I picked up a warmer for use in my New Years stir-fry and I wanted to try it out ahead of time to see how it worked. I figured I'd audition 3 new recipes from Stir Frying to the Skies Edge to see if I'd make them again on New Years. I did the prep for all of these dishes simultaneously and set the various ingredients on 1 of 3 half sheet pans with the other ingredients for each of the 3 dishes. To help keep things straight I will split up the cooks into separate sections as if they were done independently. One thing I will need to do is get a scallion shredding tool, because shredding all the scallions for the Mongolian Lamb took me way longer than I expected. Even though I started the prep early, I soon found myself running nearly an hour late. So for the Mongolian Lamb I didn't do my normal Mis en Place and just mixed the lamb marinade ingredients straight into the bowl without placing them in the little s/s measuring bowls.
I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.
BELLA 3 BOWL 2.5 QUART FOOD WARMER:
I tried hard to find the Crock Pot brand 3 unit warmer that VI had recommended to me and though I found Crock Pot single unit crock pots but no warmers. Several stores did carry them in the past, but no more. FWIW they said there were reliability issues, but i take that with a grain of salt. I kept seeing this Bella brand unit in every store I looked in. I'd never heard of the brand but it was in literally every store that had Crock Pot brand units. It ran anywhere from $79.00 to $59.00 so it was close to the price of $49.00 for the Crock Pot unit. When I saw this Bella unit on sale at BB & B for $49.00, I took the plunge. Although I was concerned that I'd never heard of the Bella brand before, I rationalized that everything is made in China these days anyway. It had a feature I really like too: it had these inverted U-shaped wire hooks that served to support the lids in the open position while serving.
Those of you that have other warmers, how long do you pre-heat them before you put food in them? Or in other words how long do they take to come up to operating temperature?
PEPPERY VEGETARIAN RICE:
This recipe started with my making up a batch of brown rice early in the morning and refrigerating it for several hours. Beside the cold rice the ingredients were: Eggs, toasted pine nuts, vegetable broth, soy sauce, red pepper flakes, salt, white pepper, minced ginger, diced baby carrots & sliced scallions, diced Shitake mushrooms.
This was a first for me, scrambling an egg on the wok, It was over in less than a minute so this is the only picture I have. After the egg was done I took it back into the Kitchen & cut it into chunks for use in the fried rice.
After pouring some peanut oil in the wok and letting it heat up, some minced ginger & red pepper flakes were added and stir-fried for 15 seconds. The diced carrots & Shitake mushrooms went in next & were stir-fried until most of the peanut oil was absorbed.
The broth was added next & everything was stir-fried until most of the broth was absorbed or cooked off.
More peanut oil was swirled into the wok and the rice & scallions were added in and stir-fried.
The pine nuts, soy sauce, salt & white pepper were added in last & were mixed through. Stir-fry 1 of 3 is done & will go back to the Kitchen to be held in the food warmer.
SICHUAN PORK WITH PEPPERS & PEANUTS
This recipe used cornstarch, sugar, minced garlic, thin sliced garlic, balsamic vinegar, dry sherry, soy sauce, chili bean sauce, white pepper, salt, egg white, diced red onion, red pepper, unsalted dry roasted peanuts, & diced pork.
The pork was marinaded in the egg what, dry sherry, cornstarch, minced garlic, sugar, salt & white pepper.
The sauce used: Soy sauce, balsamic vinegar & dry sherry
After swirling some peanut oil into the wok & allowing it to heat to almost smoking, the red onions & thin sliced garlic are added & stir-fried for about a minute.
The onions get pushed up onto the side of the wok to slow down their cooking. The marinated pork chunks are added & are left undisturbed for a minute to start browning up.
The chili bean sauce is added to the pork and the pork is stir-fried for another minute until it is almost, but not quite, cooked through.
The pork is removed & the peppers are added as well as salt & white pepper and get stir-fried until the peppers are starting to soften.
The pork is added back in and gets stir-fried for another minute.
The peanuts are added in.
The peanuts have been mixed through & stir fry number 2 of 3 is done & it is off to the Kitchen & will join the rice in the food warmer.
MONGOLIAN LAMB WITH SCALLIONS:
When it came time to do this prep I needed to get out to the grill. I was running an hour late, so I simply mixed the marinade ingredients directly in the bowl with the lamb instead of measuring it into mixing bowls first.
The lamb was cut into 1/4" thick strips & then were cut into 1" wide pieces. The marinade used: minced garlic, dry sherry, dark soy sauce, dried Sichuan peppercorn powder, cornstarch, salt & sugar.
After the marinade was mixed through with the lamb some sesame oil was added an mixed into the lamb & marinade.
Some peanut oil has been pre-heated & the marinated lamb is on the wok where it gets laid out in a single layer & is allowed to cook undisturbed for 1 minute.
The shredded scallions are added & the mixture gets mixed to combine.
The scallions are mixed through & a hoisin sauce mixture gets added in & the mixture gets stir-fried for a minute or so.
Stir-fry 3 of 3 is done & it is off to the food warmer in the Kitchen.
TIME TO EAT:
Everything was excellent, and there were no leftovers. The food warmer held the first two items well but I was surprised the food wasn't a little warmer-that is why I asked how long folks pre-heated their warmers for. None of these dishes will be made again for New Years-not because they weren't excellent, but their are other stir-fries I made that everyone liked even better. I would elect to make the Mongolian Lamb since it is my favorite stir-fry I've made, but my dad is not a lamb eater.
Left to right: Peppery Vegetable Fried Rice, Sichuan Pork with Peppers & Peanuts & Mongolian Lamb with Scallions, Mongolian Lamb with Scallions.
Peppery Vegetable Fried Rice
Sichuan Pork with Peppers & Peanuts
Mongolian Lamb with Scallions