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vlevet corn soup
Velvet Corn Soup

sweet sour porkSweet and Sour Pork

Menu Plan for the week of Feb. 8, 2013: Day 6 Recipes

Velvet Corn Soup
Sweet and Sour Pork
Sesame Brown Rice

Cooking time:  35 minutes for menu      Cooking schedule: see below for instructions

    This menu is based on one form '1000 Chinese Recipes' cook book... A combination Chinese New Year and Valentine's dinner.   According to Chinese tradition there should be one 'dish' for each diner (not counting the rice).  So we have soup and pork. 

Velvet Corn Soup                                                Preparation and cooking time:   15 minutes
   Soups are usually included with a Chinese meal, though not as a first course.  Traditional meals do not have courses unless they are banquets.  We modify it to suit our own customs.

1 cup (8oz, 240gr) corn
2 egg whites
4 tbs milk
2 1/2 cups (20oz, 600ml) chicken stock
1 tbs cornstarch (corn flour, maizena)  dissolved in 2 tbs water
1 slice Prosciutto  substitute 1 slice bacon, fried crisp or a small bit of ham
1 tsp olive oil

Drain corn and rinse lightly.  Heat chicken stock, 2 tbs milk and corn.  Slice the ham into thin matchsticks.  Heat oil in skillet, add ham and sauté until crisp.  Remove and set aside.
Separate eggs, *discarding the yolk.  With a whisk beat the egg whites until very frothy.  Then beat in the remaining 2 tbs of milk, set aside.   Dissolve the cornstarch in the chicken stock. 
To finish: When the stock/corn is boiling stir in the cornstarch mixture and stir until the soup has thickened and cleared.  Remove from heat.  Pour in the egg whites and stir gently a few times.  Ladle into bowls, divide the ham and sprinkle on each serving.  Serve immediately. 

*Note:  The easiest way to separate eggs is to crack it and dump it in your clean hand.  Let the white run through your fingers into the bowl and discard the yolk.  Or you can, carefully, transfer the yolk from eggshell half to eggshell half - this keeps your fingers clean.  I don't do this because our eggshells have not been washed like they (usually) are in the U.S.  I know my fingers are clean.   I have no use planned for the egg yolks.  You can refrigerate them and use them in omelets, freeze them and save them for baking, (see techniques) or discard them.

Sweet and Sour Pork                                         Preparation and cooking time:   20 minutes
    This is not the kind made with canned pineapple, which I think is horrid, but an actual real Chinese recipe.  In the interest of health and simplicity I did not batter and deep-fry the pork first.  I used to. This way is just as good and I don't have to haul 3 cups of hot, smoking oil out to the back garden to toss.

The pork:
12 - 16 oz (300 - 450gr) lean pork  I used pork tenderloin
1 tbs oil
1 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs chicken stock
The sauce:
1 tbs oil
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp minced fresh ginger (2 - 3 thin slices, 1" (2.5cm) wide)
1/2 large red bell pepper 
1/2 head broccoli
1 medium carrot
1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) chicken stock
2 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs white sugar
4 tbs red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
1 tbs cornstarch (maizena, corn flour) dissolved in
2 tbs chicken stock
2 tsp soy sauce

Cut the pork into 1" (2.5cm) cubes.  Heat oil and soy sauce in nonstick skillet.  Add pork and stir-fry 5 minutes.  Add chicken stock, reduce heat to low. cover and simmer 10 minutes or until done.  
Mince garlic.  Peel a small section of ginger,  cut into thin slices, then mince.  Slice pepper and carrot into matchsticks.  (see Techniques)  Cut broccoli into small florets.  Dissolve cornstarch in chicken stock, soy sauce and set aside. 
In large nonstick skillet heat remaining 1 tbs oil over medium-high heat.  Add garlic, ginger and stir-fry 30 seconds.  Add carrot, broccoli, pepper and stir-fry 2 - 3 minutes.  Add stock, sugars, vinegar and soy sauce and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  Give cornstarch a stir to recombine and add to sauce, stirring until thickened.   Remove pork from pan juices and add to sauce.  Stir well, heat through and serve.

Sesame Brown Rice            Preparation and cooking time: 20 minutes or whatever your package says
    I use 'Uncle Ben's' which is all I can get and it is quick cooking.  It looks like brown Basmati and cooks in 15 minutes.

1/2 cup quick-cooking brown rice   substitute Basmati
1 cup chicken stock   or whatever your rice calls for
1/2 tsp sesame or walnut oil
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Cook rice according to package instructions stirring in the sesame oil, soy sauce and seeds when rice is almost done.  Fluff and serve.

Note: You can toast regular sesame seeds in a small, dry, skillet over medium heat for 5 - 7 minutes, until light brown.

Cooking Schedule: 35 minutes for menu
Assemble all ingredients and utensils
Utensils: measuring cups, spoons, knives,
large skillet, 2 medium skillets (one used 2 X) small
saucepan with lid, medium saucepan, medium bowl,
whisk, 4 - 5 small bowls or cups

Mince garlic, ginger
Cut pepper, carrot into matchsticks
Cut broccoli into florets
Cut pork into cubes
Open, drain, rinse corn
Toast sesame seeds in medium skillet, if needed
Dissolve cornstarch for both dishes, 2 separate cups
Start to heat stock, milk, corn for soup
Measure out sugars, vinegar into small cups
Chop Prosciutto, sauté in medium skillet, set aside
Separate eggs
Whisk egg whites
Start to cook pork (same skillet as Prosciutto)

Start to cook rice
Heat oil in nonstick skillet
Add garlic, ginger to oil, stir-fry
Add carrots, peppers, broccoli, stir-fry
Remove from heat, leave uncovered
Add milk to egg whites, whisk well
Add cornstarch to soup, stir, reduce heat
Cover pork, remove from heat
Remove soup, add egg white, stir
Ladle soup into bowl, garnish with Prosciutto, serve
Done with your soup?
Add sesame oil, seeds, soy sauce to rice
Put vegetables back on medium heat
Add stock, sugars, vinegar and soy sauce
Bring to a boil
Mind rice, remove from heat when done
Stir in cornstarch into vegetables, thicken
Add pork, cover a minute to heat through and blend
Fluff rice, Serve

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