Monday, July 16, 2012

A Success Story

   "Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result." -Oscar Wilde

   I know a lot of my posts have been about food recently, but I just can't help myself! I'm obsessed with learning how to become a better cook! I just feel like it's something that every "adult" should know how to do, like it's a rite of passage into fully becoming a grown up. I've come a long way with my cooking, but I haven't mastered it yet. So I'm going to keep trying new things and see what I can come up with.

   Monday is farm share pick up day (as mentioned in prior posts) so I'm always inspired to do something with all of the fresh delicious vegetables that I get. Normally, my husband makes a tasty stir-fry, but he wasn't here to cook this evening so I was left to make the stir-fry. For those of you who are experienced cooks, you are probably thinking, "Stir-fry is the easiest thing in the world to make. What's hard about that?" But for me, it was really intimidating. It's a lot of cooking all at once and I had questions like, "How will I know when the vegetables are done?" and "What should I put on them?" I've watched my hubby make stir-fry a million times but I had never attempted it myself. Tonight was the big night and I couldn't be happier with the results. Warning: this is more about my success story and less about the actual recipe, so sorry about the measurements and timing instructions.

   First, I threw my rice (jasmine) in the rice cooker so that it could cook while I was cooking everything else.

   Then I washed and chopped my vegetables. My veggies today included snow peas, broccoli, and zucchini.

   Then I drained my tofu (extra firm) and pressed it between some sheets of paper towel to get out all of the liquid. I let it sit on the towels for a little while just to absorb the extra moisture.

   Then I ground up some ginger and few cloves of garlic in the mini food processor. I added this to some soy sauce and set it aside.

   I heated up some olive oil (extra virgin) in a skillet on the stove (on high) and cut up my tofu and threw it in. I sprinkled a little salt a pepper on it. I cooked it until the side touching the pan was starting to brown, then I turned the cubes. I salted and peppered them again and let them cook. I continued to rotate the tofu until all sides of the cubes were lightly browned. I like my tofu soft on the inside and "crunchy" on the outside, so this method worked perfectly! I put the tofu in a bowl, covered it and set it aside.

   I heated up (on high) some olive oil in the wok and then threw in the vegetables. I threw on the ginger/garlic/soy sauce mixture and mixed them up well. I put the lid on and let them cook for awhile. I removed the lid a few times while cooking to stir everything up (and make sure it wasn't burning). I'm not sure how long I actually cooked it, but I continued to test the vegetables (by eating them) at various times to see if they were cooked enough. Once they were soft but firm, I removed them from the heat and added the tofu and some more soy sauce. I then put everything over rice. The result was delicious!

    I'm pretty proud of myself. I conquered one of my fears tonight. I didn't really know what I was doing, but I remembered a lot of what I had observed my husband do and I winged it. I got a rave review from one of the harshest food critics out there: my 6 year old son. I believe his words were, "Mom, if you had a restaurant, you'd have a lot of fans. I'd eat there a lot." I think that says it all folks! Good luck conquering your fears and hopefully you too will have a success story to tell the world about! 

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