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