This Week in Stir Fries & Farmers Markets

Life in stir fries, part I.

Thai-style chicken seitan, bok choy, chiles, garlic & basil with short grain brown 

With my fruitful (and veggie-ful) weekend farmers market hauls easily the highlight of week during this quiet summer so far, I’ve decided to pointedly record notes on one creation per week.

I cook the majority of my meals, and while most of them are, at the least, adaptations of new-to-me recipes, or old favorites, and some are totally on-a-whim fun and games, any notes I usually take remain scattered around my apartment on a variety of dwindling notepads.

So, here comes my summer purpose! I like to think it’s simple and lovely at heart: sharing my seasonal scores, creating dishes, and typing up A FEW notes on a weekly basis. Fingers crossed.

This week, I wanted to share yet another bountiful Sunday visit to the Lents International Farmers Market. Sure, I can easily find charm with every single farmers market I’ve been to in the Portland area, but this one has something extra special. I’m seriously on my way there right now, stopping for an iced coffee and reviewing this past week in produce™. I’m off to explore, relax, get inspired and stock up on a wee bit less than usual, having been handed a napa cabbage from a friend yesterday and starting a surprise, small CSA share at my workspace. Insert exclamation points and greens, galore.

Oh, just borrowing one of the Eagle Eye’s patio tables before they open up:

With this summertime focus on fresh, fresh, fresh, I’ve found myself making multiple stir fries for the first time in ages. All fall and winter I was clearly all about the world of curries and fried rice remains a go to, but I’ve now stir-fried twice this past week, which is more than I had within the past 2 months.

A sign a farmers market fangirl cannot resist capturing.

Weekend haul:

Collard Greens I sautéed these in unrefined coconut oil with fresh garlic, rice vinegar and tamari and ate alongside buffalo soy curls and shells & cheese for work lunches the first half of the week. Definitely no complaints there.

Chinese Kale Stir fry, check. What a fun surprise! I have so many fond memories of eating this during my travels in Thailand.

Cherries While I couldn’t resist picking some up, I’ve been growing suspect of my mouth’s feelings about cherries, and this helping sadly confirmed the worst. Basically, no amount of sweet, sweet deliciousness can make my mouth stop tingling. These cherries went into the muffins you’ll see below, which were shared with friends and coworkers, and into some white wine sangria I may brave at some point (or continue offering to Maeve).

Bok Choy Stir fry #2, check. Note to self and the internet: move bok choy up into the eat-this-asap selection of the fridge. I lost a couple of outer leaves to wilting!

Fresh Garlic Oh, be still my heart. Unlike the garlic I buy at Fred Meyer, there never seems to be a stupidly bad bulb from the farmers market. This week’s garlic went into stir fries, another batch of stock (which then helped produce the PPK test kitchen chicken seitan in this post’s stir fry recipe), fried rice and one great big pot of marinara for Vegan Pizza Day celebrations last night.

Carrots Stock, fried rice and salads.

Genovese Basil Basil times continue to be happy times. This aromatic bunch went into two stir fries and that big pot of pizza sauce. Love.

Garlic Scapes Here’s the breakdown: 1 was pulverized into chili bomb pepper-infused pink salt for a popcorn topping, a few more went into fried rice (okay, my life is stir fries and fried rice) and the rest found their way to Panda’s door step.

Beets To roast with rosemary and lemon the next time I turn on my oven (and remember)!

Lettuce So, so many salads. I’m running dangerously low on tahini.

Life in stir fries, discussed:

Thai-style chicken seitan, bok choy, chiles, garlic & basil with short grain brown 

 

Thai-Style Basil Stir Fry

Makes 1-2 servings, easily doubled

This has become one of my super quick, go to stir fry sauces, so I actually wrote it down! You can easily direct the flavor in the direction of added chiles, kaffir lime, julienned ginger, or hey, swap out the seitan for Thai eggplants or fried tofu. It works. I devoured so many fantastic, fresh, garlic and kaffir lime studded dishes during my time in Thailand, and this is right up that flavor alley. And easy!

Let me get off my chest that while I know that you know that I know holy basil is ideal in this: Shhhh, any pleasant variety will do nicely.

To stir fry:

  • 1 tablespoon easygoing oil, such as peanut or canola
  • 1/2 lb sliced seitan
  • 3 cloves sliced or minced garlic (the fresher the better)
  • 5 dried red chiles
  • 1 fresh or dried kaffir lime leaf, sliced thinly [Optional, but elevates the whole thing. If using dried, you can keep whole.]
  • 1 small bunch bok choy or similar greens, sliced
  • good pinch of freshly ground white pepper
  • handful of fresh holy or sweet basil leaves, minced

Saucey:

  • 1 teaspoon black soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon mushroom soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Nước Mắm Chay aka vegetarian fish sauce*
  • 1 tablespoon room temperature/chilled vegetable broth or water (aka not warm!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon raw or palm sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon tapioca, potato or cornstarch

*You can find vegetarian chay fish sauce at many Asian grocery stories, or make your own. One bottle seems to last me for years, seriously. You can also do as I do when between batches and bottles: Substitute half vegetable broth/half rice vinegar and a bit of fresh lime juice to throw in some sharp, pungent flavor.

Directions:

  1. In a small cup or bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients and set aside.
  2. Pan-fry the seitan in oil on medium heat until browned on both sides, being careful not to burn.
  3. Quickly add the garlic, chiles, kaffir lime, bok choy and pepper, stirring quickly.
  4. Give the sauce another stir and add to the sizzling pan, stirring around.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat, toss in the basil and serve with rice.

Stir Fry #1

Smoked tofu and assorted veggies with garlic, mushroom soy sauce and Khmer chili sauce

It’s all about the saucin’

Packed up and ready to go

As seen on the ride to Lents Town Square, the original El Nutri Taco cart. It’s also the closest vegan option by my event planning gig at a non-profit in these parts, so I’ve been no stranger.

“More Inside”

On my to do list, for sure.

Cherry muffins with golden flax and cacao nib liqueur

 

 

Culinary Dwelling

Much to my delight, life  has calmed and evolved in the past few weeks. These are some photos and dishes I created while life was not so calm. With this oh so welcome change, expect more updates in my internet-verse. Time is mine once more, and every damn day belongs to farmers markets and projects.

The first worthwhile, summer strawberries from the farmers market

-

Pie was made. Chocolate peanut butter cream, shortbread crust and salted caramel. I missed making pies.

-

More thanks to Bryant Terry. Inspired Vegan-style grits, simmered fava beans with fresh herbs, and roasted asparagus and garlic flowers.

-

The roasted asparagus and garlic flowers stood in for fennel. As much as fennel has certainly grown on me, I couldn’t bring myself to buy an entire bulb. I spent one summer receiving a CSA where I was haunted with multiple bulbs on a weekly basis and almost burnt out. This dish, regardless, was glorious.

-

Fully dressed. Grits are now in rotation.

-

From the Isa Does It test kitchen: Beefy Seitan Stirfry with Fresh Herbs and Cabbage Sesame Slaw

-

Sunday brunch had been a saving grace through my now-over workplace stress. Scrambled tofu with pea shoots and sugar snap peas, baked hash brown UFOs, watermelon and coffee.

Yeah, I’m loving the charming new tablecloth J. Legume picked up. 

Thank you, Basement Pub imperial glass. Thank you,Wandering Aengus.

-

Keeping it simple: Thai basil fried rice with cabbage and baked sesame tofu cubes. The tofu is also a tester for Isa Does It that keeps making the rounds.

-

Life included another treat at Veggie Grill: a grand opening dinner with team VVC, our plus ones, and Dan & Nicole from Upton’s. Yes!

-

Lastly, on one special evening, Julia Legume and I enjoyed our own buffalo tofu salads. These included baked tofallo cubes, a zinged up Sanctuary Ranch dressing, sliced cucumber and field greens. Goodness, gracious.

there’s a recipe for tangerine teriyaki sauce in this post

Tangerine Teriyaki Soba with Tofu, Cabbage and Spinach
teriyaki tangerine soba

I’m giving myself a little pat on the back because this was the best clean-out-the-fridge dinner I’ve made in a while. Really, I’m giving Isa a pat on the back, because I was clearly inspired by test recipes I’ve made for her new book. It’s such a positive influence already! There’s tofu, sautéed cabbage, spinach, garlic,  ginger, and soba noodles, topped with some spur-of-the-moment teriyaki sauce.  I’ve been on a spending hiatus and have been focused on throwing odds and ends into scrambles, stir fries and risotto.

Tangerine Teriyaki Sauce (small amount for 2 servings, double as needed)

  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 2 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • juice of one small tangerine
  • dash sesame chili oil (or quick dash of sesame oil and chili paste)
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

Whisk together. Heat briefly on the stove or in the microwave. Add to your stir fry after everything is cooked, toss, serve, smile, eat, take a walk, sleep.

If I hadn’t already added a lot of minced garlic and ginger to the stir fry, I would have added it here!

Next up is another hodgepodge dish – Chickpea Breaded Seitan Tenders

chickpea baked seitan

It’s boiled seitan cut into strips, and breaded with a mixture of ground, roasted chickpeas, nutritional yeast and seasoned breadcrumbs.  They were simply dipped into vegetable broth, breaded and baked at 400F for 20 minutes on each side.  Basically, I was on a roasted chickpea kick, and then fell out of it and ground them to make a super-protein-ist meal.

And here’s Zelda doing one of the things she does best, investigating a plate with greens.  From The  Urban Vegan: Sloppy Joes – these were so easy to whip up!

-Sorry, photo unavailable-

They were a little sweet for me, so next time I’d cut down the sugar a smidgen.  Served with grilled creminis and kale salad ala The Ruby Dragon – with avocado, sea salt and fresh lemon juice.  I’ve been on a roll with that this past week!  I really like that the avocado doesn’t brown and I can keep a big bowl of it around.

Coming soonLOST themed party snacks, GALORE.  My friend Susie is in town and we’re hosting Benjamin Linus Throws a Dinner Party this weekend.  Dharma labels make me happy.