Another ridiculously beautiful spring day. The trees are starting to leaf out. the skies are blue, the air is mild, and birds sing from every branch.
Today I signed up for yoga class. I'm a two time yoga school dropout so I'm not sure whether or not this one will take but yoga is a good thing so I am trying again.
The first time I took yoga I was in a class of mixed levels of expertise so there were people who looked like they really knew what they were doing and then there was me, who in addition to being twenty years older than anyone else in the class, didn't have a clue as to what I was doing. The teacher immediately and correctly pegged me as a special needs yoga student and was extra supportive. As I would clumsily struggle to do poses that involved things like standing on one leg with my hands pressed together over my head, unable to maintain my balance for more than a few seconds at a time, the teacher would come up to me, smile sympathetically, and say with great earnestness, "Awesome. Really awesome." I'm not sure why -- and it had nothing to do with the teacher who really was a nice woman -- but I eventually stopped attending class.
The second time I took yoga, a year or so later, I took a class that one of my coworkers taught. We were both working for a struggling/ failing company at the time and Scott was one of my favorite coworkers and a truly funny person. We'd sing little songs about the company to each other. I'd sing "Freshen up your resume, make a contact every day" to the tune of Button Up Your Overcoat. Scott would sing, "Start spreading your cheeks, you're gonna get fucked" to the tune of New York, New York. Scott made up extensive and truly obscene lyrics to that one and sang it to me every time we had a piece of telecomm equipment malfunction or some other crisis unfolded. I'd hear it often. Sometimes I'd find myself working on one thing or another and realize I was cheerfully singing it to myself.
Scott was a wonderful yoga teacher but I found making it to class every Friday night at 6:30 difficult. Inevitably as I'd get ready to leave work there would be a call or situation that demanded my immediate attention, or I would find myself stuck in a big traffic jam and end up getting to class ridiculously late. Yoga was not calming under these circumstances. Eventually, I dropped out again. But because I know yoga is full of benefits for me I am trying it once more.
After signing up for yoga I went to the grocery store and bought .... ice cream! But it's OK because for dinner we had a healthy and delicious shrimp stir fry. Plus there's all that yoga in my future.
I have just started trying stir frying again and while the two stir fries I've turned out have been pretty good and Mike and I have polished them off, I still feel as if I need to work on it more. They could be better. In the meantime though, here is the recipe I used which is based on my looking at a number of stir fry recipes in Breath of the Wok and the China Moon Cafe Cookbook and then trying to figure out what would work with what I had in the house.
Stir Fried Shrimp
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red pepper, cut into strips approximately 1/2 " by 1 1/2 "
1 bunch of scallions, bottom part only cut into 1" lengths
2 heads of baby bok choy. large leaves split lenghtwise
1 California chile, sliced in thin rings
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1/4 cup chicken broth (I used canned, low sodium broth because I'm a slacker and I don't have a freezer full of homemade broth)
2 tablespoons white wine (if I could have found our dry sherry I would have used that instead)
1 heaping teaspoon of cornstarch dissolved in 1 additional tablespoon of broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
peanut oil for the wok
Toss the shrimp with the salt and sugar and let it stand for 15 minutes. Then pat the shrimp dry with paper towels.
Heat your wok until you see smoke coming from the wok then add about one to two tablespoons of peanut oil by pouring it around the side of the wok and letting it run to the bottom. Wait until the oil is shimmering and moving (on my stove this was almost immediately) and add garlic. Toss the garlic for a moment and then add the shrimp. Make sure they are spread out in a single layer and let them sear for about 1 minute. Toss them quickly about and then remove them from the wok to a plate. They will not be done at this point but it's ok because they are going back in the pan later.
Add the peppers and the onion to the wok. Toss for a moment and then add the baby bok choy. Continue to toss until everything is softened. This may be a couple of minutes. Put the shrimp back in, then add the soy sauce and oyster sauce. Toss for a moment, then add the broth and wine, then the cornstarch mixed with the tablespoon of broth. As soon as the liquid comes to a boil it will start to thicken. Toss for another moment until the sauce is thick and glossy and everything is well coated. Serve immediately over rice.
Jalapeno would have been a better pepper to use than the California chile which was a little too mild. I would slice the jalapeno very thinly and remove the seeds.
If I'd had ginger in the house I would have used that also.