Oh the panic! What to make? I know that doesn't sound like the me who is the cheerleader for 'don't worry, 'just throw something together.' Yet that was the overwhelming feeling I had last week when I got entrenched in work, looked up at the clock, realized it was 7pm and I hadn't started dinner. Not only was nothing prepped or cooking at that hour but I really had no clue what I was going to make. And, tick tock, my sister was due to arrive.
It's time like these when one really needs to rely on the Houdini skill set of making something appear out of nowhere. Sure, I had produce in the fridge. Some of which were destined for future recipe ideas for the blog, but, oh boy, did these seem like random items. Fear not, as nothing is ever random or can't party together. You just need to ruminate on what unites them. (I venture to say that that is true in all aspects of life.)
Upon grabbing every produce item I could find, I sectioned off what I thought would work. As I stared at them, pondering their destiny, I wondered what common thread would weave this tale...
Rice Sticks. The perfect item to string them together. Let the chopping, stirring and combining begin.
Vegetable Stir Fry (These were the amounts that I grabbed. It was enough for 2 servings. Increase for your needs. Also, you can add more of any items that suits your fancy but these proportions created a good blend of flavors.)
3-4 T olive oil
1 T sesame oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 garlic clove
6-7 Shitake mushrooms, sliced
8-10 Cremini mushrooms, rough chop
1 - 7oz package of Enoki mushrooms
1.5 c snow peas, cut on diagonal
2 c Savory cabbage, chopped
3 c baby spinach, rough chop
2 scallions, sliced
1/4 c parsley, rough chop
salt and pepper to taste
fresh grated ginger (optional)
Rice Noodle Stir Fry
1/2 pkg Rice Stick Noodles (you can also use a wider rice noodle, or rags)
1/2 onion, sliced
1 garlic clove
1/3 heaping c chives, fine chop
2 T olive oil
1 T sesame oil
Whenever I have a lot of ingredients that don't need to be cooked all at the same time instead of the usual mise en place ( prepping everything first), I opt to chop what needs to be cooked first. Then while those are cooking, I continue to prep the remaining ingredients. Ah, multitasking. It's a glorious thing. To help make this recipe easier, I listed the ingredients above in the order they should be prepped and cooked.
Let the rice stick noodles soak in warm water until softened. Do not cook these, just soak them first.
In a large skillet, sauté the onions and garlic in olive and sesame oils until translucent. Add the Shitake and Cremini mushrooms, allowing them to get a nice sear before adding the Enoki mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. If you are adding the freshly grated ginger, add that at this time.
While the mushrooms are cooking, in a separate sauté pan, add oils, onions, garlic and chives and cook until softened. Add the rice stick noodles and stir until all the noodles are coated with the oil. You might need to add some of the soaking liquid to avoid them clumping together. Season with salt.
Once the mushrooms have a good sear, then add the snow peas and allow to soften but still have crunch. Next add the cabbage and spinach and stir until just wilted. Then add the scallions and parsley. Taste for seasoning and adjust according.
To serve, you can combine the noodles and vegetables together. We opted for noodles on the bottom and stir fry on the top. I didn't use grated ginger because Jill isn't a fan. (What!!?? I know, it's a crime. Even though I didn't add it for our dinner, I am absolutely sure it would be a great addition to the dish.)
So sure, this is another easy, something from nothing, pull it out the air kind of dish, but here is the funny part. I realize that I always say this or that recipe is easy. And I truly mean it. So when my sister, Jill, enjoyed this meal so much she went back for seconds, a very rare occasion since she eats the amount of tiny bird, I told her it was easy, she could totally make it. Her response, "You say that about everything you make. It's easy for YOU." But when I recounted what I did she said, "Well, I guess that IS easy." So there you have it. From the mouth of my muse, if she thinks it's easy, so will you.