炸酱面 (zhajiangmian/noodles with pork and bean sauce)

I’m almost done with my fourth week at work. I’m still in training, so still not doing any real work. I turned in a project and took an exam on Tuesday, and I’m taking another exam on Thursday morning and then start another series of classes on Thursday afternoon. When I was taking my exam, one of my trainers was taking an exam at the same time… which is just evidence that you’re never done taking tests. Awesome.

It’s weird to think that people will be headed back to w-town soon. And I won’t be. It’s real. I’m no longer a college student. Crazy, huh.

Well, onward to the recipe. It isn’t a super authentic recipe, but it gets the job done. It tastes good and that’s what counts right? It’s really simple, but involves ingredients that I only find in Asian grocery stores. Which exist here. Haha.

Ingredients
1/3 lb ground pork
garlic powder
salt
soy sauce
vegetable oil
cornstarch
1 clump? (also don’t know the measure word…) of Yangchun (阳春)noodles, dried
1 carrot, shredded (or in my case, cut into thin strips)
ground bean paste (if you don’t know what that is, refer here)

Marinate ground pork with garlic powder, soy sauce, salt, vegetable oil and cornstarch.

While meat is marinating, boil water and cook noodles. When soft, drain and set aside.

In a non-stick frying pan, heat vegetable oil. When hot, add carrots and stir fry until almost tender. Push carrots off to the side of the pan and add the pork. When fully cooked, mix meat and carrots together. Add a spoonful of bean paste and stir until paste coats the meat and carrots. Serve on top of the noodles.

Chinese “Broccoli” (Gai lan/jie lan/芥兰)

I’ve been here (in my apartment) for about a week and a half, and here (at my job) for almost a month now. I haven’t gotten the hang of buying the right amount of food yet. I’ve been eating the same few things for a week and a half: garlic broccoli with rice (maybe some chicken too), frozen dumplings, and this. Paired with my next post, it made a really good meal.

I’ve also been trying to figure out how to make individual servings of things. I’m starting to get the hang of it.

Ingredients
3 stalks? (I don’t know the measure word) chinese broccoli, cut into 2″ pieces
Lee Kum Kee Oyster Sauce (if you don’t know what that is, refer here)

Preparation
Bring a small pot of water to a boil.

Put broccoli into the water and boil for 2-3 minutes.

Pour out water and serve broccoli topped with ~1 tablespoon of oyster sauce.

Garlic Broccoli

Today is the last night I’m in a hotel. Tomorrow I move into my apartment! Yay! As a tribute to the little kitchen in my hotel room, I’m posting a simple simple recipe for garlic broccoli with carrots that I ate pretty much every night here.

Confession: I love broccoli. When I was younger it was one of the two vegetables I ate (the other was green beans). The weird thing is when I was younger, I only liked the stems and my brother only liked the florets. We evened each other out pretty well. Now, not only do I like different kinds of vegetables, but I also like both the stems and the florets of broccoli.

This dish is a staple of my diet. Usually I’d add chicken, but I didn’t want to deal with it in the hotel. It’s great over rice or as a side to other main dishes.

Ingredients
1 crown broccoli, cut into pieces
1 carrot, sliced
vegetable oil
salt
garlic powder
soy sauce

Heat oil in a frying pan. When hot, add carrots and allow to cook for about a minute. Add a pinch of salt and a splash of water (around 2-3 tablespoons, but I don’t really measure). Cook for another 3-5 minutes.

Add broccoli, stir and cook for another minute or so. Add another pinch of salt, more water (3-5 tablespoons I think), and sprinkle liberally with garlic powder (I usually do about 3-4 shakes of the bottle).

Cook until vegetables are tender. Add soy sauce (I would estimate around 3 tablespoons), stir, and cook for another few minutes to let the vegetables soak in the flavor.

“Mexican” pasta

So I’m wrapping up my second week at work. This week seems to have gone by super fast. It’s hard to believe that tomorrow is Friday again. My big accomplishment of the week? I passed my first exam! PTL! There are many more to come and they’re going to get harder, but still. First one down! Yay!

In other news, I’m moving into my apartment on Sunday! Finally! I’ll be really glad to get outta this hotel. Not totally looking forward to moving everything again though.

Ok. On to the recipe. I’ve definitely seen this idea many times so the idea isn’t original, but I didn’t use a recipe, so this specific recipe is mine. You might notice that a lot of the ingredients are the same as the ones in my last post… I had a bunch of half cans of things to finish.

For the most part it was just dumping a bunch of things together. Pretty simple. I thought I was going to be eating it for a week straight, but a friend came over last night and ate two servings. That means a) it’s pretty good, b) my friend eats everything, or c) both.

Also, I’m not sure why it looks so shiny in the picture…

Ingredients
1/2 lb rotini
1 lb ground beef
1 packet (1 oz) taco seasoning
1/2 (15oz) can black beans, drained
1/2 (15.5oz) can corn, drained
16 oz salsa
1 10 oz can diced tomatoes and green chili peppers
8 oz sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cook pasta until al dente.

In a large, non-stick frying pan, brown ground beef in a pan. Add taco seasoning and stir until well mixed. Add black beans, corn and tomatoes and chili peppers.

Mix in pasta, sour cream and salsa.

Add cheddar cheese and stir until cheese is melted in.

Dressed Up Tomato Soup

Since I’m in a hotel for another week, I decided to think about simple stuff I could make. I got a can of Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup, but I thought plain ol’ tomato soup was too boring, so I thought of ways to make it more interesting.

I decided to add a bit of “Mexican”. I put “Mexican” in quotation marks and didn’t tag this as “Mexican” because I don’t really think it’s Mexican food… but it did come out kind of salsa-like. Kind of. It’s a lot chunkier than the picture would suggest, but all the solid stuff sinks to the bottom.

It was really tasty though. I had 2 bowls for lunch today, then another one later as a mid-afternoon snack… and I still have a reeeaaaally big bowl left over in my fridge. I’ll probably have that for dinner tomorrow.

Ingredients
1 can Campbell’s condensed tomato soup
1 10oz can diced tomatoes and green chili peppers
1/2 15oz can black beans, drained
1/2 15.5oz can corn, drained
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
salt
garlic powder

Preparation
Dump soup, tomatoes/chili peppers, black beans and corn into a pot and heat until boiling.

Add salt and garlic powder to taste, then melt in cheddar cheese.

Serve topped with some more cheddar cheese (also optional).

“Asian” Vegetable Pasta

So I officially finished my first week of work! I don’t do any real work yet though because I’m still in orientation and training. Actually, it’s a lot like being a freshman again. This past week reminded me strongly of First Days. Lots of new people (some of whom know each other already– i.e., similar to summer science/summer humanities people), lots of new information, getting lost on campus, etc.

I haven’t moved into my apartment yet (move in date: August 14th), so I’m currently living in a residence hotel. There’s a kitchen– it’s small, but it has a refrigerator and a stove, so I’ve been doing a little cooking! Mostly really simple things… often involving Ramen.

But I thought I’d share this because it’s really easy to make and turned out pretty well. I put “Asian” in quotation marks because it certainly isn’t real Asian food. It has Asian elements (vegetables/flavoring) but authentic Asian food does not have rotini or (Western) broccoli in it.

Ingredients:
1 broccoli crown, cut into florets
1 carrot, sliced
3 stalks of 油菜 (Mandarin: youcai, Cantonese: yauchoy), chopped into (approx) 1″ pieces
1/2 lb of pasta (I used rotini)
Lee Kum Kee Black Bean Garlic Sauce (first mentioned in this post)
vegetable oil
salt
garlic powder

Boil water and cook pasta until al dente.

In a non-stick frying pan, heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil. When oil is hot, add carrots. Cook for a few minutes, then add broccoli. Sprinkle with salt and garlic powder, and add some water (about 1/4 cup). Cook until tender.

Add 油菜 to the pan and continue to cook. Add pasta and stir until well-mixed. Add 2 spoonfuls of the black bean garlic sauce and stir until the sauce is evenly spread.

Cook on low heat for a few more minutes to let the pasta/vegetables absorb the flavor of the sauce.