Vegetables, yarn, and yarns: all of my passions all in one place.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Veggie Stir Fry the Japanese way, plus a couple sweet treats to beat the heat

As I type this, I am sweltering in an unair-conditioned apartment in 90 degree weather. 90 degree weather on the last day of May in Cleveland, OH, where it would not be unthinkable to expect snow in May. To beat the heat, I am drinking the only beverage chilling in my frig at the moment, a bottle of Smirnoff's new Blueberry and Lemonade malt beverage, so before I move on to cooking vegetables the Japanese way, I thought I would impart a word of advice on the subject of this particular beverage.

It is, not surprisingly, lemony with a hint of blueberry and oddly tastes less like an alcoholic beverage even than the other Smirnoff malt beverages (Ice, Triple Black, and assorted fruit flavored Ices) despite it's higher percentage of alcohol content (and by higher, I mean one or two percentage points, depending). I would recommend it to those of you out there above the legal age to drink alcoholic beverages stronger than cough syrup, and I don't say that in jest. You're reading the ramblings of a gal who didn't touch a drop of anything faintly alcoholic in nature until she was nearly twenty-two.

Now, on to the Japanese.

Stir-fried Veggies
- ammended from a recipe in Japanese Women Don't Get Old or Fat -

8 oz firm tofu
6 dried shiitake mushrooms
2 T soy sauce
2 T sake
½ t salt
2 T canola oil
2 med carrots, cut into thin slices
1 bag Asian veggies - if your bag of Asian veggies includes carrots, you way omit the carrots mentioned above
2 c. of brown rice

  1. Make rice via rice cooker. You could go old school, but a rice cooker is the best kitchen invention since the microwave oven. It's just so easy and fool-proof.
  2. I read somewhere that if you place a block of tofu between two pieces of paper towel and set something heavy on top of it for an hour, the water will leech out leaving a more solid tofu. Tried it. Totally works. So do that. Then dice it.
  3. While the tofu is de-watering, put the dried shiitake in a small bowl and add 2 c water. Let that soak for 20 min. Then, take a 1/2 c of the shiitake soaking water and place it in a small bowl with 1 T soy sauce-pepper.
  4. Drain the mushrooms, cut off any stems, and dice the caps.
  5. Heat oil in large skillet over high heat. Add carrots and stir fry about 3 minutes before adding the bag of frozen veggies and the sauce mix from the small bowl. Stir fry the lot until the veggies are hot. Then add the tofu, pepper, and remaining 1 T of soy sauce. Stir fry another minute or two.
  6. Now, you're ready to serve. Make sure to include a bowl of the rice to go with it.

It's optional, but this dish pairs well with a nice cup of green tea (Decaf. It's dinner, people). Even without the tea, though, this was very light and let the veggies be their own flavoring. Better still, the entire meal's leftovers make a delightful miso soup, just place in water and add miso and a sheet of nori cut into strips.

And because that soup looks hot, for your viewing enjoyment, another desserty, delightfully chilly beverage to cool you down and get you some extra calcium, in honor of the weather: The strawberry banana kale smoothie.

1 banana
3 frozen strawberries
3 T yogurt
1 t oatmeal
a handful of kale (more or less depending on preference)
a dah of cinnamon
a splash of fruit juice (to make it easier for the blender to blend)

Blend all ingredients in a blender until blended, adding juice as needed to move the process along. If you're feeling frisky, go ahead and plop on a dab of whipped cream. I dare you.

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