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The veggie ends that I saved are growing nicely. The kitchen window sill is filled with lots of green things which is a welcome sight when you look out the window and realize that nothing green will be growing out there for quite a while yet.
Right now, I have about a dozen scallions in various stages of growth, a bunch of basil and a lovely bok choy. The other day, when I chopped up the last of a stalk of celery for some roasted cauliflower soup, I added that to the dish. I am anxious to see how that works.
While the leeks and scallions by far have the most roots, the bok choy, which has grown beautifully, is only just now starting to sprout a couple roots from its base. The basil is not showing any real root growth yet, but lots of leaves.
Okay, so technically it’s not really even in the garden yet. Geez, give me a break. Up until about a week ago, there was still snow in these parts. But, this technically is the first bounty from what “would be” the garden, if in fact it were already in the ground.
I trimmed my onions, shallots and scallions and used these trimmings to season a soup since I didn’t have any full grown scallions in the fridge.
Since I am growing my onions, shallots and scallions from seeds, as opposed to onion sets, it takes quite a bit more to get them going. Trimming the seedings when they reach about two inches high forces the plant to put more energy into developing the bulb, which is what we really want to grow anyway.
This was lunch. It was delicious. If I do say so myself. Tom tells me that the things that I whip together in about five minutes from what’s hanging around the fridge are probably some of the better things that I cook. Today, I would have to agree.
I took a chicken breast, a few thin slices of red onion, a handful of snow peas and some leftover rice. Sauteed it with a little vegetable oil, sesame oil, chili oil and soy sauce. I chopped a couple scallions, a small handful of cilantro and some lemon juice and topped it off with some black sesame seeds that are relegated to the rear of the pantry since my youngest son is allergic to sesame. So, anything that can incorporate sesame oil and sesame seeds in the same meal is a special, special treat in our house.
All I can say is yum. It was good.
I truly think that some of the best dinners I cook are those that are literally pulled from the fridge with whatever ingredients I have on hand. The picture above is a tofu stir fry that was part of last night’s dinner. I am partial to tofu in a stir fry and the rest of the family…well not so much. Complicating this is the fact that youngest son is allergic to sesame, so addition of sesame oil (which I also happen to like) is a big no-no on anything that he is eating. Hence, we are usually a two dinner family.
The “other” dinner I made last night was a chicken stir fry with broccoli and snow peas. Simple and quite tasty. For both recipes I put the protein into cornstarch and coated it before cooking – for the tofu that enabled it to be crunchy on the outside while still soft on the inside – for the chicken it gave it a nice moist taste.
Basically I pulled whatever I had in the way of fresh veggies out and you can do the same, but here’s the recipe for these particular recipes:
TOFU STIR FRY
1 container of extra firm tofu- drained on towel and cut into one inch cubes.
3 scallions chopped into 1 inch pieces
1/2 large onion, sliced thinly
2 carrots sliced thinly on the diagonal
1/2 large red bell pepper sliced into thin strips
handful of snow peas, chopped in half
handful of broccoli florets
chicken broth 2 cups
low sodium soy sauce 3 tablespoons
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 t. sesame oil
vegetable oil for sauteing (about 2 T.)
1. Dredge cubed tofu in cornstarch (about 1/4 cup total) until all sides are covered. Heat vegetable oil in frying pan or wok and add tofu, let cook on one side for about 5 minutes (or if you’re like me until the smoke detector goes off) and then flip so all sides are browned nicely. Remove from pan.
2. Add all vegetables and stir fry for about 5 minutes until vegetables are cooked enough for your taste.
3. Add sesame oil, chicken broth mixed with remaining cornstarch and soy sauce.
4. Bring to a boil so it thickens and then serve with jasmine or brown rice.
CHICKEN STIR FRY
3 boneless chicken breasts sliced into 1/4 inch slices
2 large broccoli crowns cut into florets (bite size)
1/2 pound of snow peas sliced in thirds
2 c. chicken broth
3 T low sodium soy sauce
1/4 c. cornstarch
vegetable oil for sauteing (about 2 T)
1. Dip slices of chicken into cornstarch to coat. Put oil into frying pan and heat, add chicken – cook until browned.
2. Steam broccoli florets in microwave with 1/2 c. water covered for 2 minutes to par-cook.
3. Drain broccoli and add it to pan along with snow peas. Stir fry until vegetables are cooked to your liking, about 5-8 minutes.
4. Mix chicken broth with remaining cornstarch. Add soy sauce and mix well. Add to pan and bring to a boil to thicken.
Serve with white or jasmine rice.
Here’s lunch. Leftovers transformed into something that tasted quite yummy. I must admit that I think my strength in cooking is the ability to throw a whole bunch of stuff together into something edible. While I follow recipes just fine, grabbing things from the fridge and turning them into a meal is a whole lot more fun. Brings out the mad scientist in me I guess.
Thai inspired rice
Leftover chicken cut up into chunks (about 1 cup)
Leftover jasmine rice (about 3 cups)
3 scallions chopped finely
2 T. chili garlic sauce
2 t. fish sauce
1 c. cilantro chopped finely
1/2 c. basil, chopped the same way
1 c. snow peas sliced into vertical strips
2 T. soy sauce
Juice of one lime
I sauted the chicken with the garlic sauce for a few minutes while I chopped up everything else. Add the rice and the remainder of the ingredients. Mix well, heat for about 5 minutes and serve. This made 3 generous servings – Lunch for the two of us and lunch for tomorrow.