Saturday, 17 July 2010

Mix & Match Stir-Fry

by Sadge, at Firesign Farm
Like Kate, in her post yesterday, I too am finally getting to eat fresh out of the garden. Then, too, the heat of summer has finally arrived, so long cooking times heating up the kitchen is the last thing I want to do. Stir-frys are our quick, easy meal of choice, and the ingredients vary depending on what's available at the moment. Just like a Chinese menu, choose one from Column A, one from Column B, etc, adjust amounts according to how many you'll be serving and/or if you want leftovers, and dinner can be on the table in half an hour.

Gather your choice of ingredients. If you'd like to serve your stir-fry with a grain, such as rice, noodles, couscous, whatever, get that started cooking while you prep one from each of the following:

Mix & Match Stir-fry (4-6 servings)
Cut into thin, bite-size pieces (it's easier to cut meat into thin strips if it's partially frozen):
1 pound medium shrimp OR 1 pound boneless pork OR 2 whole chicken breasts OR 1 pound beef top round OR 1 box extra-firm tofu

Vegetables I
Slice into bite-size pieces, and micro-cook, steam, or boil until crisp-tender (just a couple of minutes), then drain:
2 large carrots OR 1 cup broccoli buds OR 1 cup fresh asparagus pieces OR 1/2 cup cauliflower

Vegetables II
Cut into uniformly-sized slices:
2 cups bok choi or Chinese cabbage OR 1 cup fresh pea pods OR 1 cup fresh mushrooms OR 2 medium tomatoes, seeded

Crunchy Ingredient
If necessary, cut into uniformly-sized slices:
8-oz can water chestnuts, drained OR 1 cup walnut pieces OR 1 cup dry-roasted peanuts OR 2 stalks celery

The Basics - these are in every stir-fry
1 clove garlic, minced OR 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons cooking oil
(optional) 4 oz. fresh or canned bean sprouts OR bamboo shoots, drained

Stir together, and set aside:
1/2 cup cold water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Once you have everything ready to go, start cooking: in wok or large skillet heat the oil until the surface looks wavy. Stir-fry garlic or ginger 30 seconds, add green onions and stir-fry another minute. Add Crunchy Ingredient plus sprouts or shoots, and continue to stir-fry another couple of minutes. Remove everything from the skillet to a plate.

Add Vegetables I and II to the skillet, stir-fry 1 minute. Remove to the plate.

Add more oil if necessary, and stir-fry half the Protein 2-3 minutes, until browned. Remove to plate, and stir-fry other half. Return all Protein, garlic mixture, and Crunchy Ingredient to skillet. Give the soy sauce mixture a quick stir, and pour into skillet. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in Vegetables I and II, cover, and cook another minute or two. Serve atop or alongside your prepared grain choice.