Not Sure What It Was–Not Stir-Fry I Suspect!

My current kitchen configuration

Well, last night’s dinner wasn’t a rollicking success.  I’m not sure all the places where it went wrong, but I think the major issue was in the timing.  When my beets were done, lots of the other stuff was overdone and kinda mushy.  On top of that I think maybe I added too much water in my efforts to be sure nothing burned.  I’d love to know how to do pan roasted veggies as I understand that is a real recipe, but anyway, what I had last night was edible, just not great.  I think the seasonings are also part of my learning curve as I just used the Italian seasoning mix which was again, ok, but not great.

This is what passes for my stove until the remodel is done.


Looks good anyway!

It would appear that I would be better off following real live recipes until I learn more about the overall process.  My problem is that while I have lots of books with great sounding recipes, I never have everything that the recipe calls for and I’m not sure if the items I’m missing are crucial or not.  This whole cooking thing really requires a lot of thought and planning and I’m just not used to that.  I did use my new paring knife and cutting board last night to cut up everything that went into my so called stir fry which was in reality pan steamed veggies and tofu I think.  Anyway, I managed to cut up a small head of purple cabbage, a parsnip, a yam, several stalks of celery, a couple carrots, broccoli, beets, kale, and two kinds of mushrooms, crimini (which I love) and king oyster (which may be cute looking but I don’t like–it was my first time to try them).  I also cut up a pound of extra firm tofu, and I put things into the pan starting with beets and I thought I’d done it ok, but soon realized at the end when I went to put in the mushrooms and tofu that the timing was off.  Well, I still have enough left over so that I can put it over rice tonight when I try out my new rice cooker, so that’s ok, and then I may go back to the hummus and the sauteed mushrooms for awhile and regroup.  That’s the cooking update and any suggestions, recipes, advice would be most welcome!

7 responses

  1. Spices and timing everything so that they're done at the same time are things I really struggle with, too. I don't have any advice this time but I will be checking back here to see what other people recommend! πŸ™‚

  2. It does look good, and sounds super healthy with such a nice variety of veggies…it's a challenge to cook with just two burners! Maybe try a with fewer ingredients, until you get the timing down. Seeing the types of veggies you like to cook with and your fondness of tofu, makes me think you'd like some of Zoa's @ The Airy Way blog one-pot veggie tofu bowls . They're quick/no fuss and they are delicious as well as pretty.

  3. Yes, the spices and timing are tricky, Lydia, and we'll see what other suggestions pop up, but Rose, I think you have the best idea–I need to use fewer ingredients until I see how they work. And so far I've actually only used one burner, doing everything in one pan, but I imagine that will really change once I get further into this. I appreciate the link to The Airy Way blog as that does look right up my alley once I figure out a few more things and get more ingredients. I'll keep working at this!

  4. Hey, Daphne, I've had the same problems with stir-fries in the past, where some veggies are mushy by the time the others are done. One tip I learned is to be your own well-organized sous chef and have all your ingredients chopped and ready to go, so you're ready to add them according to how long each needs to cook. (I used to be chopping one thing while other things were cooking, and that always messed me up! I'm not as fast a chopper as I think I am!) πŸ™‚ Dense veggies like the broccoli, carrots, yams, parsnips and definitely slow-to-cook beets can be par-boiled first till they're soft so they'll cook in about the same amount of time as the softer veggies like peppers, kale, mushrooms and onions. The timing can still be a bit tricky though, so I also think Rose's idea of using fewer ingredients, especially ones that cook au dente in about the same amount of time, is a good one till you get an idea of the timing required.Here are a couple more web sites you might find helpful too:How To Make a Stir-Fry MealBroccoli Mushroom "Stir-Fry" ~ a recipe for raw "stir fry" that looks really good! Thought you might want to try it sometime, just for a different experience, and because you mentioned wanting to try more raw foods. I'd have no problem serving this with rice, but am curious to try it with the "parsnip" rice! Sounds interesting!Your conundrum about not having all the ingredients on hand for a lot of recipes and not knowing which ingredients are critical or how to substitute some of them is one I sure had. That's something that comes with practice, I think. Most vegan cookbooks will have a "pantry suggestions" chapter or index, that can be a good place to start so you'll have a lot of the most called-for ingredients on hand. Do you have any good general food info/cooking info web sites like Cook's Thesaurus stashed away? I have a bookmark folder called "Food Info" with handy web sites about food selection, storage, preparation, substitutions – I refer to the bookmarks in it a LOT! Good for you for not getting discouraged! I've always thought most stir-fry isn't as easy as it looks! Yours sure sounded good, though, and ΓΌber healthy! πŸ™‚

  5. Thanks, Laloofah! I tried it all again tonight, doing as you suggested by chopping everything first, and then letting things like beets and other root veggies cook longer before adding other stuff and it came out really nicely! I also went to the websites you suggested and they helped a lot. I'm pleased with my progress and certainly I already have much more variety in my meals. I'm also loving growing sprouts!! It is a lovely journey! Thanks for being a part of it!

  6. You're growing your own sprouts already?! You are a fast-tracker! πŸ™‚ I only started growing my own sprouts last winter. Isn't it great?I'm so glad your second stir-fry was successful! And that those web sites and tips helped. What did we ever do without the internet? Seriously?! I'm just pleased as all get-out that you're doing so great with this and enjoying it so much, and it is my pleasure to be a part of it with you (and Rose and Lydia!) We're like a little culinary gang. We should wear matching aprons. :-)Now if you'll excuse me, I have more snowflakes to make. LOL

  7. Yes, I am having fun and I have a friend who cooks vegan and gluten free and she has promised me cooking lessons when I have my real stove but she told me I "had" to do sprouts right away and her 6 yr. old son then commented about how easy it was, so of course I had to do what they said, and I'm loving it, esp. lentils! And I love our little culinary gang! Thanks!

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