Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Guest Recipe: Mix-and-Match Stir Fry

Martha Johnston is freelance graphic designer, yoga enthusiast, vegan chef, and all-around lovely, creative, beautiful soul. She also gave birth to me so she is extra special in my book.

Why yes, that is a shirt with a block of tofu on it

Martha started developing her current food philosophy in the 70s while watching her own mother and her love of cooking. She eventually "borrowed" her mom's Jane Brody's Good Food Book and adopted a high-carbohydrate (we're talking good carbs here, not white bread but whole grains), whole foods (non-processed), mostly vegetarian way of cooking and eating. From then on she has always cooked from scratch, given up on refined sugars and flours, and turned to fresh food.

Martha went full-throttle vegan a few years ago for health reasons and through this change has discovered other passions, like animal activism and holistic medicine. In her free time (and is not cooking at home), she paints and is a vegan chef at Golden Gate Cafe in Detroit.

Mix-and-Match Stir Fry
This is sort of a stir fry 101. Soups and stir fries are great because you don't need a recipe, and you can do a lot of mixing and matching. This method would lend itself to local food. Alter the recipe for what's in season!

Mushrooms, red peppers, zucchini, onions, carrots, brown rice
Garnished with edible flowers

Use whatever veggies you have. It's a great weeknight clean-out-the-fridge recipe since it's fast and easy!

brown rice, cooked
1 T canola oil
lots of sliced onion
garlic, minced
ginger, minced
vegetables (sliced red peppers, carrots, zucchini...)
soy sauce

Chop vegetables thin and similar sizes so they will cook at the same amount time.
Heat about 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a saute pan at high heat.
Add the onions and a little salt and pepper to the pan and cook till they start to soften.
Toss in the remaining veggies, try not to crowd the pan. If you have any tender green (i.e. kale, bok choy...) add those towards the end.

Keep stirring, sprinkle with water and soy sauce if the veggies start to stick. Do not add too much liquid or they will become stewed veggies.
After the veggies begin to soften add minced garlic and ginger. They will burn if you add them to soon.

Add more seasoning to taste. Bragg's Liquid Aminos or soy sauce should be plenty of flavor with the garlic and ginger.

Note from Martha: Taste as you go and add less spices than you think. Every time you make it you will figure out your tastes. I like a ton of ginger and garlic (like 2 tablespoons). First time you make it only about half a tablespoon, next time add more. Use soy sauce and salt and pepper sparingly, you can always add that to taste when its done. 

Green beans, onion, red peppers, greens, brown rice
Garnished with mung bean sprouts, sesame seeds, edible flower

Garnish Ideas:
handfuls or raw fresh veggies
chopped green onions
any kind of fresh sprouts
snow peas
peanuts, sliced thin
cashews, sliced thin

Add in...
...sesame seeds and tiny bit of sesame oil as a finishing oil.
...Sriracha sauce or cayenne for heat.
...peanut butter mixed with Sriracha sauce.
...coconut milk and curry paste.

Thanks Mom, for passing on your love and wisdom of good food, and letting me develop my own food philosophy. I got to say, the (organic, Michigan) apple does not fall all too far from the tree...


  1. That looks so good! I love the edible flower. My stir fry tonight was way less creative - I am going to need to branch out.