VeganMoFo Day 16: Quick ‘n Comfy Stir Fry and Veggies

I didn’t have a sister until I was an adult. I do have a brother. He’s kind of the most awesome brother you could ever want. We played together constantly when we were younger. As a result, I never wanted a sister when I was a child. I wouldn’t have known what to do with one.

My brother served in all sibling capacities for me growing up. He was my playmate, secret keeper, concert buddy, basketball opponent, sparring partner, guy I periodically threw under the bus, and the guy who periodically threw me under the bus. Without my brother, I would never have learned important truths about the male world such as this: It is permissible for Chewbacca to drive Barbie’s Corvette; it is, however, totally unacceptable for Chewbacca to wear Barbie’s clothes. Where would I be today without such knowledge? I shudder to think.

When my brother married, his wife became my sister. She’s awesome herself and would, given the opportunity, dress Chewbacca in Barbie’s clothes and then make him ride shotgun in Barbie’s Corvette. She’s perfect for my brother.

My other sister started out as a friend. We’ve known each other for years. Despite our kids getting older, we, amazingly enough, are becoming younger. Um… Well, yes, that and as we grew closer, we realized that somehow we’d become family. She’s my sister now, too. I know I can always count on her. Whether one of us needs a comforting pat on the back, a congratulatory slap on the back, or a poke or shove in the back to get moving, we can always count on the other to be there, patting, slapping, or shoving – just like a sister related by birth.

I stopped by her house to catch up last night. After a bit, we found ourselves discussing MoFo. She’s an omni, and last night she said she just couldn’t do what I do. “Finding all those substitutes!” She shook her head. I opened my mouth to protest, but she continued.

“Three ingredients,” she said, holding up three fingers. “I want a dinner that has only three ingredients.”

Well, conversation wandered from there, but I still had those three ingredient fingers in my head long after I was home. I sent her a message just before bed and asked if she really meant only three ingredients literally. No, she messaged back, she simply likes “flavor and comfort and color and ease.”

Why, I can do that! Just because I don’t mind chopping veggies and messing around in the kitchen doesn’t mean I can’t be in and out if I want! I resolved that I’d spend a few of my MoFo days cooking fast-‘n-easy dinners. So, Sis, this one’s for you!

I based our dinner off of the Chinese-Style Vegetable Fried Rice recipe in The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet by Nava Atlas. http://www.amazon.com/Vegetarian-5-Ingredient-Gourmet-Nava-Atlas/dp/076790690X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1350448186&sr=8-1&keywords=5+ingredient+vegetarian+gourmet

I wanted to leave the recipe alone because it really is so simple the way it is, but I couldn’t resist changing it a bit.

Chinese Style Vegetable Fried Rice (variation)

  • 1 ½ cups cooked white rice
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 16 oz. bag frozen mixed veggies, thawed and drained
  • One bunch of green onions, chopped
  • Soy sauce (vegan) or Braggs Liquid Aminos
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • Meat alternative, if desired
  • Additional soy sauce and sriracha to taste

Cook the rice ahead if you are using anything other than some sort of minute rice. Set aside

In a large skillet or wok, heat the peanut oil. Peanut oil works well for frying at high temperatures.

Side note: My wok leapt out of the cupboard the other day. I don’t know which other kitchen toy was bullying it or if there’d been some sort of dare, but it was Not Awesome. As you can see, the lid doesn’t set properly now and there’s a weird ding in the top. I don’t cover my wok when cooking, but it was a bummer nonetheless. I’m hoping none of the other kitchen toys follow suit. I didn’t give the “If all your friends leapt out of the cupboard” speech, but I’m keeping it in my back pocket, just in case.

After the oil is hot, add the green onions, garlic, and fresh ginger. Stir-fry for a minute or two, then add the veggies.

If the veggies weren’t completely thawed or are holding on to water, liquid will suddenly appear in your wok or skillet. Soggy stir fry veggies are unpleasant. It’s not that I necessarily advise this, but I take care of this problem by blotting out the excess water with a paper towel. It’s not the safest thing to do, but if you’re careful, it is effective.

Stir-fry the veggies for 5 minutes. Add the rice and soy sauce and continue to stir-fry for a few moments longer.

If you like, you can also add some sort of meat substitute. I don’t do this often as I find it unneccessary, but I realize some people feel they need that type of texture in their meal. I purchased a package of Vegetarian Plus Vegan Ginger Chicken at Whole Foods a few weeks ago. Figuring it was a good match for this recipe, I cooked that in the microwave and tossed it into the wok at the end. I then stir-fried the mixture for about another 3 minutes.

For sides, I chopped peppers and tomatoes and put out some baby carrots and sliced pineapple.

I also served Chung’s All Natural Vegetable Spring Rolls. They have these at our local Winco and although they looked vegan, they had the dread “natural flavors” listed in the ingredients. “Natural flavors” annoy me because that listing doesn’t really tell me anything. They did look good, however. I sent an email to the company and received a response today:

Thank you for taking the time to contact us. Chung’s Gourmet Foods takes great pride in the quality of the products we manufacture. All our vegetable line does not have any animal derivatives in it, it includes our vegetable egg rolls, All Natural vegetable spring rolls, and All Natural vegetable potstickers. If you can visit our website, http://www.chungsfoods.com you may print out coupons and register for upcoming promotional information. I hope you will continue to purchase and enjoy our products in the future, including our line of All Natural Potstickers, Spring Rolls, Egg Rolls, and Chung’s For 2 Entrees.

Sincerely,
Customer Service Specialist
CHUNGS GOURMET FOODS

Now, this really can’t be entirely accurate because I checked Chung’s Vegetable Egg Roll ingredients on their website and one of the ingredients listed on the egg roll package under “crust” is egg. Still, I accept that the vegetable-filling portion of the “vegetable line” is free from “animal derivatives.” I did serve the spring rolls tonight and they turned out pretty well. I’m planning to email Chung’s again and point out that the egg rolls do have animal derivatives; but it is great that the spring rolls are a vegan option.

My pictures’ quality tonight isn’t the greatest because I was using an unfamilar camera. I assure you, however, the dinner ranked high on the fantabulosity scale. I had the dinner done, excluding the rice, in about 15 minutes. I know anyone would have found it tasty and filling. For clean up, there were dinner dishes, some utensils, the cutting board, the wok, and the rice cooker.

It just goes to show that being a vegan can be easy-peasy. You see, Sis? Easy-peasy!

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