I read through my old journals from junior high and high school this weekend. And…wow. Just wow.
Here is what I learned about myself in a nutshell: I was completely boy-crazy in junior high (honestly, was anything else going on in my life at that time?!?); I enjoyed writing with brightly-colored markers (but who doesn’t); and I over-analyzed EVERYTHING – although anyone who knows me today wouldn’t be surprised by that.
My favorite journal discovery, however, was an entry from 1999 (I was 15), where I actually made a list of things I was currently unhappy about. On this list were such existential revelations as: material wealth, Geometry, worrying, rules, pimples, and getting up early. Yes, this list is real. How one makes the jump from material wealth to pimples in a list of biggest concerns, only 15-year-old me can understand.
My life was beautifully uncomplicated for years, but I apparently just couldn’t handle the simplicity of it all. Hormones are a bitch, amiright? It’s a wonder I never really made it as an actor – I was very, very dramatic. At least now I can pour my latent angst into my cooking.
What You Need for the Stirfry:
- 1 1/2 cups Basmati, Jasmine, White or Brown rice (I used Basmati but it’s your preference)
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup sliced yellow onion
- 1 cup sliced white button mushrooms
- 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
- 1 bag frozen, peeled and deveined shrimp
- 1 tbsp olive oil
What You Need for the Sweet & Sour Sauce:
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup distilled white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup pineapple juice
- 1/8 cup brown sugar
- 1/8 cup white cane sugar
- 2 tbsp garlic chili paste
- 1/2 cup red and green bell pepper, VERY finely chopped (I put mine in a food chopper)
- 1 tbsp corn starch (see below for substitutes)
What You Do to Make the Stirfry:
Cook the rice according to package directions and set aside, keeping covered and warm.
Thaw out the frozen shrimp in a bowl of cold water (the package will have these directions. I usually switch out the water one or two times until the shrimp are fully unfrozen.)
In a wok or large pan, heat olive oil and add all the vegetables (broccoli through bell pepper).
Cook vegetables until soft, stirring well. Add shrimp and continue cooking until shrimp are cooked through.
What You Do to Make the Sauce:
Fill a medium sauce pot with all of the ingredients for the Sweet & Sour sauce and bring to a boil.
The sauce is basically easy to make but needs a lot of attention. Keep it at a boil and stir constantly. It’s similar to a balsamic reduction in that it will be a liquid consistency for about 10-15 minutes until all of a sudden it will very quickly thicken. This is the part you have to be aware of because you must remove it from the heat immediately or else it will burn. I learned this the hard way and might be buying a new pot this week.
After about 10 minutes, add the corn starch (you can also substitute corn starch for flour, or gluten free flour).
You’ll know when it’s done because it will be thick and syrupy.
Serve the veggies over the rice and top with the sauce. Eat with chopsticks for a complete experience.