Stir-fry: Part Deux

I promise we do eat more than stir-fry, but I thought I do another post to hopefully give you more ideas for your own. It’s such a great way to use up extra veggies you have on hand. For the dish you see above, I fried cubes of tofu in my wok, then I added carrots, edamame, a green pepper and some kale that needed to be used. A couple of vegetable gyozas from Trader Joe’s rounded out the meal.

My Favorite Kitchen Gadgets

I was perusing the Web when I came across this list of 13 must-have gadgets that every cook needs in the kitchen. I try to be a minimalist in the kitchen, but I agree with most everything on the list — except for the mise en place bowls (I get the idea, but that just means more dishes to wash). I would, however, like to add a few of my own. While these aren’t necessarily must-haves — you can get on just fine without them — they are certainly tools that I turn to time and again in my kitchen.

Food processer: My tiny little Cuisinart gets such a workout. I curse at it every time I use it because I really need a bigger one (liquids always spill out of the sides), but it does the job.

Wok: I just upgraded my cheap IKEA wok to a much nicer (while still cheaply priced — thank you, TJ Maxx!), non-stick, ceramic wok. Sure, you can use a regular pan to make stir-fry, but if you make it as much as I do, you’ll appreciate the deep, sloping sides for keeping everything inside the pan. Woks also heat up a lot faster.

Cast iron skillet: A properly seasoned cast iron skillet is so versatile. It’s perfect for making pancakes, skillet cornbread, frying tofu — you name it. Plus, you can use it as a makeshift tofu press.

Silicone spatulas: One of my best friends gave me two silicon spatulas, along with a bunch of other helpful kitchen gadgets, as my wedding present nearly six years ago (yikes!). I reach for them over any other cooking utensil. I use them for sautéing and baking — they’re perfect for gently folding ingredients and for scraping all the batter out of a bowl.

Whirley Pop: OK, I know this sounds like a strange one, but we love popcorn as a snack and microwave popcorn is a waste of money, especially if you’re vegan (no butter!). Bulk popcorn is so much cheaper and you can season it however you like. This handy gadget makes popcorn on the stove in a matter of minutes and leaves hardly any unpopped kernels. A little melted Earth Balance, a little chili seasoning and nutritional yeast — so good!

Wish list

Vitamix: I really, really want a Vitamix. Yes, they seem to be all the rage these days but even my skeptical husband was turned into a believer when we watched a demonstration of one at our Whole Foods. It’s going to be a while before I can get one because they’re so darn expensive, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

What are your favorite go-to kitchen gadgets?

Weeknight Basics: Stir-fry and Spring Rolls

We eat stir-fry all the time and never seem to tire of it. I cook about 2 cups of brown rice, fry a whole block of tofu that’s been cubed and then throw in whatever veggies I have on hand. And I don’t even make a sauce; a little Bragg’s, a little Sriracha and a sprinkling of sesame seeds and there you go. For this particular meal, I used fresh broccoli, carrots and a green pepper. I also found vegan spring rolls at Whole Foods to round out the meal. The whole thing was under $12 and was enough for two dinners.

Vegan Food Happenings

Sorry for the lack of posts; it’s been a busy couple of weeks. Here’s a quick rundown of a few of the meals we’ve had recently.

Our meals have mostly consisted of finding ways to use up all the greens we’ve been getting with our CSA pickups. We’ve gotten a couple of bunches of purple kale, which is really, really good. We also got some sugar snap peas that are awesome in stir-fry.

Also, to my photographer friends out there: Can you please tell me why my pictures are blurry in the middle? I can’t figure it out.

I hope everyone is well!

Banana Biscuits from “Vegan Diner”

Mushroom and Onion Pizza

Beans, Greens and Cornbread Bowl

Mix-and-Match Stir-fry

Miso Udon Stir-fry with Greens & Beans

I know I’ve professed my love of Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s newest book, “Appetite for Reduction,” here before, but I just have to do it again. If you buy one cookbook this year, I highly recommend that you buy that book. The recipes are simple, clean and healthy, which I love. This Miso Udon Stir-fry with Greens & Beans is so good that I actually made it twice in the same week. And you’re in luck because the recipe is featured on her website, which you can find here.

Once you chop the broccoli, swiss chard and garlic, the dish comes together really fast. You can use any kind of miso you like; I used red miso for the dish you see in the pictures. And be sure to add some Sriracha for added color and heat.

Enjoy!

Green Stir-fry

I love to cook, but every now and then, I have weeks where I just don’t have the motivation to step into the kitchen. This past week was one of them. I kept putting off going to the grocery, and as a result, we ate very poorly. In fact, we were a good example of how a vegan diet can be unhealthy. We lived off of veggie burgers, tofu hot dogs, tater tots, and lots of sugary sweets, which are all okay in moderation, but not every day. After a week of eating junk, my body was craving vegetables.

I love stir-fry because anything goes. It’s a great way to clean out your fridge, which is what I did for this stir-fry. For some reason, I had tons of green vegetables on hand (hence the name “Green Stir-fry”); I had some cucumbers that needed to be used, as well as a green pepper, frozen edamame, and a small head of broccoli. I also tossed in some baby carrots for extra color, tofu, peanuts, and a drizzle of a soy peanut sauce on top. The dish definitely satisfied my vegetable craving.

Green Stir-fry

Serves 2 + leftovers for the next day

Ingredients:

2 cups uncooked long-grain brown rice
4 cups water
1 tbsp Earth Balance margarine

1 lb extra firm tofu
1 tbsp low-sodium soy or tamari sauce
1 tbsp mirin

1 large green pepper, chopped into large pieces
1/2 seedless cucumber, cut into large pieces
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup broccoli pieces, chopped
1 cup frozen, shelled edamame
1/4 cup peanuts

1/4 cup natural peanut butter (I like Earth Balance brand)
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp low-sodium soy or tamari sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp chili paste

1 tbsp canola oil for frying

Directions:

Place the rice into a wide pan, and add water and margarine. Heat on medium-high until it comes up to a boil. Cover and turn down to low. Cook for 40 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, press the tofu for about 20 minutes. Once it’s been pressed, cut into 1-inch cubes. Chop all the vegetables into uniform pieces so that they cook evenly. Make the sauce by combining the peanut butter, water, sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and chili paste. Set aside.

In a wok or a heavy skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Toss in the cubed tofu and stir constantly to brown on all sides. Mix together the tablespoons of soy sauce and mirin, and add them to the tofu. Stir to coat. Take the tofu out of the wok and set aside.

Add the chopped vegetables to the pan and stir constantly to avoid burning. Cook the vegetables for about 4 to 5 minutes, and then add the peanuts and the tofu. Pour about half of the peanut sauce over the top and mix to coat everything. I serve the other half of the sauce at the table to drizzle over the dish.

Serve over the brown rice.

Enjoy!