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Monday, April 4, 2011

Simple veggies stir fry

Today's recipe is quite simple. I'd take a picture, but its in my stomach, and well, I don't think you want to GO there :) I bought a mandoline/julienne slicer (the one by Starfrit). I must say, I'm in love! It turned 15 minutes of prep time in 5 minutes, and it was so easy!

I used the Julienne attachment and sliced 1 zuchinni, about 10 baby carrots (watch the fingers - for the carrots, I used the flat blade part only), 10 mushrooms (mine were starting to wrinkle (and get kinda leathery) but I'm fairly certain if they were super fresh, they'd have gone through no problem. I julienned the stem of one head of broccoli, and sliced the rest of the florets in equal sizes. (I quartered the shrooms too), I grabbed a large handful (ok TWO handfuls) of sliced almonds.

I also had bought a large container of minced garlic. Now, the garlic in here is NOT as fresh or strong as fresh or pureed garlic (this is good to know for next time I need to buy garlic) so I had to use a LOT more than I normally would, however, this is a great recipe if you are fighting a cold (use the fresh stuff, the cold will scram, but be warned, you won't get kissed!) ^_^ This jar of garlic has liquid in it, not sure if its oil or water, but whatever it is, its AWESOME for flavoring!

You'll also need soy sauce (sodium reduced), Mirin rice seasoning, fish sauce, olive oil.

Basically, this recipe uses what you have. No need for special veggies, just go with the flow, and even better, take advantage of that reduced basket at the grocery store.

I also prepped a batch of steak (as I'm supposed to eat more protein, but that's another post for another day) :)

In a non-stick pan (I KNOW I KNOW, no wok? lol!) I heated up 1/2 tsp olive oil (ever notice how fragrant it is?) I added the almonds, and roasted them until golden brown. Mid-way through, I took about 1 tsp of the garlic juice, and sprinkled it on the almonds. mmmmm.... yummy! Put in a small bowl, and set aside.

As with ANY stir fry, you always start with the hardest/thickest veggies. So:

Add 1 tbsp olive oil, let it get fragrant, add broccoli, and 2-3 tbsp of garlic (the minced stuff) and a dash of soy sauce. Stir-fry until the broccoli is bright green (that's how you know its al-dente!) and then about 1 minute longer (I stir-fry on high). Remove from heat, and put in a large bowl.

Add 2 tbsp of olive oil, and fragranize it, then add the carrots and zuchinni. My slicer has a little container underneath, very useful :) Add another 1-2 tbsp of minced garlic, stir fry until carrots start getting soft. (about 5 minutes)

With carrots/zuchinnis still in pan, add a dash of soy sauce, 2 dashes of Mirin, and a dash of fish sauce and give it a whirl!
Remove from heat after about a minute or so, making sure every thing is coated.

Note: Because of the finer cut of the zuchinni, there will be a lot more liquid than the usual stir fry. Do not drain that goodness, dump it all in the broccoli bowl!

Add 1 tbsp fragranized olive oil, 1 tbsp garlic, brown garlic. Add shrooms. I used regular white shrooms, and one small portobello. MMMMM! Stir fry until nice and brown. Dump the shrooms in broccoli bowl.

Give it a spin with a large spoon, coating everything with the juices, and dump BACK into hot pan. Stir-fry, mixing thoroughly for another 3-4 minutes or so. Try a piece of broccoli, when its done to YOUR liking, remove from heat. Plate, and sprinkle plenty of roasted almonds on top.

The garlic is the main flavor giver in this one. I don't add salt, though next time, I will add pepper, and a dash of hot sauce :)

You could easily add celery, peppers, tomatoes (you'd definitely stir-fry those last), even julienned sweet potatoes, cauliflower, its ALL good!

I had 2 large portions, one of which I had for breakfast lol! On the first portion, I added the steak. This would be AWESOME with bbq'd steak. Oh man!

The reason for the lack of my usual sauce is, I wanted something plain today, something... simple. Just veggies and steak. Unfortunately, the steak was so good, I ended up snacking on it. (shakes head). Well, might as well post the recipe below.

I'm leery of posting the recipe as its still in testing mode. (for the steak only).

You know how, when you go to a Chinese restaurant, the meat is always super tender? Well, after doing some online research, I found out the secret ingredients! Cornstarch and sugar.

I tried this without sugar, and either the butcher was a fraud, or the sugar is DEFINITELY needed.  Thankfully, you need very little to make this work.

So, for one 1 lb blade steak (I've only experimented with blade steak so far - I use what is on sale - mind you, I bought steak from one store, and it was pure SHOE SOLE (even after extensive marinating - never again will I buy meat there. I was NOT a happy camper!)

1 lb blade steak
2-3 tbsp cornstarch (the more you use, the thicker the "breading" will be (when its cooked - its kind of a "wet" breading so don't use TOO much, but don't use too little) For this steak, I'd not put less than 2 tbsp. I tried it with 1 tbsp, and nope.
1 tsp of sugar
2.5 tbsp sodium reduced soy sauce
2 tbsp mirin rice seasoning (this stuff helps a great deal I find)
dash of pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp pureed ginger (less or more, that's up to you, and how you can handle it.)

Mix all ingredients except steak in a medium sized bowl.
Cut steak, about 1.5 inches long, and thin (like 1/8") THIS is part of the trick, thin! and make sure you are cutting across the grain. (and that the steak ITSELF is cut that way)
Mix steak into sauce, folding and mixing well until everything is coated. Place a plastic wrap on top of MEAT (not edge of bowl) so that there is no air in between meat and edge of bowl.

Set aside and marinate for about 20 minutes. I always prep my meat before I start the veggies, by the time I'm done, the meat's ready too! :)

In about 3 tbsp olive oil, fragranized, in a non-stick pan (you can get away with using 1.5-2 tbsp) fry meat until browned, and no longer pink, but do NOT overcook. If need be, use a slotted spoon, and remove the meat from heat. Place on veggies (see no noodles this time either, though this stuff would ROCK on noodles) and enjoy!

I'll post updates, as I try difference cuts of meat. this applies also to chicken, and pork (same recipe/principles)

Cyncerely, Cyn

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