Now that I once again pick out my own vegetables every week instead of having whatever's fresh plucked from the ground for me by the farmers at Stoneledge Farm, I can buy produce to fit recipes, rather than finding recipes to fit produce. Both ways are fun, but I prefer the creativity of having to cater to the vegetable, and I was just starting to get a feel for what was seasonal in my part of the country. Now I guess I will never know what is in season in September.
Buying vegetables to fit recipes, though, allows me to try a bunch of new recipes from the latest issue of EatingWell magazine, which I love and very much recommend. It's full of great recipes and even greater articles, like "Going Clean" by Melinda Wenner Moyer, about how you can keep your food clean and avoid nasty things like pesticides, BPA, and mercury.
The other night I made the October issue's Farmer's Market Fried Rice. In a wok! That was probably only the second time I've used my wok since I got it as a wedding gift (Thanks, Bill & Steph!). I didn't really know how to use it any differently than any old pan, though of course I put it on my registry because I love all things kitchen and knew that one day I would figure it out. Thanks to Grace Young's recipe, I am enlightened. Cooking with a wok is fast. Preping for cooking in a wok, not so much. But once it comes time to throw food in there, the food is done in a just a few minutes. There's something very satisfying about that. It's like all the prep chopping was insignificant. The wok is amazing. The key, I realized, is to chop everything up so small that it cooks very quickly. Very cool.
I even pulled out my mandoline, another 3-year old previously unused gift from my wedding registry (Thanks, Auntie Em & Bob! And congrats again on your beautiful wedding!). I'll tell you what, that is an intimidating contraption, but I'd been eying it for three years awaiting this day, and I finally braved it. And it was so cool and scary at the same time. Happily, my fingers and toes (don't ask) are still intact, and I'm now looking at recipes that call for thinly sliced vegetables so I can use it again.
These are the Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced exactly 1/4-inch thick--the mandoline told me so.
Farmer's Market Fried Rice
From EatingWell magazine
- 2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
- 1 cup 1/4-inch diced, peeled and cored parsnips (To prep parsnips, peel with a vegetable peeler, then quarter lengthwise and cut out the fibrous, woody core with a paring knife before dicing.)
- 4 medium Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 4 cups cold cooked brown rice
- 12 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered (if large)
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
|The yellowy-white things are parsnips. You can find them in the produce section by other root vegetables.|
2. Prep eggs and all vegetables before heating up the wok.
3. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in 2 teaspoons oil, coating the bottom completely.
5. Swirl 1 tablespoon oil into the wok, add garlic and shallots and stir-fry, using a metal spatula, until fragrant, 10 seconds.
6. Add parsnips and Brussels sprouts, reduce the heat to medium-high, and stir-fry until the vegetables are nearly cooked through, about 2 minutes.
8. Sprinkle with cilantro, salt and pepper; add the egg pieces and toss to combine.
Graybeard and I weren't wowed by this at first bite, but it grew on us, and the next day I was looking forward to leftovers. I'm not a big fan of parsnips, though they weren't very noticeable, surprisingly, especially considering there were a 1.5 cups of them in there. I will definitely make this recipe again, though I will probably swap out potatoes (possibly sweet) or maybe water chestnuts for the parsnips. I think this recipe can handle a lot of variation based on your preferences. I loved the Brussels sprouts and will add more of those next time, which will be soon.