Howard's Famous Stir Fry Recipe

Another wonderful recipe - just ask me, I'll tell ya. Good luck!

1.5 cups rice (I use BASMATI or JASMINE rice, but you can use any rice except Minute or Condoleeza)
2 cups H2O (make sure 2 Hs are in each molecule - be sure to check! - hydrogen peroxide is not recommended)
meat (optional - pork, chicken, or armadillo is fine - I prefer chicken, but I was born of a human mother and father)
green onion / white onion / celery / bell pepper / red pepper / yellow pepper / orange pepper / broccoli / frozen peas / any crisp vegetable, diced to the size of Jeff Probst's head when he's at tribal council (when viewed on a 13" black and white Philco television)
1/2 ounce dark sesame oil (Secret ingredient #1)
2 ounces Coke Zero (Secret ingredient #2)
2 ounces Sam Adams Boston Lager Beer (Secret ingredient #3)
fresh spinach leaves (Secret ingredient #5)
handful of peanuts (unless you're allergic)
4 ounces barbecue sauce (any brand is fine, but choose the regular BBQ flavor, not the honey mustard marinara flavor)

The day before you cook this, marinate your meat. Hmmph. Get your mind out of the gutter. Seriously, am I dealing with junior high students? Anyway, cut up the meat so each piece is about the size of a stack of about ten dimes. Please note, do not marinate dimes (they have a flavor of their own). Cut the meat to this size only. The dimes were an example. You don't have to shape the meat into little cylindrical shapes, either. After you have cut the meat, put it in a plastic bag with the barbecue sauce and throw in the refrigerator overnight. Come back tomorrow and finish up, or get into the DeLorean and set the date for the next day.

Now, cook the rice. I use 1.5 cups of rice to 2 cups water in a rice cooker. You should start this first, and a rice cooker is nice because you don't have to baby sit the rice. Be warned: if you use a pot on the stove, your rice will either be very crunchy (not good) or very mushy (not good) or maybe the rice will be just perfect (very good). With a rice cooker, it always comes out right. So, do yourself a favor - go get a rice cooker. Now. I'll wait. Maybe you should make this recipe tomorrow!

Are you back from Wal-Mart? Oh, good. Anyway, do you remember the rice recipe? I'll recap: 1.5 cups of rice and 2.0 cups of water in the rice cooker you just bought. Did you remember to wash out the rice cooker first? That first batch will taste funny if you didn't. Wow, I figured you would have known to wash out the rice cooker first before starting the rice.

Now that the rice is going (you did turn on the rice cooker, didn't you?) it's time for the stuff that goes on the rice. Chop up your vegetables. Did you put your dimes away? Get 'em back out - you want the vegetables about the same size too. You don't want to marinate your veggies, just chop 'em up. Onions, bell peppers, celery, crisp stuff. Carrots not so good - and don't even think about putting eggplant in there. Chop the spinach leaves separately, leave them the size of a dollar bill folded in half 3 times. Yes, lengthwise.

Get a nice big wok. The bigger the better. Well, that's not entirely true. Ripping the satellite dish from the neighbor's house is not a good idea. If you're using your kid's snow saucer, that's probably too big, too. A wok about 12 to 14 inches in diameter is about perfect. Put the wok on the stove, and start heating it up. The wok, that is.

Now that your wok is hot (remember this - Confucius say: hot wok, cold food, food won't stick), add the meat that has been marinating in the barbecue sauce. For you literal minded folks: remove the meat and sauce from the plastic bag first. Saute the meat until it's pretty much cooked. Raw chicken is not good for you. Neither is poking your eye with the spatula you're using, but I digress.

OK, now that the meat and sauce is going well, add your vegetables. Don't add the spinach yet. I especially like the little sweet peppers you can get at Costco - when you can find them. If you have those peppers, chop them up too and throw 'em in. It's not too late. Stir the meat, sauce and vegetables in the wok. Throw in the peanuts. Do I need to tell you that the peanuts should be out of the shells? Duh! When the liquid from the meat and barbecue sauce is pretty much gone, now it's time for the fun.

Add the Coke Zero. Just about two ounces. Not too much. Also add the beer! Fun! You're making dinner with one of my good friends Sam Adams! Invite him into your house often. I'm serious, add the cola. Pepsi, Coke, it doesn't make any difference. Diet, regular, who cares? You're using so little that it won't matter. But you do get just a touch of sweetness and flavor from the cola. And believe it or not, it makes a difference. Of course you can choose to drink the beer and not add it, but did you notice that the recipe only calls for two ounces of beer? What can you possibly do with the other 10 ounces in the bottle? Add the two ounces. Really.

Now you need to keep stirring this concoction until the liquid is pretty much gone again! Remember the score, Pepsi One - Coke Zero. Ha! The last step is to add the spinach leaves. I know you're not Popeye, but do it! Spinach is good for you, and in this recipe, even non-believers can enjoy it. So do the right thing. Add the spinach, and cook for just a minute or so. The leaves will kinda shrivel and shrink. That's what you want. If they grow, call your gardener! Turn off the heat under the wok, turn off the rice cooker when it's done.

Now take a few spoonfuls of the cooked rice (it should be done now) load up a plate, and throw a bunch of that stuff that's in the wok on top of the rice. Sit down with the other 10 ounces of Sammy by your side, and enjoy. I'll go tally the votes!

I'm sure you'll agree that this is mighty tasty. The Coke and BBQ sauce gives a nice sweetness, the veggies are still relatively crisp, the spinach gives you a sense of well-being. Did you notice that there is NO salt added? I know the barbecue sauce and Coke have some salt, but you didn't add any more, did you?

Thanks for trying out my recipe - if you like it, tell me! If you don't, tell me also - but don't expect me to believe your lies.

- Howard



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