Recipes from the Grapevine Cottage

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Fried Rice with shrimp and pork

Linda's and my favorite Chinese restaurant has always been Ming Court, located on International Drive in Orlando. I used to have stores in Orlando, so we were in and out 5 or 6 times a year. I know I don't miss THE MOUSE, but I sure miss Ming Court! In fact, Linda has spent the last two years trying to duplicate their recipe for Hot Sour soup. This week, we are including her current version, and I think she has come pretty close. Of course, we may need a field trip to Florida to find out how close it really is! We are also including a good Pork & Shrimp Fried Rice recipe that shares many of the same ingredients (as long as you're in a chopping frenzy, you might as well make two dishes). Together, the two make a pretty good meal.

Hot and Sour Soup

Serves 8 - 10


1 large (49-ounce) can of beef broth
1/2 pound pork - we use boneless pork chops - cut into thin strips or small pieces
4 or 5 large Shitake mushrooms - thinly sliced
1/2 cup Wood Ear mushrooms - thinly sliced
8-ounces of sliced white mushrooms
1/2 to 2/3 of a box of Firm Tofu - cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 can of fancy bamboo shoots - cut into matchsticks
1 bunch of green onions sliced, including plenty of the green
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon ground coriander
8 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
dash of sesame oil
fresh ground black pepper

Meat Marinade

1 tablespoon corn starch
2-3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sherry
1 tablespoon water

Mix the marinade and let the sliced pork sit in it for about 15 minutes. In the meantime, begin heating the beef broth over medium heat in a large pot, stirring in the ginger, white pepper, coriander, vinegar, soy sauce, dash of sesame oil and black pepper. Simmer for about 5 minutes, then stir in the meat (including marinade) and tofu. Add all of the mushrooms, bamboo shoots and green onions. Bring to gentle boil, and then simmer for about 20 minutes, or until mushrooms are completely cooked. It doesn't hurt this soup to continue simmering for up to 45 minutes or so. During the simmering time, go ahead and "taste test" for both the hot and the sour flavors! If you like it hotter, add a little more white pepper (but remember that it does get stronger with cooking, and I didn't enjoy the way my lips burnt the other night when I overdid the pepper!) I do like the "sour" flavor the vinegar provides, so I often add another tablespoon or 2 of it. Just before serving, turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Pour the beaten egg in, stirring continuously (the egg will break up nicely). Remove from heat and serve!

This soup freezes well in freezer bags, and sometimes tastes even better the second time!

Ginger Fried Rice with Pork & Shrimp

Serves 4

6 cups cooked white rice - prepare ahead and chill, or just stick it in the freezer like we do
1/2 pound pork - we use boneless pork chops - cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 pound shelled and deviened raw shrimp - tails removed cut into bite size pieces
8 ounces of sliced white mushrooms
1/2 can of fancy bamboo shoots
1 bunch of green onions - sliced, including plenty of the green, but separate the green from the white
2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
3 cloves of garlic - minced
1/2 cup frozen green peas - thaw in warm water for a few minutes and drain
2 eggs
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon peanut oil
chili oil
soy sauce

Start with a very hot wok, spray with a little Pam and cook the eggs as a flat, egg pancake, as thin as possible. Remove the egg from the pan, slice thinly and reserve. Wipe out the wok and add the sesame oil, peanut oil and a few dashes of chili oil. Add the garlic, ginger and white parts of the onion, stirring constantly (I like using a wooden spatula) and cook 15 to 30 seconds until the oil is fragrant. Add the pork and mushrooms and keep stirring. When the pork is about 1/2 white, add the shrimp, bamboo shoots and a few shakes of soy sauce and keep stirring (remember-this is a stir fry). As soon as the shrimp is nice & pink, add the rice, egg and peas, and keep stirring. Sprinkle generously with soy sauce. Once everything is mixed, start turning the rice slowly as it browns on the bottom. At this point, take a taste and add more soy sauce if necessary. Don't overcook it - the rice should be hot with some browned bits, but not too soft. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with the remaining onion greens, try not to look at the mess in the kitchen, and enjoy!!.

This is pretty hardy food. We started to serve it with a Chardonnay, but changed our minds and had a Merlot. We had to review the new Domaine de Gournier Merlot anyway, and it turned out to be about perfect for such a group of strong flavors.