Thursday, December 23, 2010

Veggie Stir Fry with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Lately in the bakery, my coworkers and I have made it a point to take turns preparing family meal, that is a meal that is served for our entire department, family style.  One of my coworkers is obsessed with peanut butter (her words!) and makes this amazing peanut sauce that can be put on literally anything.  Honestly, I have only made peanut sauce one other time in my life and it was absolutely disgusting!  This was many years ago and I have not attempted nor purposely eaten anything with peanut sauce on it since.  I was nervous about trying her sauce, but she was going on about how great it was, so I tried it and surprise surprise, it was amazing!  Slightly sweet, nicely spicy and a beautiful texture, I was in love!  I've asked her numerous times how she makes it and she always tells me what she puts in it, but not the amounts, because she never measures anything in it.  I am one for measuring everything.  I am always testing recipes, so for me not to know exactly how much is in something is terrifying. 

She hasn't made the peanut sauce at work in a while and I feel like I need to eat it, so I decided to do as she did - just put a bunch of different things in it, but unlike her, I carefully measured and recorded everything.

Let me say too, that like me, my hubby wasn't initially very excited about this dish when I was explaining it to him.  He is Dominican and not vegan or even vegetarian, but he is mostly very willing to try anything I make.  He almost drew the line at this one.  The only time he has ever had peanut butter before was of course on a pb & j sandwich, which he had for the first time when he came to this country about four years ago.  He was so funny and talking about how us Americans will basically eat any and everything, not matter how weird it is.  I was explaining to him how peanut sauce isn't even an American dish, and after talking about it for two days, he finally agreed.  So here is the delicious dish I made for the Hubby and I for lunch.

Stir Fry with Spicy Peanut Sauce:

Serves 6

16 oz. 100% buckwheat noodles, cooked according to package instructions

Peanut Sauce:
1/2 cup smooth natural peanut butter
1/2 cup filtered water
2 tablespoons tamari
2 tablespoons agave
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sriracha
1 clove garlic, minced

In a medium bowl, whisk together all the ingredients until completely smooth.  When you first start whisking, it may look like the peanut butter will not emulsify into the water, but believe me, it will, just keep whisking.  Also, the sauce will look a tad thin, but will thicken within a few minutes.

Baked Tofu:
1 lb. firm tofu, cut into 1/2" cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons tamari,
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Mix together the olive oil, tamari, toasted sesame oil and pepper flakes in a medium bowl.  Add the tofu and toss to coat.  Place on a parchment or aluminum foil covered sheet tray and bake in oven for about 30 minutes, or about the time it takes you to prepare the rest of the meal.

1 sweet potato, peeled and boiled until just tender
To Saute:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 stalks celery, sliced thinly on the bias
2 carrots, peeled and julienned
1/2 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2" piece peeled ginger, grated
1 jalapeno pepper, minced

To Blanch:
6 baby bok choy, sliced
1 large head broccoli, separated in florets and stems peeled and sliced
1/4 bunch kale, sliced into bite sized pieces
1 small green pepper, julienned
1 small red or orange pepper, julienned
1/2 cup snap peas, tough ends removed

1.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  In batches, place the vegetables in the boiling water for 45 seconds to a minute, or until tender crisp.  Remove using a slotted spoon and place in colander to drain.  Continue until all the vegetables have been blanched. 
2.  Place the olive oil in a wok over medium-high heat and add the celery, onions and carrots and saute until almost tender.  Add the garlic and ginger and continue to saute for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant.  Add all of the blanched vegetables and the boiled sweet potato and saute until just heated through.

To serve, place a serving of the noodles in the center of the plate.  Top with a large amount of the vegetables, followed by the baked tofu and as much of the peanut sauce as you would like.  Delicious!



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