"A little of this, a little of that." "Whatever you have on hand." "Alter it to your taste."
These phrases permeate my cooking style. If I see a recipe and it is heavy on a vegetable that just doesn't jive with my boys, then I substitute it with something that works. Or perhaps I just don't have the *exact* ingredients in my kitchen and I am not busy/tired/distracted to go to the grocery to pick up what I need.
In other words, I wing it. I hope you feel free to wing it or just get a little creative from time to time in your kitchen. It is very freeing and can lead to some great flavor discoveries.
Not comfortable with winging it? Well, I am here to give you the confidence to bring a little freedom to your kitchen creations. I call this...Anatomy of a Stir-fry. Stir-fries are hard to beat on their healthful potential and flexibility.
Anatomy of a Stir-fry:
Protein (Chicken, Pork, Beef, Shrimp or Tofu)
Aromatics (Onion, Garlic)
Vegetables (Sky's the Limit!)
I used to follow stir-fry recipes exactly. But once you get comfortable with how to put a stir-fry together, you can alter to your heart's content. Go ahead and give yourself the freedom to get a little kooky in your kitchen. Come on, you know you have it in you!
This recipe below features a really basic asian flavored sauce, but you can come up with your own. Or use a bottled stir-fry sauce, like Soyaki or other natural sauce. We usually end up serving our stir-fries over brown rice, but noodles are also a fun choice for kids.
Ten-rrific Recipe #4: Anatomy of a Stir-fry
Protein: 1 pound extra firm tofu, chicken pieces or pork, beef or shrimp -OR- a combination
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Aromatics: 1 onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
Vegetables: 1 red pepper, sliced
1 can baby corn, drained and cut into bite sized pieces
3 ribs celery, sliced
Sauce: 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Black and White Sesame Seeds (optional)
1. First, prepare all your ingredients. If using tofu, slice and place between two clean towels to absorb excess liquid. Chop all your aromatics and vegetables.
2. In a large bowl, combine your protein, flour, salt and pepper. Set Aside.
3. In a large non-stick skillet or wok, heat oil over high heat. Add your protein and stir as you cook. Cook until heated through and slightly browned. Remove from the wok.
4. Next, in the heated wok add your aromatics. Cook 3-4 minutes. Add your vegetables, starting with the firmest first (things like broccoli, peppers, baby corn, carrots, celery) and ending with the vegetables that will take less time to cook (mushrooms, zucchini, greens). Cook until vegetables are tender, but still firm and not mushy.
5. Meanwhile, in a bowl prepare your sauce. For the sauce above, combine all sauce ingredients and wisk well. Add to the wok while the vegetables are still in the wok and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
6. Return your protein to the wok and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring to ensure good distribution of the sauce.
7. Serve over rice or noodles, add your garnish.
Just like anything else, the more you try winging-it in the kitchen, the more comfortable you will become.
(Looking for Ten-rrific Recipe #3? Check out my post from today's FamilyEducation.com for Penne Puttanesca!)