns golden. Continue stir-frying over high heat while adding the sugar and then the peppers. When the peppers are crisp-tender, stir in the lettuce just until it wilts. Fold in the salad dressing and serve at once. This recipe makes four to six servings.
Variation: Use only 8 ounces of chicken plus 1 cup whole, unsalted cashews.
Speedy Salmon Alfredo
10-ounce can chunk salmon, drained
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 cups cooked noodles
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup Alfredo sauce or more to taste
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Sizzle the salmon in hot canola oil, breaking it up. Stir in the noodles to coat well with the salmon, and then turn down the heat to its lowest setting while folding in the cottage cheese and peas. Add the Alfredo sauce to taste, stirring to heat through; adjust the seasonings; and serve. This recipe makes four to six servings.
You’ll need a wok that has a tight-fitting cover. Serve this for breakfast or dessert.
2 cans pie-sliced apples (not apple pie filling)
1/2 stick butter
1 cup biscuit mix
1/2 cup sugar, divided in half
1/2 teaspoon lemon or almond extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Place the apples and butter in the wok and stir-cook them until they are hot. Meanwhile, whisk together the biscuit mix, half the sugar, the lemon or almond extract, and enough milk to make a thick batter. Stir the cinnamon and remaining sugar into the apples. Reduce heat; drizzle the batter evenly over the hot apple mixture; cover; and cook over very low heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until the biscuit topping is firm and springy. Spoon the dessert onto serving plates, apple side up.
A wok is perfect for making classic ratatouille. Serve it warm as a vegetable side dish or cold as a relish.
Medium zucchini, diced
Small eggplant, diced
1/3 cup olive oil
16-ounce package frozen peppers and onions
15-ounce can stewed, Italian-style tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese
Sizzle the zucchini and eggplant in hot olive oil, gradually stirring in the peppers and onions over high heat. When the vegetables are tender, add the tomatoes and seasonings. Bring to a boil until everything is heated through. Spoon the vegetables into sauce dishes and sprinkle with grated cheese.
Books for cooks. Would you believe one author could come up with 300 scrumptious stir-fries? Nancie McDermott’s new book, 300 Best Stir-Fry Recipes ($24.95, Robert Rose), is filled with great ideas and mouthwatering color photos that show how good a stir-fry dish can look. Most of the recipes are Asian-inspired, and there is an excellent selection of wok recipes using tofu, beef, pork, chicken, seafood, or just vegetables. The book is available in bookstores and through online booksellers.
Say hello to infrared cooking. Just when I thought I had microwave and convection cooking figured out, along comes Black & Decker’s new InfraWave Speed Cooking Countertop Oven. Out went our old toaster oven. For the same size and weight, we can carry a toaster oven that toasts, broils, browns, and bakes. It’s faster than a conventional oven and with some recipes it’s almost as fast as the microwave, yet it cooks to a toasty brown.
However, infrared is an all-new cooking style, so one has to learn how to use all the various settings. It’s different from any other cooker, and an exciting breakthrough. I recommend it.
Reluctant as I am to add more gadgets, I also purchased a Black & Decker electric Lids Off jar opener. It stores in a space the size of a two-quart saucepan. For people with normal strength, it’s useful, but for folks with arthritis or other hand problems, it’s a godsend. It’s safe, quick, and easy to use, and it adjusts to open almost any size jar.