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Oriental (if you got it, use it) Stir-fry vegetables with Chicken

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When you love your fresh vegetables, there is nothing quite like prepping those vegetables and then stir frying them to a tender crisp delight. Plus, add your fresh chicken seasoned with garlic salt, freshly ground pepper and ground ginger and you have a winner dinner. Boil up your Jasmine or Basmati rice to use as your base; and if your family keeps poking their noses into the kitchen to see how much longer dinner will be, then they are in for a treat. You can use whatever fresh vegetables that you have on hand or replace any of the vegetables below with those that you like.

Ingredients:

4 Skinless chicken breasts

1 bunch Broccoli Rabe

4 stalks Red Kale

4 stalks Flowering Red Kale

1 Zucchini

1 Eggplant (small)

5 Asparagus spears

Garlic (3 cloves)

3 Green Onions

1 yellow Onion

3 whole Carrots

30 Snow Peas

Ground Ginger

Freshly ground pepper

Garlic salt

Olive oil and canola oil

Jasmine or Basmati rice (enough to feed your family + left overs)

Shitake ginger dressing (or your favorite...i.e. lemon pepper?)

1) Prepare your cooking equipment first: Cuisinart stainless steel wok with glass lid; Treenware - wooden fork and rice paddle; cast iron skillet and 4 qt. pot with lid.

2) In the cast iron skillet, place the canola oil (just enough to keep the chicken from burning) and put your cut up chicken strips to cook first. Season with garlic salt and freshly ground pepper. Lightly sprinkle the ground ginger on chicken while still cooking. When the chicken is done place in a separate bowl and set aside.

3) Fill your 4 qt. pot with enough water and salt and set to boiling on the stove. Put enough Rice into pot to feed your family. If you truly enjoy stir fry and you like it enough to eat left overs, then add enough rice to have for the next day. Cook your rice until all liquid has been absorbed, remove from heat and set aside, keeping the lid on to retain the heat.

4) Start with chopping your gold skinned onion; peel your garlic and slice; pour enough olive oil into the wok and saute the onion and garlic until onion becomes clear. Pour about an ounce of dressing into the wok (use your lid as a guard for it will splatter), stir the garlic and onions with the dressing. Turn heat off.

5) Begin prepping your other vegetables (see above); you only need to cut off the bottom of the stems of the Broccoli Rabe; same with the Red Kale and the Flowering Red Kale. I trim the stems off just below the head, but I add it to the stir fry as well. Vegetables are too expensive to waste any part any more. With the zucchini, slice the ends off and slice into rounds. Trim the ends off the eggplant, slice the eggplant lengthwise and repeat until the spears are small enough, then cut each spear into bite-size chunks. Cut the ends of the carrots off. Slice the whole carrots into quarter spears and then cut into 3 inch chunks. Check the snow peas for any blemishes and remove. Trim the ends of the asparagus spears, cutting off about an 1/8 inch. Starting at the head, snap the spears in 2 inch chunks until you reach the point where the spear is harder to snap. Don't throw this section away, it can still be used in the stir fry. Trim the roots from the green onions. Trim the very tops of the green leaves and use the remaining green leaves, use as a garnish.

6) Turn the heat back on for the wok, your garlic and onions are still in there. Then add the carrot spears first and let them stir fry with the zucchini and eggplant. Add the very last part of the asparagus spear (the toughest section), because this will take a little bit longer to soften this section. Also add the pre-cooked chicken chunks. Cover. After a couple of minutes, add both types of kale, with the leaves being shredded as you add them. Add another 2 ounces of dressing (if desired). Cover. Stir fry for another 2 minutes then add the Broccoli Rabe (this will wilt fairly fast). Add the green onion chunks, the remaining softer asparagus spears and the snow peas. Cover. During the last minute, add the sliced green onion leaves and cover for 1 minute more. Add 1 more ounce of dressing if desired. Turn the heat off and uncover.

If you leave the lid on while you are serving the rice onto the plates, the vegetables will keep cooking and this could turn those wonderful vegetables into mush.

7) Serve whatever size portion of the vegetables that you desire over the rice and sit back and simply enjoy your Oriental Chicken stir fry.

Prep time: 1 hour (this includes cooking the chicken and rice)

Stir Fry time: 7-10 minutes

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Cuisinart Stainless Steel Wok
Cuisinart Stainless Steel Wok J. Robinson

Cuisinart Stainless Steel Wok

The best wok is one that is made of stainless steel, rather than a wok that has a non-stick coating.  Simply, cooking in a wok requires constant stirring and plastic cooking utensils do not have the strength for the job.  Cuisinart makes a stainless steel wok with a glass lid that will hold up for years of use.

Cuisinart wok handle
Cuisinart wok handle J. Robinson

Cuisinart wok handle

Just a picture of the handle on the wok.  If you can find another brand of wok that is made of stainless steel, then that is fine also.

Treenware
Treenware J. Robinson

Treenware

Treenware is the old name for small items made of wood, usually spoons, forks, paddles and small bowls or dough trays.  When working with a stir fry dish, it is best to use Treenware.  Because it is made of wood, it will also hold up very well for years and years of kitchen use.  In this picture, this is a giant fork and rice paddle.

Fresh uncooked chicken breasts
Fresh uncooked chicken breasts Yahoo.com

Fresh uncooked chicken breasts

It is much simpler to buy fresh uncooked, skinless chicken breasts.  In this way it makes dinner prep go a lot faster.  Have your chicken breasts already thawed and ready to cook.  Cut the chicken breasts in strips, either vertically or horizontally, then cut those in half.  Cook breasts, until all pink is gone.  Salt them with garlic salt, freshly ground pepper and ground ginger.  Place in bowl and set aside.

Jasmine rice and spices
Jasmine rice and spices J. Robinson

Jasmine rice and spices

Either use Jasmine or Basmati rice for your stir-frys because after cooking it will clump up better.  This makes it far easier to use your chop sticks if you choose to use them.  Also in the picture are containers of ground ginger and garlic salt.  I also prefer to use a pepper grinder so that my pepper is at its freshest.

Vegetables
Vegetables J. Robinson

Vegetables

Always buy the freshest vegetables that you can, either from a farmer's market (if in season) or find a grocery store that carries a large selection of various vegetables.  When not at the farmer's market, I shop at Meijer grocery stores.  They carry vegetables that other stores do not carry.  So in this picture is: eggplant, garlic, zucchini, red kale, red flowering kale, asparagus, carrots, green onions and a gold skinned onion.

Broccoli Rabe
Broccoli Rabe Yahoo.com

Broccoli Rabe

Broccoli Rabe is a nice addition to a stir fry dish.  However, since it is mostly leaves, it will cook very fast.  So make sure it is almost the last vegetable that you add to the wok.  It will add a unique taste and texture to the dish.

Red Flowering Kale
Red Flowering Kale Yahoo.com

Red Flowering Kale

This is Flowering Red Kale, the leaves are wide and they are generally red to purple with some white at the base of the stems.  I tear these leaves into pieces, but I also throw the stems into the dish as well.  The more the merrier.  Some recipes will instruct you to throw away your stems, but use them, they soften up just like any other part of the vegetable. 

Red Kale
Red Kale Yahoo.com

Red Kale

This is Red Kale and the leaves are a dark, almost black purple.  The leaves are very stiff.  This will add a small amount of tang/bitter to the stir fry, but it is a pleasant tang.  The leaves will hold up well in the steam and so it provides a unique texture to the dish.  I also throw the stems in as well.  The stems wilt very fast in the steam.  But again...why waste?

Snow Peas
Snow Peas Yahoo.com

Snow Peas

In my opinion, a stir fry is not a stir fry without these lovely snow peas.  Look them over and trim any dark spots off of the pods.  This is another vegetable that you want to add only at the last minute of the stir fry process.  They are a delicate vegetable and they are better if they are still crisp but tender.

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