How To Stir Fry

 

Just yesterday, I was talking to my sister about how I am not one to make a “quick and easy stir fry”. She lives in Shanghai, so I thought she’d have some good ideas for me. She did – and so I put them together with the help of my handy dandy favorite cookbook, and made a simple guide to the stir fry world. I like that you can play around with whatever veggies and meats you have on hand. Perfect for cleaning out the fridge night.

Chop meat in small cubes – use pork, chicken – or thin slices of beef

Marinate while you chop veggies. You can look up a fancy marinade or just dose with a tsp of fish sauce and a tsp of soy sauce. Add a hearty pinch of salt and pepper.  We like to use Tamari soy sauce because it’s GMO free!

Chop and separate your veggies. Use anything. Carrots, Bell Peppers, Squash, Cabbage, Kale, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Onions … separate the harder veggies from the soft.

Mix together a “sauce”. This is a forgiving science. Some good choices are equal parts soy sauce, fish sauce with a dash of chicken broth, water, plum sauce, brown sugar, cornstarch …. even ketchup! I typically leave out the sugar and cornstarch and my sauce ends up just fine.

Finely mince some garlic and/or ginger.

Putting It All Together:

Make sure everything above is prepped and ready to go.

If you have a wok, you are awesome. Pull it out and heat that baby up on a medium high heat. If you are like me and have no wok, use a large nonstick pan. If you are skilled in cooking on stainless steel, give it a go.

Here is the trick to stir frying – use a small amount of oil and a high heat. This will sear and cook your food without the veggies getting soft.

Add a scant about of oil – 1 tsp. Most cookbooks call for peanut oil. I used olive oil – or I think coconut would be good too.

Put half of your meat in the pan and cook until browned. If it’s not done all the way, that is OK, it will go back in the pan later. Take it out, put it in a bowl or plate, and add the other half. If you pieces are small this process should only take a few minutes.

In the empty pan, add a bit more oil. Put in the harder veggies and start cooking. Add the softer veggies once the harder ones have softened a bit.

Make a hole in the center of the pan. Put a scant bit of oil, and add the garlic and ginger. Let it cook in the center, mashing it with the back of spoon, until it is fragrant and starting to brown. Then mix into the veggies.

Now add back in the meat, and dump in your sauce. Stir and cook until the sauce gets warm and thickens.

Add some fresh herbs if you like – and perhaps some nuts!

Serve over rice, quinoa, or noodles.

Yum!

 

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Blackberry Mint Popsicles

Andrew made these today from the website It’s Me Charlotte and they were delectably full of flavor! Bonus – coconut water is a great hydrator! Dare I say these are almost good for you?

{Wild Blackberry Mint Popsicles}

Serving size: 10 regular sized popsicles

{Ingredients}

  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 2-2.5 TBS raw honey
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1.5 cups coconut water

{Directions}

  1. First mince the mint leaves. I did this with my food processor. They should be finely chopped.
  2. Next, either using your food processor or blender, puree the fresh blackberries with the mint. I just added the blackberries to the food processor and pureed with the mint.
  3. Next, add juice of 1 lime and 2-2.5 TBS raw honey to mixture and blend or process until well combined.
  4. Add 1.5 cups of coconut water and blend again.
  5. Taste mixture in case you want to make any last adjustments.
  6. Pour mixture into popsicles mold and freeze for at least 2 hours.
  7. Enjoy!

Melted Leeks and Ricotta Tartine

This recipe comes from my most favorite cooking blog Not Without the Salt. Years ago I was lucky enough to attend one of Ashley’s cooking classes and I quickly fell in love with her beautiful pictures and delicious recipes.

Although its fancy name sound complicated, this tasty treat is super simple – you needn’t have much cooking “skill” to pull it off. Just sauté up some leeks, toast a hearty piece of bread, spread on some ricotta and voila! You have my permission not to make your own ricotta if you don’t want to (I didn’t!).

Melted Leeks & Ricotta Tartine

1 large leek
2 tablespoons butter
pinch chile flakes
salt

Thinly slice the white part of a large leek. If you happen to cut where the white gradually transitions to citron I wouldn’t mind.
In a skillet melt the butter then add the leeks. Add a pinch of salt and cook on medium-low until the leeks soften, become translucent and just start to caramelize.

Top a crisp piece of bread with fresh ricotta, warm leeks and a bit of chile flake.

Pasta with Kale and Onions

 

 

Our CSA includes recipes each week with what comes in our box – we tried this one tonight and enjoyed it! Henry loves “red sauce”, so in the last step after the chicken broth, I added a can of pureed tomatoes. I also sprinkled in some garlic salt and some Trader Joes 21 Seasoning Salute. Tasted fresh!

Ingredients:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 cups kale, stems removed and leaves shredded
1 cup chicken stock or stock of choice
2 cups cooked spaghetti (I like to use brown rice or quinoa spaghetti)
freshly grated cheese of choice (Asiago, Romano, Parmesan…)

Directions:
1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat then add the oil, onion, shallot, and garlic. Reduce heat to medium and sauté until onion is just wilted, about 5 minutes (be careful not to burn the garlic).
2. Add kale and continue to saute until it wilts and brightens in color a bit, about 1 minute. Then add the stock and cover loosely. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook until most of the stock has evaporated and kale is soft, but still a lively green, about 7 -10 minutes. Stir in the pasta and continue to simmer until heated through, about 1 minute.
3. Serve hot, sprinkled with cheese.

Apricot Jam

Once or twice a year, Andrew and I embark on some sort of canning adventure. In the summer, usually it’s berry jam, in the fall applesauce. But this year, our CSA had a bumper crop of apricots! So off we went to pick 30 lbs of loving fruit and quickly after the kids went to bed, we got started jamming up these ‘cots. Each time I “jam” I learn something new, so I hope if you are a fellow canner, you can gleam some helpful hints! I highly recommend this site if you are looking for a great step by step how to on canning and making jam.

First of all, I discovered Ponoma’s Pectin – yay! This pectin allows you to make jam with as much or as little added sweetener as you want. I didn’t know this before, but normal pectin needs a 1/1 ratio (typically) to gel or set the jam. When you use a “low sugar” pectin, you can decrease the amount of added sugar. This can get tricky unless you have a solid recipe to follow. Hence, the Ponoma Pectin filled in nicely here. (I’m not making money on this product I promise!). I appreciated the instructions included in their box. There was a recipe for just about any type of jam you’d like to make, and a ration of how much pectin you need depending on how much sweetener you want to use. So, for example, I was able to make a few jars using honey instead of sugar, a few using maple syrup, and a few using just a juice concentrate. Each one was super tasty and we certainly didn’t miss the usual buckets of refined white sugar that I used to use when making jam.

And, we aren’t quite done with our apricots. Next we’re going to do some apricot nectar, apricot fruit snacks, and apricot purees. For the price of one of those baby fruit packets from the store, you can score a whole pound of apricots! That makes a lot of baby “food” puree. Woohoo!