Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Veggies, veggies, and more veggies


Ah, Deutchland. You have many virtues, especially in the arena of goulash soup, anything to do with potatoes, breaded meats, sausages, and lingonberries. And your beer is pretty gosh darn excellent too. However, your ability to provide me with fruits or vegetables, that have not been covered in butter and/or "yogurt dressing" (aka mayonnaise with some paprika in it), needs a bit of work.

Now that I am back in NYC, city of culinary diversity, I am trying to make up for all the greens and spices I had to do without while abroad. That means honey crisp apples and juicy pears, carrot ginger soup, grilled sweet corn, and french green beans (steamed and then tossed in olive oil and a Proven├žal spice mix--I like the combination of rosemary, thyme, tarragon, basil, fennel, and lavender). I even have a mind to whip up some cauliflower tomorrow.

Yet fruits and veggies alone do not a complete meal make. You need to have a "protein," something that will stick to your ribs. I think a good stir-fry with tofu served over rice is a great way to have a complete vegetarian meal. It is quick and easy to make and even Vronsky, an avowed tofu-hater, will eat this:

You need extra firm tofu, half an onion, 1-2 red peppers, 1-2 yellow or orange peppers, celery, snow peas, and cashews.

Before you start prepping your veggies, put your rice in your rice cooker so it will be ready by the time your stir fry is done.

Slice onions and peppers to your preference of thickness. I actually like them on the thicker ends of things. Chop celery and cut tofu into bite-sized cubes.

Heat pan with olive oil, until it starts to steam. Put in tofu and onions first, as they take longer to cook. Once in pan, toss with soy sauce so that tofu will brown up nicely.

Once onions begin to turn clear, put in celery, snow peas, peppers, toss in a bit more soy sauce and continue to toss until everything cooks and you get that nice stir-fry flavor.

At the last second, toss in the cashews. Take rice out of cooker, plate, and then put your stir-fry on top. Easy squeezy, and a good meal for groups!

[You can add other vegetables to this mix as well--broccoli diced up into florets is really nice, as are button mushrooms or even some shaved carrots. A good way to deal with leftovers that might no longer be crisp enough for salads]

I've also had a few requests for a good mushroom recipe. Will post my favorite one for portobellos tomorrow!

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