Tag Archives: Stir-Fry

Lovely Luau

My awesome and amazing girlfriends threw me a luau-themed birthday party!  This was a perfect way to forget the dreary January weather and post-Christmas blues.

It’s not a luau without cheesy tropical drinks.  I made 2 pitchers of Bahama Mamas using orange juice, pineapple juice, Sierra Mist, sliced oranges, lemons, and limes.  I added Malibu coconut rum to one pitcher; the other pitcher remained Virgin Mamas.  I bet you can guess which pitcher was more popular.

My favorite Bahama Mama helped me garnish each drink with an orange slice, a maraschino cherry, and a drink umbrella!

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My friend Matt is a very talented self-taught vegan chef, and he made carrot-ginger soup!  He said he found it on a Hawaiian lady’s blog.  I’ll have to ask him for the link.  It was full of warming spices, perfect for a winter’s eve luau.  We had that with some King’s Hawaiian rolls, provided by Kate.  I love those.

I hate to say this, but it wouldn’t be a Hawaiian party without some Spam.  Thanks to Sara and Marc for balancing out the vegan offerings!

I made some Hawaiian Fried Rice.

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Jenny made me a heavenly glazed mango-coconut-macadmia loaf:
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And Sara made a decadent chocolate-macadamia pie.  So, yeah, my friends rock.  I couldn’t be luckier.  And now they all have birthdays coming up, so it’s time to start planning!

“I’m Tiki Man, and I approve this fried rice.”

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1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil: $0.04
canola oil: $0.06
1 lb firm tofu, diced $1.99
1 medium red onion, finely chopped: $0.79
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped: $1.43
1 small yellow bell pepper, fine chopped: $1.43
1 small green bell pepper, finely chopped: $1.19
1 medium carrot, finely chopped: $0.08
5 cups cooked jasmine rice: $2.33 (I used the frozen kind from Trader Joe’s; would have been a lot cheaper to cook it the old-fashioned way)
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce: $0.05
2 tablespoons oyster sauce: $0.30
1 tablespoon sambal oelek: $0.12
1 cup diced pineapple: $3.49 (I used more than a cup, and it was the fresh stuff, already cut.  It would probably be cheaper to use canned OR hack up a pineapple yourself.)
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped: (I omitted these to keep it cheap)

= $13.30 for a HUGE wok-ful!

/12 servings

=$1.11/serving!

 

Enjoy Vegetarian Restaurant: San Francisco

I was in San Francisco last weekend, and my boyfriend—knowing my love of good, greasy, American Chinese dishes— found for me a Chinese restaurant that serves vegetarian versions of classics like Lemon Chicken and Beef with Broccoli: Enjoy Vegetarian Restaurant.  It was wonderful.  We had trouble narrowing down the menu of over 100 dishes—all vegetarian.  The waitress was an adorable young lady and super helpful; she recommended some of her favorites.

Noor really wanted to try the Veggie BBQ Pork Appetizer.  The thin strips of seitan in a sweet/hot sauce had a convincing texture.

The Sweet & Sour Chicken did not disappoint.  Crispy deep-fried nuggets of faux meat in sweet red sauce with pineapple, peppers, and carrots.  It was like a blast from my pre-veg past!

We also went with the Fresh Mushroom w/ Fried Soft Tofu & Vegetables.  This dish had four different types of mushrooms: black, enoki, golden, and white!  The other veggies (broccoli, snow peas, carrots, etc.) were fresh and crisp.  The tofu was light, and the sauce was super savory.  It had an umami factor that tasted just like chicken broth to me.

I was starting to get full, but the waitress did not ask us IF we wanted to order dessert.  She asked, “Would you like to order dessert now or later?”  When I explained that we didn’t need dessert, this sweet young lady gave me a death stare that would put any grandmother, teacher, or military drill instructor to shame.  Then Noor chimed in, explaining that he is half Indonesian and had noticed that they had fried bananas on the dessert menu.  And so it was decided.  We ordered them with vegan vanilla ice cream (!), and they were glorious.  This picture really does not do justice to these creamy, sweet delicacies wrapped in light, crispy batter (actually all of these pics were taken on my phone).  I fully admit that I was wrong; the waitress and Noor were right.  If you go to Enjoy Vegetarian Restaurant, you MUST order dessert, no matter how full you are or how many chocolates you have back at your boyfriend’s apartment.

This place is not fancy, but it is damn good.  The menu has enough variety and integrity to please just about anybody: from the most militant vegan to the most diehard omnivore.  The fare is hearty, and the service is friendly, but it was the attention to detail that impressed us the most.  For example, the hot tea is complimentary, and when we both ordered water they brought us a quart-sized bottle of cold, lemon-flavored water.  The home-cooked food and homey atmosphere are a bargain; our meal came to less than $40 for an appetizer, 2 entrees, and a dessert.  I’m so happy that I have all summer in San Francisco to try more of the wonderful dishes at Enjoy Vegetarian Restaurant (and I promise to take some better photos next time 😉 )

Girls’ Night: Korean Potluck

Our Korean potluck was a smashing success!  There was a LOT of amazing food (and we ate ALMOST all of it!)

I made Korean Fried Tofu, using this recipe I found on the Web.  It didn’t exactly say how much tofu to use.  I went with 1 pound and doubled the sauce for extra deliciousness.  I “dry-fried” the tofu, using this method.  I love to cook tofu that way, because after you’ve cooked out most of the water, it is ready to really soak up your sauce or marinade.  Kate said that this sauce would also be good on salads, and she’s right.

I was disappointed to find that the Trader Joe’s kimchi was temporarily out of stock, but they did have the frozen Kimchi Fried Rice.  That stuff is delicious!  And easy!

Jenny made a fresh Asian salad, and Kate added homegrown greens from her garden!  Kate also brought homegrown catnip for my kitties and Jenny’s kitty, so they weren’t left out of the festivities.

Jenny also made a FANTASTIC “beef”-and-broccoli dish with seitan and white rice.

Our friend Sara brought steamed shumai.  Kate had been craving these for weeks!  Elena brought Kung Fu Girl wine.  What a feast!

For dessert I made Green Tea Soy Ice Cream.  It was loosely based on this recipe.  What I did was mixed in the blender:

  • 2 cups soy creamer
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 2 tablespoons green tea powder (matcha)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon Ener G egg replacer

Then let that chill in the refrigerator until I was ready to put it in my ice cream maker for half an hour.  It came out a little bit soupy, but after this picture was taken I put the leftovers in the freezer, and it firmed up perfectly after an hour or so.

Jenny said that vegan green tea ice cream was her “dream come true.”  Then she asked me what my dream was, since she and Kate had both gotten exactly what they’d been craving.  I had to think about it overnight, but then I was inspired.  Breakfast for Dinner.  I think that’s going to be our next potluck theme.  I might even try to make vegan biscuits and gravy.  I’m going to flip through my Vegan Brunch cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz for inspiration.

PS: Good news!  I get to spend the whole summer in San Francisco!  YAY!!!!  I couldn’t be more excited, and I will eat well out there, but I will miss these delicious meals and especially the girl talk that goes with them.

Peanut Sauce!

Last week for Wednesday night dinner, my BFF suggested stir fry.  I picked up a clam-shell package of fresh, pre-chopped stir-fry veggies from Trader Joe’s for just $3.99.  She brought over rice noodles and tofu.  This gave me an excuse to try out our friend Maria’s peanut sauce recipe, which she had made for us when we visited her in Denver.  It was super easy and delicious:

Maria’s Peanut Sauce

  • 3/4 cup quality natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup boiling water (or to taste, depending on how thick/thin you want it)
  • 3 tbsp. rice wine or cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. freshly peeled and minced ginger (although I often make mine without)
  • 1 tbsp. freshly peeled and minced garlic (or more, if you’re a garlic fiend like me)
  • 2 tsp. red chile flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder (or, if it’s handy, finely-chopped cilantro)

“Just mix ’em all together!  No cooking required! (Although for my tofu stir-fry recipe, I like to let the tofu/veggies sit with the sauce in a heated pan, just so the flavors mix up.)”

I used candied ginger, because that was just what I had.  I left out the coriander, because I seem to be out of it, and I at least doubled the water.

Obviously, peanut butter is one of the cheapest sources of protein, and it’s something that I ALWAYS have in the house, so this recipe could really come in handy in a pinch.  Thanks, Maria!

Tofu, Mushroom, and Pea Shoot Stir Fry

Here’s a creation that I meant to blog before leaving for California:

If you remember my post from my first trip to California this summer, then you can imagine how excited I was to find pea shoots at Trader Joe’s here in town.

First I thought of stir-frying them with some sliced garlic, like they do at Ton Kiang in San Francisco, but then I decided to make a whole one-dish meal out of them by stir frying them with some tofu and mushrooms, also inspired by a dish at Ton Kiang.

I started by sauteing in a large wok:

  • 1 tablespoon fresh, minced ginger and
  • 3 cloves sliced garlic in
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

Then I added:

  • 1/2 pound cubed firm tofu

and stir fried it over medium-low heat until browned, about 20 minutes.  Then I threw in

  • 1/2 pound sliced shiitake mushrooms:

and stir fried until tender, about 5 more minutes. Finally, I added:

  • 4 ounces pea shoots
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

…and cooked it for another few minutes, until the pea shoots were just wilted.  I served this over brown rice with a nice, hot cup of green tea.

This was a super simple but satisfying combination of flavors.

  • 1 tablespoon fresh, minced ginger: $0.25
  • 3 cloves sliced garlic: $0.15
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil: $0.13
  • 1/2 pound cubed firm tofu: $0.90
  • 1/2 pound sliced shiitake mushrooms: $2.69
  • 4 ounces pea shoots: $2.49
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce: $0.18
  • 1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar: $0.04
  • Brown rice: $0.65

= $7.48/4 servings

=$1.87/serving

Try getting take-out for that price!