J:

So in February...

I know I'm still behind. Steve Swenson's birthday was February
12th and for his birthday he picked "some stir fried stuff or
some Thai curry."

The curry is easy, if you have the stuff. The stir fry is more
difficult -- for me and my electric stove. One of these days,
I'm going to replace it with a Wolf or a Viking home version of
their commercial ranges with 15,000 BTUs. But until then I'm
stuck. What I do is put everything in the tremendous 18 inch
wok, one small batch at a time. I can't remember what
vegetables I used, but I used my "famous" Kung Pao sauce, so
let's just call the dish Kung Pao Vegetables.

If it was authentic, I guess I'd have used chicken and celery
and peanuts, but long ago I figured out that vegetables are
cheaper than chicken (duh). My way (lots of veggies, little
chicken) is popular enough around here that almost nobody
noticed when I cut out the chicken entirely. The sauce recipe
I keep in my head, and it's for about two people's worth so I
routinely triple it (or more), but I only remember it as the
single version.

1 teaspoon each crushed red pepper, garlic powder, sugar,
cornstarch.
1/4 cup chicken (or vegetable) broth, boullion is fine.
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry or white wine
1 teaspoon each red wine vinegar and sesame oil.

Stir fry all the veggies (brocolli, bell peppers, cauliflower,
cabbage, onions, scallions, beansprouts, collard greens, green
beans, asparagus, carrots, celery, zuchinni, whatever) in
whatever fashion works best for you. Then add the sauce and
stir until it thickens. On my stove, that means adding the
sauce to an empty wok and letting it thicken, then adding back
all the veggies that have already been cooked.

Adding fresh ginger makes the whole thing seem hotter. Adding
more crushed red pepper makes the whole thing really hotter.

I prefer to use powdered broth because the recipe seems to benefit
from the additional salt. I've been using Telma brand vegetable
broth cubes lately. They're in the Jewish section of the market
here.

Thai Curry

1 14 oz can coconut milk (*not* coconut juice)
2 heaping tablespoons prepared curry paste (red, green, panang)
4 tablespoons fish sauce (such as Tiparos brand)
Meat or veggies or both

Heat the coconut milk in a pot until it bubbles. Add the paste
and break it up. Add the fish sauce. Add the "stuff" in
reverse order of how long it takes to cook. The "stuff" is
some combination of

Beef chunks (not tough like stew meat, but not steak either)
Chicken (boneless, or whole parts; I like to chop thighs in half,
the bone marrow seems to add flavor as it cooks).
Pork chunks
Potatoes (peeled or not)
Bamboo shoots (canned, sliced, in water)
Onions
Carrots
Peppers (bell, jalapeno, etc.)
Squash (zuchini, yellow)

If you have some, add a stalk of lemon grass and a few kafir
lime leaves. These are pretty much Thai things so you'll
probably have to find a Thai market for them.

I made one batch with beef and potatoes and one with only
veggies. The dish isn't vegetarian because the paste has fish
in it and so does the fish sauce, but if you make your own
paste (I'll get around to doing that one of these days), you
can serve it to someone who is strict. I'm not.

Do I need to say, serve over white rice?

This amount will feed about three or four. Scale up as needed.

I don't know if you can get the ingredients, but hey, it's New
York so you should be able to get anything. You can probably
find the Tommy Tang brand of coconut milk and curry paste at
Dean and DeLuca for only about five times the regular price.

Everyone I know has the Kung Pao sauce recipe -- it's my most
asked for recipe. Now you know. Good luck.

Bruce