J: So in February... I know I'm still behind. Steve Swenson's birthday was February 12th and for his birthday he picked "some stir fried stuff or some Thai curry." The curry is easy, if you have the stuff. The stir fry is more difficult -- for me and my electric stove. One of these days, I'm going to replace it with a Wolf or a Viking home version of their commercial ranges with 15,000 BTUs. But until then I'm stuck. What I do is put everything in the tremendous 18 inch wok, one small batch at a time. I can't remember what vegetables I used, but I used my "famous" Kung Pao sauce, so let's just call the dish Kung Pao Vegetables. If it was authentic, I guess I'd have used chicken and celery and peanuts, but long ago I figured out that vegetables are cheaper than chicken (duh). My way (lots of veggies, little chicken) is popular enough around here that almost nobody noticed when I cut out the chicken entirely. The sauce recipe I keep in my head, and it's for about two people's worth so I routinely triple it (or more), but I only remember it as the single version. 1 teaspoon each crushed red pepper, garlic powder, sugar, cornstarch. 1/4 cup chicken (or vegetable) broth, boullion is fine. 2 tablespoons soy sauce 1 tablespoon dry sherry or white wine 1 teaspoon each red wine vinegar and sesame oil. Stir fry all the veggies (brocolli, bell peppers, cauliflower, cabbage, onions, scallions, beansprouts, collard greens, green beans, asparagus, carrots, celery, zuchinni, whatever) in whatever fashion works best for you. Then add the sauce and stir until it thickens. On my stove, that means adding the sauce to an empty wok and letting it thicken, then adding back all the veggies that have already been cooked. Adding fresh ginger makes the whole thing seem hotter. Adding more crushed red pepper makes the whole thing really hotter. I prefer to use powdered broth because the recipe seems to benefit from the additional salt. I've been using Telma brand vegetable broth cubes lately. They're in the Jewish section of the market here. Thai Curry 1 14 oz can coconut milk (*not* coconut juice) 2 heaping tablespoons prepared curry paste (red, green, panang) 4 tablespoons fish sauce (such as Tiparos brand) Meat or veggies or both Heat the coconut milk in a pot until it bubbles. Add the paste and break it up. Add the fish sauce. Add the "stuff" in reverse order of how long it takes to cook. The "stuff" is some combination of Beef chunks (not tough like stew meat, but not steak either) Chicken (boneless, or whole parts; I like to chop thighs in half, the bone marrow seems to add flavor as it cooks). Pork chunks Potatoes (peeled or not) Bamboo shoots (canned, sliced, in water) Onions Carrots Peppers (bell, jalapeno, etc.) Squash (zuchini, yellow) If you have some, add a stalk of lemon grass and a few kafir lime leaves. These are pretty much Thai things so you'll probably have to find a Thai market for them. I made one batch with beef and potatoes and one with only veggies. The dish isn't vegetarian because the paste has fish in it and so does the fish sauce, but if you make your own paste (I'll get around to doing that one of these days), you can serve it to someone who is strict. I'm not. Do I need to say, serve over white rice? This amount will feed about three or four. Scale up as needed. I don't know if you can get the ingredients, but hey, it's New York so you should be able to get anything. You can probably find the Tommy Tang brand of coconut milk and curry paste at Dean and DeLuca for only about five times the regular price. Everyone I know has the Kung Pao sauce recipe -- it's my most asked for recipe. Now you know. Good luck. Bruce