Sunday, July 18, 2010

When Summer Gives You Veggies

This is the time of year when I tend to overindulge at the farmer's market. When the vendor's tables are overflowing with summer veggies.  Not to mention the greens that my garden is putting out.  Sometimes my fridge is bulging with produce, and I've found one of the easiest ways to plow through it all is to chop and fry and season those vegetables into an Asian-inspired stir fry.

This week past I was in this exact situation (I refuse to call an overload of veggies a predicament), so I broke out the wok and the cutting board and got busy making dinner.  One thing I love about stir fry is that a recipe isn't really necessary.  A little salt, a little cayenne, a splash of tamari... it's an experiment on the stove top that allows for lots of tasting and tweaking.

This stir fry also came with tiny pink shrimp and a spicy miso peanut sauce.  The whole shebang was served over top of some super skinny rice noodles, although it could have just as easily (and tastily!) been served over a pile of steamed rice.

Like I mentioned before, there wasn't a precise recipe involved in the making of this dish, but here's an approximation if you'd like to give it a try.

Summer Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce
serves 3-4

For the peanut sauce:
3/4 C. peanut butter
1/2 C. water
3 T. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 generous tsp. white miso paste
salt to taste

For best results, do not make the sauce too long before the stirfry.  

In a small sauce pan over medium heat, combine first 5 ingredients  and stir well.  The peanut butter will begin to melt as it heats up.  Continue to stir periodically until mixture is smooth.  Taste and season with salt if necessary.

If the sauce is too thin, add more peanut butter by the tablespoon full until desired thickness is reached.  If too thick, add more water by the tablespoon full.  If the sauce sits on the heat for too long, it may separate into oily globs.  Just add a little bit of water, put it back on the heat and stir until smooth. 

For the stir fry:
2 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into 1/2" wedges
2 carrots, sliced 1/4" thick
1 small head broccoli, cut into 1" pieces
1 large handful snow peas, ends trimmed, cut in half
1 Anaheim pepper, seeded, cut into 1/2" pieces
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2" half circles
6 oz. small, cooked shrimp
2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
salt to taste
1/2 - 1 tsp. cayenne, to taste
a splash of tamari
1/2 package thin rice noodles
sesame seeds (optional), for garnish
several fresh basil leaves (optional), for garnish

Cook noodles according to package directions.

Heat olive oil in a large wok over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, toss in oil and cook several minutes until beginning to turn translucent.

Add the remaining vegetables, garlic, cayenne and tamari and season with salt.  Stir fry 5-10 minutes or until veggies are the desired tenderness.  Add the cooked shrimp, toss and cook until shrimp are heated through, just a few minutes.  Taste and season again with salt and/or cayenne if desired.

Divide noodles onto plates, top with veggies and peanut sauce and serve garnished with sesame seeds and basil leaves.  Bon Appetit!

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