Essie told me it's too bad I don't have the skill of cooking and having this much fun at the same time...All these years, I've been cooking, and apparently my kitchen methods are all wrong.
The best recipe for success, according to this Swedish chef, is to throw two spoons behind you before starting any recipe. It's a sure-fire method!
My kids and I have discovered the Muppets, and spent an hour watching and laughing at it yesterday. I know...I'm a little slow in jumping on the Muppet bandwagon. We thought you might get a kick out of it, too!
Anywho, Chinese Stir Fry makes for a great, low fat meal.
I've discovered a new passion for rice. Rice, rice, rice. Yummly. I go in phases on food. My poor family. Has to just eat whatever food is in that phase. Well, this month it's rice. Warm, chewy, tender, flavor-absorbing, filling rice.
Make a good soy based sauce, add some awesome, Asian-insipired veg, and you have a great meal.
Add fried tofu, and use pasta for the kids, and they love it.
Eating low fat without flour means eating a lot of veg, rice (whole grains), and sometimes beans. Over the next few days I'll try to show how I season rice and vegetables using Ethnic methods, to shake it up and make it taste great. No boredom, here.
I have grown to really love frozen veg lately. There is no waste. I use the entire bag, and the produce does not go bad. No chopping required.
So easy! And there are all kinds of frozen, stir fry veg mixes available. Even at Wal-Mart. Costco also sells a good one.
I used two of these bags, and then added some more veg from a Costco frozen mix.
There are methods to make a good sauce, and there are exact recipes. I usually follow a recipe, but I've just started to branch out and use methods. I really enjoy it.
Every good Asian-inspired sauce usually has these elements.
Chopped garlic and ginger are a great start.
*Hot (sambal oelek, or other red chili paste)
*Sweet (agave nectar or sugar)
*Sour (lemon juice)
*Salty (Soy sauce and salt)
Start by frying up your vegetables. Since they are frozen, they contain a lot of water and can saute themselves. Add your sauce.
You do not, not, not need oil. The fastest way for my vegetables to be ruined (happens at restaurants sometimes) in both flavor and texture, is to use oil. I don't enjoy it at all.
Get your rice going...or maybe that should be step one? Probably.
I am terrible at cooking rice, seeing as how I live at 7200 feet in altitude, anyone in this area knows they pretty much have to use a rice cooker in order for it to turn out right.
Maybe you are good at making rice. And don't need an automatic cooker. Awesome. In general, twice as much water is used than rice, for the proper ratio. Here I did six cups of water, and three cups of rice.
Most of the time I use brown rice, but sometimes I use white rice. Depends on my mood.
One word. Fickle.
Once my vegetables are cooked (tender-crisp, not too mushy!) I use a method to help my kids enjoy the meal more.
I remove 3/4ths of the vegetables from the pan, and then add cooked pasta, and more stir fry sauce.
Soba noodles are usually used in Asian dishes, I believe (correct me if I am wrong, please). All I had was brown rice spaghetti pasta. It worked in a pinch, but the pasta dried out a little too easily.
To the remaining 1/4 of vegetables is added pasta and more sauce, then lightly sauteed, or just tossed. Here I add nondairy butter and/or a tiny bit of sesame oil for my kids.
Add some fried tofu, and you have a meal that your kids will eat.
For the adults, throw rice together with vegetables, and eat up!
Something Simple Asian Stir Fry Sauce
By Ashlee Crozier
Note from Ashlee: Serve with freshly steamed rice of your choice, and fried tofu for your kids. For 2 pounds of vegetables, my family usually needs 3-4 cups of cooked rice.
For the veg:
*2 pounds of prepared, frozen, stir fry vegetables
For the sauce:
* 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
* 1 tablespoon grated ginger
* water, for sauteing (optional)
* 1/4 to 1/3 cup soy sauce
* juice of 1 lemon, fresh tastes the best (about 1-2 tablespoons)
* 2 tsp. agave nectar
* 2 tsp. sambal oelek (or other red chili paste)
* additional salt to taste (about 1-2 teaspoons)
Whisk all ingredients in a bowl, except salt, and add to vegetables after they are halfway cooked. Stir well to fully incorporate sauce into vegetables. Simmer until water has cooked out of the vegetables. When vegetables are tender-crisp, and have fully absorbed the sauce (it's okay if they are still a little bit wet, the rice will absorb it) remove from heat.
Adjust seasonings to taste. (Does it need to be more salty? Sweet? A more sour kick? More heat?)
Serve hot, with steamed rice.
For kids, add 1/4 of stir fry veggies to 1/2 pound (8 ounces) of pasta (cooked according to package directions), and add:
*2 tsp. nondairy butter
*1/4 tsp. sesame oil (toasted sesame oil would also work)
*juice of 1/2 lemon (a little less than 1 tablespoon)
*soy sauce and salt to taste
Lightly saute and toss for about 1-2 minutes, until thoroughly combined and pasta has absorbed most of the sauce.
My kids also really, really love the Thai sauce from this recipe, for their Asian pasta. There is never any complaints when I serve it; only empty plates!
On trips, or just going out to eat, I love choosing ethnic restaurants. On our trip to California, I think we ate a variation of Asian stir fry or pasta at least 3 times in one week. My kids love the pasta, and I feel so great after eating stir fry veg with rice.
Paul and the kids and I were crazy enough to get up at 5 a.m. on Black Friday and go shopping at the mall in California. While we didn't find anything to buy that we liked, we stopped at a Genghis Grill located within the mall, and ate this meal for breakfast! I asked them to water saute it all instead of oil saute, and all they added to the sauce was soy sauce, garlic, lemon juice, and red chili paste. It was so good!
What are some of your favorite places to eat out at on the road?