Stir-fry

This is more of a template than a recipe, since you can use any combination of vegetables and protein you like, with a very simple but delicious sauce.

I tend to do onion, broccoli, red bell pepper, and mushrooms as a basic veggie formula. Recently, in order to save myself all the chopping time, I’ve been using frozen stir-fry vegetables. These can be expensive, but Costco has a nice mix for a reasonable price, and it’s a good thing to keep in your freezer for emergencies.

Here’s the method:

Choose your protein. I’ve used chicken, shrimp, and tofu all very successfully. This gets cooked first. Cube the chicken or tofu, or peel the shrimp, and cook on high heat with a little canola oil until cooked through (in the case of chicken/shrimp) or browned on most sides (tofu). Note on tofu: it always sticks to my wok something awful, so I tend to do it in a separate non-stick skillet. Remove to a plate or bowl.

Add a little more oil to your skillet or wok and start cooking vegetables. If using fresh vegetables, add the ones that need the longest cook time first (e.g. onion and broccoli) and proceed in order every few minutes. If using frozen vegetables, put a lid on the skillet for part of the time so the steam can help the veggies defrost faster.

Sauce. In a small glass measuring cup, combine 1 cup vegetable broth, 3-4 T tamari, and a heaping T corn starch. Whisk.

When the vegetables are almost cooked but still crispy (or thawed and almost hot), add the protein and the sauce to the wok and stir. As soon as the sauce starts to boil, it will thicken and turn clear, and you are done. Serve with the spiced coconut rice.

Variations and Remarks: I’ve made the sauce with chicken broth, but I actually like it better with vegetable broth (even when using chicken in the stir-fry) because the chicken broth is too overpowering of the other flavors.

Last week I was unexpectedly out of broth of all sorts, so I improvised. San-J has a line of gluten-free Asian sauces, and I had bought a few to experiment with, so I had a GF teriyaki sauce in the fridge. I dumped a third of the bottle in with my veggies, and fearing that the water from the frozen veggies would dilute it too much, recklessly added a splash of tamari and a sprinkle of corn starch. Brooks claims this was the best stir-fry of all time although I don’t necessarily recommend using your good teriyaki sauce on it on a regular basis.

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Autumn Squash, Red Pepper, and Red Quinoa

Recipe from Shauna, the Gluten-Free Girl, at http://glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com/2005/10/turning-mad-for-turmeric.html

1 butternut squash
enough olive oil to coat
sea salt
2 cups of organic red quinoa
4 cups of mushroom stock
2 tablespoons of walnut oil
2 red peppers, sliced thin
1 package of firm tofu, drained of liquid
5 garlic cloves, minced finely
turmeric, ginger, and cumin, to taste

Cut the butternut squash in half. Brush olive oil onto the cut surface. Place in a 375° oven and cook until the squash is soft enough to cut through with a fork. (About one hour.)

Boil the mushroom stock, then pour in the red quinoa. Cook on low, stirring constantly, until the water is fully absorbed.

Set a skillet on high heat. Add one tablespoon of the walnut oil. When it’s hot, add medium-thick slices of tofu. Sprinkle on turmeric, ginger, and cumin with a flourish. Throw in the minced garlic. Wait to turn the slices until they’re just about to burn, about five minutes. Do the same on the other side, until they are seared. Set the slices aside.

Pour the remaining walnut oil in the pan. Quickly sautee the red peppers, then the butternut squash, with more turmeric, sea salt, and cumin.

Serve the tofu and vegetables on a bed of the red quinoa. Enjoy it while it’s hot.