made up stir fry

I made this for myself last Friday loosely using the Oriental Chicken recipe I mentioned before. I served it over brown rice. It was so good I said to myself, "This taste like a meal in a Chi-nese restaurant!" Then I laughed at the funny voice I used. That doesn't translate well onto the internet, but it was funny. Wooo living alone!

made up stir fry
1 block extra-firm tofu
1 bunch of broccoli
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T. grated ginger
1 t red pepper flakes
1/4 c. canola oil
1 T rice vinegar
1 T oyster sause
1 T soy sauce
1 T water
1 t corn starch

Cut the tofu into 1/2 inch cubes and set on a paper towel-lined plate. Place double layer of paper towels and another plate on top of the tofu. Weigh down with heavy can or pot. Chop your vegetables.
Next, heat oil in large skillet. When very hot, add tofu and cook for about five minutes. Add onions and cook until lightly brown, about five minutes, making sure to turn the tofu so it sets seared on all edges. Next add broccoli, cook over medium heat for a few minutes then add the garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Stir and cook for about a minute more.
Meanwhile, whisk together vinegar, oyster and soy sauce, water and corn starch. When broccoli is tender, stir the sauce into the skillet with the vegetables and tofu. Cook altogether for a few minutes until sauce thickens and vegetables are coated.


farmers' market

A couple of Sundays ago was my first 2010 trip to the farmers' market! Well, the Chicago one. I went to a very cold, but still incredibly awesome Des Moines market in early May that puts the putzy Wicker Park one to shame. But on with the story! Usually I like to reserve Sundays for sleeping in and lazing about well into early afternoon when the market closes, but somehow I managed to mosey myself down there with a $20 bill in my wallet and a song in my heart. I came out with five ears of corn, a half pound of fresh picked cremini mushrooms, two pints of heirloom cherry tomatoes, two apples, and a head of broccoli. Not bad!

Then I walked to Whole Foods to pick up some (free-range, organic) chicken to make this Oriental Chicken recipe I had found and groggily stared at for maybe an hour during a bout of insomnia earlier in the week. If that doesn't sound like fate I don't know what is, so I felt I had to make it. I replaced the red pepper with the mushrooms and broccoli I'd bought earlier, tripled the sauce, and served it over brown rice. It was amazing! So good I couldn't stop to get a picture. It was maybe my first time cooking chicken or any sort of meat, so I was pretty nervous, but I would definitely say it was a success. And this is despite finding eight green worms popping out of my fresh broccoli at different stages of the cooking.

Even after the meal was gone, I was able to enjoy fresh produce in most of meals that week. For example, in one day I had sliced tomatoes with a dollop of sour cream and some salt and pepper for breakfast, and then a make-shift tuna salad with fresh corn mixed in. Totally worth leaving my house before noon on a weekend. Now if I could just do it again...


a better pickle sandwich

Last time I was at Costco I got a giant (2.5 qt) jar of pickles. I had been a little worried about that big of a pickle purchase, but felt I was up to the challenge. While eating my way through the jar- yeah, it's already long gone- I found the most amazing sandwich. It was my lunch, dinner, and snack more often than I'm going to admit. Take one piece of bread, spread on some mayo and dijon mustard, then put a pickle in and wrap the bread around it. It's like a hot dog but crunchy and awesome and not as easy to cut into shapes. Now who wants to take me to the store for more pickles?


cucumber + avocado soup with tomato + basil salad

I was on something of a vacation detox diet last week. All I wanted was fruits and vegetables and fresh tasting meals after my (absolutely wonderful) all-you-can-eat Virginia tour. So I found this recipe from Bon Appetit, and it fit the bill- super fresh, no cooking required, not to mention it pairs two of my favorite things in the world, cucumber and avocado. The thing was made for me. How could I not make it?

Cucumber and Avocado Soup with Tomato and Basil Salad 
adapted from Bon App├ętit  | August 2000 

1 large English hothouse cucumber,  peeled, diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
2 1/2 cups low-fat (1%) buttermilk
2 avocados, quartered, pitted,      peeled
1/2 medium red onion, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 large seeded chopped tomato
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
4 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt

Combine cucumber and buttermilk in blender. Chop 1/2 of one avocado; set aside for salad. Cut remaining avocado into chunks. Add avocado to blender; then add 2 tablespoons red onion and 1 tablespoon basil. Blend until very smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Cover; refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
Mix reserved avocado, remaining 2 tablespoons onion and 1 tablespoon basil, tomato and lime juice in small bowl. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover soup and tomato salad separately and refrigerate.) Ladle cucumber soup into 4 bowls. Dollop each with 1 tablespoon yogurt; top with tomato salad and serve.