Sunday, March 28, 2010

(Clean out the fridge) Stir-Fry.

It's a Sunday night and after staying in (with a cold) and cooking for the past few nights, our fridge was full of all sorts of veggies....half of a green pepper, a few stalks of green onion, bunch of broccolini, a handful of sugar snap peas, leftover brown rice... One simple dinner solution came to mind. Stir-fry. Versatile and fun to make, you can use any vegetables that you like or have on hand. Feel free to play around with different varieties and proportions to create your own. Serve over brown rice or soba noodles.

Simple Stir-Fry

For the sauce:
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1 Tbsp corn starch
2 Tbsp rice wine
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp salt
drizzle of agave

For the stir-fry:
splash of sesame oil
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger
handful of sliced green onion
1 cup sliced red or green bell pepper,
1/2 cup blanched sugar snap peas (or string beans), chopped
1 1/2 cup of blanched broccolini (or broccoli), chopped
1/2 cup sliced shitake or oyster mushrooms
1/4 cup thinly sliced water chestnuts
1/4 cup sesame seeds (I had black sesame seeds on hand)
salt, to taste

To make the sauce, whisk together all of the ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

In a large pan or wok, heat the oil over high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, green onion and a pinch of salt and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the vegetables and toss to combine. Continue to saute and toss until you reach the desired crispness, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Add the sauce and water chestnuts and stir-fry for an additional 3 minutes, until the sauce thickens a bit and the vegetables are cooked through. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve at once.

Spring Fling

My husband and I both woke up (sick) on the wrong side of the bed yesterday. There was something in the air and it was only making my throat itch. We sadly canceled fun dinner plans with friends for a movie-night in on the couch. To make some sort of fun out of being sick, I decided to make a cozy dish of homemade springtime soup. I came across another fab recipe from Heidi Swanson at 101 Cookbooks and decided to take a go at it. I added chickpeas to my version and shredded some left-over roasted chicken on top of his serving. Served with a butter lettuce and watercress salad with creamy avocado chunks and toasted pine nuts and a few slices of toasted bread, mmmm good soup for the soul.

Spring Fling (Feel Good) Soup

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup brown basmati rice, rinsed
6 cups vegetable stock
1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed and cut in half diagonally
8 spears of asparagus, trimmed and diagonally sliced into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, then add the shallots and garlic and saute for a few minutes until soft. Add the rice and stir for about a minute, then add the stock and bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat and simmer until the rice is just tender, about 35 minutes.

In the meantime, saute the chickpeas in a separate pan with a pinch of salt and a dash of olive oil until slightly browned.

Add the sugar snap peas, asparagus, green peas and chickpeas and season with a few healthy pinches of salt and fresh ground pepper. Simmer for another 2 or 3 minutes and serve immediately so the vegetables remain crisp and bright. If desired, top with shredded chicken and thinly sliced parmessan.

Serves 4.

(James' version with shredded chicken)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Baked, Not Fried.

Crispy shrimp with cannellini beans.

1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
5 Tbsp olive oil
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
1 lb peeled and deveined large shrimp
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 19-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
2 bunches arugula, thick stems removed

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the bread crumbs, rosemary, 3 Tbsp of the oil, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Add the shrimp and toss to coat.

Transfer the shrimp and excess crumbs to a baking sheet. Bake until the shrimp are cooked through and the crumbs are crispy, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp of oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for a few seconds. Add the beans, 1/4 cup water and 1/4 each of salt and pepper. Cook until heated through, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and toss with the arugula.

Serve the bean mixture with the shrimp and sprinkle any remaining bread crumbs over the top.

Serves 4.