Home
In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

It's easy to go stir-fry crazy: Just about everything you need to know to do it right

By Sharon Thompson





http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Stir-frying is one of the easiest cooking methods for getting a delicious meal on the table in a hurry. Stir-frying is simply stirring and frying food at the same time.

Professional cooks have differing opinions on whether a wok or a skillet gives the best results. The testers at America's Test Kitchen prefer a skillet, while Lexington, Ky., cooking instructor Phil Dunn and restaurateur Suda Veerasethakul like to use a wok.

"I think the best pan to use is a wok because, basically, stir-frying and wok cooking are the same," Dunn said.

"Any pan with sloping sides would work. I always suggest that people work with small amounts of food in the pan at the beginning; sometimes they put way too much in a pan and make a big mess trying to stir it without having the food splattering out. And then there are those who graduate from stir-frying to sauteing, which requires more skill in keeping the ingredients contained in the pan."

Cooking authority Shirley Corriher classifies sauteing and stir-frying together because "both require rapid movement and turning of the food in a hot pan containing a small amount of fat."

Because stir-frying is done over very high heat, smoking can occur if you're not careful. If that happens, you have to clean out the pan and start all over.

The best oils to use are ones that can be heated to a high temperature without smoking: canola, peanut or grapeseed. These oils also have neutral flavors that work well with stir-fry sauces and ingredients, according to Bon Appetit.

Veerasethakul, one of the owners of Thai Orchid Cafe in Lexington, Ky., said it's also good to make sure your veggies are dry before they hit the hot oil.

"If there is a lot of excess moisture, it's going to spatter," she said. "Ouch!"


GOOD INGREDIENTS MAKE DISH BETTER
A stir-fry is only as good as its ingredients. Use fresh vegetables, preferably ones with contrasting colors, flavors and textures. If pressed for time, you may use packages of pre-sliced vegetables and meat.


PICK A PROTEIN
Choose a lean, tender cut, such as:

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders.

Steak, such as flank

Thick, firm white-fleshed fish. Firm or extra-firm tofu.


CHOPPING AND SLICING
All the ingredients - meat, fish, vegetables - should be sliced thinly and uniformly to ensure that everything cooks quickly and evenly.

Bell peppers: Cut into thin strips.

Bok choy, asparagus, green beans, scallion greens: Cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces.

Broccoli, cauliflower: Cut into small florets.

Carrots, sweet potatoes: Cut into 1/4 -inch-thick slices.

Meat, fish: Cut across the grain into strips 1/4 inch thick and 2 inches long.

Snow peas, sugar snap peas: Leave whole, with ends trimmed.


MAKE A SAUCE
Prepare the sauce in the same pan you'll be using to stir-fry the protein and vegetables. Heat the seasonings, such as garlic and ginger, to bring out their fragrance and flavor. Then add the remaining ingredients and cook until sauce thickens to the consistency of heavy cream. You can prepare sauces in advance, or make a double batch and refrigerate half for another time. (But don't double the cornstarch - that will make the sauce too thick. Instead, use 11/2 times the specified amount.)


COOK THE VEGETABLES
Because some vegetables take longer than others, add them to the pan in stages, beginning with those that require the most time.

Green beans: 9 minutes.

Cauliflower: 8 minutes.

Sweet potatoes: 8 minutes.

Asparagus: 4 minutes.

Carrots: 4 minutes.

Bok choy: 2-3 minutes.

Broccoli: 2-3 minutes.

Snow and sugar snap peas: 1 minute.


GET EVERYTHING READY, THEN YOU'RE SET TO GO
It's important to have all of the ingredients ready to go before you begin stir-frying. You'll find that once you start, cooking goes too quickly to prepare ingredients between cooking steps.

Start by slicing all of the ingredients, combining the sauce ingredients, and cooking the rice or pasta. Arrange all ingredients in dishes near the skillet or wok so you can reach them easily.

When everything is ready, add the cooking oil to the large skillet. Lift and tilt the skillet to evenly distribute the oil over the bottom. Preheat the skillet over medium-high heat about 1 minute. To test the hotness of the oil, add a single piece of vegetable to the hot skillet. If it sizzles, proceed with cooking the seasonings, vegetables and meats as directed in the recipe.

You might need to add oil during stir-frying to prevent the food from sticking. The amount of oil needed for stir-frying depends on the skillet's surface. A skillet with a non-stick surface probably will need less oil than a wok with a steel surface. If you need to add more cooking oil, add a small amount at a time, and bring the oil to frying temperature before proceeding.

Seasonings, such as minced garlic and grated ginger root, generally are stir-fried first for 15 seconds so their distinctive flavors season the oil. Just stir the seasoning into the hot oil, keeping it in constant motion. Because the amount you will be stir-frying at one time is so small, it's important to keep the seasonings moving the entire time so they don't burn.

Now you're ready to stir-fry the vegetables. Begin with the vegetables that take the longest to cook, then follow with those that cook more quickly. Use a long-handled spatula or wooden spoon to gently lift and turn the pieces of food with a folding motion. This ensures that the food will cook evenly. To prevent scorching, remember to keep the food moving at all times. Remove the vegetables from the skillet after stir-frying.

Stir-fry the meat, poultry or fish. Since overloading the skillet or wok with food will slow cooking, stir-fry no more than 12 ounces of protein at one time. This means that for most recipes, you'll begin by stir-frying only half of the protein until it is done, then remove it from the skillet. Then you'll stir-fry the remaining half. Return all of the cooked protein to the skillet.

To thicken the sauce, push the cooked meat from the center of the skillet. If the sauce ingredients you've already mixed contain cornstarch, you'll need to restir first. Then pour the sauce into the center of the skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens and bubbles over the entire surface.

The final step of stir-frying is to return all of the stir-fried ingredients to the center of the skillet. Stir everything together to coat with the sauce. Then, cook and stir the mixture as directed in the recipe until heated through. To assure that your stir-fry is piping hot, serve immediately.


IT PAYS TO BE QUICK
Cooking food fast is the key to good stir-frying.

Cutting the food into small, thin pieces and cooking small amounts at one time make the quick cooking possible.

When cooked quickly, vegetables keep their crispness and color, and meats stay tender and juicy.


THE RIGHT SKILLET
You don't have to own a wok to make a terrific stir-fry. But you do need a good 12-inch skillet.

At America's Test Kitchen, the professional testers prefer a skillet with a traditional rather than non-stick surface, precisely because they want the food to adhere slightly, to create the caramelized, browned bits, called fond, that are the foundation for great flavor.

What's more, while even the best non-stick surface will wear off eventually, a well-made traditional skillet should last a lifetime.

Skillets are simply frying pans with low, flared sides. Their shape encourages evaporation, which is why skillets excel at searing, browning and sauce reduction. Traditional versions come in three main materials: stainless steel, anodized aluminum and cast iron. The test kitchen is not a big fan of the dark surface of anodized aluminum, because it makes it hard to judge the color of fond. And while cast-iron skillets have their uses, they are cumbersome and can react with acidic sauces.

A great skillet will transmit heat evenly across its cooking surface; has a steady, moderate saute speed and will not require endless fiddling with the temperature dial to balance any shortcomings. It also will have a generous cooking surface.

To learn how to buy a top-notch skillet go to: cooksillustrated. com/equipment/overview.asp??docid=18250.




You can use your stir-fry skills on these recipes. This lemon chicken dish is ready, from start to finish, in 30 minutes.


LEMON CHICKEN STIR-FRY

  • 1 pound uncooked chicken breast tenders (not breaded)

  • 1 medium onion

  • 1/2 cup sugar snap pea pods

  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (for cooking pasta)

  • 8 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 2 cups small broccoli florets

  • 1 cup chicken broth

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch

  • 11/2 teaspoons lemon-pepper seasoning

Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Peel onion and cut into 8 wedges. Snap-off the stem end of each pea pod, then pull string across pea pod to remove it. Cut tomatoes in half.

Fill a 4-quart Dutch oven about half full of water. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover with lid; heat over high heat until water is boiling rapidly. Add pasta. Heat to boiling again. Boil uncovered 3 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until pasta is tender but still firm to the bite.

While pasta is cooking, in a 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and onion; stir-fry 5 to 6 minutes or until chicken is brown.

Add broccoli and pea pods to chicken mixture. Cook over medium-high heat 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are crisp-tender.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together broth, thyme, lemon peel, cornstarch and lemon-pepper seasoning; stir into chicken mixture. Cook over medium-high heat 1 to 2 minutes, or until sauce is thickened and vegetables are coated.

Stir in tomatoes; cook until thoroughly heated. Place a strainer or colander in the sink. Pour pasta in the strainer to drain. Serve chicken mixture over pasta. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional information per serving: 440 calories, 6 g. fat, 50 mg. cholesterol, 530 mg. sodium, 61 g. carbohydrate, 5 g. dietary fiber, 37 g. protein.


Almost any tender beef cut - sirloin, top sirloin, tri-tip, rib-eye, top loin, tenderloin - can be trimmed, cut into uniform strips and used for stir-fry. Even some less tender cuts, such as flank, top round and round tip steaks, are suitable for stir-frying when cut into thin strips.

Total preparation and cooking time for this beef stir-fry is 15 minutes.


SZECHUAN BEEF STIR-FRY

  • 10-ounce package fresh vegetable stir-fry blend

  • 3 tablespoons water

  • 2 beef shoulder center steaks (ranch steaks), cut 3/4 inch thick (about 8 ounces each)

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1/2 cup prepared sesame-ginger stir-fry sauce

  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 2 cups hot cooked rice or brown rice, prepared without butter or salt

  • 1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts

Combine vegetables and water in large non-stick skillet; cover and cook over medium-high heat 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove and drain vegetables. Set aside. Meanwhile cut beef steaks into 1/4 -inch thick strips.

Heat same skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add half the beef and half the garlic; stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes or until outside surface of beef is no longer pink. Remove from skillet; keep warm. Repeat with remaining beef and garlic.

Return all beef and vegetables to skillet. Add stir-fry sauce and red pepper; cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through. Spoon over rice. Sprinkle with peanuts. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional information per serving: 351 calories, 11 g. fat, 64 mg. cholesterol, 1,147 mg. sodium, 29 g. carbohydrate, 3 g. fiber, 32 g. protein.


YOU CAN BOIL WATER, SO YOU CAN MAKE RICE, PASTA WATER
Stir-fried dishes often are accompanied by pasta or rice, and both begin with boiling water.

Hot or cold water?

When boiling water, is it faster to start with hot water?

And what is a true boil?

A full boil makes the water as hot as possible - 212 degrees at sea level, with many large bubbles constantly breaking the surface. To speed up the process, many cooks start with water that is hot from the tap, but a few still insist on cold tap water, claiming that it makes a difference to the flavor of food like pasta. To see whether this is really the case, America's Test Kitchen set up a taste test.

The testers brought 4 quarts each of hot and cold tap water to a boil and then added 1 tablespoon salt and 1 pound pasta to each. When the pasta was done, it was drained and tasted plain (no oil, no sauce). Tasters could not discern any difference in flavor. In fact, the only difference was in the time it took the pots to reach a boil - 13-1/2 minutes for the hot tap water, 15 minutes for the cold.

Before you turn on the hot tap, though, you might want to consider what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has to say about cooking with hot tap water. According to the EPA, water hot from the tap can contain much higher levels of lead than cold tap water. In addition, even cold tap water should be run for a while (until the water is as cold as it can get) to ensure that any lead deposits are flushed out of the system.


TIPS FOR COOKING RICE
In stir-fry dishes, long-grain white and brown rice work well. Short- and medium-grain rice are good choices for dishes that have a creamier characteristic.

American-grown rice does not need washing or rinsing before or after cooking. Rinsing rice, or cooking rice in excess water and draining, results in loss of water-soluble vitamins and minerals.

It's best to follow the directions on the package, and here are some tips that will help you make perfect rice to go with any dish.

Accurately measure rice and liquid.

Set timer to prevent undercooking or overcooking.

Keep the lid on the pot during cooking to prevent steam from escaping.

Rice triples in volume. Use cookware appropriate for the amount of rice you are preparing.

Do not stir. Stirring releases the starch, resulting in rice that is sticky.

At the end of cooking time, remove lid and test for doneness. If rice is not tender or liquid is not absorbed, cook 2 to 4 minutes longer.

When rice is cooked, fluff with fork or slotted spoon to allow steam to escape and keep the grains separate.

If rice is crunchy, add additional liquid, cover tightly and cook until grains are tender.

If more separate grains are desirable, saute rice in small amount of butter or margarine before adding liquid.



TIPS FOR COOKING PASTA
Boil 4 to 6 quarts of water for one pound of dry pasta. (You can divide this recipe depending on how much pasta you are cooking.)

Add the pasta with a stir and return the water to a boil.

Stir pasta occasionally during cooking.

Follow the package directions for cooking times. If the pasta is to be used as part of a dish that requires further cooking, undercook the pasta by ?1/3 of the cooking time specified on the package.

Taste the pasta to determine whether it is done. Perfectly cooked pasta should be al dente, or firm to the bite, yet cooked through.

Drain pasta immediately and follow the rest of the recipe.

Interested in a private Judaic studies instructor — for free? Let us know by clicking here.

Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

To comment, please click here.





© 2010, Lexington Herald-Leader by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.