A Quick Meal After Work

Last night I got home from work around 12:15am, sounds late I know, but it’s pretty early for me. I was hungry, and craving something hot, tasty, and relatively good for me. After rooting around in my fridge for a few minutes I came up with an idea for what I was going to eat.

The post below is not about teaching you how to recreate what I made for myself last night. The post below is going to demonstrate the point that I always try and make which is that eating well, is not difficult, and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time. As I will show you in just a minute, as long as you have a few basics laying around you can almost always make something good to eat.

So, what did I eat last night? Not much, just…

A Quick Meal After Work

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Let’s start at the beginning, as that is usually the best place to start. What did I have to work with? The first thing I found in the fridge was noodles. As I have said before, I f***ing love noodles. The kind I had last night was a packaged udon noodle. You can buy these almost anywhere, they are cheap, they last for a long time, they cook quickly, and they are delicious. So, I knew I was going to do noodles. Now, what was I going to put them? Two days ago I made a bone-in pork roast for my mother in law, I knew I had a little bit of left over pork in the fridge which would be great with noodles. As I always have the basics lying around I had carrots, onion, garlic, and ginger. I also, just by chance, had bok choy, and cilantro. All these things that I just had lying around, were the perfect ingredients for what I was about to make.

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Vegetables, pork, and noodles, it’s good place to start but I needed a sauce. For this, I dug around in my cupboard and pulled out everything that I thought would be good with the noodles I was about to make. (some of this stuff came out of my fridge) What did I come up with? Well, I had sesame oil, soy sauce, fish sauce, hoisin sauce, chicken stock, black vinegar, Chinese five spice, and dried chilies. Honestly, at this point I just started dumping things into a bowl until it tasted good. I used all of the ingredients listed but in no specific volumes. (If a sauce tastes good before you use it, it is going to taste good with what it is used in. The reverse is also true)

Bottles of black vinegar, hoisin, sesame oil, fish sauce, chicken stock, and soy sauce.

All of my ingredients where ready. The sauce just needed to be added to everything else and my noodles were just about to be dumped into boiling water. It was time to cook. Up until this point I had spent about 10 minutes gathering and preparing ingredients (a lot of that time was stopping to take pictures) the next portion of time was only about 5 or 6 minutes. So, 16 minutes from when I got home from work I had something to eat that looked good, smelled good, tasted good, and was relatively good for me.

Okay, noodles in the water, hot wok, let’s get this going. First step was to cook my onions, ginger, and carrots. Hit the pan with a little oil first, I used sesame oil. Vegetables in the pan first and cook. About 2 minutes into cooking I added the garlic and the dried chilies. Once I could really start to smell the garlic I added the pork. I cooked the pork for a minute to crisp it up a little bit. At this point the noodles were cooked and drained so they went in the pan along with the bok choy. Toss that stuff around for a minute then hit it with the sauce and reduce it until it saucy not soupy and at the last second toss in the cilantro.

Carrots, onions, and ginger, cooking in a wok.wpid-dsc_1075.jpg

That was it. All that was left was to plate it, top it with some sesame seeds, and eat it. That is exactly what I did.

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There you go, a good, tasty meal, in under twenty minutes with things I just had lying around. It’s easy if you have some basics. If you want to know what basics you should have on hand check out my post about it here.

I just want to reiterate my original point which is that this post is not about a noodle dish, this post is about using what you have on hand, re-purposing left overs, and cooking good, quick meals. This is not difficult stuff. Cooking doesn’t have to take all day, but honestly sometimes it should. Cooking at it’s core is just about feeding yourself good food. What’s better than spicy pork noodles?

Chef Benjamin Kelly.

Empty plate after eating noodles

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About Chef Benjamin Kelly

I have spent the last fifteen years cooking professionally and gaining an education in kitchens all across the country culminating in achieving my "Red Seal Cook" status. I have cooked for the governor general, a lieutenant governor, heads of major political parties, actors, musicians, professional athletes, and countless satisfied customers. Through all this the most important lessons I have learned are to be prepared and to keep it simple. My love of food comes from my mother. Some of the first and fondest memories I have are of cooking at my mothers side. She and I, would spend snowy winter days making tea biscuits and corn chowder, shepherd's pie, goulash, baked beans and oatmeal bread, or any number of other things. In the fall we would make pickles and preserves and forage for wild berries and mushrooms in the woods around our house. Our little farm supplied us with vegetables, herbs and meat in the form of chicken and turkey as well as their eggs. Most of the food we ate that we didn't grow came from other farms in our area, farmers who we knew by name. Growing up so close to where my food was coming from I gained a deep respect for the things we eat. That respect is something that I still carry with me. The lessons I learned at my mothers side, and on our little farm have stayed with me. I hold on to the memories, beliefs, and values. It is those things that have made me who I am today.
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2 Responses to A Quick Meal After Work

  1. Pingback: Being A Professional Cook | Chef's Notes

  2. Pingback: Let’s Talk About Pizza Baby | Chef's Notes

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