How To Total The Kitchen In 20 Minutes Or Less.... - Penny Lane Blog at - 211695

Penny Lane

How to Total the Kitchen in 20 Minutes or Less.... 
Dec. 15, 2010 10:52 pm 
Updated: Dec. 26, 2010 9:48 pm
Asian Food!
As I have stated in my profile I go through phases - after the big turkey for Thanksgiving and the Hunks O' Meat while entertaining it was time to move on to something different...something lighter - so I am back to Stir Fry and Hot and Sour  Soup.  (Thank you Tao, RN)
Tao taught me to make the most amazing Hot and Sour Soup - Non-Baking Papa loves it!  This soup set the bar so high that he hasn't found a restaurant soup that meets this standard of excellence. 
Hot and Sour Soup - by Tao, RN
Tao's Kung Pao Chicken

So that said....Hot and Sour Soup in on the menu.  (BTW - if a period of time goes by when I don't make this soup - you can hear whining - honest to God whining from the sidelines.  It is pitiful to hear a grown man whine.)  
For as many times as I have made this soup you would think I would know it by heart.  But the one occassion that I did not follow the recipe exactly, it was, to be kind, less than steller.   That said, this is a soup that builds flavor - layer by layer - I have finally learned to follow a recipe.  Thank you Tao, RN. 
Today, I prepped everything in advance - measured and was ready.   Everything was in it's place - bagged or plated and guess what?  I still totally destroyed my kitchen! 
 I also was making a fly by the seat of my pants Kung Pao Chicken and Thai Pineapple Fried Rice.   (Do I have recipes for those - NOPE!)
One tip though - for Fried Rice (of any kind) it helps to cook your rice early - fluff and cool and then rub it with oil.  That is right - take oil and with your hands rub it with about 1 Tablespoon of cooking oil.  (Canola, Peanut, Vegetable oil)  Work the rice and oil through your fingers so the grains of rice don't stick together - set aside or refrigerate. 
I will try to write up the actual recipes - but I have to say, everything was delicious and - I really want to know how to cook any Asian food without destroying the kitchen.  

Try as I might - I have not perfected this skill.  
There is hope though - I am getting faster at cleaning up! 
========================================================== <
I am adding some recipes down here that are worth destroying your kitchen.  :)
Nana's Asian Lettuce Wraps
Dec. 15, 2010 11:31 pm
Oh, Ba'Nana, I can't wait for you to post the recipes. The rice sounds yummy. I love asian food, but my attempts at stir fry are really not great. Wish I'd been there for dinner!!-Toni
Dec. 15, 2010 11:40 pm
I can't wait for the recipes either BN! I have a lot of Asian friends and they always bring me such interesting and delightful food! I have one friend who loves soup, so I will be giving her this recipe for sure! Oh, and when my husband whines, all I do is ask him if he would like some cheese and crackers with his "whine"! LOL! :)
Dec. 15, 2010 11:46 pm
been there, done that! lol. probably the "or less" in my case though. ;)
Dec. 16, 2010 12:47 am
My fried rice comes out of a packet like my enchilada sauce (hangs head) - I think it's Kikoman we like - not SunBird. I have to look at the back - but right now I'm drawing a blank on what the one we like includes that the other does not.
Dec. 16, 2010 1:10 am
BN: I don't have much experience with preparing Asian food. I have made some fried rice, but it wasn't anything to write home about. My family enjoys my version of sweet and sour pork, but, frankly, it's just meat and sauce. In any cuisine -- Asian, American, Italian or Mexican -- I'm pretty sure I can destroy my kitchen in 14 minutes.
Dec. 16, 2010 3:35 am
We love fried rice in this house! I have attempted quite a few asian dishes and always make a heck of a mess. I also do all the prep ahead and get everything measured and sorted, but somehow when I am doing the actual cooking, my brain keeps confusing which little dish goes with the ginger beef and which goes with the sweet & sour pork! Fried rice however, I can do in my sleep. I still get all the prep done early in the day and always cook my rice at least in the morning if not the day before. (sometimes cook extra for an another dish on purpose) Basmati rice comes apart a bit easier than regular white I think and undercook it slightly to make it even easier (it will cook more as you fry the rice). We love it with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce! I love that Baking Grandpa whines like that, makes my husband seem a tad more normal! LOL Here is my recipe
Dec. 16, 2010 4:55 am
Well, I just say that my house has that "lived in" look. It's not always clean. It's not even always cleaned up! But, it is home! And, I usually get around to making it appear cleaned up!
Dec. 16, 2010 5:37 am
I need to try that soup! I may be the only one, however, who will eat that, though. Like you, we go through phases here. Right now I'm thinking beef of any sort sounds good!
Dec. 16, 2010 5:40 am
Out of curiosity do you use tiger lily buds in the hot and sour? Most takeout places near my home substitute bamboo shoot which looks similar but tiger lily has a distinct flavor. Naturally it is one of those ingredients only found in Asian markets.
Dec. 16, 2010 5:52 am
I also seem to total the kitchen when cooking Asian-I like to think my kitchen looks more restaurantish-dishes piled up, cut up veggies, little bowls scattered everywhere with sauces, and marinating meat. I used to convince the boys that the more dishes I stacked for the to wash, the better the meal. They don't believe me any more, but I am so greatful they still wash all the dishes and clean up my kitchen. PS, we had Asian last night too-sweet 'n sour ribs, noodle and veggie stirfry and shao mai (sp)
Dec. 16, 2010 6:44 am
Can't wait for the recipes! And yep, I am a kitchen totaler totally! I can wreck havoc making toast. No lie.
Dec. 16, 2010 10:46 am
When my wife gets home she typically fing the kitchen in good order and the dishes washed. If she ever checks the load in the vacuum or pays attention to the quantity of dishes in the strainer I will (probably) have some explaining to do.
Dec. 16, 2010 11:01 am
I added the link to Tao's Kung Poa - which is how I make it - well I do add some veggies and water chestnuts.
Dec. 16, 2010 11:03 am
Marianne - you really do need to try the Hot and Sour Soup. It is the cure for the common cold in our house. :) Even most of the kids like it.
Dec. 16, 2010 11:04 am
redneck - You describe the kitchen so well - Even with everything prepped and cleaned up I still end up with a mess.
Dec. 16, 2010 11:06 am
nidan48 - I use bamboo shoots. We are fortunate to have a really good Asian market near by. :) I love going there.
Dec. 16, 2010 3:35 pm
LOL The soup sounds great if I was there I'd help clean up! Promise! My totaled kitchen nemsis seems to be peanut brittle.
Dec. 16, 2010 5:37 pm
Oh Cat - yep peanut brittle will do it! If you ever make it out this way - I will put you to work!
Dec. 16, 2010 6:02 pm
When I boil water I destroy the kitchen!!!! I've given up on thinking I can just "dirty" a few dishes. I just make sure the dishwasher is empty and try to keep up with it as I go!
Dec. 16, 2010 6:04 pm
Grumpy47 - that is so funny! My grandkids can total the kitchen in moments - chocolate milk not only means the glass and spoon but chocolate powder all over the counter and usually the floor too. :)
Dec. 16, 2010 6:19 pm
Denise - Tao has two recipes for Hot and Sour Soup - Nothern Style and Southern Style. Both are great but the Southern Style is what DH likes best. Check out his recipe box!
Dec. 16, 2010 8:13 pm
Hi Ba'Nana, Asian food is my passion right now too! Today, number one daughter and I had Yakisobi Noodles. A really HUGE bowl with all kinds of veggies in it. And, my husband loves Hot and Sour Soup. It IS good for colds. And, it really doesn't matter what I cook, I always trash my kitchen.
Dec. 16, 2010 8:55 pm
Candice - thank you for confirming that Hot and Sour soup is great for colds. I think it's the vinegar - which we add liberally! It's a cure all!
Dec. 16, 2010 8:56 pm
Oh by the way - My kitchen can be trashed when I don't even "cook" Wow- "What is with that?"
Dec. 16, 2010 9:55 pm
I love hot & sour soup too! And yes, it is good for what ails you. Now, back to the kitchen. I made Asian lettuce wraps the other night. Simple, easy to prep, nice and compact right? Well lets just say that the clean up took longer than it took to prep and eat. There are just too many bowls and cutting boards involved. Not to mention the rice cooker and the meat cooking at a high temp in the wok with oil splattering everywhere. Love the food, hate the clean up.
Dec. 17, 2010 6:57 am
Oh Avon, Asian Lettuce Wraps! We love them and they sound so easy. NOT - LOL - for us that is the start of the meal and then there is the never ending clean up! I must perfect this.
Dec. 17, 2010 7:10 am
I will have to send you my lettuce wrap recipe. Really not messy and straight from Martin Yan :) BTW you have never seen a mess until you have my precious son in law cook a full Vietnamese menu. Now that is a mess.
Dec. 17, 2010 7:33 am
BaNa, takes you 20 minutes to total the kitchen? Only takes me 10, lol, I have such a tiny kitchen! I'll be waiting for your recipes, I love asian food! I haven't had hot 'n sour soup in such a long time, you've awakened the memory, thanks! I've always wanted to attempt sizzling rice soup, one of us should try that one, too.....
Dec. 17, 2010 7:35 am
I would love your recipe Mauigirl & I love Vietnamese food! I imagine the mess is well worth it! Pass those recipes along too!
Dec. 17, 2010 7:49 am
msntnkrbll - thanks for stopping in. Sizzling Rice Soup is great - now I want that too!
Dec. 17, 2010 9:51 am
Oh Nana my family LOVES all kinds of Asian food!! We roll our own sushi, make homemade eggrolls and wontons and fried rice is a staple! I've been making fried rice since I was a kid and I've never heard your tip of rubbing oil through the rice before refrigerating...can't wait to try that!! Thanks!!
Dec. 17, 2010 10:12 am
Hi Ruby - thanks for stopping in. It was a chef in a Thai restaurant that gave me that tip for the rice. Works great! You will have to share some of your Asian recipes. :)
Dec. 17, 2010 3:29 pm
Just a reminder that "Asian" includes Indian, Pakistani, Russian, Persian, Bengali, Nepalese, etc. cuisines. Asia's much bigger than just the Far East. Liked your blog!
Dec. 17, 2010 4:23 pm
DarkAngel - so true and I would total my kitchen with any of these cuisines! LOL. I think it is about what you get used to cooking. Thanks for stopping in! :)
Dec. 18, 2010 3:58 am
i love to eat sops and thanks a lot to toni for giving such a great,delicious soup recepy.
Dec. 18, 2010 3:58 am
i love to eat soups and thanks a lot to toni for giving such a great,delicious soup recepy.
Dec. 18, 2010 7:11 am
I can total my kitchen by just THINKING about cooking and my husband is worse. The only difference is that he doesn't do cleanup. :( For a brief time, I cooked in a restaurant. One day the owner asked me if I could cook Chinese food. After saying yes, the next thing I knew, I was making a Chinese all-you-can-eat buffet. Now THAT was was a messy kitchen! The prep was a nightmare, it took three of us hours to clean up, and I will never admit I can cook anything like that again...
Dec. 18, 2010 9:18 am
JBOTT - that is so funny! Another case of "be careful what you volunteer for." It actually makes me feel better to know that even a restaurant kitchen can be totalled by Chinese food!
Dec. 18, 2010 1:19 pm
Cat Hill Try this EASY receipe for peanut brittle,and it is so good too! In a large glass bowl, mix 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup light Karo syrup, dash of salt and 1 cup peanuts.Stir well. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the microwave for 4 min. on high. Take it out and stir. Return to microwave oven and cook 4 more minutes with the plastic over it.Take out and add 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp butter. Stir and return to microwave for 2 more minutes. Add one tsp of baking soda and stir QUICKLY. Pour quickly on greased pan.A friend that makes this all the time gave this reipe to me and I make it over and over, especially at the holidays!
Dec. 18, 2010 3:55 pm
Hey - thanks for that poopsy. I hope Cat sees it!
Dec. 18, 2010 4:25 pm
poopsy, that is the same recipe my hubby has made for years. Always turns out great! He sometimes uses pecans instead of raw peanuts. He bought the Visions Cookware several years ago, just for making the brittle.
Dec. 18, 2010 4:47 pm
I am lucky, I am handicapped and in chronic pain...(that's not the lucky part!), and on days that I am able to cook, my husband is happy to do the clean up and dishes. Yesterday he surprised me by putting up Christmas decorations, and I "rewarded" him with meatloaf, fried potatoes, and Russian tea cakes. I was totally worthless after cooking all of that, and he had a mess on top of putting up decorations, but to hear him "MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmm" after almost every bite sure made it worth it to me. This morning he finished the tea cakes, and he is not a sweet eater! I know he does not mind cleaning for me, he is a tall man, and he has to be for his huge heart to fit in his chest!
Dec. 18, 2010 4:52 pm
If you think that's good, I am sure I can do it in less time. I loved your story and recipes and will keep it in mind for fried rice in the future. I make cavatini which I know is a different national and all but I swear I dirty every dish in my house nad then some. Starts the day before, I always make my sauce from scratch in the crockpot and let it cook for awhile. Next day after making the mess from the sauce and using my mechanical dishwasher at least twice and my husband (manual dishwasher) once twice it's time to cook pasta and assemble. I have never made this receipe the same twice, we always are trying something different and write down what we don't like instead of what we do. I just bought a new stove with a burner that can be made bigger to fit the huge stockpot I use to mix the pasta in. You know how pasta grows with what you are making and it takes so much to make it I make vats and freeze it. Cook pasta and mix the sauce that has been reheated together. My husband swears if we had the room he would get me a small oar to mix it with. What can I say I can't cook small!! There's only the two of us so far, don't know where I get it from. Anyways back to the story. We layer this mixture in 9x13's and everything else that it will fit. Even layer the pans with foil and freeze and then pop them out and vacum pack them for the freezer. byt the time we have layered and sprinkled all the cheese the kitchen looks like I have a dozen kids having a food fight! It is usually a 3 day process to fix this but I have never had a complaint. My husband and I fixed a very large amount of this for my parents 50th wedding anniversary and didn't have too many left overs and my husband even made it by himself for our 10th anniversary when he suprised me with a vow renewal. He did everything and he keeps saying he doesn't know how to cook. He says he's helped me enough that he has learned. He swears I could have cooked for his Army unit if we had been together back then and not batted an eye. I am just hoping one of these days that I have a dozen kids to cook for I would be in seventh heaven I just need a bigger kitchen. If there's more than 2 people in there it's tight unless someone is sitting at the table assembling stuff. WE have learned to cook together and enjoy it emensly. The third day is for the recovery from all the cooking and we order out becuase after cooking that much pasta you just don't want to see another noodle trust me!
Dec. 19, 2010 2:21 pm
Choppie - Thanks for stopping in. Isn't it nice to hear that "MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmm" It sounds like your hubby is a gem. :)
Dec. 19, 2010 2:23 pm
Glenda - Cavatini sounds like one of those kitchen destroying meals. So worth it I am sure. BTW - a bigger kitchen just means a bigger mess. :)
Dec. 19, 2010 3:19 pm
LOL Baking Nana... In our home in Iowa we had a huge kitchen, and also 4 young adults living with us. As soon as I got the kitchen cleaned, they would decide to empty the glasses out of their rooms, two dishwasher loads of them! Here in Sweden we have a nice small kitchen, and just the two of us. I became wheelchair bound here in Sweden, but the occupational therapist gave me an office chair type thing that has a button I push to go up or down so I can be at the right level without standing. It has opened so many doors to cooking again, and our kitchen has just enough room for me to "zip around", and if I get hold of my dogs tug o war toy, she pulls me around too! :)
Dec. 19, 2010 8:42 pm
Choppie - I certainly understand about the kitchen that is always used....happens here. To be honest the only time the kitchen is clean is over night....and then not always then. :( I am glad you have found a way to make you kitchen work for you. BTW - it was an extreme illness that brought me to AR. I couldn't do much other than get to the computer. I thank God every day for my renewed health and for AR for keeping me company.
Dec. 19, 2010 8:43 pm
BTW - choppie - living in Sweden - do you shop daily? I did when I lived in Europe. I loved that once a day shopping trip.
Dec. 19, 2010 9:33 pm
Oh yes! Every day. No car to carry huge amounts of groceries home, and no super centers to get all of our needs met. I love that the shops are usually just one type of store, and the people that work there know what they are talking about. On the other hand, I truly feel sorry for people with large families when the biggest size milk you can get is a liter. My kids did go through a gallon of milk a day, and I simply cannot imagine shopping daily for a large family. At least the ones in the apartment complex. Even if you could lug enough groceries home, there is very little space to put them. Also, I totally agree with you about all recipes. I have been here a couple of years, and my husband asks, "Don't you ever get tired of looking at recipes?" I simply tell him that he should be happy I found AR, since he gets to reap the benefits!
Dec. 19, 2010 9:35 pm
BTW, I am so happy for you that you regained your health. No chance of that happening for me, but I make the best of it. And... it is my poor hubby lugging the groceries home. But he says that he would be doing the same if he were alone, and does not mind a bit!
Dec. 20, 2010 7:41 am
Hi Baking Nana! I love Tao! The guy can cook.. We love cooking asian and are lucky enough to live in a suburb of Atlanta where we have many asian markets! We've tried several of Tao's recipes and they have all been great- We love the milk tea.. Your Lettuce wrap recipe looks awesome.. I used to low carb and ate alot of things wrapped in lettuce!! We are definitely gonna give them a try!!! Keep woking Baking Nana!!
Dec. 20, 2010 8:07 am
A true cook always destroys the kitchen while cooking.... its a sign that the job is being done properly! :) or at least that's what I tell myself! :) One would never expect an artists work area to be perfectly neat and tidy, so why do we expect our kitchens to be steller while we craft a perfect meal? beats me!
Dec. 20, 2010 8:51 am
Thanks for stopping back by Choppie. I love your husband's willingness to lug all the groceries and clean up too! What a great attitude. He's a gem. :)
Dec. 20, 2010 8:53 am
Wiser1 - I too love Tao's recipes. We love lettuce wraps - there is so much you can do with them. :)
Dec. 20, 2010 8:56 am
Catherine - I like your thinking! Only problem is - I am usually on my own for clean up duty.....I have learned to bake bread and not total the kitchen. For me - Asian food is the worst when it comes to making a mess. It's worth it though. Most Chinese restaurants around here use a lot of MSG and that leaves me with a headache. I prefer to avoid that so cooking it at home is worth the mess.
Dec. 20, 2010 10:15 am
I somehow destroy my kitchen EVERY time I cook. My mom tried to instill in me to clean as you go, but I find it hard when I'm deep into a task! Thanks for sharing Tao's recipes. Everything sounded wonderful. The "secret" to my fried rice is a little sugar :)
Dec. 20, 2010 10:53 am
Hi Skoo - the secret to the stir fried broccoli is a little sugar! Not a lot - just a pinch. Wow - what a difference that makes. If you have a dishwasher - it really helps to have it empty before you start a big project. Still - It doesn't take much to total the kitchen.
Dec. 20, 2010 8:29 pm
Get me anywhere near a kitchen and it will be destroyed, my husband laughs because even simple chocolate chip cookies end up with some morsels or flour managing to escape out of the pass through into his shoes. He says nothing is safe when I am baking.
Dec. 20, 2010 9:30 pm
adeguire - you need to turn down your mixer! LOL - sounds like you are a riot in the kitchen! :)
Dec. 21, 2010 12:08 pm
The only time my kithen gets totalled is when I make General Tsos chicken, there is a wonderful recipe on here, that is better than most Chinese restuarants. but it is so much work and so many additions. Needless to say I am soaking wet when I am done. Would love to learn tomake eggrolls. Will check out Taos recipes. I will stir fry just about anything. Husband always asks if I need help just as I am plating the meal. ARGH@@@
Dec. 21, 2010 1:57 pm
Hey - Silver - SEE asian food did your kitchen in too. :) There is a great recipe for authentic egg rolls on this site. Check it out. Ah yes - the disappearing "help" until help is no longer required! LOL - I know that trick. :)
Dec. 22, 2010 10:13 am
I guarantee that if you make real homemade tamales you WILL trash your kitchen. You generally need to employ multiple pots, a blender, a stand mixer... you get the picture. My friends ask (beg) for them but I only make them about once a year as I have to psych myself up first! lol
Dec. 22, 2010 10:41 am
I can't wait to see the recipes. I frequently trash my kitchen with just a simple meal. The clean as you go has never really worked for me it just means I clean my small kitchen 8 times instead of 1. Someday I will have a real kitchen. The DH needs to finish school so we can buy a house.
Dec. 22, 2010 1:09 pm
Madddysmom - Ah Yes! The tamale trashed kitchen! Tamales are probably worse than Asian food. But you right - they are so very good.
Dec. 22, 2010 1:11 pm
llive24 - With a small kitchen I have to clean as I go or there is no room to make more messes! :) I did post a couple of Tao's recipes - I haven't written up the Pineapple Fried Rice yet - I don't have it written down - I will have to pick my own brain one of these days and get it onto paper.
Dec. 26, 2010 9:48 pm
Hot and sour soup IS great for colds! Vietmanese pho is even better- I think it could probably mend a broken leg. :) I trash my kitchen no matter what- I think the trashing and the clean-up are just part of the Zen-like process and therapy of cooking. :)
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Baking Nana

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Aug. 2009

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About Me
Every morning my granddaughter calls and says, "Good morning Nana. Whatcha doing? Are you baking Nana?" Hence my name, Baking Nana. I love to bake bread and never get tired of it. Yeast is additive! Visit me at If you would like to contact me directly please use the 'Contact Me' on my site.
My favorite things to cook
I go through phases, Asian for a while then Italian then on to something else. I love experimenting with new flavors and different spices. Some times my husband will ask if we will ever have "ordinary" food again. Once in a while I have to toss him a burger just to keep quite! Actually, he is a good sport and my favorite taste tester.
My favorite family cooking traditions
In our family if it is your birthday you get to choose the menu. We have had some really interesting meals. In March we have 5 birthdays so we do one big party - what a crazy menu that is! Christmas dinner is very traditional. Sausage rolls, Prime Rib, Yorkshire Pudding, gravy, Green beans with bacon, Mashed Potatoes (the really fattening kind) and trifle for dessert. If I were to dare to omit any of those items I would be lynched.
My cooking triumphs
Mastering really great bread is probably my biggest triumph. I am always so pleased when I create a perfect Asian dish.
My cooking tragedies
There have been a few but none so horrible that I can't laugh about them now.
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