Monday, August 29, 2011

Summer Stir-Fry with Quinoa

Thanks to our recent move, Austin and I have had to adapt to a number of things: a different area of town; living in a multi-story home (in my case for the first time ever); everything we own being in a different place than it was a month ago; and the layout of our new supermarket. This last one has proven a bit challenging, since the Kroger where we now do most of our shopping is somewhat weirdly organized. For instance, most of the vegetable broth is located in the health food section, instead of with the soup. This health food section also contains items, such as non-dairy milk, energy bars, and rice cakes usually found throughout the store next to somewhat similar items. Since I find the organization strange and confusing I was rather fearful when Austin suggested we track down a can of mini corn on the cob. Oh no, not a specialty ingredient! Instead of going straight for the canned veggies, I put on my Kroger shelf stocker hat and headed for the Asian foods section. Success!

But, as usual, I digress. Why were we searching for cute little corn cobs anyway? Well, Austin insisted we needed them for that evening’s stir-fry.  I had decided that’s what we were having for dinner because it seemed like the perfect way to make a dent in a seemingly bottomless bag of dried shiitakes and my ever-growing supply of peppers and zucchini. These veggies, along with the corn, made for fresh and summery-tasting stir-fry. For a protein boost, I served the stir-fry over a bed of nutty-tasting quinoa.

Even though it involved a fair amount of chopping, the meal was easy to prepare and came together in about half an hour. So if stir-fry is such a quick, not to mention tasty and versatile, meal why don’t I make it more often? Probably because I’m too busy working my way down a list of new, and usually more complicated, recipe ideas. I’ll try to remind myself that quickie old faithful dishes deserve some love too.

Summer Stir-Fry over Quinoa
Makes 4 servings
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 3 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons chili and garlic paste
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced into 2.5 inch / 3 cm thin matchsticks
  • 2 Anaheim chilies or 1 green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into thin matchsticks
  • 1 15 oz / 425 g can baby corn, cobs drained and halved
  • 1 cup sliced dried shiitake mushrooms
  • Optional: Sliced scallions for garnish
1.  Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring occasionally, until you can smell its nuttiness and starts to brown. Pour in 3 cups of water, sprinkle in the salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until all the water is absorbed, about 20-25 minutes.

2.  Whisk together the soy sauce, ginger, lemon juice, and chili-garlic paste. Set aside. 

3.  While the quinoa is cooking, heat the remaining oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Toss in the onions and garlic and cook until the onions start to soften, about 3 minutes.  Next add the carrots and peppers, cooking for another 3 minutes. Then stir in the baby corn and zucchini and fry for another 3 minutes. Lastly, add the dried mushrooms, stirring to incorporate them into the mixture. Turn the heat off and stir in the sauce. Let the stir-fry sit for about 5 minutes, then serve over the cooked quinoa, garnished with scallions if you'd like. 

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