Sunday, February 15, 2009

sesame veggie stir fry

It's a grey, rainy day in San Francisco. We need the rain to avoid another drought year and to put off the impending threat of water rationing. And while I won't say that I miss the precipitation (got plenty of it growing up in Seattle), I know that sunshine can't be far behind (unlike the scenario in February in the Northwest, when the warm sun is generally still months away), so I'm not really bothered by it. 

Also it creates a good excuse for lounging by the fireplace and doing indoor things. While the boys are out braving the weather in hopes of a glimpse (or even better, a photo) of Lance at stage one of the Tour of California, I'm toasty in my living room.

Today's recipe is one that's been sitting in my 'to post' pile for a while. If you don't often cook asian dishes, you may need to stock up on some sauce making staples (sesame oil, mirin, tamari, rice vinegar). Once you have those on hand, you'll have the ability to create a tasty sauce for stir fries or dipping at your convenience.

Sesame Veggie Stir Fry

1 Tbsp. refined coconut oil*
2-3 heads of broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
1 red pepper, cut into strips
1 handful of mushrooms, sliced

For Sauce:
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. apricot sauce or preserves
2 Tbsp. tamari
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
2 tsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. mirin
1/2 tsp. chili paste
sesame seeds

Mix all sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat coconut oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the broccoli and red pepper. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms and continue to stir fry until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add the sauce and continue to stir fry until the sauce is mixed in and heated through. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

We ate our veggie stir fry with seared ahi tuna. It would also be good over sticky rice (perhaps with some tofu or other protein mixed in).

*Why refined coconut oil? Coconut oil is a plant-based saturated fat that remains stable at the med-high heat typically used for stir fries (heating most oils at high temperatures changes their molecular structures, causing free radicals, which are linked to a host of health issues, like heart disease and cancer; yes, this includes olive oil). Because of its neutral taste, coconut oil is also good for baking. Coconut oil is becoming easier to find as the myths surrounding saturated fats are debunked, but you may have to go to a specialty or health store to find it. New research shows there may be health benefits of having a diet that includes coconut oil.

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