Home Cooking 4/2-4/9/23

Chicken curry with apples, dried apricots and raisins

Shrimp stir-fry with broccoli, red bell pepper, baby bok choy, sugar snap peas, and lo mein noodles

Pulled pork macaroni and cheese, steamed asparagus

I’ve been trying to do a little more cooking at home over the last couple of weeks. Also trying to be a good boy and eat up all the leftovers.

The chicken curry is something I have been making for 30 years or more. I think the recipe originally came from Gourmet magazine back in the day. The combination of the chicken, the assorted fruit, and the spicy curry is excellent, and the dish is not at all like the creamy curries you typically find in Indian restaurants. I thicken it a little with some cornstarch, but that wasn’t part of the original recipe. I like to have this dish with papadums (spicy fried lentil crisps) if we can find them in the supermarket.

The stir fry was an effort to use up some frozen shrimp we had in the freezer and a package of lo mein noodles I had bought. I used a recipe for a stir fry sauce I found online instead of my usual stir fry sauce, but it was underwhelming. My basic stir fry sauce is two tablespoons soy sauce, two tablespoons Chinese rice wine, a tablespoon of hoisin sauce, a teaspoon of sesame oil, and a half-teaspoon of sambal oelek. This one did not have the hoisin or the sambal and used oyster sauce. It was okay, but we missed the kick that the sambal gives especially.

Our most recent meat share arrived at the beginning of the month, and one of the items was a small boneless pork shoulder, so I intended to make pulled pork with it. As I was thinking about what to have with it, I thought about making a side of mac and cheese, and then light dawned on Marblehead, as they say, and I put them together. I did the pulled pork in the Instant Pot, which produces a perfectly fall-apart meat in about 90 minutes. The rub is brown sugar, salt and pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and cayenne. The cooking liquid is chicken stock with some Worcestershire and liquid smoke. I didn’t have any liquid smoke on hand, so did without. For the mac and cheese, I used a mixture of Velveeta and Gruyere in the sauce, with shredded cheddar and butter-toasted panko on top. Before topping the macaroni, I mixed a little Stubbs’ bourbon barbecue sauce into the meat. There was plenty of pulled pork and M&C left over, too.