"Food is essential to Life; therefore make it good."- S Truett Cathy

Monday, April 26, 2010

My Basic Stir Fry

I feel kinda silly posting this, everyone already knows how to stir fry, right? But there was a time when I had to look it up so maybe somebody will find it useful. It's so easy to make a delicious light sauce that I haven't bought the mix packets from the store in quite some time.

This is a great way to use up whatever veggies you have on hand. You can always throw in chunks of beef, chicken or pork if you want it meaty. Shrimp would be good too.

Too tired to think basic stir fry

2 tbsp oil
2-3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp ginger paste or fresh grated ginger
2-3 diced scallions
3-4 cups chopped veggies- I like onions carrots, broccoli, kohlorabi. Cut to bite sized pieces, keeping them similar size for even cooking.
1/4 to 1/2 cup water or broth
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil (optional)

Get a large skillet really hot. You'll want to have all your veggies cut before you start as it goes quick.
Add the oil, when it shimmers add the garlic, ginger and scallions (throw in some crushed red pepper here if you want some heat) stir fry for about 30 seconds until coated with oil and fragrant.
Add your chopped veggies and the water or broth. Continue to stir until the veggies are crisp tender, about 10 minutes or so. If it gets too dry add a bit more liquid, you need just enough to make a light sauce.

Make a slurry of about 2-3 tbsp water, spoonful of cornstarch and a spoonful of sugar-stir until dissolved.(i don't measure, this is literally an eating spoon worth)

When done to your preference add in the soy sauce and then the cornstarch/sugar water mixture. Stir until thickened, remove from heat and add the sesame oil. Serve over steamed rice.


I've been wanting to try my hand at making homemade horchata after having it at my local Mexican resturant. It's a really refreshing contrast to super hot salsa. It seems remarkably simple. I found a recipe from Rick Bayless and got it started today. It has to sit in the fridge overnight. Looking forward to bean burritos tomorrow!

Horchata Almendaro -
3/4 cup long grain rice
1 1/4 cup sliced blanched almonds
3 inch cinnamon stick
2 1/2 cups hot tap water

Pour all into a large container with a lid. Let cool and refridgerate overnight.

The next day add 1 cup sugar or agave syrup, blend in blender as fine as possible. Strain into a pitcher, discarding solids. Add 2 more cups cold water or 2 cups milk if you want it creamier and sugar if needed to taste. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

An unusual combination

Tonight's dinner was a simple one but big on flavor. We're in the middle of two weeks of cutting out chicken, pork and beef just to see if we can and to do a little internal 'spring cleaning'. I'm not usually too keen on fish but have been trying to make it more lately just for the health benefits. Saturday at the Cedar Park farmers market I picked up a container of Macadamia Nut Pesto from Kalas Kuisine. The lady who sold it recommended using it on salmon but I only had tilapia so used it on that. It is very rich but was delicious.

Simple Fish with Macadamia Nut Pesto- get it from Kala's if you're in Austin or make your own
4 fish filets (I used Tilapia, but use whatever fish you like or have on hand)
4 oz pesto
salt and pepper
lemon wedges

Heat oven to 400. Coat a baking dish with small amount of olive oil. Lay in the fish, sprinkle with salt and pepper and slather the pesto on each filet. Bake while you're working on your veggies until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily. Mine took 15-20 minutes. When you pull it from the oven douse with a sprinkle of lemon juice and serve wedges with each portion so each person can add more lemon to their own taste.

I had purchased some beautiful bok choy at the Austin Farmers Market on Wednesday and had a fennel bulb that came in my CSA box this week so I went on the hunt to find something to make on the side. I decided on this Asian inspired combination from one of my many cookbooks. I substituted Apricot Jalepeno Jam from Blanco Valley Farms for a bit of Texas heat.

Sauteed Fennel and Asian Greens with Ginger and Apricot
adapted from Clean Food by Terry Walters

2 TBSP Olive Oil
2 TBSP Ginger Paste (or fresh ginger if you have it)
1 small Fennel Bulb, cored and sliced
3 large Bok Choy- chopped
3 TBSP Apricot Jam (or Apricot Jalepeno!)
1 TBSP soy sauce

Heat olive oil in a large deep skillet or dutch oven. Add ginger and saute 1 minute. Add Fennel and the stems from the bok choy and saute until tender about 5-7 minutes over med heat. Add the jam and soy sauce, stir well and then add the chopped leaves of the bok choy. Continue to stir until the leaves are bright green and wilted, about 10 minutes or so. Taste and add salt or more soy sauce to your taste.

I served the last few slices of some poblano sourdough from Sweetish Hill Bakery on the side just to use it up. Both dishes were very good but if I had a chance to do it again I don't think I'd serve them together. The fish was very rich and I think would have been better served with just a simple salad or some steamed asparagus. The bok choy could have made a meal on it's own with just some steamed brown rice.