Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Recession Style Stir Fry
Last Sunday was one of those days in Los Angeles that only a good breeze can produce -- beautiful sunshine, a blue sky and air I can breathe versus see. In obedience to my financial counselor, I was on a quest to cut costs in my grocery shopping wherever possible (even though I silently thought if he expects me to cook boring food in an effort to save money, he's crazy). Armed with all the ingredients to make what I like to call "recession" style stir fry -- and full of happy hormones from a run along the beach -- I was ready to cook.
Consistent Pirouette readers know that cooking mistakes are part of my charm. After all, what fun would it be if I didn't burn something every so often or think that I was getting the correct ingredients for a soup, only to get home and realize I didn't have anything I needed? However, my latest gaffe didn't have anything to do with what I was cooking, but the fact that I got into an argument with a dear friend as I was in the middle of stirring a garden of vegetables and whole wheat noodles.
Making a casual observation to a friend turned into a 30 minute (tense) conversation, covering years of "you're also this way" and "I could say the same thing about yous." I maniacally focused on stirring the tomatoes and onion, while inside all I was thinking was, "How on earth did we get into this?" and verbally looking for a way out. Which never helps.
It took everything in me to not just focus on stirring so that I could reign in my emotions as my friend looked like she was going to burst into tears. The conversation ended in awkward silence -- me holding a wooden spoon tightly. The kitchen (and my hands) smelling like ginger and garlic. Little drops of tomato sauce on my favorite Northwestern sweater. And a kitchen full of vegetable peels.
We decided to part ways for the day -- she got leftovers, and I got my thoughts and clean-up.
Relationships are so wonderfully fragile (especially when we're hormonal) that they're like fine silken threads -- pulling it just a little too hard can break them. In those moments when gritting your teeth is better than saying anything, I try to remember that no one is really right when it comes to such matters. I always talk about how blessed I am with friends, but to be frank, that day wasn't a stellar example of me being the bigger person -- that didn't come until later.
Instead, I took solace in my whole wheat noodle stir fry -- as I watched "Chef Jeff" and cooks make city skylines out of cake.
Recession Style Stir Fry
(adapted from Budget Friendly Stir Fry, foodnetwork.com)
1 small piece of ginger, peeled and chopped fine
1 red onion, chopped
1 cup of broccoli
1/2 an eggplant, chopped
1 chicken breast, cooked and chopped (I steamed mine, using a little garlic salt and lemon pepper)
1 red pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
1 can of diced tomatoes
whole wheat noodles
1. Heat 2 tbs. of vegetable oil in a skillet.
(in a separate pot, boil about 3/4 a pack of wheat noodles in lightly salted water and cook until al dente)
2. Add ginger, onion, red pepper, eggplant and cook for about a minute, stirring continuously.
3. Add garlic, broccoli, and the can of diced tomatoes. Stir thoroughly.
4. Add about 3 tbs. (or more, depending on your taste buds) to the mixture.
5. Add the chicken and stir.
6. Last, add the cooked noodles. If you need to use a pair of tongs and a spoon to make sure the noodles are thoroughly moisturized, then do so.
I actually did all the chopping the day before. But that doesn't make me a cheater.