My household sees a lot of stir-fry. It’s an easy mid-week meal that uses a lot of vegetables and whatever fun stuff I’ve picked up from Hana Japanese Market in Adams Morgan. It’s like a symphony in harmony with those vegetables, some noodles, the slick, spicy sauce, with maybe an egg or some nuts chiming in. Funny thing is, it’s usually the pork or chicken that’s a little discordant. The meat is never as tender as I want it to be. But those days are no more. A simple tip from Cook’s Illustrated has banished too-tough meat forever. While you are prepping your vegetables, soak the meat in 1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1/2 cup water for 15 minutes and then rinse it before adding it to the wok. That’s it. Tender, velvety meat that you can toot your horn about.
And speaking of slight adjustments that yield disproportionate results… I like to make vinaigrette at home, but I never love eating it. This may contribute to my salad aversion. Replacing balsamic vinegar and olive oil with champagne vinegar and hazelnut oil was just what I needed. A useful suggestion from Food & Wine.