I love my wok.
It’s on the stove more than it’s in the cupboard during the summer. Why? If you look at Wikipedia, you’ll find that the wok has multiples uses…
“The wok can be used in a large number of cooking methods. Before the introduction of western cookware it was often used for all cooking techniques including:
- Boiling: For boiling water, soups, dumplings, or rice. In the latter case, guoba often forms.
- Braising: Braised dishes are commonly made using woks. Braising is useful when reducing sauces.
- Deep frying: Usually accomplished with larger woks to reduce splashing, but for deep frying of less food or small food items, small woks are also used.
- Pan frying: Food that is fried using a small amount of oil in the bottom of a pan.
- Roasting: Cooking food with dry heat in an enclosed pan with lid.
- Searing: Food is carbonized (charcoaled) on its outer surfaces by the application of high heat.
- Smoking: Food can be hot smoked by putting the smoking material in the bottom of the wok while food is placed on a rack above.
- Steaming: Done using a dedicated wok for boiling water in combination with steaming baskets.
- Stewing: Woks are sometimes used for stewing though it is more common in Chinese cuisine to use either stoneware or porcelain for such purposes, especially when longer stewing times are required.
- Stir frying: Frying food quickly in a small amount of oil over high heat while stirring continuously.”
This past week our favorite stir fry has been zucchini, sliced and quartered, with a tablespoon of butter and half a tablespoon of olive oil. The great thing about making this dish is that you can have it different ways. Less time on the stove leaves the vegetables crunchier, while more time allows them to soften and really cook in their juices. Either way, it tastes great! Stirring every five minutes or so with the burner on low heat, it’s also an incredibly easy meal to make.
Since last week I’ve made stir fry three more times with sliced and quartered zucchini, sliced carrots, chopped broccoli, and a few small chunks of onions. Along with the butter and olive oil (and a bit of salt and pepper), our CSA dishes have tasted fresh and delicious. Sharing with friends and family has been the best part, because they always ask, “What’s in it?” and are surprised when I tell them that it’s just vegetables with a bit of salt, pepper, butter, and olive oil.
(On another note, I also rendered lard again for the summer. Look for my next post all about why butter and lard are the healthiest fats to use in pastry dough. Yes, that’s right…it’s PIE SEASON AGAIN!!!)