A longtime resident of Greater Willowbrook and Burr Ridge, Illinois, Eric Baumbach graduated from Hinsdale South High School in 2013. He left the Willowbrook area in 2013 to study accounting and finance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Outside of the academic arena, Eric Baumbach is an avid cook who particularly enjoys making stir-fry dishes.
A successful stir-fry begins with a quality cast-iron or carbon-steel wok that is designed to distribute heat evenly. However, cooks who don’t own a wok can substitute a large and deep non-stick skillet.
Making sure to clean, slice, season, and marinate all ingredients ahead of time, cooks must preheat the wok or skillet at a high temperature before adding oil. Due to the high temperature of stir-fry cooking, oils with higher smoke points work best.
Adding ingredients in the proper order for ideal cooking time is perhaps the most important element of the stir-fry process. Cooks should add meat first to seal in its juices and maximize its tenderness. After subsequently adding onions, cooks should proceed to throw in other produce according to hardness, ending with soft vegetables, such as snow peas and bean sprouts. Sauces and pre-cooked noodles come last.