Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pork Chop Rice

I really love this dish, which is saying a lot because I usually refuse to eat fried rice. It always tastes greasy and oily, and it usually has mushy, frozen peas and carrots. Also the knowledge that you have to add more oil whenever you cook the next step grosses me out. Oil. Scramble eggs. Oil. Fry meat. Oil. Add rice.
There was a HK eatery in Monterey Park that had great version of this dish, but when we moved up northn, we couldn't find another great pork chop place. Yes, pork chop rice can be gross, greasy, and soggy, too.
My mom used this recipe as a starting point, but we used more mushrooms (a whole box), just red peppers instead of green, and worcheshire sauce and ketchup in addition to the tomato paste. It's hard to give exact measurements, because we taste it continuously. My dad didn't like the cheese so we skipped it. I think we also use the same amount of sauce in the recipe, but double the amount of rice. No need to saturate the rice.
We also bake the porkchops while we make the sauce and rice, because it cuts down the overall cooking time. The porkchops have aleady been baking for 5-10 minutes as you prepare the rest of the components which are fully cooked so you only have to bake the whole thing together for like ten minutes to mesh the flavors.
Read more!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Moving = Emptying out the Fridge

It's almost official, my family is moving. Though there are still some things to sign, we've already begun to box up the house. You can observe my fantastic boxing skills in the photo above. Babo, my ugly doll, looks quite distressed. This is probably because he will be remained boxed with my gloomy bunny for the next two weeks. If stuffed animals do come alive when we're not around, this must really suck if they're in storage. I imagine things with bits of fluff for brains cannot be the most witty of conversationalists and things would get really repetitive real fast.
My mom is beginning the arduous but also yummy process of emptying out the fridge. Though at the end of the next week or so, we'll either be eating ramen or just really weird food combinations like spaghetti with stinky tofu.
I've "helped" by baking some super-chocolatey cookies and thus using up almost all of the chocolate and the last of pecans. The recipe is from Brown Eyed Baker.

This photo also shows the garden that we have been trying to rehabilitate after neglecting it for the last two years. We dug most of it up last week and planted some flowers that are snubbing us.
My mom made a wonderful hotpot yesterday for dinner, in which she used up a lot of noodles (rice and mung bean), a pack of frozen gizzards, a pack of her hotpot mix (which we get every time we drive down to southern California. It's the one with the happy sheep on it, though as far as I know, there's nothing sheep derived in it.), and various tofu products and fish balls. We also used up the last of the yellowing napa cabbage and my parents couldn't resist buying a hot pot kit from the Korean market.

A pound of live shrimp were fatally injured in the making of this meal. You can buy them in Oakland China town for like $6.99 a pound. They're little, but they taste wonderfully sweet.
So, my mom usually makes two kinds of hotpot (hence the center divider): spicy (for her) and non-spicy for pansies like me. The spicy side tastes really good, but then I start to sweat and drink water and then my mom calls me weak. It's another kind of Asian glow.
For non-spicy, you just boil some water with a few chunks of radish (the huge, white, Asian kind), cubed tofu, fish balls, and other ball things (i.e. beef balls). Then everyone cooks their own meat and veggies and sea food. For the meat, you just have to wait until it returns to boil before you eat anything. That means, once you add the meat you can't eat anything in the pot until it returns to boil unless you want to risk eating raw meat products and getting yelled at by my mom.
At the end, you have a really nice broth that you can add noodles to. If you have any of the soup left, you can eat it the next day for lunch with more noodles. My friends and I have cheated with mixing chicken broth in the water, boiling it on the stove, and transfering the hot liquid into a rice cooker. You can't actually "cook" any meat in this situation (it has to be pre-cooked on the stove), but it does work well for veggies and noodles. So it's pretty easy to make it vegetarian by starting off mixing the hot water with vegetable broth.

Read more!