From the Diary of a Kitchen Goddess: Nutritious, Delicious Stir-Fry

Monday, July 9, 2012 ~ New Adventures for my Garden Vegetables

The Month of Blueberries

If June is the month for strawberry lovers, July is the month to celebrate blueberries. This morning's breakfast was a bowl of granola cereal topped with blueberries. Fresh hazelnut coffee with cream and fresh orange juice were the beverages I served at the table. The coffee was the aroma that lured Esperanza from her bedroom. But it was the cereal that burst with flavor from our first spoonfuls. It was a lively beginning to our day!

Ready for an adventure...

An empty swing at Tower Hill Botanical Garden, where a community-grown organic vegetable garden thrives. While the vegetables grow, guests have a chance to enjoy a relaxing swing.
An empty swing at Tower Hill Botanical Garden, where a community-grown organic vegetable garden thrives. While the vegetables grow, guests have a chance to enjoy a relaxing swing. | Source

What do fresh garden vegetables dream of?

"Today is a day to send my garden vegetables on an adventure," I told Esperanza as we nursed our second mug of coffee.

"Where can we send them so that they'll arrive fresh at their destination?"

"My skillet."

"They'll stay fresh in your skillet?"

"They will definitely be fresh when they arrive there and enter the pan, sizzling. Mixed up with other ingredients, I bet they'll enjoy creating something new this evening."

We both giggled.

"So what's your plan?"

"I will have the neighborhood children over to harvest and chop veggies from my garden. Then I will make a stir-fry for a big dinner we can all eat at the picnic table on my patio. I bet my veggies dream of being made into more types of meals than salads."

"I'm sure that they do, though we can never be completely sure of what garden vegetables really dream of."

"That is true. We can only wonder. I know that Sig Freud wrote about what he thought animals dreamed of, but I don't think he commented on vegetation."

"I think the world is more vegetable-friendly now than it was when Sig Freud was alive."


My vegetable harvest revels in a new experience ~

Esperanza's enthusiasm was piqued. "Let's get busy, milady. I'll bring down some bowls and then knock on doors to call forth the harvesters."

"I will make green sun tea and cut fruit to put in it."

We set to work and soon the morning turned into afternoon. Esperanza handed bowls to Liam, Amanda, Amir, Xavier, and Maggie. The children harvested snap peas, beans, kale, cabbage, collard greens, beets, carrots, green peppers, and green onions. After the vegetables were harvested, the older children helped to chop them.

Esperanza put our older neighbors to work building a tent on the patio. In the tent, a giant oriental rug was put down and colorful pillows were spread around the edges. In the middle of the rug, a table was placed, which would later hold the food and iced tea.

Once the vegetables were chopped and the tent was built, Esperanza asked the children to help make lemon ice cream for the evening's dessert. The children gleefully helped while I prepared the rice.

The vegetable adventure culmination ~

At 6:00 in the evening, the children collected their parents while Esperanza and I set the table with the food, iced tea, fruit, mint, and chop sticks to eat with. Cloth napkins were set out with dragon-shaped pewter rings around them. Kimonos were set out for our guests to wear while they ate.

At 7:00, our guests began to arrive. Esperanza played her guzheng while I greeted everyone with a friendly bow by the entrance to the tent. At 7:30pm, everyone was seated. Esperanza and I presented our guests with a lemon-scented cloth for washing their hands, and then served our guests their meal and drink. The crickets serenaded us while we ate.

Between the meal and the dessert, the children ran around, chasing fireflies, blowing bubbles, and sharing a pair of binoculars to look at the stars and waning moon. After everyone enjoyed a small bowl of lemon ice cream, our guests slowly made their way home, and we bade them a night full of sweet dreams. ~

Time to fire up the wok ~

Joyce Chen 21-9972, Classic Series 4-Piece Carbon-Steel Wok Set
Joyce Chen 21-9972, Classic Series 4-Piece Carbon-Steel Wok Set

A sturdy wok set is essential for a successful stir fry. Yum!

 

Stirring portrait of a stir-fry

Close-up of a stir-fried veggies, etc.  on a bed of brown rice
Close-up of a stir-fried veggies, etc. on a bed of brown rice | Source

How Tempting is this Summer Stir Fry? ~

Cast your vote for Nutritious, Delicious Stir Fry

The Magical Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons Sesame Oil
  • 1 cup Soy Sauce
  • 1 packet Stir Fry seasoning mix
  • 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 2 cloves Garlic, chopped into small pieces
  • A handful Scallions, chopped finely
  • 1 or 2 Carrots, grated
  • 1 cup Snap peas, ends removed and cut in half
  • 1 Pineapple, cut into small chunks
  • 1 Beet root, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 cup Spinach leaves, chopped small
  • 2 leaves Kale, separated from the stem and chopped small
  • 2 big leaves Cabbage, chopped small
  • 1 cup Parsley (fresh), leaves removed from the stem
  • 1/3 cup Walnuts, crumbled by hand
  • 1/4 cup Almond slivers
  • 2 Lemons, juiced and zest grated
  • 1 tablespoon Ginger root, grated
  • 1 tablespoon Sesame seeds
  • 1 to 2 packages Tofu (extra firm), cubed
  • 2 cups Brown Rice, boiled

The time it takes to prepare a stir-fry dinner ~

Prep time: 45 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 1 hour 15 min
Yields: 6-8 people 1 bowl of stir fry on brown rice

Stirring it all together ~

  1. Whisk together the soy sauce and stir-fry spice packet in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Chop vegetables and pineapple.
  3. Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet.
  4. Stir in the scallions and garlic. Let cook for about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the walnuts and almonds. Grill until the nuts begin to turn brown.
  6. Stir in the chopped vegetables and pineapple.
  7. Add the diced firm tofu.
  8. Stir together all of the ingredients in the skillet and pour in the sauce created earlier.
  9. Juice lemons and grate the zest. Immediately mix them in with the rest of the ingredients.
  10. Turn down the heat under the skillet to Low and stir the vegetables occasionally, for about 10 to 15 more minutes.
  11. Fill a pan with 4 cups of water and a teaspoon of salt. When the water boils, add 2 cups of long grain brow rice. This will take about 20 minutes.
  12. When both the rice and the vegetables are fully cooked, serve them together in bowls.

Nutrition packed into a bowl of stir-fry over brown rice

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 bowl of stir fry
Calories 433
Calories from Fat189
% Daily Value *
Fat 21 g32%
Saturated fat 0 g
Unsaturated fat 0 g
Carbohydrates 72 g24%
Sugar 7 g
Fiber 15 g60%
Protein 5 g10%
Cholesterol 0 mg
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

© 2012 Karen Szklany Gault

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