Monday, September 5, 2011

Post-Hurricane Stir Fry

Hurricane Irene hit my town hard. We lost power for 38 hours, and I lost the contents of my refrigerator and freezer. With hurricane season still upon us, I refuse to restock the fridge with anything but the bare necessities.

Last night's stir-fry used chicken and vegetables I picked up at Whole Foods earlier in the week. It is very hard for me to walk through Whole Foods and not stock up, but I resisted. The memory of melted ice cubes, soggy bags of Alexia frozen potatoes and thawed seafood in my freezer was still very fresh in my mind.

The stir-fry combined any and all vegetables I had in the fridge, freezer and pantry (carrots, sugar snap peas, onion, garlic and edamame), along with a make-shift sauce dictated by my daughter, who was standing nearby. I served it alongside some brown rice. I've written the recipe as a guideline - use any protein, vegetables and sauces you like.

Post-Hurricane Stir Fry
Serves 4

2 - 4 T. canola or peanut oil for stir-frying
1 pound of any protein, thinly sliced if applicable (chicken, steak, tofu, seafood)
salt and pepper
3 cups of vegetables, sliced or chopped uniformly
1 large clove of garlic, minced
(fresh ginger would be good here - I didn't have any)
about 1/4 cup sauce of your choice (soy, teriyaki, hoisin, barbecue...)
1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
sesame seeds to garnish, if you have them

1. Heat a very large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of oil to coat the pan. Season the protein with salt and pepper. Add the protein to the skillet in batches, being careful not to crowd the pan. Stir fry for 1 - 2 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove the cooked meat and place on a clean plate. Continue stir frying, in batches if necessary, until all the protein is cooked. Set aside.

2. Add a bit more oil to the skillet and add the hardest, crunchiest vegetables. Stir fry for 2 - 3 minutes, until they brighten in color and are getting a tiny bit softer. Add the more delicate vegetables now and stir fry another minute or two. Finally, add the garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds.

3. Pour your cooked protein, and any juices that have accumulated, back into the skillet with the vegetables. Toss to combine. Turn the heat down a little so you don't overcook the protein.

4. Drizzle the sauce over the contents of the skillet and toss again. We used a drizzle of hoisin sauce, a drizzle of barbecue sauce and a splash of soy sauce. Finally, add the cornstarch mixture and toss everything together. The cornstarch mixture isn't essential, but it will help thicken the sauce and add a little gloss to the dish.

5. Serve over rice or noodles, sprinkled with sesame seeds if you have them.

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