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Archive for the ‘Stir Fry’ Category

This past month I haven’t been blogging so much about each of the individual meals I have been making, although most meals have been photographed. So I thought I would do a little round-up of photos of the meals and a brief yea or nay vote on some of them.

Spinach Avocado Grapefruit Salad from In My Box

I enjoyed this salad, although my husband, who is not a big fan of spinach, did not. The oil in the avocado and then the tang of the grapefruit is all the dressing this needs. The leftovers even held up and made it into my lunch the next day. Yea for me.

Gingered Skirt Steak with Snow Peas from goodLife{eats}

Instead of steak, we used tofu ‘steaks’. We also omitted the oyster sauce and added 1/2 Tbsp more of both the hoisin and soy sauces. We served this over rice vermicelli noodles which I had attempted to pan-fry. (They didn’t turn out so great.) The stir fry was delicious and next time I will serve it over rice instead of the noodles. The noodles didn’t have much flavor and actually detracted from the rest of the dish. Snow peas were fresh from our garden. Yea for us both.

Baked Salmon (me) and Baked Tofu (husband), Stir-Fried Snow Peas with Scallions and brown rice

I baked the tofu in Book of Yum’s Yummy Grilled Tofu marinade. And the snow peas and carrots were sautéed in sesame oil with green onions. I baked my salmon with a red pepper/five spice powder rub and a rice vinegar/honey marinade. It was very tasty. Yea for us both. And yea for using up the rest of the snow peas we had from our garden this year.

Sichuan Tofu with Garlic Sauce from Fat Free Vegan

We’ve made this dish before and really enjoy it. We used canned, sliced water chestnuts instead of fresh ones. On the side we had some brown rice and steamed broccoli. I follow Susan’s recipe for the most part except I have found that we like a little more sauce in the final dish and so I double the marinade. Yea for us both.

That’s it for now. More to come this week…

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A couple weeks ago we ventured to the international market to get just a couple things. Uh-huh. As always we bought more than we went in for, but it was worth it! One of the items we bought was frozen lotus root. Whenever we see lotus root, my husband asks me to make him some just like ate in China. Since I haven’t tasted what he ate in China, I had to go looking for some ideas on what to do with it.

My first stop was Book of Yum. Sea always has great ethnic and vegetarian recipes on her blog. I found her recipe for Lotus Root Sesame Stir-Fry and decided it was the one to try.

We had the lotus root with some brown rice, fried tofu and a small salad with a sesame-soy dressing. The whole meal got full approval from the hubby. Although he did say that he would like the lotus root to have more of a vinegar flavor. But he really likes vinegar. And all of his food memories of China involve vinegar. So next time we will have to try our own recipe – with vinegar!

The lotus root that we bought was frozen. I thawed it slightly under cold water and then left it to drain and thaw in the colander for a bit. It was also pre-sliced and the slices seemed thick, about 3/8″, so I sliced each of them in half so that they would crisp up better. This seemed to work out well.

We only used half of the bag of lotus root for this meal so I have been finding other ways to use it. I did make Sea’s Lotus Root Chips and they weren’t bad but I think I may not have baked them long enough or the slices were too thick; they didn’t crisp up as well as I thought they should. We may try again in the future. I did add them to a recent stir-fry and they were tasty in there.

Our garden has been producing a lot of lettuce and we are trying to keep up with it, so I added a salad to this meal. Also to have a bit of green vegetables with our meal. I have been trying to make more of our own salad dressings lately so that we can better control the ingredients and the fat and sugar content. But most traditional vinaigrette recipes I find are the standard 3:1 ratio of oil to vinegar and this feels too heavy on the oil for me. So I have been playing around with less oil.

I have found that I like to use a small (pint or less) glass Mason jar with a lid to make and store the dressing in, that way you can shake it up well when you are ready to use. But this time I only wanted to make a little bit of dressing, specific to this meal and didn’t want a lot of leftovers. Below is what I came up with. It swings wide from the traditional ratio but it was tasty and complemented the meal well.

Sesame – Soy Salad Dressing

1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

2 Tbsp soy sauce, gluten free

2 Tbsp rice vinegar

2 tsp sugar

ground ginger

garlic powder

Mix all ingredients together in a glass jar or whisk in a small bowl.

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I originally found these recipes in one of those free magazines you can pick up at the health food stores. There were a couple of recipes that we tried from this one cookbook and I thought they were so good that I was inspired to buy the cookbook from which they were from. But I am not as enamored with the cookbook as with these specific recipes. If you are a flexitarian or carnivore, you may appreciate the cookbook more as there are a lot of meat based Thai dishes. I also need to pull the cookbook back out and look through it again.

The tofu dish we have had quite a few times before and we really like it. As usual, I added more vegetables to this recipe. I also changed the sauce slightly from the original.

This was the first time I made the cucumber salad and my husband dug into that right away. He gave it ‘two thumbs up’ before I even got sat down in my chair. I’ll admit that I couldn’t keep my fingers out of it while I was making the tofu.

Spicy Tofu with Vegetables and Rice

Adapted from Complete Book of Thai Cooking by Linda Stephen

3 tbsp canola oil, divided

1 pound of extra-firm tofu, sliced

3 shallots, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups baby carrots, sliced into thin slivers

1 large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips

2 cups french green beans, fresh or frozen, in 1-inch pieces

3 tbsp soy sauce

3 tbsp lime juice

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste

1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp black pepper

Turn on rice cooker. Slice tofu into 8 slices and place between the layers of a clean, dry towel. Place something heavy on top and let it sit for at least 10 minutes. Slice each tofu slice into 8 squares.

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in large wok or skillet. Carefully add tofu – it will splatter. Let cook for 3-4 minutes and then flip and let cook for 3-4 more minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel covered plate.

Add 1 tbsp oil to hot pan. Add shallots and garlic. Stir fry for one minute – careful not to burn the garlic. Add the carrots, bell pepper and green beans. Let cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and let cook for a couple more minutes or until carrots are tender-crisp. Add tofu back to pan and cook until heated through. Serve with rice.

Cucumber Salad

Adapted from Complete Book of Thai Cooking by Linda Stephen

3 tbsp rice vinegar, gluten free

1 tbsp soy sauce, gluten free

2 tsp sugar

1 large English cucumber, sliced

1 shallot, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste

2 tbsp roasted peanuts, chopped

Mix together vinegar, soy sauce and sugar. Add remaining ingredients, except peanuts, and let sit for 15 minutes. Serve topped with peanuts.

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Tofu Stir Fry

When stir-frying, be sure to have all your ingredients prepared, chopped and ready to go before you turn on the stove. Start the rice cooker as you begin your preparations and your rice will be ready when dinner is ready.

Many people do not like cooking rice on the stove and so resort to using Minute Rice. I grew up on Minute Rice and have never actually cooked rice on the stove. When I met my husband, he had a rice cooker already and so I learned to use it. Rice cookers do not require any skills to make rice. This is our favorite style of rice cooker. There are other ways to cook rice but I like using a rice cooker because it is one less thing for me to worry about when making dinner; you can turn it on and forget about it. Some of my family members like to use this to cook rice (full disclosure: my mom sells Pampered Chef products). You can also buy frozen pre-cooked rice and microwavable pre-cooked rice bowls at places like Trader Joe’s now too.

If you aren’t a fan of tofu yet, you could use a pound of sliced chicken, or even shrimp, instead.

Tofu Stir Fry

Adapted from Martha Stewart EveryDay Food

1 pound extra-firm tofu *
2 tablespoons soy sauce, gluten free *
1 tablespoon rice vinegar *
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil *
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 small onions, cut into wedges
9 ounces mushrooms *
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 1/4 pounds bok choy, chopped, stem and green pieces separated
1/4 pound snow peas, trimmed
1 inch knob of ginger, minced
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 teaspoons cold water

Slice the tofu into 16 slices (or more) and lay in a single layer on a clean dish towel. Fold the dish towel over top of tofu and then lay something heavy on top like a cast iron skillet or cutting board. This helps remove the extra water from the tofu so that it browns quicker and easier. Leave it for about 10 minutes.

Mix together the soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil and pour into shallow baking dish. Place the tofu in a single layer in the baking dish. Let marinate for about 5 minutes, then flip the slices and let it sit for another 5 minutes.

When all your ingredients are chopped and ready to go, heat the oil in your wok or large skillet. Carefully lay in the tofu in a single layer. The oil will splatter because of the water remaining in the tofu. Reserve the marinade from the tofu. Let the tofu cook for about 5 minutes and then flip it over and cook for 5 minutes more, or until it is slightly browned. Remove tofu to a plate.

Add the onions to the hot oil in your pan. Stir until they begin to get brown, 5-6 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for about 2 minutes. Add bell pepper and bok choy stems, cook for 3 minutes.  Add snow peas and ginger and cook for 2 minutes. Add the bok choy leaves and the reserved marinade. Stir up the cornstarch and water mixture again and stir in. Add tofu and heat through. Serve with rice.

Notes:

* For stir-frying, extra firm tofu is best. It comes water-packed in a plastic tray. You will find it in the refrigerated section of large grocery stores.

* If you are cooking gluten free, be sure the soy sauce is gluten free. San-J Gluten Free Tamari and LaChoy brands are both safe. Be sure to watch the labels on the San-J sauces as not everything they make is gluten free.

* Rice vinegar can be found in the Asian food section of most large grocery stores. Be sure to read the ingredients and make sure it is gluten free.

* Toasted sesame oil, yum! This can be found at most large grocery stores with the specialty oils. This is one of my favorite ingredients. The smell is divine. Whenever I use this, my husband always comments that whatever I am making smells wonderful.

* We used shiitake mushrooms for this dish as it is our preferred mushroom.

* I doubled the amount of marinade for this recipe and thought it was just right.

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