As I stated in the aforementioned post (which I literally wrote, like, 5 seconds ago), I’m dealing with the annoying realization that most of the Lean Cuisines I would normally bring to work are currently verboten, as they contain dairy. (And I’m not really PROUD of bringing Lean Cuisines, but I got into a too-lazy-to-cook rut.)
I’m sick of buying expensive commissary lunches and I needed to get back in the cooking groove anyway, so I decided to cook something veggie-full that I could kind of improvise for dinner/tomorrow’s lunch (of course, that involves willpower… can’t eat it all at dinner).
I was reading some gluten-free website about what you can cook for dinner, and there was a lot of talk of whipping up rice-based dishes. Now, I’m not trying to be gluten-free right now because A) I never got my Celiac test results, so they’re probably negative (?) and B) If I cut out gluten and dairy all at once… too many variables. But my mind kept going to a veggie & rice stir-fry… I remember at least one of my former roommates making similar dishes, and it seemed doable.
Since I MIGHT still find out that I AM gluten-sensitive, and since I should probably cut back a bit on the gluten just for kicks, I am trying not to stock up on anything too wheat-y. Another reason for going with rice and veggies, since they will still be viable no matter how my tests come in. (PS– I tried gluten-free corn/quinoa pasta– it’s pretty good!)
So I went to Trader Joe’s and grabbed some good-looking veggies… I wanted to get a pre-cut veggie mix meant for stir-frying, but I couldn’t find one. But a few of the elements were still pre-cut, namely some sort of garlic/onion/shallot mixture.
Quick milk story– while I was putting my groceries away, I emptied my ice cream-making milk cartons (expired anyway) and went to put them in my recycles bag– only to find a big spider. So I THREW an empty milk carton on top of the spider, because that’s how I kill spiders. And I still haven’t moved the carton, because I’m scared of living AND dead spiders. (And not 100% sure I killed it?)
So… there’s a good use for milk, even if you can’t drink it. (And… is anybody interested in coming over and putting a probably-dead spider in the trash?)
Ingredients: The aforementioned onion/garlic/shallot/leek (?) mix, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms, green beans, Soyaki (contains wheat… but that’s okay!), frozen brown rice, egg white. I bought potatoes, but then I realized that with the rice it would be a starch overload (maybe). So… potatoes some other time.
I got the veggies going in the pan with a little olive oil, in basically the order I just listed. After the carrots and before the mushrooms, I added some Soyaki and then added a cup or so of water, realizing that the veggies needed a while to cook without burning. So I chopped the rest of the veggies and threw them in while the water evaporated out. (I never covered it because I don’t have a cover… sigh.)
I have to say, I felt pretty cool because I was mostly improvising and going on my cooking instincts. Which– suddenly I have cooking instincts?
After the water was mostly gone, I added the rice to the pan. At first the frozen brown rice looked like sizzling rice from a Chinese restaurant, but as it cooked it looked much more brown rice-like. (I also bought jasmine rice, for future experiments.) I added another dash of Soyaki, unsure of how strong it would taste… I figured I could add soy sauce if it was weak.
Once the rice was hot enough (I literally ascertained this by TOUCHING it– hey, I’m the only one eating it), I cracked two eggs (not at the same time) and dribbled the egg whites over the pan. I always like finding egg in my fried rice, and I figured it was a nice bit of protein (but I wasn’t too concerned– I had chicken at lunch).
This came out really well– the broccoli and cauliflower were cooked to softness, the peas still had some snap, and the Soyaki wasn’t too overbearing. I daresay I’ll be continuing to expand my stir-frying vocabulary in the coming months… and for the rest of my life! (I mean, why limit the timeframe?)
And the best part– I have enough left over for lunch tomorrow!
That’s a new IKEA bowl… it has a pretty little design on the outside that you can’t see. (Sucka!) I recently realized that all my plastic Target bowls that I’ve been microwaving for YEARS aren’t microwave safe. WHOOPS. (And I wonder why I don’t feel well.) So… I’m team ceramic now. If I break the bowls… they were cheap.
Later (after dessert…) when I thought of it, I made myself a salad of simple romaine lettuce with lemon squeezed over it, followed by generous dashes of salt and pepper. A wonderful, healthy dressing– so easy, and so delicious. Makes me feel like a badass to whip it up.
Speaking of deliciousness, tonight I discovered the Sunday Suppers blog… the pictures are divine. Look at these tea sandwiches! I was just starting to lament that I don’t live a fancy life of stylish suppers and gourmet cooking with friends when I realized that the gatherings are CLASSES. If you live in Brooklyn… I’m jealous. Go to a Sunday Supper (unless they’re, like, crazy expensive).
Hmm… maybe I should just try to establish a stylish cooking klatch amongst my own friends. I love klatches. (Though I’m not sure I’m spelling that right… I think there are multiple ways to tackle it.) But I don’t know if mine would be QUITE as fancy or well-lit. (They’d be… un-fancy, let’s be real.)
Tonight I’ll just have to settle for living in the Brooklyn of LA (or is it?) and being able to whip up a pretty tasty improvised dinner for one. Baby steps.