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recipe: edamame and asparagus stir-fry

March 23, 2011

What can I say? I’m a cookbook addict. I’ve got 10-15 cookbooks at home and I’m constantly borrowing more from the library (there’s a moratorium on my spending $ on anymore cookbooks). Recently, I borrowed Mark Bittman’s book The Food Matters Cookbook. Mark Bittman is well-known for his writing and cooking so I was excited to tackle some of his recipes. This particular book focuses on “cooking easy, delicious foods that are as good for you as they are for the planet” (taken from the book jacket). I’ve just skimmed the book but it seems that it is about healthy eating, and putting less focus on meat and more on vegetables. As a self-professed fried chicken lover, I need as much help as I can get in this area – eating my vegetables! What’s great is that his recipes are very healthy and seem to be tasty without being highbrow and fancy-schmancy. Okay, I think there’s a little fancy. LOVE it.

Anyways, I made this dish last week and we really enjoyed it – a “repeater” in my opinion. I particularly loved it; my husband said he’d like it more if it included chicken (which I added to the leftovers, to appease him). If you like edamame when you’re out for sushi, I think you’ll like this – give it a try and get more vegetables in your system 🙂

Edamame and Asparagus Stir-Fry with Rice

(from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook) – slightly adapted

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb thin asparagus, broken into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • ground (powdered) ginger
  • pinch of red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 3 cups frozen edamame, thawed
  • 2 eggs, already scrambled
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce, and extra for taste
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice

1. Put asparagus pieces in a bowl with 2 tbsp of water. Microwave for 30 seconds to slightly cook. Drain water and dry the asparagus with a paper towel.

2. Using a skillet, heat the oil on high heat and quickly add the asparagus. Cook for about a minute, taking care not to burn the pieces.

3. Add the garlic, powdered ginger and pepper flakes, stir and continue to cook until asparagus has started browning.

4. Add edamame and scrambled eggs, stir, then add soy sauce and about a teaspoon of water. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes, making sure that the edamame and asparagus don’t stick to the skillet. Add a little bit more water if necessary.

5. Stir in the rice, and season to taste with soy sauce and red pepper flakes. Remove from heat and serve.

And something extra here . . .

Whenever I cook, or go about my day at work, or hang out with friends, it seems that I learn something new. A new task, a new problem (ha!), a new idea, and it goes on and on and on. I’m all about learning – we should always be teachable, no matter how old we become or how “mature” we think we are. My point is this – I don’t want to just put up recipes here that we enjoy, but I want to share with you what I’ve learned, whether it’s a method or an ingredient I should have used. Or any mistakes I made!

LESSON LEARNED?

As I made this dish last week, it made me think of how I used to be when it came to eating and cooking. When I first got married to my sweet husband, I didn’t know much about cooking. I used to be afraid to try new foods, sticking to the same kind of meals all the time (okay, to this day I will probably still pick chicken crispers at Chili’s or sweet and sour chicken at any Chinese restaurant – I can’t help it – those things are great!) but my travels abroad, as well as having partaken in some fancy culinary experiences, have helped to expand my palate. I’ve been lucky to have eaten some pretty spectacular meals and I admit, once you’ve gotten a taste of the fancy, you’re kind of hooked. You’ve heard me mention a few times that even though we’re not rich, I believe my husband and I can eat well and healthy, without spending loads of money on meals. I still hold to that belief, even to the point of attempting “gourmet” meals at home once in a while. Yes, the recipes can be intimidating and I may have to buy an exotic ingredient or two, but I find it to be a fun challenge (but at the same time, I’m still all about cooking simply too – like, scrambled eggs or a quick stir-fry for dinner).

What I’ve learned over the last few years is to be open-minded about cooking and eating. Sadly, I wasted many a year because I was afraid to try something new. Real sad. But, I’ve been learning – to flex my cooking muscles, to light a candle and chop those darn onions, to eat things like endive, kale and risotto, and to try something new. Yes, I’ll still eat my comfort foods once in a while (why does there have to be a Golden Chick restaurant on the way home to my house?! WHY?!), but I would also like to keep learning to better my cooking techniques and use more vegetables in our meals. I don’t want to be a fancy-schmancy cook – because I honestly don’t have the time or dollars for that, but I want to always appreciate the fine art that cooking can be. If the opportunity (i.e. cash) arises for us to eat out at a fancy restaurant, by all means, we’ll go. But if it’s to put something together using what I already have in the fridge and pantry, I’ll do it with as much flair and enjoyment as possible. To cook with no fear. To eat without trepidation. To enjoy what the good Lord has blessed us with.

So, my friends, if you’re letting fear hold you back from trying something new, don’t let it. Fear will get you nowhere fast – it will keep you stagnant, exactly where you are, and possibly, it will have you moving backwards. Let go of your fear of cooking something new and challenging! Use that ingredient you’ve never eaten before!

Please don’t hear me preaching to you, because I’m not – I’m preaching to myself, because I know I have a loooooong way to go. And as that great Auntie Mame says, “life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!” – don’t starve, but enjoy your journey in the kitchen. I’ll join you!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. alicia permalink
    March 23, 2011 2:17 pm

    “fear will get you nowhere fast – it will keep you stagnant, exactly where you are…”

    Exactly what I needed to read this morning 🙂

  2. July 27, 2011 4:57 pm

    Oh my goodness, this looks amazing. I think I may try this one!

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