What I’m Doing With My Kung Fu

I find myself in a very odd position.  My adult Kung Fu journey began with Jow Ga in Washington, DC, at the Hung Tao Choy Mei Leadership Institute. It was a short direction, but it did showed me some very valuable things and opened up a lot of relationships that I still value today.  When I left DC for Austin, Sifu Rahim suggested that I look into Ving Tsun, but to be careful to find “the ‘V-T’ guys, not the ‘W-C’ guys”.  And so I did, beginning my study of Ving Tsun Kung Fu at Moy Yat Kung Fu Academy in Austin, TX.  This beginning lasted roughly four and a half years, and took me to Houston, Detroit, RichmondBrooklyn and back to DC, even, as well as Georgetown, right up the road.

But as it says in the opening of The Romance of The Three Kingdoms,

It is a general truism of this world that anything long divided will surely unite, and anything long united will surely divide.

Change is unavoidable, and everything that was once together must part.  I find that my journey has taken an unexpected development and I am now walking a different path than I had planned.

Continue reading “What I’m Doing With My Kung Fu”

Some changes around here.

This site has finally become active again, and a lot has happened since I was last writing.

  1. I moved from DC back home to Austin.
  2. I got really sick, really quickly, with disastrous consequences.
  3. I got a diagnosis for my ADHD, anxiety and OCD.
  4. I started studying Ving Tsun Kung Fu at Moy Yat Kung Fu Academy.
  5. I got sober. I’ve stayed sober.
  6. I was invited to Status 451.
  7. I met the woman who became my wife.
  8. We got married.
  9. I wound up leaving the Academy, but am remaining in practice and study of Ving Tsun Kung Fu.
  10. We have a kid.
  11. I moved out of Drupal and into WordPress.

This is a lot going on, and I promise to write more frequently.

Sunday Night Cooking Roundup: 11 July, 2011

(Gosh, I haven’t done this in a while.)

Today’s Sunday Cooking Roundup is a litlte disappointing. There’s nothing vegetarian here, but I do have pescaterian and poultry friendly dishes.  What we do have, however, reflects what was on sale at the grocery store. In addition to the standard salad vegetables and herbs that I normally buy, this weekend they had chicken breasts, shrimp and mixed shellfish on sale.  There was no way I was going to miss out on buying these, so this week’s menu is heavy on all of them. Apologies to my veggie friends, and I’ll try again for next week.

Here’s what we have on the menu:

  1. Dheeraj’s Modified Shrimp Scampi,
  2. Garlic Chicken and
  3. Mixed Shellfish Soup.

Recipes and pictures after the jump.

Dheeraj’s Modified Shrimp Scampi

First of all, I hate the name “Shrimp Scampi”. It’s redundant. “Scampi” is Italian for “shrimp”. Really. Look it up.  But it generically means shrimp cooked up with oil and citrus.  I think that that’s okay, but a little boring. So here’s what I did, instead.

Ingredients

1 lbs peeled shrimp (I buy it and peel it, but do what you want)

1 yellow onion

1 green pepper

0.5 lbs sliced white mushrooms

2 Tbs. finely chopped garlic

1 Tbs. Black Pepper

1.5 finely diced habanero pepper

3 Tbs. Lemon juice

1 tsp. combined diced fresh rosemary, oregano and basil (Do not use dried Italian Herbs mix. It sucks.)

Steps

Well, so as part of my diet and training, I’ve given up rich cooking oils. I KNOW, RIGHT? WHAT A FUCKING DISASTER!  Anyway, I’m using a flavoured cooking spray now, and you can certainly use a cooking oil for this. In this case, I’d recommend using olive oil.  You’re going to add a lot to it, so just about any grade will do.   

So oil up a frying pan and let the oil start to warm up.  While that’s happening, dice up your onion, habaneros and green capsicum, and then stick in the oil on low heat to start to cook.  You want it to get soft, but you don’t want the onions to brown or the pepper to get too soft, so use low heat.  When the capsicum is about half-way to where you want it to be, add in the mushrooms and black pepper.  Mushroom consistency is critical, here. You don’t want them to be too floppy, but you want them to get the flavours and oils of the onion, habaneros and the capsicum. 

Keep this in mind: the shrimp will be cooking for about seven minutes. That will help you judge when the mushrooms are at the right stage of cooking to add in the shrimp.  When you’re ready, add the shrimp, garlic and lemon juice.  Mix it up and make sure that everything cooks together.

The end result should look like this:

Enjoy! 

Garlic Chicken

This is not really a recipe as much as it is me trying to recreate something that my mother used to make and trying to mod it up a little bit to accomodate what was on sale and what I needed to use up in the fridge.

Ingredients

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 finely diced onion

1 diced green capsicum

6 Tbsp chopped garlic

4 Tbsp garam masala

2 chopped serrano chillies

1/2 cup nonfat, plain yogurt

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup chopped coriander

1 tsp cumin seeds

3 tsp shredded ginger

Steps

Again, I’m not using oil, but if I were, I’d use vegetable oil.  Toss in the onions, capsicum, green chillies and ginger to get them cooking up.  When the onions start to turn translucent, add in the diced chicken, half the garam masala, half the garlic and half the cumin.   Actively stir and let the chicken get brown, while the chicken oils merge and mix in with the garam masala, cumin seeds, garlic and vegetables.  When the chicken is well browned, through everything else in.

Now, you stir it up to make sure everything is mixed up well, cover it up and step away for a while. You can tell that it’s finished when the chicken is soft enough that you can easily slice it in half with a fork. Yes, it’s that tender.

Results look like this

Mixed Shellfish Soup

This is the recipe I am seriously excited about!  The grocery store were having a sale on mixed shellfish, which included calamari, shrimp, scallops and small shellfish.  I was so pleased to discover this that I invented a soup on the spot.

Ingredients

1 diced yellow onion

1 bunch of green onions, diced

1 green capsicum

2 diced habanero peppers

8 diced tomatoes

1.5 cups diced coriander

1 lbs mixed shellfish

1 cup lemon juice

2 Tbs cumin seed

4 Tbs chopped garlic

Cinnamon to taste

Bay leaves to taste

6 Tbs garam masala

Liquid of your choice (I used water because of the diet, but I’d imagine that you could add in a lager and have amazing results.)

Steps

This can be done even if you don’t have a pressure cooker. I do, which made this a lot easier, but you can do it without one if you’re patient.  My advice is to start this before you start anything else and let it go in the background while you are cooking other things.

Take the green onion, white onion, garlic, habanero and tomato and put them into the pot you’re going to use.  Add just a little bit of your liquid, cover it up and let it sit there for a quite a bit.  You want this to start breaking down.  When your soup base is about 1/4 of the way to where you want it to be, add in everything else except the seafood. 

Now, you are cooking the base down till it gets to your desired thickness. Check on it every ten minutes or so. To make it thicker, I recommend using a habanero salsa of some kind, and to dilute, add more of your liquid.  When the base has reached the desired consistency, add in the shellfish and cook for no more than six minutes.

Results should look like this.

Garlic Chicken

Slow Roasted Beef With Pomegranate Molasses Sauce

This is another accidental recipe that turned out to be quite delicious. I don’t know how it is that I’m so lucky all the time with my experiments – as far as I remember, I’ve only had four experiments go utterly awry in the last seven years. 

This recipe came together out of a random set of circumstances. As I mentioned before, the Safeway near my old place had fantastic sales on roasts, and I wanted to play with one. I’d recently been to the Middle Eastern grocery store to get some bulk spices, and I had been thinking about how pomegranate molasses would serve as the basis for an Indian-ish barbecue sauce.

I adapted some of this from a bouef bourguignonne recipe, some from what my parents used to prepare for cookouts and some from what I know of Texas barbecue techniques. I would love to see some feedback on this recipe.

Once again, I didn’t take any pictures. Sue me.

Ingredients

1 4-5 lbs London  Broil

2 serrano chillies

5 medium yellow onions

5 Tbsp minced garlic

5 Tbsp minced ginger

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar vinegar

1 cup lemon juice

1 1/2 cup pomegranate molasses

2 tsp brown sugar

4 potatoes, peeled and chopped

6 rashers of bacon

1/2 cup finely chopped basil

6 Tbsp garam masala

1 Tbsp Freshly ground cinnamon (Do not use the powdered stuff – do it yourself)

3 Tbs Indian dried red chillies

Salt and Pepper to taste

Preparation

The first thing to do is boil the bacon a bit to get rid of the excess salt. So, take a large Dutch oven and fill it with water, bring to boil, and then stick your bacon strips in for about four minutes.  While this is going, dice one onion and your chillies as finely as you can, and slowly sautee in 1 tsp vegetable oil. When that’s done, drain the water and carefully pat down your bacon strips.  Cut the bacon into small strips, probably the size of a normal lardon, and add to the onions and chillies.  Let this go for a bit, till the lardons start to stiffen up a bit.

At this point, add the vinegar and the pomegranate molasses, and keep cooking on medium heat, stirring occasionally. While this is happening, finely dice two more onions and add them in.

Set your oven to preheat to 325.

Searing Your London Broil

Sear it as you would any other meat that you’re going to stick in the oven, and set aside.

Back to The Sauce

You should be getting quite a pungent smell by now, and it’s only going to get stronger.  Mix in the garam masala, ginger and garlic. You want this to form a somewhat thick paste for now. (Don’t worry, you’re going to add water into the mix later.) Keep cooking. If it looks like the paste is getting too think for your comfort, add just enough of the lemon juice to dilute it, but hold off on adding all of it for now.

Once you get a good paste, mix in the brown sugar, cinnamon, basil and remaining spices and the lemon juice.  Put in the chopped potatoes, and add your beef to the Dutch Oven.  If you’re like me, your Dutch oven isn’t big enough to handle a gigantic London Broil, and you’ll have to cut it into pieces to get it in there. That’s fine – don’t sweat it.

After you’ve tossed in the beef, add the final two onions, finely diced. Now, for the final step, add enough water to make sure that the beef is well covered, and stick it in the oven.

Checking On It

Normally, roasts like this will take hours to cook, but the pomegranate and balsamic vinegar will tear that beef to shreds. It’s probably good to go after two hours in the oven, but I let mine go to three because I love how soft it can get.

Serving

The Houston in me compels me to eat slow cooked meats with tortillas, at the very least, but I’d imagine that this would go well with a strong bread, maybe a sourdough.

Suggested Modifications

I think that this has the potential to turn out very sour, depending on your taste, so you may want to add more sugar to take some of the edge off.

You may also want to add more chillies. I like serranos, but that’s just me.

Pimm’s Marinated Grilled Swordfish With Lemongrass, Dill, Mint, Cucumber Sauce

A few people have asked me for this, so I’m sharing. Enjoy!

There are two parts to this: the marinade and the garnish.

Garnish

1. 1 Cucumber, peeled and finely diced
2. 2-3 diced bulbs of green onion
3. 1 diced green chilly (I use serrano)
4. 2 tsp freshly ground ginger
5. 2 Tsp fresh mint
6. 2 Tsp fresh dill
7. 2 Tsp fresh lemongrass
8. 3/4 cup white dry wine (I use Pinot Grigio)
9. 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
10. 1/2 cup lemon juice
11. Freshly ground pepper to taste
12. Salt to taste

Mix 8,9,10 together strongly.  This is the base of the garnish.  Add in 11 and 12.

At this point, you should add in everything else and mix thoroughly. You want to let the flavours steep in and mix with each other.

Let sit for at least an hour – I suggest that you make this an hour before you intend to plate your grilled swordfish.

Marinade

1. 3/4 cup Pimm’s No. 2
2. Salt and pepper to taste
3. 1/2 cup white dry wine
4. 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
5.  2 tsp fresh mint
6. 2 tsp fresh dill
7. 2 tsp fresh lemongrass

Mix all ingredients together, and add swordfish to the bowl. Let it sit for at least three hours, turning every half hour.

This gives you enough for six to eight generously sized steaks, eight to ten ounces each.  Grill the steaks and brush with marinade, say, twelve minutes each side.

When plating, pour a generous portion of the garnish on top.