Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Julia's Stir-Fry

I love cooking with kids. They can be so enthusiastic and creative in the kitchen when given a chance. For my niece Julia's thirteenth birthday, we shopped for ingredients and cooked dinner together before sleeping overnight and going to the water park the next day. I gave her the choice of a pasta and vegetable dish or a stir-fry, and as she tends to make pasta at home, she chose a stir-fry. In the grocery store Julia was encouraged to make all the choices: the meat, the vegetables, the flavors for the sauce, and the grain.

In addition to my love of cooking and baking, I also appreciate the opportunity of sharing my philosophy on food and healthy eating. I told Julia that people often say to me that they could never do what I do, that they hate dieting. I explained that I don't think of what I do as a diet at all. I simply enjoy the tastes and flavors of whole foods, and knowing that what I am putting in my body not only tastes good but helps to fuel it. It's all about making choices that are both healthy and delicious.

Julia was already on board with this as she made some wonderful choices! Meat- Chicken. Vegetables- orange and yellow peppers, onions, baby corn and sugar snap peas. Grain? Well, she decided that my black rice looked really interesting, and wanted to try it. We picked up some tamari- a special soy sauce, and mixed it with some garlic chili sauce, chicken broth, and sesame oil that I had at home. Her last choice was to top it with roasted cashews and green onions. What great instincts! It was delicious, and pretty spicy too. We served it to Tim and Connor as well as ourselves with high raves. Great job, Julia! Let's cook together again sometime soon.

Julia's Spicy Chicken Stir-Fry
1 1/2 cups black rice
2 1/2 cups water or chicken broth
2 T canola oil
1 lb. chicken breats, cut into chunks
1 T minced fresh ginger
1 T minced fresh garlic
1 med. red onion, chopped
1/2 orange bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
4 oz. sugar snap peas
4 oz. baby corn
1/3 cup tamari or soy sauce
1/4 cup garlic chili sauce
2 T sesame oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
Sea salt, fresh ground pepper
1 T cornstarch
1/2 cup whole roasted unsalted cashews
2 sliced green onions

Cook rice according to package directions.
Heat oil in wok or large non-stick fry pan over moderately high heat. Cook ginger and garlic until soft. Add onion, stir-fry 1 minute. Add chicken, cooking until no longer pink. Push chicken to the sides of pan and add rest of vegetables, stir-frying a few minutes. In small bowl, whisk tamari, chili sauce, sesame oil, broth, salt, pepper, and cornstarch together. Taste sauce and adjust ingredients if necessary. (We added more chili sauce to make it spicier!) Pour sauce in pan and stir until thickened. Top with cashews and green onions and toss just before serving. Serve over cooked black rice.

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