Sunday, August 9, 2009

angst hates thunder

He loves spinach, pizza, arugula, habanero doritos, hummus, and the cereal-sweetened milk left after you've eaten the Honey Bunches of Oats, but he hates thunderstorms. My poor kitty had such a traumatic day, even with Mister here to comfort and protect him, that when I returned from work he stuck his head out the door to greet me before letting me come in! He then proceeded to follow me around as I prepared dinner and stayed close to us while we ate, without begging, because Angst also does not like ginger and tonight we had Ginger Cakes with Garlic Vegetables.
It was so pretty and it tasted really good (which is kind of important). It came together pretty easily, but it's a multi-pot job, so I think it will prove easier to juggle after one makes it a few times and gets a rhythm down. Tonight was more of a scramble, but it all worked out. I had some leftover Coconut-Lime Sauce I thought about heating up to drizzle decoratively over the little ginger cakes, but I'm thinking the very pronounced lime flavor lends itself better to "carribean-style" food, rather than Asian-style fare. I may try to refine the sauce recipe in the future to make it work in a Thai kind of way, but tonight I really just didn't want to dirty one more pan and take up that fourth and final available burner on the stove.

Anyway, if you feel like getting Chinese take-out/delivery but don't feel like paying for it with your wallet or your waistline, here's the recipe (much faster, by the way, than Jambalaya or Baked Tofu):

Ginger Cakes with Garlic Vegetables (serves 4)
1 box of Morningstar Farms Ginger Teriyaki Veggie Patties or Thai style burgers
3/4 cup Jasmine rice
1 1/2 cups water
1 generous Tbsp soy sauce
1 scant Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp red wine/grape juice* (see note at end of recipe)
2 Tbsp peanut oil
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
cooking spray
6-8 cloves garlic, pressed/minced
2 Tbsp dark miso dissolved in an equal amount of warm water
head of broccoli, cut into florets
1 large red bell pepper, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 medium carrots, julienned

Boil the water, then add the rice and stir to distribute evenly. Cover pan and lower heat to slowest possible simmer and allow rice to steam for 20-25 minutes undisturbed.

Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables and the garlic, then heat the oils on high heat in a wok. While oil is heating, press all garlic into a small dish by itself (to think about what it's done!) and combine the soy sauce, vinegar, and wine/juice in a small jar with a lid. Add the garlic to the wok all at once and stir constantly for 30 seconds to prevent it from burning or sticking. Add the carrots, peppers, and broccoli and stirfry for about 5 minutes. Add a splash of water to prevent sticking if necessary. Shake jar and add sauce to the stirfry, cooking for another 2 minutes, then turn off heat. Allow vegetables to sit for a moment, then transfer to a serving bowl.

Spray a skillet and heat on medium-high for a minute or so. Add veggie patties to skillet - cook 5 minutes on each side. Meanwhile, rinse out the jar and put the miso and water in it and shake to dissolve. Once the miso is completely dissolved, pour into the rice and stir to coat evenly.

To serve, put a mound of rice on each plate and pat it down with the back of the spoon into a disk about an inch thick and 5 inches in diameter. Place one ginger cake atop the rice bed, then surround with the vegetables.

recipe note: I used Merlot juice by First Blush which is 100% grape juice made with the grapes grown for different wine varietals. While it is definitely sweeter than the wine it would have become, it maintains some of the characteristic dryness of the red wine so its sweetness is not overbearing. I do not know how widely available First Blush juices are - I got mine at Whole Foods and it was about $3.50 for an 11.5 oz bottle. You could use regular purple grape juice, but you might want to use less as it will be sweeter. Similarly, you could use red wine, but you might want to add a touch of sugar to sweeten the mixture.

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