Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mu shu for you?

I'm a pack rat. Most of you know that. My husband and I have a three bedroom house, a kitchen that occupies about half of the downstairs floorspace, and innumerable built-in cabinets. And they're all full. All of them. I thrift, I go to junk shops, I acquire things from various sources. I also approach grocery shopping with the zeal of a foraging expedition. In the International section, I gather colorful bottles of condiments: toasted sesame oil, hoisin sauce, rose water. I collect little twist-tied bags of herbs in the bulk section. I'm a sucker for nut oils, flavored vinegars, and exotic grains. As a result, my pantry resembles a museum. The contents are carefully labeled, lined up or stacked in neat rows. My bean collection is housed in a few big half-gallon glass jars. Is there a word for this condition? Aside from "pack rat," I mean, a term. Kitchen hoarder? Culinary collector? Wacko?

Yesterday, I was actually glad to suffer from such an affliction. The recipe called for toasted sesame oil, which I had. Hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, no problem. I even had a few tablespoons of dry sherry, sad and forlorn at the back of the shelf. These ingredients I collect all had their moment of glory last night.

Mu Shu Stir Fry

1 1/2 cups raw brown rice

Start the rice cooking, in 3 cups water, before you start assembling the stir fry.

1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp grated ginger root
8 oz frozen broccoli
1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the garlic and ginger and saute a few minutes, until the garlic begins to brown. Then add the carrot and broccoli.

3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp rice or cider vinegar
3 tbsp dry sherry
3 tbsp hoisin sauce

Mix these ingredients together in a small bowl, and set aside. Once the carrots and broccoli are crisp-tender, add the soy sauce mixture to the pan, along with:

1 cup mushrooms, (white or shitaki) sliced
1/2 cup sliced scallions
4 oz canned bamboo shoots (optional)

In a separate pan, toast 1/4 cup sesame seeds on medium heat. You don't need to add any oil to the pan, just let the seeds toast, stirring every minute or so, until golden-brown. Transfer the seeds to a small bowl, and put the pan back on the heat.

In a bowl, whisk together 2 eggs with 1 tsp sesame oil. Pour this into the pan you'd used to toast the sesame seeds. Let it cook about two minutes, then flip to cook the other side. Remove the egg pancake from the pan, and cut it into strips. Mix the egg strips into the cooked vegetables. Serve the whole mess over rice, sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!


ChristyACB said...

Sounds delicious!

I really like your term, Culinary Collector! Let's all go with that one, eh?

And I'm right there with you. I feel a strange mix of sadness and victory whenever I finally use the last of some exotic doohicky I purchased. Do you?

Kristina said...

Yeah, maybe it's a little bittersweet. Sometimes I keep things around for so long, they become fixtures in my life. When I use one up, I think, "Ooooh, yeah, I remember when I bought this, at that little Asian grocery, the first night I made spring rolls with my ex-boyfriend..." It's definitely an odd sensation.

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