Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wegetarian Wednesday

In a former life, before a nine and a half pound baby sucked all the life, um- iron out of me, I was a vegetarian. I routinely slipped tofu into recipes with such ease that avowed carnivores never even noticed. One friend claimed he would never, NEVER eat tofu. And he never did, unless you count the entire pan of my lasagna that he inhaled, or that massive crock of cream of vegetable soup he took home, or the huge plate of mushroom stroganoff he housed… no, he never ate tofu.

This Stir fry recipe is good on its own, but you can add tofu if you’d like. I would pat dry some cubes of extra firm tofu and pan fry them in small batches before the onions. Also, the veggies I use are more for texture and less for taste. I really think that any combination of veggies could work in this stir fry, including snow peas, baby corn, cauliflower, or cabbage. Sometimes to mix things up, I put a segment or two of STAR ANISE into the sauce and remove them before adding it to the veggies. It infuses the sweet and salty sauce with a licorice like earthiness that takes it to another level. I like my veggies to have a bit of a crunch, so I don’t slice or chop them too thin, except for the carrots and onions. To garnish this dish, I would save a couple sprigs of cilantro and chop up a handful of nuts to sprinkle over the top.

Stir Crazy – Serves 4

1 C Barley


1/3 C Soy Sauce
2 TBSP Rice Vinegar
2 TBSP Brown Sugar or Sucanat
1 TBSP Corn Starch
1 TBSP Fresh Ginger – minced
1 Clove of Garlic – minced
Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
2/3 C Cold Water

1 Small Red Onion, about 2/3 C – chopped
2-3 Celery Stalks, 1 1/2 C – cut on the bias
1 C Carrots – thinly sliced on the bias
1/2 Green Pepper – in strips
1 C Broccoli – in medium stalks
1/3 C Edamame – shelled
1/2 C Fresh Cilantro – chopped

2 TBSP Olive Oil
2 TBSP Sesame Oil

Cook the BARLEY first! It will take close to an hour unless you have a rice cooker.
Bring 5 C of water to a rolling boil, add BARLEY. Reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for 40-50 minutes and test for texture. Chewy! Yum!

In a small bowl, whisk CORN STARCH and WATER until smooth. Add the remaining sauce ingredients, SOY SAUCE, RICE VINEGAR, BROWN SUGAR, GINGER, GARLIC, and RED PEPPER FLAKES. Set aside

In a large skillet or wok, heat a tablespoon of each OIL over medium high heat. The idea with stir fry or wokery cooking is to flash cook each of the ingredients and then bring them all together at the end with the sauce. You’re going to add those later. The ONIONS will take the longest and will season the oil, so I like to start there. Once the ONIONS are almost translucent, use a slotted spoon to pull them out of the skillet and into a bowl. I usually just use the serving bowl I plan to use in order to avoid more dishes, but I’m lazy like that. From there, you can work your way through any of the ingredients one at a time except the CILANTRO and EDAMAME.

Once they’re all cooked, toss everything back into the pan including the EDAMAME. Give the sauce another little stir and pour it over the veggies. Bring to a low boil, allowing the sauce to thicken. This shouldn’t take more than 2 – 3 minutes. Serve over barley, garnish, and nosh!

What’s your favorite stir fry veggie?

Let me know how the recipe works for you! Thanks for reading!


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