Anti-Cruciferous Stir Fry

Today was unusually helter-skelter for the whole family.  Everybody is helping to roof a house (except me ~ I’m holding down the fort doing all the cooking, cleaning, etc.)  Due to the heat, they quit early today, so K and I went to get some much-needed groceries once she showered.  It took us so long that once we got home she had only 20 minutes before she and R had to leave for Vacation Bible School, where they are key staff members!  No time for her to even eat, let alone fix something first.  Hubby came home for 5 minutes before he had to go back out for an appointment.  That left N (my son-in-law) and I at home, because J is out of town.

Now, N has unfortunate allergies to all cruciferous veggies, as well as sesame and sunflower seeds.  It makes K pretty nuts avoiding all those things at the grocery store!  And eating out?  Forget it.  Do you know how much sesame oil and sunflower oil are in things?  Bah.

I knew I needed to make something nourishing for everybody to eat once they landed back at home ~ but no idea what that should be!  I threw on a pot of rice, because at least that could be simmering while I came up with something amazing.  I’ve been hungry for a rice bowl of some sort (whether Chipotle-style or stir-fry-style, I wasn’t fussy.)  I remembered some chik-style strips I bought on clearance, so began to build an idea from there.  Originally, I was thinking lemony-“chicken”-asparagus, but it kinda morphed from there.  It didn’t seem like it would make enough.  So, while I stood at the freezer door digging for the asparagus, I saw some other bags of frozen stir-fry-esque veggies.  I started tossing this and that in until I had a pan full of yummy nutritious veggies!  Overall, it took more time and effort to decide what to fix than it took to throw it all together.  🙂

In retrospect, one of the new kinds of “veggies” I found on sale at the health food store I would not buy again.  Frozen bags of mushrooms just don’t have a marvelous texture.  I believe I would either skip them, use fresh ones (if I had them on hand), or even open a can of random mushrooms (usually I have portabellas in the cupboard.)

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Anti-Cruciferous Stir-Fry

  • 1-2 T. organic virgin coconut oil
  • 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 5-8 oz. frozen tri-colored peppers
  • 1 10-oz pkg. Woodstock frozen mixed mushrooms (I recommend fresh or canned, actually)
  • 1 10-oz pkg. Woodstock frozen snap peas
  • 1 12-oz pkg. frozen asparagus spears, cut into 2″ chunks
  • 2 c. of your favorite “chicken” substitute
  • 1 heaping T. cornstarch (or arrowroot)
  • 1 T. chicken-style seasoning
  • Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids (or soy sauce)
  • 1/2 c. water
  • juice from 1 very small lemon
  • hot cooked brown rice

Melt the coconut oil in a large frying pan.  Toss in the onion and carrot pieces and begin sauteing them.  Open up all of the frozen veggie bags and stir them into the frying pan, along with the “chicken” substitute.  Squirt Bragg’s back and forth across the veggies and stir again.  Turn the heat up to medium-high to get everything really cooking, as frozen veggies take so long to stir-fry.  You should see a fair amount of liquid form in the bottom of the pan ~ this is as it should be.  Stir the veggies often.  When they are to the tenderness you prefer, mix the cornstarch, chicken-style seasoning, and water together, stirring the mixture into the veggies until everything looks a little shiny from the thickened sauce.  Remove from heat and sprinkle the lemon juice over it all.  Stir.  Serve over rice with extra Bragg’s on the table.

Scrambled Tofu

Remember how I told you in the last post that you would see the Chicken Style Seasoning  used often in my recipes?  Well, here is the first example.

This is one of my kids’ favorite foods.  I serve it regularly on Friday evenings for supper.  (Once when I made it on a different night, R came in the door and exclaimed, “Mmmm!  Smells like Friday night!”)  Most of my family likes just plain ol’ scrambled tofu – don’t get cutesy or creative, Mom – and I like it dolled up a bit.  Just in case you like interesting, creative food, I’ll give you some ideas on what to do.  I’ll show you pictures of the plain dish vs. a fancier version, too.

An aside comment ~ every mom, every cook deserves at least ONE good eater in the family who loves just about every dish (flavor and texture) set in front of them and who doesn’t have a long list of food dislikes.  My 6-ft. tall, 17-year-old son is that one for me.  The tofu pictured below with the added extras was for lunch one day when just the two of us were home.  There are rarely leftovers with J at the table!  I think there are 2 solitary foods he doesn’t like – bananas (which he’ll eat in smoothies or banana bread) and asparagus.  What a joy!

Here are the various stages of the cooking process, from just-stirred-in seasonings, to browned and browner.  (You can click on them to see them full-sized.)  My family prefers it a little crispified.  They also like bigger pieces than I used here.

   

Scrambled Tofu

  • 1/4-1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1-2 T. olive oil
  • 1 lb. extra-firm water-packed tofu
  • Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (the one sold in a squirt bottle)
  • 1 T. chicken-style seasoning
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. dill weed (please don’t leave this out!)

In a non-stick skillet, saute chopped onion in olive oil until softened.  (Depending on the quality of your skillet, you may need more or less oil.)  As onion is cooking, rinse and drain tofu and break into bite-sized, or smaller, pieces.  Once onion is softened, toss tofu with the onion and oil.  Drizzle Bragg’s in a fairly quick zig-zag motion over the tofu.  Not every piece will get a squirt, but the tofu is relatively porous, so it will transfer to all of the pieces fairly evenly after stirring.  Stir to mix it in.  Continue cooking the tofu over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes.  Sprinkle the seasonings over the tofu and stir until well distributed.  Continue cooking to desired texture, stirring occasionally.  It will brown nicely if you are patient.  If you are in a hurry, just heat and eat.

Variations:  You may saute with the onions, or in a separate pan to be tossed in later, a variety of options – peppers, greens, mushrooms, soy meat substitutes such as Tofurkey Italian Sausage-style links – sliced/diced, artichokes, etc.  Use up some left-over cooked grains by serving the vegetables and tofu over it, or spoon some directly into the tofu or vegetables and heat it along with them near the end of the cooking phase.

This picture shows sauteed frozen tri-color pepper strips (a great time-saver and a good option if you don’t have fresh ones on hand), frozen artichoke hearts – broken up with the back of a spoon after cooking a while, mushrooms, fresh baby spinach that wasn’t being eaten quickly enough in salads, and some left-over rice.  I used a hint of olive oil at the beginning with just the peppers and artichokes until they started to thaw enough and “melt,” causing some juices to allow for steaming the greens.  Once these 2 items were well on their way to being cooked, I tossed in the rinsed spinach.  Since I discovered my fresh mushrooms (the reason I was making this recipe in the first place was to use them up – arg!!) had gone bad, I substituted a can of portabello mushroom pieces at this point, too.  Just before throwing in the rice to heat with the veggies, I scooped the excess liquid out of the pan, leaving a bit to flavor the rice.  The tofu was nicely browned by then, so I scraped it into the veggies, too, and lunch was served!