Vegetables Every Day

Vegetables Every Day
Carrot Tarator with Beets

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Stir Fry

One of the things I make on a regular basis is stir fry.  Mom gave me a big bag of oranges a while back, and in finding creative ways to use them, starting using them to make stir fry sauce. I thought this would be a good thing to post, but realized I don’t actually have a recipe, so it has taken me a while to figure out how I make it (including a couple of critical measurements, like how much cornstarch).  So, mom’s oranges are gone, but you can still get some at the farmers market.  I would hesitate to use the good looking oranges in market, as they are now imported (and who knows what they have been treated with to keep them pretty).  Speaking of the Farmers Market – they are getting some apricots and peaches!  Back to the stir fry -- the general recipe is a bit of meat or tofu stir fried with garlic and ginger, a big pile of vegetables that are “steam fried”, and sauce made from a spoonful of cornstarch, soy sauce and other liquid, served on rice.   Following is my recipe, but don’t hesitate to adapt to your taste (or what’s in the fridge or the market)!

Stir Fry

3-4 servings.  This takes me a little over 30 minutes to make: I get everything out, start the rice (if I’m using white rice..  brown rice would need to be started sooner), clean and cut the vegetables, cut the meat, prep the sauce, start cooking.

Protein: ½ pound of chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, or tofu (more or less to taste)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
½ teaspoon red pepper flake (optional)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 small onion (sliced vertically)
1 large carrot (sliced diagonally)
½ red or yellow bell pepper (sliced diagonally) (optional)
½ pound mushrooms, sliced
2-3 cups green vegetables (celery, broccoli, asparagus, green beans, etc)
2-3 cups bean sprouts or napa cabbage (or use more green vegetables)
Water or broth for steaming

¼ cup soy sauce (I like the lower sodium tamari kind)
1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
Zest from one orange (optional)
Juice from one orange, or ¼ cup wine or rice vinegar (optional)
Water or broth to make one cup

The cooking goes quick: everything should be prepped prior to starting to cook. All the vegetable should be in bite size pieces. If using meat, slice across the grain in thin strips. For shrimp, leave whole if small or cut in chunks if big, or cube tofu.   To make the sauce, measure soy sauce in a 1 cup measuring cup, add remaining ingredients and stir.

In a large sauté pan (or wok), heat the oil over medium high heat.  Add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 30 seconds, and add the meat or other protein.   Stir and cook until the meat is done, this should take a few minutes at the most.  Remove the meat to a bowl or plate.   Add just a bit more oil, add the onions and stir, then add any hard vegetables (carrot, celery, broccoli).  Add some water or broth (about a ¼ cup) and turn the heat to high. Stir and steam, adding the additional vegetables in order of cooking time – goal is tender crisp.  Add more water if the pan gets dry.  Bean sprouts or cabbage will need less than a minute.  When the vegetables are done, make a hole in the center of the pan, stir the sauce mix again and add to the pan. Turn down the heat to low.  Stir and cook until the sauce is thick (about 30 seconds), add back the protein (with any juices), toss to mix.  Serve over rice.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Mother’s Day, 2008

It was a special Mother’s day for us, with both of our Mom’s at our house to celebrate!  We did a brunch with salmon, a Spanish tortilla (a.k.a. egg and potato thing), asparagus and tomatoes, artichokes, strawberries, cheese, and a blueberry coffee cake. It was quite a spread, I need to remember to take pictures (of the food and the mom’s).

The salmon was oven poached (first time I have done that), using a recipe I found on the web.  I used the side of a whole fish (about 3 ½ pounds), which was big enough to need my turkey roasting pan.   After poaching, I cooled the fish in the poaching liquid (started by setting the roaster on granite that was cold from ice packs, then putting the pan on a half sheet (jelly roll pan) with some ice in to further cool).  I then drained and wrapped to chill overnight, and served cold with some thin orange slices for decoration.  I also did the sauce, which I would rank as OK, not great.  But serving a piece of fish this big  is quite impressive, and tasted quite good (not to mention conveniently done ahead). 

I also made a blueberry coffee cake.  This recipe does double duty, as it can also be a apple coffee cake (which I made last week for the group doing clay… more on that later!)….  Here is the recipe:

Blueberry (or Apple) - Almond Coffee Cake

This is really just a muffin recipe (maybe a bit more sugar), and like most muffins, pretty adaptable.

¼ cup sliced or slivered almonds
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup flour
½ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup buttermilk  (or equal parts plain yogurt and milk… soy OK)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
1 cup blueberries, divided (can be fresh or frozen)
    OR  1 large apple, peeled and diced

Preheat oven to 350F, and spray an 8 inch square pan with cooking spray.

Mix almonds, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl, set aside.

In a small bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking power, soda, and salt with a whisk.  In another larger bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.  Add the dry to the wet, and toss in 2/3 cup of the blueberries or apple. Gently fold together. Put into prepared pan, and sprinkle the top with remaining blueberries (or apple), then the almond topping. Bake for 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean (cooking time is usually a little longer if you use frozen berries).  Good when warm.    Yields 8-9 medium size pieces.