Posts Tagged: veggies

Peruvian Chili Lime Stir-Fry w/ Vermecilli Noodles

Peruvian Chili Lime Stir-Fry w/ Vermicelli Noodles

Peruvian Chili Lime Stir-Fry w/ Vermicelli Noodles

Hi everyone!  Another recipe awaits!

A friend recently received his Master’s degree and in celebration I made an on the spot stir-fry.  Recently he asked me for the recipe and it occurred to me I did not write down the creation. Since then, I have mulled over what I could have possibly used and what follows is the recipe–as close as I can recall–and a few pics that my love happened to take that night.

Friendships and Food

Our friend is of Latino descent and his lovely girlfriend (also a close friend) is very involved and interested in Mexican culture.  Additionally, they are both vegetarian, which worked out well for the ideas I had for the dish because I didn’t have to hold back on any of the veggies I wanted to include.  I decided on an Asian themed dish but with a Latino (South American) twist.  I wanted to make something that the two of them had never tried and it turns out I did!

When I think about eating and preparing food, I immediately think about sharing.  In many ways, I feel like food is one of the most wonderful and full-hearted gifts you could ever give someone.  A well prepared, home-cooked meal is full of dedication, trust, and creativity.  Food, as a gift, polishes the idea of friendship because it’s sharing a part of yourself with the people in your life that mean the most to you.  Preparing a meal, or giving the gift of food (especially if personally prepared, picked, sought out) is a way of leaving your mark on the world. Sadly, in some opinions, it’s much less permanent and much more easy to forget.  I say let us remember these acts and appreciate every bite!  Even when you’re sharing a meal with friends at a restaurant, take the time to truly appreciate the flavors, the environment and where the food came from. If it’s possible, you could even take the time to thank or compliment those who helped make the meal for you.  Take a picnic with your friends and enjoy nature while enjoying your basket or bag full of wonders.  Essentially, imbue the thought.  I hope all of you enjoy preparing this meal and are able to share it with someone extra special.  And remember…bite responsibly!

Peruvian Chili Lime Stir-Fry w/ Vermicelli Noodles

Peruvian Chili Lime Stir-Fry w/ Vermicelli Noodles

Peruvian Chili Lime Stir-Fry w/ Vermicelli Noodles

Ingredients / Utensils

  • 1 crown of broccoli (cut into small pieces, I even used 3/4 of the stalk and sliced it into very thin julienned pieces; waste not!)
  • 1 medium yellow onion (sliced into thin strips)
  • 1 large carrot or 2 medium carrots (or whatever amount seems right to you, julienned)
  • 1/2 large zucchini or 1 small (skin on, julienned)
  • small sweet peppers or 1 bell pepper (thinly sliced into rings)
  • 3 garlic cloves (more if you’re a garlic freak like me, minced)
  • 3 small Yukon potatoes (1/8 inch thinly sliced)
  • 4 or 5 white or baby bella mushrooms (thin, long vertical strips)
  • 1 lime (quartered)
  • 1 medium to large avocado (cut into strips)
  • dried vermicelli noodles (gluten-free, vegan; whatever amount suits the party you’re serving)
  • 1 package tempeh (cut into long, medium-sized strips or you can crumble it)
  • sesame seeds w/ dulse (used to garnish the dish at the end)
  • coconut oil or grape seed oil for sauté
  • drizzle of sesame oil for noodles
  • 1/4 tsp onion granules
  • 1/8 tsp garlic granules (more if you cut back on the garlic cloves)
  • pinch or two of cumin
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/8 tsp ginger powder (1 tsp minced if you have it fresh)
  • 1 tsp (or more to taste) Peruvian chili lime spice
  • 3 tbsp gluten-free, low-sodium tamari (or to taste, I normally just poor :/) (this is fermented soy sauce, better for your digestive system and shouldn’t wreak havoc on your hormones)
  • bamboo spoon or large bamboo chopsticks for mixing
  • sharp chefs knife
  • chopping board(s)
  • bowls (if you want to portion out your veggies)
  • measuring spoons
  • A wok is preferable for heating this meal, but if you have a large skillet this should do.

Instructions

  1. Prepare all veggies first!  (I like to keep mine separated in bowls or on separate chopping boards organized by cooking order, but I’m a big dork.  :p )
  2. Once all veggies are cut, begin heating water for noodles.  Add noodles once water is boiling and cook for just a few minutes until tender.  Do not over cook, or they will become gummy!  At this point, line up your herbs, spices, and Tamari for easy access.  If you want to be especially tidy, you could allocate all of your spices into a small glass ramekin and then set the remainder of your bottles away, for less clean up time later.
  3. Begin by sautéing the garlic and onions until fragrant, then add in the tempeh and cook until tempeh turns a light golden color but before onions are caramelized.
  4. Next, add in the broccoli, carrots and potatoes. Cover and toss until just before tender.  Then, add in the remainder of the vegetables, cook until mushrooms produce an ever so slight broth.
  5. Follow-up by sprinkling in your herbs and spices and mix everything together gently.  Now, add the tamari to taste.
  6. As you’re cooking the vegetables, keep on eye your noodles (as mentioned above) and once prepared, drain and rinse with cool water.  Drizzle sesame oil over noodles once back in the pot.
  7. Plate the noodles and serve prepared stir-fry over and to the side of the noodles.
  8. Place slices of avocado on the side and sprinkle with sesame seeds and dulse.
  9. Set a quarter of a lime on the plate and squeeze over dish just before consuming.
  10. Eat up, happily, and with friends!
Peruvian Chili Lime Stir-Fry w/ Vermicelli Noodles

Peruvian Chili Lime Stir-Fry w/ Vermicelli Noodles

 

Notes:  I focused on the style in the cut of the vegetables.  I wanted them to seem slightly uniform for a more aesthetic, pleasing look to the eye.  I was going for a slender, matchstick or even julienne look to pattern with the small, delicate noodles.  On my choice of noodle; I was inspired by Vietnamese dishes that frequently have vermicelli, thus I was hooked!  I over-cooked the noodles just slightly that night, and they became a little gummy, but adding the slightest amount of sesame oil helped loosen them up.  Also, I’m still perfecting the science of presenting a recipe because personally, I pour and shake my spices and liquids, thus it’s difficult for me to portion out measurements for others to use.  I just go by taste.  Patience, please! 😀

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every Purchase Counts

 

Think of the way your grandparents used to gather food for a week or more and then think about what their grandparents had to do.  Now, think about the may outlets to which we are able to attain food.  Here is a short list of just some of the places a person can obtain edibles:

  • Grocery Store [whatever chain happens to inhabit your area]

    grocery shopping, 1940s

  • Natural Food Stores [some corporate, some local]
  • Corporate store with grocery section [full or downsized]
  • Local Co-op
  • Farmers Market
  • A Dollar Store
  • Gas Station
  • Specialty Store
  • Restaurant
This list is not exhaustive, but covers some of the major stops.  What I have to say is not going to be a long or extensive rant about the poor state of the world’s food system, amidst multiple arenas to gather food.  What I want to say is geared toward those who are willing and ready to pay attention.
As I am an advocate of growing your own food or participating in a community garden, I am also aware that such privileges are not available to everyone, nor do some have the desire.  However,  I think one area where we can begin to make our food purchases count is paying attention to what you’re buying and if possible, where you’re buying food commodities from.  From 2008 to present there has been a not so steady increase in foodstuffs, not just within the US, but as far-reaching as Brazil, on a larger scale.  Accessibility does not always translate into better product or cheaper prices.  In fact, since the early 2000’s, food inflation has become a growing hurdle for both the big agri. business workers down to the low-income consumer.
Here are 5 Simple ways to make a difference with your food purchases:
  1. Expand your grocery budget.  On average, the more yearly income a person earns, the lower amount of money spent on food.  Although I find this a difficult concept to grasp, I associate this food spending behavior with a higher increase of junk food purchases connected to lower-income and those purchases, though initially seeming cheap, add-up over time.  I say, expand your grocery budget in a more effective way.  Pick up fruits and veggies that are in season, and for those riskier, fragile produce items try for organic, your body will thank you later.  Trying buying grains in bulk, and those dry goods will come in handy when you’re in a meal-bind.  Start a collection of quality herbs and spices that liven up dishes that may have become stale and overused.
  2. Keep an eye on where your food is coming from; what had to happen to get that food from its original source, to you.  The quickest and easiest way to know where the food comes from is to check any labeling on its packaging material.  If you’re picking up a produce item, often the PLU sticker will list a state.  Though finding out about the production or shipping history may not seem like a simple task, with the internet being at our disposal in so many ways, a little background research never hurt anybody.  I plan to do a series on some of the most used and most commonly abused products that are gaining popularity if not already at their peak.  A couple of examples are palm oil and quinoa.
  3. Slow food is on the move, pay attention.  I know I harp on buying local, and though it is a very complicated issue that is not as black and white as I’m sure most sustainability activists would like, it is still a stupendous way to show your government officials what is important to you, and that’s fresh, honest produce.
  4. Support a small business café or restaurant and not a large chain/corporation.  Your palate will thank you.  There is no guarantee that when you support a local food bakery or restaurant they focus on health and quality product, but a large majority of them do, depending on the type of cuisine.  Contributing to a small business stimulates the local economy you reside in, in more ways than you would think.  Every dollar you spend at a local artisan’s shop or the like, is more money that goes directly back into the grower or creators pocket, rather than being filtered through others.  Also, associating with to your local foodie entrepreneurs and growers builds a stronger and evenly parceled community.
  5. Try preparing your own meals and not eating out for assorted meal-time breaks throughout the day.  This means, be prepared.  Although this may seem in contrast to my above tip, when you’re in a hungry bind or in desperate need of a quick snack, those hasty choices can have egregious side-efffects that trickle into other areas and reverse some of the progress you have made.  See my earlier post, on ways to prep ahead of time so taking your meals with you is not as daunting.
Here’s a brief satirical clip from Portlandia, aired on IFC:

What I want to emphasize overall is that there are positive and thoughtful ways to remain close to what you’re eating and those thoughtful behaviors in effect distribute your food dollars where they will make the greatest impact.  I want to help extinguish any malaise you may have with eating healthier and contributing to your community in a sound way.  Becoming more aware is not always an easy choice to make, but I’m certain that by individual efforts, even on the smaller scale, sustainable practices will change our country, and possibly the world for the better.

Do you think every purchase counts?  Let’s talk!
And remember…bite responsibly!
Healthy Regards,
~RAM~ ^____^