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October 04, 1991 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1991-10-04
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9 0


Step-by-Step Stir-frying...

Campus LegendsPt.3: Death and th

by Daniel Poux
You've got one in each class: that
special someone who stole your heart
the first day of discussion section.
After staring at him or her across the
room for weeks, you finally worked up
the nerve to say hello. You met for
coffee a few times, and kissed in the
pale glow of the floodlight of your
apartment building after your first date
- a movie. Now, you've taken a very
big step, and offered to make dinner.
But you begin to panic as you stare
at your bare kitchen, wondering what
exotic dish you can whip up with half
a jar of mustard, some olives and a
very, very old head of lettuce.
Well, I haven't thought of
anything you can do with the above
ingredients - I'm good, but I'm not
that good - but I will let you in on
the dinner plan that will win
someone's heart forever. It's stir-
frying, and it's the best-kept cooking
secret on campus. If you're reading
this column in class, glance over at that
special someone before you read on. I
guarantee it will increase your level of
interest. Let's go.
First, get the right tools. Stir-frying
is great because it uses very few
utensils. A sharp knife, a wooden
stirring spoon, and a wok are about all
you'll need. If you don't have a wok,
borrow one. If your neighbors are
similarly wok-less, a big frying pan will
Next, do your shopping. The main
focus of a stir-fry is the vegetables, and
the fresher the veggies, the better the
stir-fry. I use a great system for
selecting my stir-fry components: as I
stroll through the produce aisles, I look
for vegetables of as many different
colors as I can find.
This is the first stir-fry secret e
mow lors eain tAe blterittooks.
This may not sound like a big deal,
but studies have shown that food that
looks good, tastes good. One of my
guiding principles in the kitchen is
that "food should be pleasing to the
eye as well as to the palate."
Onions, garlic, carrots, broccoli, and
mushrooms are all essentials. Peppers
are great, too, and come in green, red,
orange, yellow, even purple. The
orange and yellow ones are very sweet,
and taste great in this dish. If you want
to get exotic, add fresh spinach or
zucchini, or ingredients from the
Orient, like bamboo shoots or fresh,
chopped ginger. Look for some
specialty items in the store, that will
really impress your significant-other-
The next question you have to ask
yourself is, "meat or meatless?" If you
are a vegetarian, or you suspect that
your guestis, then go with the
vegetables alone. The next stir-fry
secret can be used in both meatless

, . .. ........
Andrew Levy e Daniel Poux
"One cannot think well, love well,
sleep well, if one has not dined well."
-- Virginia Woolf; A Room of One's Own (1929)

stir-fries and those without.
If you're going to include meat,
make sure it's good, and be careful;
salmonella poisoning can end a
romantic evening real quick. Get
boneless breasts of chicken, or beef
sirloin tips. Stew beef, if cut up into
small chunks and marinated for a
while, is also very good, and a little less,
[Jere is stir-fry secret number two:
hip up a tasty marinade, andsoakthe
meatforatleasthaf an hour.
Experiment with sauces and spices in
a bowl until you get a taste you like,
and then throw in the chunks of meat.
Experiment with vinegar, lemon juice,
soy sauce or tamari - a kind of
"organic" soy sauce, without any sugar
or MSG - tabasco sauce, thyme,
ginger, garlic salt or fresh garlic, and
salt and pepper. A mustard, lemon
juice and thyme sauce is great, and
will get rid of that jar of mustard in the
fridge. Add a little of this and a little of
that, until you get a really zesty
combination, and toss the chunks until
they are coated. Do this first, so that
the meat will be soaking while you
prepare the vegetables.
Vegetarians can get in on the
marinade madness, and toss in cubes
of tofu. This mysterious soy product is
fairly tasteless by itself, but will pick
up the flavor of the marinade
Now, the rice. This is where many
great stir-fries fall apart. Unfortunately,
this author has yet to figure out the
proper technique for making the
perfect rice. The main problem is that
there are so many different kinds of
rice, each with its own guidelines for
water and cooking time. Those
unadventurous neo-chefs can play it
safe by using the "instant" or "quick"
converted rice that comes in a box, or
in a "handy microwave pouch." If
you're looking for a challenge, use
white or brown rice. The preparation
is not as precise and takes longer, but I
think it tastes better.
Whatever rice you choose, make

sure you read the directions before
you prepare any other components of
the meal. You want to try to
synchronize the cooking of the rice
with the cooking of the stir-fry.
Nothing is worse than watching all of
those delicious vegetables tum to
greenish-brown mush because you
forgot to put the rice on until it was too
Or you might want to forget the
rice altogether, and go with noodles.
Specialty food shops --like the coops,
and Meijer's - sell very thin oriental
noodles that are a great alternative.
Some are boiled, and some go right in
the wok with the veggies. Either way,
make sure you read the directions, and
know when to start the cooking
process, so the noodles will be ready
when the stir-fry is ready.
On to veggie preparation. Carrots
are the only thing to watch out for,
they take a long time to cook, so cut
them fairly thin. If you want to get
fancy, slice them diagonally instead of
straight across (this is called sliing on a
bias). Try to get all your vegetables
sliced and separated before you start.
Preparing the ingredients is most of
the work in stir-frying the actual
stirring and frying are over before you
know it. That's why you have to be on
your toes. It's a good idea to separate
your veggies into bowls, to be thrown
into the wok at different times.
Your choice of oils to use in the
wok is very important as well.
Vegetable oil -com, sunflower, or
"canola" - work fine and are fairly
inexpensive. Sesame oil, while slightly
more expensive, has a distinctive
flavor, and has been used extensively
in Oriental cooking for centuries.
Whatever your choice, be sure not
to overdo it. Woks are made to cook
with a minimum of "lubrication," so a
tablespoon or two is all you need.
Spread the oil around the wok, and
fire it up. After a minute, test it by
dropping a piece of onion or garlic into
the oil; if it sizzles, you're ready to go.
Add the chopped onion, ginger

and garlic to thehot oil. Let these
items sizzle for a minute or two as they
season the oil. Then add the meat or
tofu, followed by the carrots. Next,
proceed by adding ingredients in the
order prescribed on this page.
This is the third secret to stir-
frying addingehlins in apraie onder,
Arai uponhow long they nxdto ook.
With a little common sense, you can
coordinate the amount of cooking
each item needs, so that everything is
cooked to perfection, without any
soggy disappointments.
The chart on this page gives step-
by-step instructions on when to add
each item. Learn it, know it, live it.
Many people love to show off their
stir-fry expertise by dramatically
shoving the vegetables around and
around. This may look cool, but it is
actually slowing down the cooking
process. If the ingredients are
constantly moving around, they are
not in direct contact with the wok and
are not getting very hot. Remember
that "stir" is only half the name.
Give it a stir about once every
minute, as well as when you add new
ingredients. Otherwise, leave it alone.
The vegetables and meat release
liquids as they cook, and these juices
prevent anything from burning,
There is one final secret I must
share with those faithful readers who
have made it through this column.
This extra effort is what separates
good stir-fries from great stir-fries.
Just fowe mlis m&a,prepare a
saue. If you added meat, use the
leftover marinade. If you didn't make
a marinade, prepare one now using the
technique I described above. For
every quarter cup to half cup of sauce,
add one tablespoon of comstarch. Stir
it well, and then throw it into the wok.
The comstarch acts as a thickening
agent and will tun the juices from the
ingredients into a nice sauce that holds
the stir-fry together. If you don't have
any comstarch, flour is a good
substitute, but be sure to stir it well, or
else it will get lumpy very fast.
Well, there you have it. With this
easy-to-follow dinner plan, a nice six-
dollar bottle of wine, and a little luck,
you'll be all set. Let me know how it
turns out.

Q Prepare marinade and meat
or tofu
0 Soak meat/tofu in marinade
for at least a half-hour (while
you prepare the vegetables).
Q Check directions on rice; it it
requires a lengthy cooking
time, be sure put it on while
preparing vegetables.
D Peel 1-2 cloves garlic, 1
medium onion, 1 srnall piece
fresh ginger (if desired) and
2-3 carrots. Chop the garlic
and ginger into very small
pieces, the onion into
somewhat small pieces, and
thinly slice carrots on a
diagonal bias. Place garlic,
ginger and onions into a
owl, and carrots into a
separate bowl.
Q Wash and chop all other
desired vegetables. Cut
broccoli into fairly small
pieces, so it cooks well;
peppers, mushrooms,
zucchini cook very fast, and
can be cut into fairly large
pieces. Spinach should be
washed very well to remove
sand and destemmed. This
will go in last.
D Add 1-2 tbsp. of your choice
of oil to the wok, and heat.
When onion piece sizzles
upon contact, wok is ready.
Q Add garlic, ginger and onion;
stir for roug h)y1minute, to
:season oil. Add carrots.
C1 Add meat or tofu. Use a fork
or a slotted spoon, so that
too much marinade does not
go into wok. Set remaining
marinade aside for later.
0 Remove a piece of meat, and
see if it is cooked. Do not
add remaining vegetables,
until meat appears at least
half-cooked. Tofu users can
add the vegetables whenever
they are ready.
tIAdd diced peppers and
brocolli; let cook roughly 2
minutes, stirring occasionaoly
LiAdd mushrooms, zucchini,
snow peas, bamboo shoots.'
Let cook another 2 minutes..
Add spinach.
"O Add 1 tbsp. comstarch or
flour to remaining marinade.
Stir well, then mix into wok.
Cook for another 2 minutes,
or until sauce is sufficiently
thick. Do not overcook:
U Place small portion of rice or
noodles onto a plate. Top
with larger portion of stir-fry.
O You might want to sprinkle
on some soy sauce or tamari
depending on how spicy you
made the marinade.
O Enjoy!

by Antonio Roque
I was playing an intellectual
game: in one corner would be a
student jogger preparing to run
across the Diag and within
minutes he would be dead.
Sal, my opponent, criticizes me
for making too dramatic an
opening move. But now he makes
his move, and says that there are
great invisible forces at work
around the Diag. This is because
of its central
location. Thee
University is like
an amoeba that
spread out cancer- Es
like from the -
exact middle of
the campus, the "M." The Med
School was a growth, North
Campus was an asexual
replication. It is these Diag forces
that pull in the crazies during the
day, and send them off at night.
After two in the morning the only
creatures on the Diag are the bats
that fly around the brilliantly-lit
American flag, and the occasional
security person with a walkie-
On the bench that Sal and I
are sitting on is the faint outline
of a chessboard. I tell Sal about
how in the beginning of the
summer someone spray-painted a
stencil chessboard on the bench.
Faculty members and town
residents and students came to
play on it but because it was
spray-painted it was considered
vandalism. So late one evening
when no-one was around it was
sandblasted off.
Sal agrees: there had been a lot
of cleaning up done on the Diag
over the summer, and he did miss
the chessboard. Sal dropped out
of college to work in a
convenience store, and he had
played chess on his break. But
this all has to do with those
strange invisible forces around the
Diag he was talking about. Like
this: first they came for the
chalkers and he didn't speak up.
because he wasn't a chalker.
Then they came for the shanties
and he didn't speak up because
he wasn't for the shanties. Then
they banned the skateboarders
and he didn't speak up because
he wasn't a skateboarder. Then
they erased the chessboard and
by that time there was no-one left
to speak up for him. So now
instead of chess we play abstract
intellectual games. In this
particular game the winner would
be determined when my
.hypothetical jogger ran.
One day, I tell him, security
will be given Uzi submachine


guns. Sal says that this is good
because Uzi rounds move fast,
and we have a tendency to admire
things that move fast. He also
tells me that the official rumor
goes that it is bad luck to step on
the "M" in the middle of the
Diag, because then you fail your
next exam. The truth is that it's
bad luck to step on the "M"
because then it gets dirty, and the
University has to paint it over and
that's expensive. Official rumor is
that it's the worst
tend luck of all to step
____ on the "M" just
after it has been
av painted over.
- Official rumor is
that it's bad luck
to tape or spray anything on the
"M," but unofficial rumor is that
some students have gone to the
extent of slitting their wrists over
the "M." The red of blood
staining the maize and blue of the
"M" is said to be a particularly
effective expression of
But now I postulate that my
student jogger would begin
running across the Diag. I would
have a camera, and security would
have their Uzis. The jogger would
run five meters at a speed of ten
miles and hour; he would reach
two inches from the "M" in four
seconds. The Uzi rounds would
fly at the speed of 1300 feet per
second. Bullets would hit the
jogger in the femur (thighbone),
patella (kneecap) and tibia
(shinbone), popping the femoral
artery and snapping the sciatic
nerve. My camera frames would
be exposed at the speed of two
every five seconds. Snap. Snap.
The jogger is shot to pieces, and
if the pictures turn out good
they'll make the front page of the
But now Sal tells me that he is
giving up intellectual games
because his head aches when he
thinks too much. His concluding
statement is that we have a
tendency to move towards death.
The way we rehabilitate rapists is
to send them off to jail where
they themselves will be raped;
the way we rehabilitate murderers
is to murder them. Sal had been
raised during the early Forties,
during World War Two, when the
entire world had gone to war
against the Nazis. After the War
he followed the Nuremburg trials,
and after the trials he listened to
an account of the hangings. The
prisoners were hanged one by
one, he remembered. But the
gallows were poorly constructed,
and it sometimes took up to half
an hour for the prisoners to be

strangled to death. After, Sal
collected the official pictures of
the Nazi corpses and hung them
on his wall. He always feels an



odd sickly thrill when he sees
them: their blackened eyes, their
popped veins and bleeding
mouths, of Jodl and Ribbentrop

and c



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A 15% discount off the total price of
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. s

October 4, 1991


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