The Missing Ingredient

A Food Blog

Pepper Steak November 7, 2009

Filed under: Asian,Quick dinners,Steak/beef — xigumdrops @ 1:12 pm
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Pepper steak

This is a simple weeknight meal.

1 to 2 tablespoons flour

1 pound top sirloin or round steak, cut into chunks

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 medium onion, sliced

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper or seasoned pepper blend

1 teaspoon Tony Chachere’s seasoning

1 red bell pepper, cut in thin strips

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 can (14.5 ounces) tomatoes, partially drained

2 tablespoons soy sauce

5-6 dashes Tabasco sauce

salt, to taste

  1. Coat beef in flour.  Heat olive oil over medium heat; add steak. Cook, stirring, until steak is browned.
  2. Add onion, garlic powder, pepper, Tony Chachere’s and cook, stirring, until onion is tender.
  3. Add the chicken broth and bell pepper; cook for about 3 to 5 minutes longer.
  4. Add tomatoes, soy sauce, and Tabasco and bring to a simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt.  Serve with hot rice.

Land Inspired Thai Fried Rice November 23, 2008

Filed under: Asian,Chicken,Quick dinners,Spicy — xigumdrops @ 6:42 pm
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I was feeling fried rice and was inspired by my old favorite New York thai restaurant, Land.  Fresh cucumbers and golden raisins and a hint of heat.  Keep the cucumbers sliced very thin or they will overpower the dish. I left the raisins out on my husband’s serving but I love them!  You can make it as spicy as you wish with the chili sauce.  It would be great with a few diced plum tomatoes or pineapple as well.


2 tbs. oil (I used olive oil but you could really use any kind)

1/2 tbs. garlic, minced

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces

3 cups cooked white rice

1 red bell pepper, sliced into 1 inch x 1/4 inch pieces

1/4 large red onion, diced

Soy sauce

Serrano chili sauce

1/2 tsp. sugar

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 eggs (I used egg substitute), scrambled (I prefer to scramble the egg in a separate pan and add later)

1/4 cup golden raisins

1 cucumber, sliced thin


1.  Add 2 tbs. oil and garlic to pan over medium-high heat, cook for 1 minute.  Add chicken and cook until no longer pink.  

2.  Add bell pepper and onion and cook until softened.  Increase heat to high and add “two turns around the pan” of the soy sauce and “one turn around the pan” of the chili sauce.  Please excuse the Rachel Ray reference but I forgot to measure while I was making this!  Add sugar and salt and pepper to taste.  

3.  Fold in rice and eggs and cook an additional 3-4 minutes until well incorporated and rice is slightly browned. Stir in raisins and serve with sliced cucumbers.


Chinese Fried Rice September 9, 2008

Filed under: Asian,Chicken,Quick dinners — xigumdrops @ 9:49 pm
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A tasty, easy to prepare fried rice recipe.  My changes are in green.
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 1/2 tablespoons oil
1 egg, lightly beaten  (2 eggs)
3 drops soy sauce
3 drops sesame oil
8 ounces cooked lean boneless pork or chicken, chopped (I cooked mine during step 5)
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot (1 cup)
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed (omitted)
4 cups cold cooked rice, grains separated (preferably medium grain)
4 green onions, chopped
2 cups bean sprouts (omitted)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1.  Heat 1 tbsp oil in wok; add chopped onions and stir-fry until onions turn a nice brown color, about 8-10 minutes; remove from wok. (OK, so I’ve never had onions take 8-10 minutes to cook so maybe this is a mistake in the recipe?  or do they want us to burn the onions?  I cooked them for maybe 3-4 minutes tops)
2.  Allow wok to cook slightly.
3.  Mix egg with 3 drops of soy and 3 drops of sesame oil; set aside.
4.  Add 1/2 tbsp oil to wok (omitted as I used a nonstick pan), swirling to coat surfaces; add egg mixture; working quickly, swirl egg until egg sets against wok; when egg puffs, flip egg and cook other side briefly; remove from wok, and chop into small pieces.
5.  Heat 1 tbs. oil in wok; add selected meat to wok, along with carrots, peas (omitted), and cooked onion; stir-fry for 2 minutes (cook until chicken is no longer pink).
6.  Add rice, green onions, and bean sprouts (omitted), tossing to mix well; stir-fry for 3 minutes.
7.  Add 2 tbs. of light soy sauce and chopped egg to rice mixture and fold in; stir-fry for 1 minute more; serve.
8.  Set out additional soy sauce on the table, if desired.

Stir-Fried Five-Spice Pork with Lettuce Wraps August 24, 2008

This dish reminded me of the Christmas holiday season with the five-spice powder.  Since you probably don’t use this spice regularly, I recommend you buy the five-spice powder in the Asian section of your grocer instead of the regular spice section.   I found it for $2 versus $5.99 in the regular spice aisle.  The recipe would be good with dark boneless chicken as an alternate to the pork.

Source:  Food and Wine Magazine

1 Tbs. peanut oil (I used vegetable oil)

1  1/2 Lbs boneless pork shoulder; outer fat trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 small onion, cut into 1/3-inch dice

1 carrot, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise

1 celery rib, thinly sliced on the bias

3/4 tsp. Chiness five-spice powder

1/3 cup canned whole water chestnuts, drained and coarsely chopped

3 Tbs. chicken stock or low-sodium broth

2 1/2 Tbs. hoisin sauce

8 basil leaves, torn into pieces

2 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced

1/2 tsp. Asian sesame oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Iceberg lettuce leaves, for serving


1.  In a large skillet, heat the peanut oil until shimmering.  Add the diced pork shoulder and stirofry over heat heat until browned and just cooked through, about 5 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork to a plate.

2.  Add the onion, carrot and celery to the skillet and cook over moderate heat until tender, about 4 minutes.  Add the five-spice powder and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in the water chestnuts, stock and hoisin sauce, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Return the pork to the skillet and stir-fry until heated through and coated with the sauce, about 1 minute.  Remove from heat and stir in the basil, scallions and sesame oil; season with salt and pepper.  Spoon the pork into bowls and serve with lettuce leaves for wrapping.  Serve as an appetizer or as a main dish with steamed write or brown rice.


Sweet and Hot Pepper Chicken August 19, 2008

Filed under: Asian,Chicken,Spicy — xigumdrops @ 9:09 pm
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This one is a spiced up healthier sweet and sour chicken recipe.  I didn’t have any dried chilies so I added an extra jalapeno.  As I was mixing them in, I decided that each piece of chicken probably shouldn’t be covered in jalapeno (AGH!) so I removed some before I finished cooking.  Comments are in green.

Source:  Food Network Emeril

1 Tbs. soy sauce

1 1/2 tsp. dark soy sauce (?! never head of that; I just used more soy sauce)

1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced into 1-inch cubes

1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup chicken stock (low sodium)

1 Tbs. chili garlic sauce (overflowing 1 Tbs.)

2 tsp. sugar

4 tsp. vegetable oil

2 tsp. minced ginger (ground)

2 tsp. minced garlic

2 tsp. minced green onion bottoms

10 dried red chiles (omitted)

1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced (probably around 1.5 jalapenos after I took some out of the pan, stemmed, seeded and chopped)

1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced

1 cup sliced yellow onion (red onion)

2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds

1 tsp. sesame oil (omitted – as I am typing this I realized I forgot this!  Didn’t miss it.)

1 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro leaves (stems left in; I love how they taste!)


1.  In a medium bowl, combine the soy sauce, dark soy and cornstarch.  Whisk to blend well, add the chicken to the sauce.  Toss to evenly coat the chicken and set aside to marinade for 15 to 20 minutes as you chop everything else.

2.  In a medium bowl, combine the ketchup, stock, chili garlic sauce and sugar.  Stir to combine and set aside until ready to use.

3.  Place a wok over high heat and add the vegetable oil to the pan.  (I add the oil first and then turn on the heat to avoid splattering.)  Swirl the wok to be sure to coat well with the oil. Add the ginger, garlic, green onions, dried chilies (omitted) and jalapenos to the wok.  Cook, stirring often until the garlic is frangrant and the chilies begin to brown, about 20 to 30 seconds.  Add the chicken, bell peppers and onions to the pan and stir-fry until the chicken is no longer pink, about 4-5 minutes.  Add the sauce to the pan and bring to a boil, being sure to toss well to coat all the chicken and vegetables evenly, about 1 to 2 minutes.

4.  Sprinkle the sesame seeds, sesame oil (oops omitted) and cilantro into the pan and toss to combine.  Remove from heat and serve with steamed rice.