Saturday, April 9, 2011

Stir-fried Cucumbers

So today I began my outdoor spring cleaning... putting away the shovels in the common areas, vacuuming the stairs, washing the floors, hooking up the hoses, sweeping outside, raking dead leaves, fertilizing the grass and planting grass seed... Wouldn't you think, since I live in a three flat, that someone else would help? Or at least say thank you?  Nope.  This is why I dislike the city (or at least living the same building as other people).  I do not get paid for taking care of the grounds outside of my building or the common areas.  I am not the building manager.  I am the person that gets annoyed when things start to look dirty or worn down, when there is trash sitting around the building, when the grass starts getting really tall, etc and am the only one who takes care of it.   I rake, sweep, mop, mow, paint, etc and the people downstairs cant even say thank you.  They own this place too, don't they want to protect their investment?  Then I start feeling awkward because they come in and out with their friends (they are my age) and just stare at me while I am cutting the grass or trying to keep up the place.  I am the one that feels like a dork while they do nothing... what's the problem here?

This dish is one of my favorite.  My dad has been making it since I was in high school and usually it has finely diced chicken in it, but for my new diet I have to go with just cucumbers.   Cucumbers are not the first thing you think of when talking about stir fry but they turn out very tender.  This dish works out really well for those of us who love cucumbers but cant digest them raw.   Since my husband was having dinner with me and wanted some meat (but I wanted my cucumbers meat free) I marinated some chicken breast in char siu and grilled it on my grill pan.  Meat as a side order, I've come a long way since October!

Stir-fried Cucumbers

2 large cucumbers (I use seedless)
2 tsp salt
10 cloves of garlic chopped coarsely
2 dried hot red pepper
4 Tbs of soy sauce
1 Tbs sherry
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbs of peanut oil
3 scallions chopped

Peel the cucumbers, seed them if they have seeds, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.  Put the cucumbers in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and toss.  Set aside for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, pour the cucumbers into a colander.  Quickly wash with fresh water then use your hands to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

Heat up your oil in a wok.  I do not have one, so I use a large pan.  Add in the garlic and stir fry for around 15 seconds.  Add the hot red peppers and stir fry for 15 more seconds.  Add the cucumbers and stir fry for 1 1/2 - 2 minutes.  Mix the soy sauce, sesame seed oil, sesame oil, sherry, and sugar together in another bowl.  Pour onto the cucumbers and cook for another 1 - 2 minutes stirring occasionally.   Remove before the cucumbers become mushy and mix in scallions.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tilapia with Citrus Sauce

Spring break, I am soooo ready for it!  Our spring break is really late this year or at least it feels like it.  I am tired, worn out, etc... it doesn't effect what I do in the classroom but two more days and I am out!  Plus, with our new year long schedule we have two weeks off.  It is a blessing right now but I would prefer to have my long summer back (and not have work on my birthday-this year was the first time in 29 years that I had to be in school on my birthday).

I am again on my quest to try to like fish.  I don't know if it is really working.  This is a tasty dish and my husband really enjoyed it, I just cant get used to the texture and fish taste.  I did a bit better cooking it this time though, and it didn't break into a million little pieces.  Maybe before I make the next fish dish I will actually do some research on how to cook it correctly.   I used steamed broccoli and a wild rice/amaranth/quinoa mix for the sides.  

Tilapia with Citrus Sauce

2 Tbs flour (I used GF flour)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb of tilapia
2 Tbs of olive oil
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger

On a plate, mix the flour and salt and pepper.  Dredge the fish in the flour.  In a large skillet on medium, add the oil.  When hot, add the fish and cook for 2 - 3 minutes per side until golden and cooked through.  Remove and put on a plate, do not clean the skillet yet!

For the sauce, mix the orange juice, 2 Tbs of lemon juice and the ginger in the skillet.  Turn the heat up to high and simmer for 1 to 3 minutes until thickened, stirring occasionally.  Add lemon zest and more lemon juice if you want (I added it all).  Then put the fish back into the skillet with the sauce and cook for 1 - 2 minutes more until heated.