We are on an extremely tight budget this month because I am saving for a trip and I had already given up on eating real vegetables this month. Ok, I was still going to eat vegetables but only the cheapest, starchiest kind. I was a little worried I would get scurvy or gout or rickets but now my troubles are over because my partner volunteered at the farm and I cam home to a fridge full of farm fresh organic vegetables. I am so happy! Mr. Smurf got us beets, kohlrabi, peppers, eggplants, jalapenos, salad greens, rainbow chard, basil, and tomatoes. Yes, TOMATOES in November. Life is great sometimes. Not only did I not have to grocery shop but I have the best veggies money can’t buy, including so many lovely greens!
I have been really busy and came home late and had to get dinner done before Top Chef started so I made one of the world’s quickest laziest dishes, Teriyaki Vegetables. Teriyaki is a sweet Japanese sauce usually made out of soy sauce, mirin, and sugar but I have used apple cider which is a healthier trick I learned in the Voluptuous Vegan. This dish has a laziness factor of 3, (1 being you are too lazy to eat and 2 being you will only eat something that is already made and just needs heating). It is a meal you can cook in about 10 minutes and use any vegetables you have on hand. We ate it over Chinese noodles.
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin
2 cups apple cider
2 tsp cornstartch
~1.5 cups carrots, cut into half inch pieces
~1 cup kohlrabi, peeled and sliced
~1 cup mushrooms
~ 2 cups of the kohlrabi and carrot greens
1 cup of edamame
2 scallions chopped
First cook your rice or start water for your noodles. Then mix together the soy sauce, mirin and 1.5 cups of apple cider in a large skillet and bring to a boil. Add the carrots, mushrooms, and kohlrabi reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes covered. Mix the cornstartch and remaining half cup of cider in a small container. Add the edamame and the greens to the skillet and cook covered another 2 or3 minutes, until the edamame is cooked through. Add the cornstarch mix and stir. Add in the scallions, remove from heat and enjoy over rice or noodles.
If you are trying to cook more meals at home but struggling with it one of the best tips I can give you is always be thinking about your next meal. If you have the grill fired up add some summer squash or some bell peppers to use in meals the next day. Or, if you have the oven going for an hour to bake a casserole you may as well put a couple sweet potatoes wrapped in foil or roast some garlic while you are at it (but don’t roast garlic while you are baking cupcakes!). Not only will you have some of the work done but it can give you a starting point when you are trying to decide what to make the next day. If I am making a pot of rice or beans I always make more and often freeze extra beans. Cold rice can easily be reheated but it is best utilized, in my opinion, as Fried Rice, particularly Thai Fried Rice. I never liked Fried Rice at Chinese restaurants. A lot of times it tastes like the Styrofoam tray that they serve it in and the only flavorings are some soy sauce. Thai Fried rice is totally different, even if you don’t have any vegan fish sauce it will still be fabulous because of the addition of green onions, cilantro, and lime. You can even still add peas and carrots if you like them! In this version I also used garlic scapes because they are delicious but you can add just about anything to Thai Fried Rice, pineapple is a popular choice and tomatoes are really good but don’t be afraid to add some kale or broccoli either. Then you can pretend that you are having a really healthy meal.
4 Cups cooked chilled rice
1 Tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic
1/2 Cup onion, chopped
5 garlic scapes (or other vegetable or fruit if you like)
1 lbs tofu (you can drain and press it and cut it into cubes or break it up like in tofu scramble)
2 Tablespoons vegan fish sauce (or soy sauce)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 green onions, chopped
handful of cilantro, chopped
lime wedges for serving
First heat up your oil in a large wok or skillet so that a piece of garlic sizzles on contact. You will need to use a little more oil for fried rice than for a regular stir fry, about 3 tablespoons. Next add your garlic and onion and stir fry about 1 minute. Add your scapes or other vegetable next and fry for another minute. Next add your tofu. It is important to press the tofu into the pan so that it will get crispy and release any water that can then evaporate. After you put in the tofu don’t toss it until it crisps up about 2 minutes and then flip and fry the other side. Once the tofu is firm break up the clumps of rice with your hands and add them into the wok or skillet. Use the same method as with the tofu for frying; press the rice against pan and let it fry in the oil before you toss it. Once all the rice has changed color add your sugar and sauce, check your balance and see if you need more sugar or more sauce, all the brands are different and if it too salty you might have to add more. Finally, add the green onions and cilantro remove from the heat and serve with lime wedges. Enjoy!