When it comes to me, though, I love leftovers. Unless the ingredients were off in some unsalvageable way -- too old, too tough, or just too weird -- I relish the opportunity to spiff them up and turn them into something even better. Next week I'm planning on showing you a traditional Sichuan cold dish that turns yesterday's roast or poached bird into pure gold, one so good that I always buy extra just to make this dish.
|Peanuts plus more crunchy stuff|
Just about any other food can be resurrected as a delectable new take. For example, today we are using some beef tendons I picked up at a Chinese deli. They're already fully cooked and sliced, but they were a bit blah, as the counter had just tossed them with a bit of chile oil and called it a day.
Passing by the Chinese market on my way home, I found the last of the year's great sweet peppers, cucumbers, and chiles waiting for me, so into the basket they went. A bunch of green onions and some fresh garlic made the cut, too. And then it was full speed home.
|I loooove sweet peppers|
So, in a totally new approach to these Chinese recipes, we're going to have this recipe set out as building blocks. Now go forth and play!
Crunchy Monday salad
From just about anywhere in China or Chinatown
Serves as many as you want
|Sliced braised tendons in chili oil|
However much you want of...
sweet red peppers
super fresh cilantro
Chinese or Western celery
julienned napa or round cabbage
blanched mung bean sprouts
Whatever makes you smile of...
chili oil, preferably with the goop
sweet soy sauce, or good soy sauce plus sugar to taste
toasted sesame oil
toasted sesame paste or peanut butter
Whatever you have handy here...
crushed fried peanuts or toasted peanuts
toasted sesame seeds
|A fresh chile perked up the flavors, too|
2. Clean your vegetables, remove any seeds, stems, or tough bits and then cut them into thin strips. Toss these in a work bowl to loosen them up, and then add the protein and toss again. (Today I cut up a sweet red pepper, 2 small cucumbers, a couple of green onions, a clove of garlic that was minced, half a bunch of cilantro chopped in half, and a finely chopped fresh chile.)
|Adding my homemade sweet soy sauce|
4. Sprinkle the salad with more crunchy stuff, like peanuts, so that you get a Cracker Jack-like reward in every bite. (I went for around 4 tablespoons fried peanuts and 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, just because they were handy.) Eat while the veggies are still super crunchy. You won't have leftovers.