Sunday, May 18, 2008

Broccoli goodness

I’m lucky to have a family that loves vegetables. Of course, each person has a few dislikes, mostly of a textural nature, but overall I can’t complain. As a child, I always had a vegetable garden, and whenever possible, I had one as an adult, too. I really wanted to plant one this year, but over the winter, my garden area was overrun with gophers and rabbits, so I will have to figure out how to work around them.

For a few years, I participated in a local CSA program. Each Thursday I would pick up the week’s selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, and then come up with recipes, sometimes creative, sometimes not, that featured the vegetable du jour, so to speak. Most vegetables were familiar to me, but occasionally there was something new. I still have yet to find a way to make kohlrabi edible.

Recently, I came upon a blogging event that focused on vegetables, Vindicate The Vegetable, created by Nina from Love, Sweet Love. I discovered it during eggplant week, but it was too late to enter. Geez. I have the best eggplant recipe, too!

So, I kept an eye on the blog, and this week, the vegetable is broccoli, one of our favorites. Near where my mother lives, about 90 minutes north of me, they grow two things: strawberries and broccoli. Nothing beats fresh broccoli, anytime of year.

I’ve made the following recipe for years, adapting it to suit my tastes, so I hope you enjoy another way to eat broccoli.

Pork, Broccoli, and Carrot Stir-Fry

1/3 cup water

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons white wine (or water, if you wish)

1 to 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger, or 1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch

½ teaspoon minced, peeled garlic

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

10 ounces lean boneless pork loin, trimmed of fat, and cut into ¼ x 2-inch strips

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 cups raw broccoli florets

2 cups sliced carrots (on the diagonal is nice)

1 cup sliced onions

In a small bowl, mix the water, soy sauce, wine, ginger, cornstarch, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Add the pork; cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, if possible. After marinating, drain liquid, reserving it.

In a wok or large skillet, heat oil over high heat; add pork and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, or until meat has lost its pink color. Add the vegetables and stir-fry 2-3 minutes longer, until the broccoli is bright green and crisp-tender. (Note: sometimes I will quickly par-cook the broccoli and carrots (1-2 minutes) before adding them, so they won’t overcook or remain raw.) Add the reserved soy sauce mixture and cook another 50 seconds or so until thickened.

Serve with brown rice or whole wheat pasta.

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