Friday, September 22, 2006

A Stir-fry and A Salad

Hubby and I dine out at least three-quarters of the time, and frankly, eating greens is not always our top priority on such occasions, not to mention also that vegetable servings whether in hawker centres or cafes can sometimes be miserable whether in serving amount, presentation or taste. And so, into the kitchen I will troop in every once in awhile to rustle up some quick vegetable dishes to appease the inner guilt arising from too much unhealthy consumption of meat.

Stir-fried long beans is one of my favourite quick and easy vegetable stir-fries. When I went marketing last weekend, to my surprise, I found only one bunch of long beans left in the entire tray - either long beans are really popular or there is a dire shortage of these beans? Since a single bunch wasn't going to be enough for my stir-fry, I supplemented with sugar snap peas.
Surrounded by Greens

This particular stir-fry is all about crunch and more crunch - long beans and snap peas cooked just about right retaining some bite, and extra crunch coming from crushed roasted peanuts added to the stir-fry.
  • to ensure that I do not overcook the long beans and sugar snap peas, I cook them first in a pot of boiling salted water for a few minutes until just about tender - and then drain them in a colander and run cold tap water through them to stop the cooking process
  • heat a wok over high heat, and when the wok is ready, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil and swirl around the wok to coat it
  • add minced garlic (from 2 to 3 cloves) and stir-fry for about a few seconds until pale golden in color, immediately add thinly sliced shallots (from about 3 to 4 shallots) and crushed roasted peanuts (not powdery or too finely ground but crushed - the best tool for the job: a stone pestle and mortar) - stir-fry for a few more seconds
  • add the long beans and sugar snap peas together with some thinly sliced red bird's eye chilli (chilli padi) - stir-fry for a minute or so to heat through, and add some soy sauce and salt for seasoning
  • remove from heat and transfer to plate - drizzle with a bit of lime juice (from half a lime) and it's ready!
A simple dish that I will happily eat accompanied only by a bowl of steamed white rice.
Crunch Crunch

And on days when heaving a wok on the stove seems too gargantuan a task for the evening, then a simple bowl of salad will suffice. There are many versions out there of the famous Caesar Salad, believed to have been created by Caesar Cardini, the Italian owner of a restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico in the 1920s (click on the link provided for some interesting nuggets of information, including a shot of the Hotel Cesar, where it was supposedly created). This particular version which I found in Gourmet magazine, doesn't use bottled mayonnaise or cream salad but creates the emulsion dressing straight from scratch using a raw egg, olive oil, lemon juice and mashed anchovy fillets.
  • clean and drain the romaine leaves (from two romaine hearts - i.e. two bunches)
  • as I like a little bit of protein with my salad for substance, I will usually hard-boil an egg or two
  • croutons (which are an absolute carbohydrate requirement for a Caesar salad) are usually small cubes of baguette fried until golden in olive oil which has been infused with garlic (by stir-frying some slices of garlic earlier on)
  • to make the dressing: mash up 2 to 3 anchovy fillets (which can be found in most supermarkets under the canned sardines and tuna sections - using 2 to 3 fillets is not too overwhelming in flavor, but if you prefer a stronger flavor, by all means, use up to 4 fillets or so) in a bowl, whisk in 1 egg (please make sure this is a fresh egg) and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, then add a quarter cup of the garlic-infused olive oil (not hot but cooled to either warm or room temperature) in a slow stream while continuing to whisk to create an emulsion. Season with salt.
  • toss the dressing with the romaine leaves, add the croutons and toss again
  • add the wedges of hard-boiled egg and thinly shaved or grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, season with some ground black pepper
Healthy Fodder

Two healthy dishes - simple to prepare, appetizing on sight and tasty as well!


Blogger Audrey Cooks said...

Hi Cath! finally managed to open your comment box. I wonder what happened. Must say! I simply adore your salad shot. Sooo refreshing! and the egg, hmmm boiled to perfection! It's great to be able to comment again! ha ha ha!

9/24/2006 11:29:00 PM  
Blogger J said...

hi cath, i know exactly what you mean about vegetables not being exactly a top priority ;) both the stir fry and the salad look fabulous!

9/25/2006 11:50:00 AM  
Anonymous keiko said...

Cath, I'll try this stir-fry with lots of steamed rice :) Looks absolutely divine!

9/27/2006 12:09:00 AM  
Blogger eatzycath said...

@audrey, J and keiko, thanks for the comments
ps. audrey, sorry about the blogger comment thingy - don't know what happened, even I had problems earlier trying to log in!

10/01/2006 11:30:00 PM  
Blogger Audrey Cooks said...

Cath, could it be the beta thingy?

10/03/2006 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger eatzycath said...

@audrey, I did experiment with the beta thingy earlier but didn't like it at all and switched back to the old mode.. could be the switching back and forth created some issues, but never mind, I think it's okay now :-)

10/08/2006 11:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Food said...

What a simple yet very tasty stir-fry!

3/19/2007 02:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Linh Phu said...

Hi! I found your blog and beautiful picture of the long beans through a google search. I will be hosting a cooking class for a non-profit community center in Oakland, California in June featuring Chinese greens. I am wondering if I can have your permission to use the picture you've taken for the online description of the class. Thanks! I can be reached at --Linh Phu

4/30/2009 04:25:00 AM  

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