Mix and match homegrown vegetables and other simple ingredients to make a delicious meal. Stir-fry is an easy way to take advantage of available garden harvest without much planning.
Preserving Summer’s Bounty (Rodale Books, 1995) is an extensive resource on how to preserve all kinds of food — from the traditional tried-and-true preserving methods to quick-and-easy ways to get the most out of your garden produce. This book, from the Rodale Food Center and edited by Susan McClure, includes instructions on how to harvest, freeze, can and preserve what you grow, plus recipes for how to use the results. The following is a guide to a simple approach to a healthy meal — the stir-fry.
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Of all the dishes we associate with oriental cuisine, stir-fry dishes seem most typical. They permit versatility in the diet and combine a generous amount of vegetables with just a small portion of meat. That gives you a very healthy balance of nutrients. You can take advantage of the speed, nutritiousness and versatility of stir-fry cooking without having to rely on complicated recipes. Make a delicious stir-fry with the ingredients you have from your harvest by preparing a simple sauce, then choosing one ingredient from each section of the list below.
This flavorful sauce will turn any combination of ingredients into a delicious stir–fry. Just make the sauce and toss in a selection of ingredients.
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons oil
Yield: 4 servings
In a 1-quart saucepan, combine water, low-sodium soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey, minced garlic, sesame oil and minced fresh ginger. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Stir in the cornstarch that has been dissolved in the water. Cook, stirring, until the sauce is shiny and thick. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Cut all ingredients into uniform, bite-size pieces. Arrange each category on a separate plate near the stove.
Heat a wok or large frying pan on medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add 1 teaspoon of oil, swirl to distribute, and let heat for 1 minute. Add a basic ingredient and stir-fry for 1 to 5 minutes, or until the food is lightly browned on the outside. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add 1 teaspoon oil to the pan and your choice of hearty vegetables. Stir-fry for 3 minutes, or until slightly tender. Immediately return the first ingredient to the pan along with your tender vegetables. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the reserved sauce and toppings. Toss all ingredients quickly to coat them with the sauce. Serve immediately.
Basic Ingredients (choose 8 ounces or about one cup)
Chicken, cubed or slivered
Firm fish, cubed
Sea scallops, halved
Shrimp, peeled and deveined
Turkey, cubed or slivered
Hearty Vegetables (choose 2 to 3 cups)
Asparagus, sliced diagonally
Bamboo shoots, julienned
Bok choy ribs, sliced diagonally
Broccoli, florets or stalks, julienned
Carrots, lightly steamed and julienned
Celery, sliced diagonally
Daikon radish, julienned
Green beans, whole or sliced
Sweet peppers, cubed or sliced
Water chestnuts, sliced into coins or quarters
Yellow squash, julienned or cubed
Zucchini, julienned or cubed
Tender Vegetables (choose 1 to 2 cups)
Bean sprouts cubed
Bok choy leaves, shredded
Napa cabbage, shredded
Scallions, cut into matchsticks
Spinach or kale, shredded
Toppings (choose 2 tablespoons)
Almonds, roasted and slivered
This excerpt has been reprinted with permission from Preserving Summer’s Bounty, edited by Susan McLure and the Rodale Food Center and published by Rodale Books, 1995. Buy this book in our store: Preserving Summer's Bounty.