A couple of cooking exceptions involve stir-fries and grilling. I don't lay any territorial, macho claims to the grill (ME MAN; COOK WITH FIRE!) but atara seems quite content to put me in charge of outdoor cooking. Likewise she has little interest in using the wok - though in that case, I can understand her reluctance to get spattered with hot oil. Eh. A few grease burns here and there on the arms builds character. It seldom spatters unless I am sloppy about ensuring everything is dry before it goes in.
I took a picture of the wok after I used it yesterday. I can remember when this thing was clean and bright, but I suppose this black circle of despair in the centre is a sign that it is becoming well-seasoned.
I should probably switch to a wooden utensil when I am using it. It came with a metal spoonula that I have never bothered to replace. I guess it is a little late in the game to try and avoid scoring the surface of the wok at this point.
I regard the dark centre as being similar to the darker coloured belts one earns when training in Judo. The blacker this wok turns, the more experience I have gained, and (in theory) I am a better cook for it. By the time the wok has turned completely black, I will be a master of stir-fry. I will be able to tell the difference between a carrot and a finger, and julienne appropriately. I will be able to produce perfect zucchini sticks without risking any digits or other extremities, and will be able to deconstruct onions without shedding a tear (other than tears of manly pride in my accomplishments).
Some day I will hold up this wok and gaze into its stygian depth, seeing no reflection of me, but only of my mastery of the wok. And I shall think, " How much more black could this be?" And the answer is none. None more black.
One of the reasons I like doing stir-fry is that I don't have to follow a recipe. Having made enough bad ones over the years, I have learned important lessons in what not to do. Once you have eliminated the nots, the world is your oyster.
Soy Sauce ✓
When I noticed that Safeway had marked down their pork tenderloins this weekend past, I grabbed one of those and a napa cabbage, and worked from there. Usually I will also add bell peppers, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, and whatever we need to use up in the fridge. I was going to make my own stir-fry sauce for it this time around, but we had a vegetarian mushroom sauce that has been gathering dust in the pantry for months.
The sauce was quite delicious, and now we are both wishing we could remember where we bought it.