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Once upon a time. . .Oh that’s been done to death!

Well, at the inception of this blog, the plan was to present a diverse blend of politics, religion (you know that always makes friends!), crafting ideas, cooking, and then anything else my extraordinary brain came up with.

In other words, it was to be eclectic, which I am. My interests are unlimited, my decorating ideas run from country artisan to art deco, and that’s a pretty wide chasm. My food delights range from Italian, Mexican, to down home Americana and Chinese. I like cuisine from Egypt and India. About the only thing I don’t care much for is German food.

Anyway, lately, for about the last couple of years, we’ve been fairly limited to politics, with a bit of religious thrown in to keep it honest. Here and there I’ve dropped a recipe, but today, well I just pulled out all the stops. So those of you who could care less, fair warning, this is food oriented.

First up, I told you that we were having General Tso’s Chicken and crab Rangoon. I made them a couple of weeks ago. And they turned out very good indeed, so I thought I’d let you in on the recipe. A word about the Tso’s chicken. There are myriad recipes for this. Basically it’s to be a kind of coated breast meat and on the hot side. So here is how I did that:

General Tso’s Chicken

  • 1/2 chicken breast, cut up into bitesize pieces
  • 1/3 c flour
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4-5 serrano chilis (I added a minced one to the veggies)

Mix together in a bowl and add enough liquid (water or chicken stock) to make it all gooey.

In the wok, heat 1/2 c vegetable oil (give or take–none of this is rocket science).Add 4-5 chilis (the red serrano and let them sizzle until they pop and turn dark.  Add chicken pieces trying to keep them separate and brown on both sides until done. Probably about 2 minutes a side.Remove chicken pieces and continue adding and frying until all are done. Set aside.

Add whatever vegetables you want to the wok. These should have been cut up and bagged earlier.

I added:

  • carrots, celery, an onion sliced, broccoli stems sliced,

Stir fry until tender but crisp. Add any sauce you like or cornstarch and chicken stock, with some soy. I  used a Teryaki sauce. Throw the chicken back in, and add three or four sliced green onions. Toss until warmed through and all is coated.

Serve over rice.

Crab Rangoon

  • 8 oz fake crab or real as you prefer (I found the fake just fine for this appetizer)
  • 4 oz cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 scallion chopped
  • 1 medium clove garlic sliced
  • pepper
  • salt only if using fresh crab
  • minced celery if you like
  • 1 egg (or egg white) whisked
  • 1 package wonton wraps ( you will use about 1/4 of them. I divide the rest into 1/4 packets and wrap in plastic and put in a freezer bag and throw in the freezer. They defrost fine)

Place everything but the egg and wrappers into a food processor and whir up until it is a paste but with visible “pieces. Scrape out into a bowl and sit down with your wrappers and egg wash. Take a wrapper, place a mounded tsp of the crab paste in the middle, with your finger dip in the egg wash and trace along two edges meeting at a tip. Draw the unwashed side over the crab and form a triangle, press out the air gently and press all the edges.

Do this until you have used up all the paste (I had about 30 or so). Place on a jelly roll pan lined with parchment, not touching each other. Place in freezer for a couple of hours until frozen hard. Place them in a freezer bag and you are done.

When you want to use them, remove as many as you wish. Heat some oil in a very small sauce pan (saves a lot of oil that way) and fry for about 1 minute or less one at a time. Golden brown is what you are looking for. Place on paper towel to drain and place in a warm place to hold until your stir fry is done. (You can bake them too, I’m guessing at about 400-425°. I’d check at 10 minutes. Remove when golden brown.

The point is these are as good as most of what you get in a Chinese restaurant and way better than any frozen kind from the grocery story. You only have to make them a couple of times a year, and frankly, its less than an hour’s worth of work anyway.

Okay, so now we move on to a few new tips I’ve managed after 61 years to finally figure out.

Given that in the winter, we shop infrequently, I alway have trouble keeping fresh vegetables fresh. Well I have some ways that finally give them a refrigerator life of a good two weeks. And that’s a lot better than usual. So here is what I learned:

Green onions: clean them within a day, cutting off the root and outer layer and cutting off the green end where you normally would. Take a paper towel and wet it, wringing it out. Wrap this around the root end of the onions and place in a tumbler glass. Cover with one of those light plastic bags you placed them in at the store. Just wrap around. Sit in refrig. Trust me…your onions neither dry out, not become all rotten.

Cucumbers and peppers: I used to wrap them in plastic wrap and they always rotted within days. Then you cut off a chunk of the rotten stuff. You end up losing about 1/2 of each. This works. Buy those cherry tomatoes or raspberries  or whatever in the plastic hard containers with slotted holes in the sides. Save them and place your unwrapped cukes and peppers in them. The cut edges dry out and are perfectly dry and unrotted for up to two weeks. As to the peppers, best to clean out the seeds at the first use.

Mushrooms: Either they became shriveled and hard or yucky slimy. Open the package and use what you need. As to the rest: throw away the plastic wrapper over the little container. Place this in a brown paper bag, close and place in fridge. They were fine two weeks later.

Happy cooking. Today we are having: Beef Stroganoff over noodles, salad and bread.