Mark Makes a Stir Fry

I was in for a special treat last night when Mark agreed to make me dinner. And now YOU are in for a special treat because I photographed it for you. I really need to get a video camera, though, because believe me, still photos don’t do justice to an evening in the kitchen with Mark.

Markery (Mark’s Stir Fry)

sushi rice, prepared
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 red chili peppers, sliced
1 scallion, chopped
3 small heads broccoli, chopped (Mark really likes broccoli)
1/2 pound smoked tofu, sliced
1 cup cashews (Mark also really likes cashews)
vegetarian stir fry sauce, to taste
garlic black bean sauce, to taste
soy sauce, to taste
1 Tbsp garlic chili paste
1 Tbsp cornstarch + 2 Tbsp water

First, get the rice cooking. Mark selected sushi rice, so he first rinsed it in the pot of the rice cooker. He said he needed to rinse it extremely well in order to reduce his carbon footprint. When I pointed out that rinsing uses up a lot of water and wasn’t really reducing his carbon footprint, he informed me that Han Solo had a very large carbonite footprint.

Next, start prepping your vegetables. Peel the carrots.

I said PEEL the carrots …

… then chop them. Pick your next vegetable to prep.

The onion was the last one in the air, so he donned my onion goggles …

… and got to work.

And then this happened, after which he said the onion pieces were too small and he’d meant to have large pieces, but I refused to give him another onion.

Next Mark elected to chop his chili peppers. His first rule of working with chili peppers is to not put them up your nose.

Next, slice them with a knife.

Then he rinsed them under running water to remove the seeds.

Mark was pleased to discover a four-leaf clover when chopping the bell pepper …

… and enjoyed ripping the heart out of it.

Intermediary glass of orange juice.

Little man made of scallion and chili pepper ends, carrot peel eyes. Mark gives new meaning to playing with your food. Also, he must have chopped the scallion by this time.

Next he chopped the broccoli, probably a bit more of it than really necessary for two people.

I don’t like stir frying raw broccoli, so he asked if he should steam it first and I said he could just microwave it for a couple of minutes. So here is Mark explaining microwaves – they are from the “future”. (Again, I really need to get a video camera.)

Meanwhile, Mark discovered the package of smoked tofu …

… and sliced up about half of it.

Next he wanted to put together a sauce for the stir fry. He wanted to just use soy sauce but I said soy sauce alone would be too salty, so he rummaged through various ingredients and found Vegetarian Stir Fry Sauce …

… which he poured into a small bowl.

Next some garlic black bean sauce …

… and soy sauce.

To his immense surprise, this tasted pretty good.

So he whisked it up very well.

And then added this much chili paste – he wanted me to show you exactly how much.

The finished sauce:

In a separate small bowl, he whisked together a heaping tablespoon of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons cold water.

At this time the rice finished cooking, so he tasted it, then added salt and rice vinegar (because the sushi vinegar I bought last time is nasty).

Then it was time to get cooking. He poured some oil into the hot wok.

The onions went in first.

Then the carrots.

And the peppers … and I think he had mixed the scallions in with the peppers.

Then the broccoli and tofu.

Followed by four pounds of cashews.

Stir fry it all up until veggies are all crisp-tender.

Then pour in the sauce.

When the sauce comes to boil, pour in the cornstarch mixture and mix well.

Then remove from heat.

And celebrate with more orange juice.

Behold your beautiful meal.

Finally, it’s time to taste the fruits of your labor.

Not too bad!

And here is my plate:

My verdict? It was actually pretty good! A bit salty and rather heavy on the cashews, but tasty and cooked to perfection. A job well done, Smark! I’d definitely be willing to let him cook for me again.

Comments (12)

How (not) to make a burrito, by Mark

Tonight when I asked Mark what he wanted for dinner, he replied, “nothing,” and proceeded to help himself to a large pile of saltines. “You are not eating saltines for dinner,” I informed him. “Why not?” “Because you need nutrients. I’m making burritos, will you eat one?”

We went back and forth about the burritos, with Mark being rather picky about what he would accept in his burrito (including, oddly, cucumbers), until I finally said, “why don’t you make your own damn burrito?”

So he did. And he suggested that I share the wonder of his burrito making “skill” with you. So I did.

First you need to gather the ingredients. These include canned pinto beans, Ro-Tel tomatoes, chopped onions, hot sauce, salt, and (oddly) a cucumber.

Oh, and tortillas.

Open the cans using a can opener.

Mark is unsure about canned goods. He thinks they all smell bad. This is because he’s in charge of feeding Brachtune her tuna and that really does smell bad.

Get over your disgust and plow on through with the burrito-making process.

Pour the beans into a strainer …

… and rinse.

Look how Mark balanced the strainer on the sink! How talented he is in the kitchen!

What step is next, I wonder?

Oh yes, the chopping!

First, murder your wife.

Then go to business on that cucumber.


(This is about when I told Mark he was finished with the cucumber.)

Remove a tortilla from the package.

Tortillas can serve many purposes. For one, they help prevent the spread of swine flu.

They can also be large yarmulkes.

If, instead, you’d like to eat the tortilla, place it on a work surface. Arrange your chopped cucumbers in the middle.

Add some of the beans. No need to cook them!

Instead, just smash them down.

Choose only the finest tomatoes from the tin. The only way to know which are best is to taste them.

Put them on the tortilla as well and smash.

Get some onions. The onions are a very important part of the burrito.

Add them to the pile on the tortilla.

Generously sprinkle some hot sauce over the tortilla.

Your tortilla should now look like this:

But we’ve forgotten the most important ingredient!

Now fold the tortilla up:

Your meal-in-a-hand is done!

Enjoy!

Mmmmm!

Wait a minute …

… this is a little disgusting.

And also messy.

The final product:

And that was Mark’s dinner tonight.

Warning: Mark’s burritos may cause insanity.

As delicious as Mark’s burrito looked, I chose not to follow his recipe. I made my own burrito, which consisted of pinto beans that I cooked, with vegan nacho cheese, tomatoes, onions, taco sauce, vegan sour cream, and a distinct lack of cucumbers.

Not too pretty, but very tasty and very satisfying!

Comments (18)

How to Slice a Mango: A Tutorial by Mark

There is an oblong, somewhat flat pit in the center of the mango, so the first thing you want to do is make two lengthwise slices around the pit.

Here’s the first slice:

And the second slice:

Begin scoring the mango, cutting the flesh but not cutting all the way through to the peel:

Then score in the opposite direction to create cubes:

All along, make sure you are not cutting through the skin:

Here is the nicely-scored mango:

Flip it inside out:

Then start cutting the cubes off from the peel:

Repeat for the other half. Then you can remove the mango that surrounds the pit on the middle slice:

If you get tired of slicing around the pit, just eat around it like a monkey, in particular, the monkey in Indiana Jones, but eating a mango, not a date, the one about whom Indiana Jones says “bad dates”:

Comments (3)

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