(Note: I wrote the following post before learning of the terrible news from Montreal. I'm so horrified and feel such sadness that this kind of thing continues to happen. My heartfelt sympathy goes to the victims and family members of the people directly harmed by this crime and to the people of Canada.)
I'm in one of those periods where I don't get enough sleep at night, so I'm running on empty (cue the Jackson Browne song, please). For the last two days I've put off going to the grocery store, even though my larder is dwindling. Last night I was faced with mighty slim pickings. I had 1/3 of a red bell pepper, 5 scallions, and 2 bunches of cilantro in my crisper. I'm out of soy sauce, sesame seed oil, fish sauce--and I'm still on the vegan diet, so I can't do any of my reliable dishes with pasta, butter and parmesan cheese. Fortunately, I did have half a bottle of kung pao chicken sauce that someone gave me as a gift. I used that with my meager ingredients and within 12 minutes I had a very good dish.
Today I really HAVE to go to the store.
It's easy to be snobby about these prepared sauces, but if they're good they make life so much easier when you're not in the mood to cook. This sauce is full of ginger and sesame seed oil, but it's too mild. That' was easy to fix with a healthy dose of red pepper flakes.
I boiled my pasta first, drained it, and cooked the bell pepper, scallions, red pepper flakes and garlic in oil for 1 minute in the pasta pot. Then I added one bunch of minced cilantro and stir fried that for about 20 seconds.