Spring stir-fry (second version)

a drizzle of sesame oil (about 2 tsp., depending on pan size)
up to a pound of pork sliced for stir-fry
thinly chopped onions to taste, optional
1-2 Tbsp. ginger-flavored soy sauce (or regular soy sauce and ginger to taste)
1-2 Tbsp. oyster sauce
1 bundle asparagus, ends snapped off (about a pound before snapping), broken into 1 to 1-1/2 inch pieces
1 winter pear (such as Bosc), cored and sliced into about 1/4-inch thick pieces; peeling is optional
1 tsp. rice wine vinegar, or to taste, optional

Add enough sesame oil to a medium frying pan or wok to coat the bottom. Add pork, onions, and soy sauce, and cook until the pork is only slightly pink, stirring frequently. Add oyster sauce and stir in, then add asparagus. When asparagus has started to cook (or at once if it’s fairly thin), add pear drizzling with vinegar before stirring in. Cook until all ingredients are done, being careful not to overcook the asparagus (asparagus should be “al dente” and not yet limp or slimy); the pear can be a little undercooked if necessary. If the asparagus is fairly thick, make sure there is enough liquid in the pan to create some steam, cover, and let cook about 3 minutes. Makes 2-3 servings over rice or noodles, or a hungry person can eat the whole thing unaccompanied if not required to move afterward.

By Dana Huffman.

Index to all blog posts.

Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish.
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.

Medieval mixed pickles

In recreationist circles, this dish is often called by its amusing medieval name, Compost.

2 lb. total parsley roots, carrots, radishes, and turnips, peeled and thinly sliced
1 lb. white cabbage, cored and shredded
1 lb. hard pears, peeled, cored, and cut up
6 Tbsp. salt
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. saffron
2 cups white wine vinegar (divided)
2 oz. currants
2 1/2 cups fruity white wine
6 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. French mustard
1/8 tsp. each ground cinnamon and ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. each anise and fennel seeds
2 oz. sugar

Bring root vegetables and cabbage to a boil, add pears, and cook until they start to soften. Drain and spread vegetables in a 2-inch layer in a shallow non-metallic dish. Sprinkle with salt, ginger, saffron, and 4 Tbsp. of the vinegar, cover, and let sit 12 hours.

Rinse well and add the currants, then pack into sterilized canning jars, leaving at least 1 inch headspace. Bring wine and honey to a simmer, skim, and add the rest of the vinegar, mustard, cinnamon, pepper, anise, fennel seeds, and sugar. Bring to a boil and pour over vegetables, covering them with 1/2 inch of liquid. Close with vinegar-proof seals and store.

From: Black, Maggie, The Medieval Cookbook. British Museum Press, 1992. ISBN: 0714105562

Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish.
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.