Mushroom Soup

“Someone fell on me on the train today.”

“So they knocked into you? Doesn’t that happen all the time?”

“No. Someone fell on. to. me.  I was on the ground face up, with them on top of me.”

“What?”

“He was too busy eating a delicious looking lemon poppy seed cake out of one hand and a drinking a coffee out of the other to hold the rail.”

“Well obviously it was because of his delicious looking cake. I mean, lemon poppy seed? Screw. that. rail.”

“Really?”

Roo looks up from his iPad, “Are you ok babe?”

“I cried.”

“Cried and didn’t give a damn what anyone else thought?”

“No, this isn’t an episode of HIMYM on what makes a Real New Yorker. This is real life. ”

“Meaning -”

“The anger cry.”

“I know that cry. It’s kind of…confusing.”

“Yes, a snotty nosed, yelling to getoffofme, anger cry occurred as soon as I realized he was on top of me…And that he was still holding his coffee and cake.”

“Not a drop spilled?”

“Not a single drop.”

“He must have gone to UMass.”

“So not the point Roo. So not the point.”

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Asparagus Soup

You can either find humor in stereotypes or not.

For me, it’s a combination of the two.

When I’m driving around Boston and a fellow Asian driver cuts me off or stops short, I become livid, usually exclaiming, “this is why we have this stereotype!” I may have road rage.

Yet when my mother insists that the television remote control be covered in saran wrap, I accept this as totally normal. Surely every household has remote controllers covered in saran wrap, that are wiped off every evening with a paper napkin.

“Your father, he has such greasy hands!”

Surely.

I never get annoyed with my mother when she says, “so cheap!” at the grocery store.  Instead, I nod my head, sometimes adding a few of those oranges she found on sale into my own shopping basket.

When I catch up with my friend J, hearing about the hundredth time his mother surprised him, showing up at his apartment unannounced with two suitcases full of Korean groceries, I can’t help but share when my mother does the same (last time with a pound of green tea and a kitchen sink strainer).

J and I also have this ingrained, core value of trying to never disappoint our mothers.  Growing up we were pushed hard to achieve the most academically.  And now that we’ve graduated college (it’s been a few years actually), our mothers are asking about the next phase of our lives.

“Why aren’t you in grad school?”

“When are you getting married?

“When are you having children?”

Even though J and I are opposite sexes, our inquiries are the same.

For a while, J and I were able to push them to the wayside, but the last time we spoke, he told me he was applying to medical school for 2013.  His mother and aunt recently visited and basically had an “intervention.”

For once I’m glad my mother is an only child.

I’m not ready to answer any of those questions.  I’d rather put my focus elsewhere, in the kitchen.

Hitting up the local produce stand is something I look forward to every weekend.  Johnny D’s is closed on Sundays, so Saturdays are usually the best time to go when looking for last minute deals.  And when I saw bunches of asparagus being sold for 99 cents each, I knew I had a winner.

So cheap!

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Vegetable and Pearl Barley Soup

I’ve been living with Roo for over a year now, and I feel like I have enough data to say that he’s probably a serial killer.  Or an alien…but better looking than Powder of course.

*The fact that I mentioned Powder and “data,” should be far enough evidence to prove something’s wrong with him for staying with me.

Anyways…

1) When I discovered a few grey hairs and told him about it, he said, “I bet you’d look hot with salt and pepper hair.”

Who says that?  No one wants a 30 year old female to go gray.

Except for serial killers.

2) He always tells me I’m beautiful when I wake up in the morning, despite my insisting that I more resemble a Kraken.

Let me state, I am not “beautiful” when I wake up.  My face is oily, my hair that I put in a bun to keep myself from choking on it in my sleep is all mussed up and sitting on the top of my head, and I have the. worst. breath.  Hence, Kraken.

3) When I come home from the yoga studio, always after a practice where I sweat with such ferocity that it goes into my eyeballs (probably the worst thing to experience since you go both blind and your eyes itch), he’ll hug me even tighter saying that I “just smell like Lys.”

What does that even mean?!

I’ll tell you, it means he’s trying to memorize my scent so when he’s hunting me in the woods he can track me better.

4) Whether we’re sitting on the couch in private or at a bar amongst friends, he always has to have some part of his body touching mine.  At first I thought it was sweet when we were first dating, but now I know it’s just to make sure that when his head is turned he knows I haven’t fled the scene as he can feel me beside him.

Oh, I’m onto you Roo.  But for now, I’ll make you a pot of vegetable and pearl barley soup on this windy December day, insisting that it was made with love, despite my hand rattling the ladle against the bowl.

Chunks of potatoes and carrots, amongst the tender chew of pearled barley, net in by sweet kale makes this soup fit for winter.  This dish has hints of earthiness from the addition of rosemary, only to be paired with two other favorite herbs of mine: thyme and bay.  Adding a big hunk of bread to your plate will practically leave little else to be desired for supper.

Except for my freedom from a serial killer.

Roo is not really a serial killer or alien but a really good boyfriend despite my being a giant pain in the ass.

Adapted from Orangette

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients

2 – 3 tablespoons of olive oil

1 large onion, diced

Half cup of pearl barley

4 stalks of celery, diced

4 carrots, peeled and diced

4 potatoes (about the size that can fit in the palm of your hand), peeled and cut into one inch cubes

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon of dried thyme

1 teaspoon of dried rosemary

Quarter teaspoon of chili powder

6 cups of low sodium stock (I used homemade)

2 – 3 bay leaves

1 bunch of kale (about a pound), leaves removed from stems and torn into easily edible pieces

Salt and pepper to taste

Equipment

A sharp knife

A vegetable peeler

A very large pot (or a dutch oven)

Add the olive oil to your large pot or dutch oven and place on a burner over medium high heat.  When the oil starts to shimmer, add the onion and pearl barley.  Stir the ingredients together, coating them with oil.  When the onions start to soften, and the pearl barley starts to brown, add the celery, carrots and potatoes.  Stir the ingredients together so that they’re well combined.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until they are softened.  Add the garlic, thyme, rosemary, and chili powder, stirring them into the other ingredients till well combined.  Cook them for about about a minute, till well fragrant.  Add the stock slowly, just a little at first, to allow the brown bits to come off the bottom of the pot with a spatula.  Scrape them off the pot’s surface, then continue adding all the stock.  Add the bay leaves and bring the liquid to a boil.

Once at a boil, reduce the heat so that the liquid is at a simmer.  Cover the pot and cook for about fifteen minutes, then add the kale, stirring it into the liquid.  Continue to simmer the ingredients for five more minutes, then check to see if your barley and potatoes are cooked through.  The potatoes should be soft to the touch (be able to poke a fork through easily) and the barley should have a little bit of chew to it.  Season with salt and pepper if desired, then serve.

Quinoa with Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Parsnips, Carrots and Butternut Squash

Did you…

come home to see that the cats had knocked down your Christmas tree?

get your hands covered in wretched, sticky sap after putting the tree back up?

curse under your breath as you were washing off your hands, because you forgot that this also happened last year?

hysterically accuse your cats of hating Christmas while they just stared at you?

then find two green beans in your sneaker the next morning?

Coming home to a disaster in the living room isn’t exactly what I want to deal with before making dinner.

Instead, it makes me want to pour myself a glass of wine; throwing some items onto a baking sheet and into a pot, being just an after thought.

Thankfully this recipe is just that (sans wine).

Most of the work comes from prepping the veg: peeling, cutting, tossing with a bit of olive oil.  Then throwing them onto two baking sheets and roasting them while the quinoa cooks in a pot.  (Or rice cooker. And if you’re lucky, it’ll sing to you when it’s done.)

It’s also very easy for it to look lovely in presentation: quinoa placed on a platter with assorted roasted veg on top; all their caramelized edges facing outward, just asking to be snatched up and popped into hungry mouths.  It’s quite possibly the easiest way to impress guests for a meal that took less than an hour to make.

I love the sweetness from the roasted veg and golden raisins, crunch of the toasted almond slivers, and basically any excuse to eat quinoa.

It’s so good that it almost makes me forget that the cats tried to ruin Christmas.

Serves 4

*This recipe is so simple to add flavors to that you’re craving during the winter months. Feel free to add, for example, a sprig of rosemary to your quinoa as it cooks. Or for example, for added richness, a tablespoon of butter.*

Ingredients

One cup of quinoa, rinsed

Two cups of low sodium stock (I used homemade vegetable) (*if using a rice cooker, fill the bowl to the “1” with stock after adding the quinoa)

2 – 3 tablespoons of mild tasting olive oil (basically enough olive oil to lightly coat the veg before going into the oven)

1 teaspoon of fine sea salt salt

Half a small butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and cut into half inch pieces (the smaller the chop, the faster it’ll cook!)

1 pound of brussels sprouts, halved

1 large parsnip, peeled and chopped into one inch chunks

Two large carrots, peeled and chopped into one inch chunks

One third cup of golden raisins

One third cup of almond slivers, toasted

Salt and pepper to taste

Equipment

A small pot to cook the quinoa with a lid, or a rice cooker (this is what I used)

A sharp knife

A vegetable peeler

(At least) Two cookie sheets

Two large bowls (or one, and after tossing the veg with olive oil clean it out and use it to serve the meal with)

A small pan (to toast the almonds with)

A spatula

A platter/very large plate to serve the dish on

Place your oven racks to the middle upper and middle lower positions in your oven.  Preheat your oven to 400F.

In a small pot add the quinoa and stock.  Place over a burner on medium high heat and bring the liquid to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer the ingredients for about ten to fifteen minutes, covered, or until the curly-q tail (you’ll know it when you see it) is visible.  Remove the pot from heat, fluff the quinoa with a fork and set aside.

If using a rice cooker, add the quinoa and then stock, filling the bowl to the “1 cup” marker.  Cook on “quick cook,” or whatever similar setting you have on your rice cooker.  When the quinoa is cooked, fluff it with a fork and set aside.

In a large bowl add the brussels sprouts, parsnips, carrots and butternut squash.  Add the olive oil and salt.  Toss all the ingredients together (I used my hands) till well coated with the oil and salt.

Throw all the veg onto your cookie sheets and place in the oven on the upper middle and lower middle racks.  Roast for about thirty minutes.  Halfway through roasting turn all the veg over so that they can be browned on both sides, and rotate the cookie sheets, placing them on different racks.  The veg will be done when they’re browned and soft when pierced with a fork/knife.  Remove the veg from the oven and set aside.

In a small pan add the almond slivers and place over a burner on medium heat.  Watching the nuts closely, swirl them around over the heat until they are browned.  Remove from heat.

In another large bowl (or the one you tossed the veg with, cleaned), add the quinoa, roasted veg, raisins and almond slivers.  Toss the ingredients together till combined.  Taste and add salt and pepper if desired.

Scoop out the quinoa onto a platter then place the roasted veg on top.  Serve immediately, being sure to scoop up all sorts of veg and quinoa onto your plate.

Quinoa, Greens and Root Veg Soup

I’ve totally been embracing this whole “eating New England style” as November comes to a close.  “New England style” is basically eating the produce that’s available in New England during fall and winter.  It largely consists of storage crops and winter greens.  Produce like potatoes, winter squashes, onions, kale, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and even tatsoi.

Also, soup has been served practically everyday in our little apartment.  LLN basically reflects what Roo and I eat, so hopefully you haven’t grown tired of the seasonal veg and soups that have been featured.  I honestly can’t get enough of it!  I am absolutely in love with swinging by the farmers market at city hall to see what’s available that day.  Sometimes I peruse the tables out of need for a recipe, and other times it’s to just pick up an item or two, if only to support the farmers that trekked into the city, just to sit in the cold all day.  Just a note: the more you frequent a vendor, the more likely they’ll remember you and try to give you a better deal (ie I’ve received a free handful of this or that and sometimes a couple of apples).  It really does pay off to shop local.

Ok, enough about farmers markets.

I’m here to write about soup.  Soup that I was able to make in thirty minutes after a quick chop of some seasonal produce and a stir in of quinoa.  Soup that has a bit of heat from red pepper flake, an earthiness from rosemary, loads of textures and a “complete protein” that makes even the judgmental of a plant-based diet hush as they dunk chunks of warm, crusty bread into the broth.

It’s incredibly flavorful and fast.  It’s a soup that warms our bones on nights when the heat drops below freezing and our uninsulated windows remind us that summer is over and it’s time for tea, blankets and baking.  Lots of baking.

And like most soups, it tastes even better the next day, as the flavors are able to meld together; potatoes completely infused with the spicy earthy broth.

Which leads me to ask, have you made a soup with quinoa before?  What do you typically use quinoa for?  I’ve used it in cakes, salads and now soups.  I don’t think there’s anything this little seed can’t do.

Inspired by The Urban Vegan Cookbook Recipe for Quinoa Soup

Adapted from Spicy and Hearty Potato, White Bean and Kale Soup

Ingredients

1 – 2 tablespoons of olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pot)

2 medium onions, diced

5 cloves of garlic, minced (love garlic, LOVE)

1 – 2 teaspoons of red pepper flake (if you’re heat sensitive, start with a half teaspoon)

1 bunch of collard greens, (about a pound) leaves removed from stems, torn with hands into easily edible pieces (you can use kale, collards were all I had.  I would not recommend spinach, unless if it was added right at the end, as it’s incredibly delicate compared to kale, etc.)

8 cups of low sodium broth (I used homemade vegetable)

Half to 1 cup of dry quinoa (1 cup results in a lot of quinoa with very little broth.  If you’d like to have a lot of liquid in your soup, use half a cup)

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoons of dried rosemary

2 carrots, chopped (the smaller you cut them, the faster it’ll cook)

3 to 4 medium potatoes, chopped (the smaller you cut them, the faster it’ll cook)

1 (15 oz) can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (optional)

Equipment

One large pot

A sharp knife

A vegetable peeler

A spatula/tongs

Pour olive oil into your pot and place over medium high heat.  When the oil starts to shimmer, add the onions, and cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally.  When the onions turn golden brown (it may take more than five minutes depending on your burner), add the garlic, red pepper flake and rosemary.  Cook until fragrant, about a minute.

Add the broth, quinoa, bay leaves, greens, carrots and potatoes.  Stir to combine the ingredients.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Once at a boil, reduce the heat to bring the soup at a simmer.  Cook until the potatoes are tender, about fifteen minutes.

Add the beans if using, and stir in.  Simmer for about five minutes longer, then serve.

Creamy Broccoli Soup

Hey.

Did you realize yet that it’s halfway through November?  Are you in denial about cooking for Thanksgiving like I am?

Good.

Roo and I have been keeping warm in our poorly insulated apartment with soups.  Lots and lots of soups.

And maybe cats.

Pissed off cats.

Around this time last year, I made Roo a broccoli soup that was full of cheese, whole milk and half and half.  You’d think I was trying to collect a life insurance pay-off with what I plated for him.

“Oh no, half a block of cheddar is good for your cholesterol level of 250.”

Little did I know at the time, he doesn’t have life insurance.  Little does he know, I have no shame, and like my Aunt Kathy, I planned on putting his ashes into something affordable, like a vase from Pier 1 Imports, where my Uncle Dan now rests.

I’m just keeping it real.

This year, I wanted to make broccoli soup a little differently as Roo and I have recently adopted a plant-based lifestyle.  Yet, when I told Roo what I was making for dinner, he was a little concerned.

“How are you going to make broccoli soup without cheese or cream?”

Thankfully I had a bit of luck with my last supposed-to-be-cream-based-soup so I knew where to start.  Even though Roo hates my mentioning it (it’s all in the name really), nutritional yeast rounds out the flavors that would instead taste like broccoli broth without it.  Paired with almond milk and blended potatoes, it makes a creamy, cheesy soup that I loved submerging large chunks of warm, crusty bread into.

The soup has loads of body, as half of the vegetables are blended, then put back in.  And with just a little bit of chili powder to raise the flavor up a bit (that and the sherry give it “that little something”), you soon realize that it’s not just rosemary that’s added.  It’s good.  It’s, put down the cat you’re using as a shawl, good.

Adapted from Appetite for Reduction

This Serves About 6

Ingredients

1 – 2 tablespoons of olive oil (just enough to coat the bottom of the pot)

1 large onion, diced

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon of dried rosemary

Quarter teaspoon of chili powder

4 cups of low sodium broth (I used homemade vegetable)

4 potatoes (about the size that individually fit in the palm of your hand), cut into about half inch pieces

2 carrots, diced

5 cups of broccoli, cut into less than half inch pieces (if you can use only the stems, do it. Save the florets for some roasting, stir fry, etc where you’ll be able to appreciate the textures.  This soup is just going to get blended at the end.)

1 cup of unsweetened, unflavored almond milk (or any other non-dairy milk)

2 tablespoons of sherry

Quarter cup of nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon of butter, like Earth Balance (optional)

Salt to taste

Equipment

A sharp knife

A very large pot with cover

A spatula

An immersion blender or a blender

Ladle

Add one to two tablespoons of olive oil to your pot.  Place the pot over a burner on medium heat.  When the oil starts to shimmer, add the diced onion.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion becomes translucent.  Add the minced garlic, rosemary, and chili powder and stir to incorporate the ingredients.  Cook until fragrant, about a minute.

Add the broth, potatoes and carrots.  Stir till the ingredients are incorporated.  Bring the pot to a boil, then lower the heat so that the ingredients are at a simmer.  Cover the pot and simmer for about ten minutes.

After ten minutes have passed, add the broccoli and simmer for twenty minutes, covered.

After twenty minutes have passed, add the almond milk, sherry and nutritional yeast.  Stir and heat the ingredients through.

With an immersion blender, blend about half of the soup, or to the consistency that you wish (I like to have some bits left whole in my soup).  If you don’t have an immersion blender, ladle some soup into your blender, but be careful to not fill more than half way.  Lid, cover with a towel (to protect your hand), and immediately blend (do not let steam build up in the blender or else you may risk of eruption and burning your hand!).  Add it back to the soup, and continue this until the soup is down to the consistency you desire.

Salt to taste.

*Does it need to be just a little bit creamier?  If desired, add a tablespoon of butter, like Earth Balance.  Otherwise, you’re done!  Serve immediately.

The Best Veggie Burger Roo Ever Had

I hate veggie burgers.

Roo hates veggie burgers.

I think this is why we get along so well.  Well that and our love of cookie dough.

But lately I’ve been curious about making a meatless burger.

For me to even admit that, to the one reader I have (Hello, self!) is a bit of a feat.  Yes, I’m probably exaggerating, but I love the dramz*. And by dramz, I don’t mean “the situation.” Which, by the way, I 1. hate myself for knowing that catch phrase/title (that sound hear right now is my soul crying), 2. did Abercrombie really pay him to not wear his clothing?  Can I also be labeled “bad for the brand,” and be paid?, and 3. Yes, I like CBS news (although I don’t know what this “Celebrity Circuit” crap is). It’s right before Matlock.  Or Columbo.  Or…

Ramblings aside, it’s taken a lot for me to think about beans.  In a burger.  And it tasting delicious.

Having been scarred by all the commercial ones that tasted akin to a cardboard box that previously housed ten cats, I knew I didn’t want it to have ingredients similar to this.  And if you happen to love those, well, just you wait, I have found you something better.

Thankfully a lot of the….vegan world, has been all about making a homemade meatless burger.  So there were many, many recipes to look at, judge, make snarky comments about, to my only audience at the time, the cat that loves paper bags more than me,

laugh shrilly, because I was still in disbelief that my life of loving thinly sliced, right on the diagonal, grilled flank steak, appears to be coming to an end (not really), and then picked one.  Sometimes a girl is manic about choosing the right meatless burger.  Most often times not.

*One of the words I’m obnoxiously trying to get going again.  But not fetch.  Never fetch.

Recipe Adapted, a little, from Oh She Glows

Makes Six Large Burgers

Ingredients

1 onion, diced

1 large garlic clove, minced

Olive Oil (about a tablespoon) for sauteing the onion and garlic

2 large egg whites

1 cup oats, processed into flour (I used old fashioned oats)

One and a half cups bread crumbs (I pulsed two end pieces of whole wheat Pepperidge Farm bread in a food processor)

1 cup grated carrots

1 cup cooked black beans, mashed up (I pulsed them in the food processor)

Half cup of slivered almonds, toasted

1 tablespoon Olive Oil (for the burgers themselves)

1 tablespoon reduced sodium tamari (you can use reduced sodium soy sauce)

One and a half teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt to taste (I used half teaspoon coarse sea salt, and I use Diamond)

Another couple tablespoons of olive oil for pan frying your burgers

Equipment

A large saute pan

A food processor (optional)

A large mixing bowl

A small mixing bowl

A whisk

A spatula/tongs

Add one tablespoon of olive oil to the large saute pan and place over medium heat.  When the oil begins to shimmer, add the onions and cook until lightly browned.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds to one minute).  Remove from heat and let cool for about five minutes.

Add all other ingredients (egg whites to tamari) except spices and salt to a large mixing bowl.  Scrape the onions and garlic with a spatula, into the large mixing bowl.  Wipe the large saute pan clean with a paper towel (or if you must, clean it) for use later.  Mix the ingredients in the large bowl until combined.  Add spices and salt to the ingredients in the large bowl.  Mix until combined.

Start making the patties.  Grab a handful of batter and flatten with palms of your hand.  Don’t be afraid to pat them tightly so they hold together.

Add about a tablespoon of olive oil (or basically enough to coat the pan) to the saute pan that you used for sauteing the onions and garlic with.  Place on a burner over medium heat.  Pan fry the burgers until they’re browned, about five to seven minutes on each side.

Serve on my favorite, brioche buns, with sliced tomato.  It’s kind of epic.

Chicken Stir Fry

There are some hot summer nights where I just don’t want to cook. Working a long day in a building with recirculated air, fluorescent lighting, and the politics of people trying to prove that they’re smarter than you can be exhausting. And coming home after an hour long commute via two trains and a bus, where you’re greeted by a cat that throws up on your sneakers (it may be because one of her favorite places to get into is the trash),

does not make me want to stand by a hot stove for an hour. No.

No no no no no.

So is there a solution, besides a week full of salads?

I love salad, but I think Roo would leave me if he had to eat night after night of random vinaigrettes. With that, there’s compromise, and for me, it’s only ten minutes of actual suffering.

I mean, cooking.

My life line is stir fry, and in this case, chicken stir fry. The largest part of work for this dish is prepping the veg.  Then it’s throwing everything into a very large saute pan, stirring it around, and before Roo can finish a level of ‘Firefight with skulls on’ (a Halo ref that I hate myself for knowing), it’s time to plate dinner and sit by a box fan that will blow your hair into your mouth as you eat.  But more appetizing.

Adapted, only a little, from The Pioneer Woman

Serves four generously

Ingredients

These ingredients are based on what I received from my CSA this week. You could always switch out for what you’d like to have in your stir fry, since that’s the whole point (dump and cook what you have in your fridge).

Leftover rice, or rice made from your rice cooker, or stove top per the bag’s instructions

3 scallions, diced (you could use one medium onion diced here, but I was trying to use up ingredients from my CSA)

3 cloves garlic, minced (I love garlic)

1 knob of ginger, about the size of your thumb, minced (or grated if you’re lazy like me)

1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flake (I love spicy, if you’re scared, start with a 1/4 teaspoon)

One pound of broccoli crowns, cut into easily edible pieces

3 carrots, chopped

2 red peppers, chopped

1 bunch of tatsoi (again, from my CSA)

3 Whole Chicken Breasts, sliced into pieces (I like to use kitchen shears and let the pieces fall into a ziploc bag which contained the marinade)

1 teaspoon Sesame Oil (and more to drizzle over chicken)

Three quarters of a cup *low sodium* Soy Sauce (and more to drizzle over chicken) *This is the start of making a LOT of sauce, because I had a lot of veg (and I love extra sauce for my rice). If the idea of 1 cup of soy sauce scares you, half it, along with the sugar, chicken broth, corn starch, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar.**

One quarter of a cup of water (to be mixed with the soy sauce)

6 tablespoons of Sugar (I know, I know, that’s a lot, but less than that and you’ll end up with something quite acrid)

1 cup Chicken Broth, to be divided

3 teaspoons corn starch

2 – 4 tablespoons olive oil

1 – 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar (optional, taste your sauce first)

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (optional, some people think it tastes like soap. Haters!)

Equipment

A very, VERY large saute pan, or a wok

3 small bowls (that can hold up to a cup and a half of liquid)

A whisk

A very sharp knife

Tongs or a spatula

A grater, if handy

A large ziploc bag, or a large plate for your chicken to hang out on

Another large plate for your chicken to hang out on after cooking

After prepping all your veg, slice up your chicken into a large ziploc bag, or onto a plate. Drizzle a bit of soy sauce and sesame oil onto the chicken. Toss it about so all the chicken is coated. Set aside.

Gather the three small bowls for the wet ingredients. In one bowl, mix three quarters of a cup of soy sauce with a quarter cup of water and 6 tablespoons of sugar. Set aside. In the second bowl, mix half a cup of chicken broth with 3 teaspoons of corn starch. Set aside. In the third bowl, pour the other half cup of chicken broth into it. Set aside.

Place the very VERY large saute pan (or wok) on the burner over high heat (not blasting, but more than a medium flame). Pour in 2 – 4 tablespoons of olive oil into the pan (enough to coat the bottom). When the oil starts to shimmer, add the chicken. Do not crowd the pan with the chicken. You want an even single layer of meat on the bottom of the pan. If this means you have to work in shifts, so be it. Letting the chicken sit on one side for a minute or two (until browned), flip, and cook for another minute or two. When the chicken has cooked through, remove from the pan and place on a clean plate to hang out while you work on your veg (repeat if you had to cook the chicken in shifts).

Add another tablespoon of olive oil if necessary to the pan (to avoid sticking). Add the green onions and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the garlic and the ginger. Stir the ingredients about so that they’re coated with the oil and are sizzling. Start adding in the rest of your veg in shifts. I usually start with the veg that’s going to take the longest to cook and end with the one that takes the least. In this case it was carrots, then broccoli, followed by red peppers and then tatsoi.

When all of the ingredients have cooked through (it takes about three minutes with the carrots, followed by two minutes with the broccoli, then the red peppers, waiting a minute, and then adding the tatsoi, constantly tossing the ingredients with my tongs), it’s time to add the wet ingredients.

Pour in the chicken broth and the soy sauce that’s mixed with sugar. Toss the veg in within the pan so that they’re coated. Drizzle one teaspoon of sesame oil over the sauce. Again, toss.

Add the cooked chicken to the sauce. Add the chicken broth that’s mixed with corn starch. Again, toss everything together.

Now, it’s time to taste. Are you craving something a little bit more acidic? You may want to drizzle a teaspoon to 2 teaspoons of rice vinegar to the sauce. But make sure you taste first! I made the mistake of doing this without tasting and got something horribly acrid once. It was sad.

When the sauce is to your liking, remove the pan from the burner. If you’d like to add your cilantro to your dish, do so on your individual serving (again, be aware of the haters).

Serve over rice.