My, how fun

I was born with what I believe is a legitimate congenital defect.

The technical, Latin nomenclature for this is (or should be), Lingua Infans, or “Baby Tongue”.

Regardless of appetites or desires, the ingestion of fiery, spicy foods results in pain and distress.  As a result, I can eat almost no Indian food, and Jamaican food scares the pants off me.  Even a heavy-handed use of black pepper can overwhelm.

Many people make fun of this flaw, and inform me that it’s a matter of will; that if I want to be a grown-up and eat spicy foods, I should just put on my big girl panties, and do it.  Not true.  I’d love to be able to tuck into a plate of tikka masala, or some spicy nachos, but I am physically unable to do it.

But what I also don’t do is make a big deal out of it.  It’s my habañero-covered cross to bear, no one else’s.  So when eating out I’ve become very good at avoiding suspect menu items.

I think that’s one reason why I love Chinese food so much.  While there are dishes with enough heat to really hurt me, they don’t comprise the bulk of the menu.  Other Asian cuisine; most notably Thai, are not so safe.

This week’s recipe is my home version of Chicken Mei Fun (pronounced, “my fun”).  It’s very similar to fried rice, but instead of rice grains, angel hair pasta made from rice is used (Find it in Asian markets and some grocery stores).

Chicken Mei Fun

8 ounces rice vermicelli

Lay into a pot of very hot water, and soak for 20 minutes.  After soaking, pour into a colander in which you’ve placed the spinach.  This will wilt the spinach and get it ready to toss into the stir fry.

Protein:

protien

3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken

3 eggs, well beaten

2 tablespoons chives, chopped

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Make an omelet with the eggs and chives.  Cut into 1/2-inch strips and set aside for assembly.

Vegetables:

veggies

2 carrots, julienned

1/2 yellow onion, sliced thinly

8 ounces mushrooms

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

 Aromatics:

aro

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons grated ginger

1 large shallot, diced

 Sauce:

sauce

Whisk together

3/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 tablespoon Sherry

 Finishing:

finish

2 cups raw spinach

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

 *Stir frying goes crazy fast once it gets started, so get all of your prep done before turning on the burner.

To cook:

If you don’t have a wok, get a very large, very heavy pot almost smoking hot.  Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan.  Put in the carrots and mushrooms.  Cook for a couple of minutes, and when all the liquid has released and cooked out, add onions.  Cook for 30 seconds.

Stir in aromatics then immediately add the proteins.  Pour in sauce and toss.

When coated, pour in noodles, spinach, and thawed peas.  Gently mix to coat.

mei fun

Serves 6-8.

I’ve eaten this from a few Chinese restaurants.  But the more popular recipe is called Singapore Mei Fun.  It’s a reflection of the Indian population living in Singapore, and this version has curry.  As you can guess, because of my affliction, I do not have a good relationship with curry.

But if you would like, you are welcome to Singapore up this recipe with the addition of 1 ½ tablespoons curry powder and 3 dried bird’s eye chilis.

Bon Appetite, intrepid soul.

Thanks for your time.

Random stuff I discovered and wrote down in 2015 Part 3

For the past couple weeks, I’ve been relating excerpts of a food log that I kept throughout 2015.  This week will conclude with September through December.

September 14th– The Kid and I braved rush hour traffic and drove over to Cary this afternoon, and finally visited La Farm Bakery (4248 NW Cary Pkwy).

The reason we made the journey is because I really love to go by their stand and grab a loaf of sourdough at the “Got to be NC” festival in the spring.

Boy, am I glad we went.  It’s always nice when something lives of to the hype, and La Farm did not disappoint.  It’s a very French looking space in a generic strip mall.  Not only a bakery, they are a café, and coffee shop.  Everything’s fresh and fragrant.  One of the sides they offer for their menu of hand-crafted sandwiches are house made potato chips.  It was almost worth the trip just for that, but they also have various flavors of French macarons.

October 25th– It’s the fair!

This year I got to go twice, and got in free both times.  At the request of Lisa Prince from the NC Agricultural Department, I judged a couple specialty cooking contests.  It was a crazy amount of fun, and totally new for me.

Lisa Prince and friend.

Even though the novel holds much appeal, I’m delighted that some things never change.

Al’s French Fries: Without a doubt, the best fries at the fair.  Yeah, yeah, your fancy frites and duck fat fries are great, but there’s nothing better than stumbling through the midway, burning your tongue because those salty, crispy pieces of heaven are just too darn good to wait.fair-fudgeAll-American Fudge:  Located in the same spot every year at the end of the hobby and craft building, smiling faces will greet you and weigh out piles of fudge in old-timey cast iron scales.  Whether your first stop on the way in or your last on the way out, nobody anywhere does fudge like these guys.  I’m just grateful they only come around once a year.

Every couple of years the names changes, but the wooden barrels and the delicious root beer doesn’t.  Regardless whether they come as Pappy’s, Max’s, or your great-aunt Helen, those aluminum tankards of icy root beer are always as good as you remember.

November 16th– When I worked at Bosco’s bookstore at Woodcroft Shopping Center back when The Kid was elementary school, I grabbed dinner there every few weeks.  But it’s been years since I enjoyed the food at Hong Kong Restaurant (4711 Hope Valley Rd).  Recently though, after a doctor’s visit Petey and I went in for take-out.

I was hoping that my favorite dish, chicken mei fun was still on the menu.  In another win for stability, they had it.  It’s a sort of fried rice dish, made with veggies and scrambled eggs, only instead of regular rice grains, it’s made with rice noodles.  And although other restaurants will say they have it on the menu, many use regular wheat noodles instead of rice; which is just all kinds of wrong.

Actually, this is beef mei fun…still yummy, though.

Hong Kong makes is right.  It’s really yummy, and you get a take-out box so full it almost won’t close for about six bucks.  It’s enough food for three very filling meals for me.

December 17th– Went up to Greensboro for my mom’s annual Christmas cookie decoration party.  As always, we had lunch at their favorite G’bo eatery, Monterrey Mexican #29 (3724 Battleground Ave, Greensboro).

The first time I ordered tacos there I was very disappointed to get the hard u-shaped grocery store taco shells.  But I was ordering the wrong item.

This time I ordered tacos Mexico style.  Was rewarded with three fresh corn tortillas stuffed with the absolute best carnitas I’ve ever had the pleasure to devour.  The meat was as silky as a prom dress.  I’ve recently decided it will be my final meal.  It’s that good.

December 30th– Tomorrow night make some fun inconsequential resolutions so that it doesn’t matter when you break them.  And try to enjoy 2016.

nye

Thanks for your time.