Saturday, January 30, 2010

Stir Crazy

Wow. I think I finally found a topic that takes the comment crown away from coleslaw and crazy biatches. F*ck that guy Raymond--everybody loves Chinese food!

Anyhow, let's answer a bit of viewer mail this morning, shall we? First of all, yes, I'm hearing the critique of some of my ingredients, namely the minced garlic in a jar and the minute rice. And you're preaching to the choir. I'd *much* rather use jasmine rice and fresh garlic, but I have to use the stuff that's in my pantry first. I've been lugging that jar of garlic around for several months, same with the box of minute rice, because I use them for simpler recipes that don't rate a blog post. I mean, I could write about the rice, cream of mushroom soup, and chicken casserole that I made on a rainy day, but I wasn't feeling inspired. Or I could blog about the magnificent Rice With Leftovers that I don't tell anyone about. So yeah--I'll be using that stuff up first before I go with the better, fresh stuff that has to be used right away. Although, I came about thisclose to picking up a five pound bag of jasmine rice on Thursday, but I decided to wait. And just this morning I hit the grocery store again, and this time I picked up some whole garlic cloves. They're now residing in the triple-decker hanging veggie basket above the counter, along with a bunch of onions and some limes, too.

Also, instead of picking up a second smaller wok, I took Hoya's advice and went the multi-tasking route, getting a nice deep five-quart loop-handled saucepan with a rounded bottom. It'll work great as a backup for side dishes, and I can use it for all kinds of other sauces and whatnot, too.

As far as leftovers go, I'm partial to cold Chinese food the next day, but I have done the re-heat thing with no appreciable loss of taste or texture. The secret is to use a splash of water or two, medium-high heat, and stir constantly once it heats up. Let that water create some nice steam in the pot first, and it'll do most of the work. Alternatively, you can heat up a little sesame oil in the bottom pot before you dump in the leftovers, and that imparts a pretty damn good flavor, but you gotta work with it a little more than you do with just plain old water.

My plan on Friday was to make those amazing-sounding spicy coconut mushrooms, but when lunchtime rolled around, I was feeling lazy. So I ate the leftover cashew chicken and rice--all of it--so by then, I was set for the rest of the day. I didn't eat again until this morning. But this afternoon I'll be making the mushrooms, and simple recipe I found for pineapple chicken. On Sunday, it's chicken chow mein. I just got back from the store where I got the rest of the goodies I need (well, I just realized that I forgot to get celery), like water chestnuts, bean sprouts, and chow mein noodles. Of course I'll post pictures for all of you culinary voyeurs.

So what else is going on? Work was ultra-slow earlier in the week, so my shifts were pretty thin. I was tempted to go out and play some no-limit over at the M last night, but I had that feeling like I was gonna get called in to work. Besides, since I've been a good boy and sending all of my free cash to my E*Trade account, I didn't have much of a cushion on hand in case I took another ridiculous beat-down. And the rent is due on Monday, so I decided not to risk it. Instead of going out and earning a score, I just stayed home and played it safe, even though all of my degenerate friends were telling me to go for it.

The poker game will still be there next week. Even so, I still fell asleep around 8:30 at night, and slept until 2:30. Once I woke up, I was all about getting out of the house. So I showered and shaved, made a shopping list, and got dressed. On a whim, I decided to call down to the poker room to 1) find out my schedule for this coming week, and 2) see if maybe they had a 4-8 game going, thinking maybe I'd play for an hour or two just because the bad-beat jackpot is down to quad fives. As it turns out, when I called, they said "Hey, we were just getting ready to call you in!". They had a few games still going strong and not enough dealers after 3:00 am, so I said I'd be there in just a few minutes.

So I got a few hours of work in this morning, grabbed a bite to eat, and then did some more grocery shopping. I'm now home for the rest of the day, having spent all the money I made at work, so no, I won't be playing any cards tonight, either. But I may get called in again, too. You just never know. And we've got some kind of private tournaments scheduled this week, too, so I've got five days on the schedule. So I don't know when I'll be back in the game doing my Joey Knish imitation, but for the next couple of days at least, I'll be in the kitchen doing my best Iron Chef.


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