Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Summer's Seasonings: Volume 1

I'm going on 2 months of unemployment, but instead of using my blog to whine about it, I've decided to use it for two of my favorite things: cooking and eating what I cook.

I hate boring cooking, and when I'm eating healthy, food can get boring. I'm snoozing if my food has less than 5 ingredients; which is something I read in an article written by a dietitian, only eating food with a maximum of 5 ingredients...pause for gasp...I know right? One thing I struggle with is making delicious, exciting food, that is also nutritious.

Here's my secret: I make it up as I go. Oh, and avoid butter and oil.

Since I love to cook, for myself and for others, I decided to share my recipes (that I make up as I go) on my blog.

The first thing to do: decide what you want to eat. On the menu this evening...drum roll please...Stir-fried veggies with pork, and rice noodles!

Next, gather up all ye merry ingredients!

You will need:

A pot of water. Add a pinch or two of sea salt. Sea salt makes everything delicious. Everything.

Add 1/2 a cup of rice noodles. Note: I do not recommend holding your hand over a pot of boiling water while trying to take a picture. It burns.

1/2 of a large red bell pepper, cut into thin slices. Snack on the other half while you cook. Just do it, it's good for you!

1/2 a red onion, sliced thin. Why red onion? Because it's delicious, and it's what I have. And because I say so.

A handful of broccoli, or as I have been calling it since I was five and will continue to until I die, "Barkley", which was the name of Big Bird's dog friend on Sesame Street.

Completely optional: sliced mushrooms. If you're anything like me and tend to buy too much produce at Costco, I recommend tossing them in. As a matter of fact, if you have any surplus produce, this is a great recipe to use them up.

About 3 oz. of pork. The particular pork I am using is already cooked. Last night I cut a low fat pork roast into steaks, rubbed them in a garlic sage rub, and grilled. Delish! Cut into cubes.

Pre-Cubed. Bonus points if you maintain beautiful grill lines.

Post-Cubed. Grill lines are great for cutting.

Once you have sous-cheffed all of your ingredients, time to start cooking. Now as a rule, I only cook on high when I want my food burned beyond recognition. This is almost never. Almost. Put a pan on the stove, and warm it up over medium heat. Spray your pan with olive oil spray. Remember? No butter, no oil. We're cooking healthy here people!

Start by adding the onion, bell pepper, 1/2 a tablespoon of minced garlic, and a tablespoon of minced ginger. Note: if you're feeling lazy, go pre-minced!

Sautee the above ingredients for a few minutes. If you're super cool and talented (like moi), you can toss all the ingredients together like a real master chef. Please observe below:

Add the broccoli and mushrooms, and quietly curse yourself for not using a big enough pan. To help cook down the veggies, put a lid on it! Note: if your pork is pre-cooked, add it last. If you add it too soon, it will dry out. All you want to do is warm it up, not cook it again! Same goes for the noodles.*

Now in my humble opinion, no stir fry should go without some hot spice, so I highly recommend adding a few shakes of chili flakes.

Let the veggies simmer under the lid for about 5 or so minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the noodles and the pork, and sprinkle some soy sauce on top. I will let you decide just how soy-ish you want your stir-fry. Some peeps love tons, some love a little. Myself, I'm a middlin' kind of soy sauce person. You decide! Note: I did add a tablespoon of peanut sauce to my recipe, but only a tablespoon! It's high in fat, but also high in deliciousness.

Stir it all together, and in the end you get something that looks a little like this:

Now you're ready to eat.** This made enough for two people, or enough for dinner for one, and for lunch leftovers the next day. Don't eat it all! Eating healthy, remember? This can be paired with a glass of chilled chardonnay, or a glass of water if you're boring...or in A.A. Enjoy your meal while having scintillating conversation with a dining companion, or judging celebrities while watching Access Hollywood!

I won't say "Bonne Appetit!" because that belongs to Julia Child. So how about...

Guten appetit!***

*Avoid putting your cutting board on the the still very hot stove top that your noodles were boiling on. This could happen:

**If you want to make your roomie or live-in lovah very happy with you, do the dishes before you sit down and enjoy your tasty delights. They will be super impressed.

***If you do decide to make this recipe, let me know in the comments how it turns out!