Sunday, October 23, 2011

Man with One Chopstick Go Hungry

Pretty sure this is NOT
the name of the place
where we ate!

Pic from
Hethyr:  As I mentioned in the last post, my mom and dad were pretty adventurous eaters when I was a kid and my sisters and I were exposed to a variety of different cuisines.  Our family frequented this one particular Chinese restaurant a couple of blocks away from our house and the food was always good, but the house dessert left a lot to be desired.  The server would bring each of us a deep-fried banana and all six of us would giggle uncontrollably as soon as he or she left the table.  I don’t know what it was about those bananas, but they were absolutely disgusting.  I think maybe it was because the batter was really bitter-tasting and not at all sweet.  It somehow became our “thing” to try to hide the bananas in our uneaten food (which we usually didn’t take home for some reason) without the staff finding them.  It never worked.  They always found the bananas and put them in take-home containers for us.  I guess they had their own little joke.

Although I don’t torture Jon with deep-fried bananas (maybe I'll start), I often subject him to Asian food, which I love.  Luckily he loves it, too.  We still have a lot of great produce on hand, so last night I made a stir-fry to use up some of the veggies.  The “recipe” was so easy that it actually took longer to prep the veggies than it did to cook the food.  The whole meal took less time than it would have to run out for Asian take-out.  Honestly.  It really wasn’t a recipe, though... it was just me throwing a bunch of stuff in a pan at a fairly high temperature, adding a super-simple sauce and throwing it all on top of some brown rice.  That’s actually my usual stir-fry “recipe” and no two stir-fries have ever been the same.

I'm wokkin' broccol-ay-ay!
As usual with my recipes, don’t let the ingredients list scare you.  I always find ways to make things more difficult on myself, so I used every vegetable we had.  You can use just two or three and it will still be delicious.  You can add meat, seafood, tofu, beans, etc. for protein.  The sauce is so amazingly easy, but it is my absolute favorite stir-fry sauce.  Sweet, spicy and salty all at the same time.  A damn party in my mouth.  For a splash of brightness at the end, I garnish it with cilantro and for a nutty crunch, sesame seeds top it all off.  Hope you enjoy this as much as we did.  I ate a super-sized serving and thought about going back for seconds, but decided I'd let Jon eat lunch today.

Love You Long Time Stir-Fry

Serves 6

-1/4 cup soy sauce
-1/4 cup honey
-1/4 cup sweet chili sauce (such as Mae Ploy)
-2 tablespoons oil (I used coconut oil)
-1 teaspoon sesame oil
-2-inch piece ginger root, peeled and minced
-1 teaspoon garlic, minced
-2 scallions, sliced
-Approximately 6 cups fresh vegetables:
       1 pound broccoli florets, cut small
       1 pound cauliflower florets, cut small
       1 medium kohlrabi, peeled and diced
       1 medium turnip, peeled and julienned
       2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
       1/2 small red cabbage, coarsely chopped
       1 medium zucchini, quartered and sliced
-1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish
-3 tablespoons sesame seeds (toasted if desired)

1.  In a glass measuring cup or small bowl, combine soy sauce, honey and sweet chili sauce.  Set aside.
2.  Heat oils in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat.  Add ginger, garlic and scallions and stir-fry for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
3.  Add broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, turnip and carrots and stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes or until broccoli is starting to turn bright green.  Add cabbage and zucchini and continue to stir-fry until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 2 to 3 more minutes.
4.  Remove skillet or wok from heat and stir in sauce.
5.  If desired, spoon stir-fry over prepared rice in a serving dish and top with chopped cilantro and sesame seeds.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
Jon:  There is something very satisfying about eating Asian food.  A rice and veggie meal digests like a champ.  Anytime I eat a stir-fry, I feel like I just did my body a favor.  It's no random unexplainable occurrence that most Asians are thin and most Americans are fat.  Swapping some meat and potatoes for some rice and veggies is good for the body and the soul.

I'm not sure, however, that I've experienced the pleasure of the deep-fried banana.  Dunking a banana in a fryer seems to me like a great way to ruin a perfectly good piece of fruit.  Actually, most Asians desserts freak me out a bit.  But maybe that's another important key to Asian thinness... if we had unappealing desserts in this country, maybe we wouldn't choose to inhale an extra thousand calories and quarter cup of sugar immediately following a full meal.  While a fortune cookie might look and taste like thin cardboard, it sure isn't going to add any new layers to your muffin top.

This stir fry felt a little like the grand finale send-off of some of our summer veggies.  Broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, kohlrabi, cabbage... see ya again in June.  Swimming in a sea of soy sauce, honey, and chili sauce and floating on a bed of rice is a noble way for any vegetable to transition into winter hibernation.

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