I’ve completed my mission! I’ve managed to use up all of the corn we got in last week’s CSA – yay! Although today is pickup day for the CSA and I’m anticipating more corn, which I love, but it’s definitely stretching my creativity a bit (although I still have a plan to be put in action using corn next time I try the failed slow cooker meal). With it just being my husband and I, and in an effort to use the 8 ears I’d gotten, corn basically snuck its way into every single one of my dishes this week.
Last night’s meal was no exception and was about using up the corn and cleaning out the fridge in preparation for a new week of produce. Since I’ll also be grocery shopping on Saturday, by then our fridge will be full to bursting with fresh produce. Isn’t it funny how you just feel healthier when you open up the fridge/crisper drawer and there’s a bounty of vegetables waiting to be used? Personally, I get a warm, fuzzy feeling; maybe it’s a little weird but whatever.
I try to subscribe to the notion of eating a “rainbow” of produce that’s been urged by multiple health sources. Not only is it healthier and ensures that you get a variety of nutrients; honestly it’s just prettier on your plate. This dish is another representation of that, in fact I found myself thinking I probably could have incorporated a wider color range, but I digress.
In my fridge/freezer: tofu, a red bell pepper, half a head of bok choy, shredded carrots, frozen peas, and two ears of corn. Honestly, I’ve also got some shredded red cabbage that I almost threw in but I didn’t want it to ‘stain’ the entire dish.
Add that to my pantry staples and I’m thinking a stir-fry (and yes I’m once again defaulting to an Asian inspired meal but I just can’t escape from it!) There’s a reason traditional Asian diets are touted for their health benefits with their focus on lots of vegetables spiked with a bit of meat (or in this case tofu). Historically, meat was scarce so a stir-fry was a way to stretch a protein while still being filling. It enabled the cook to throw in whatever little bits and pieces they had on hand to feed larger groups of people. A healthy stir fry = a trying to be healthy cook’s best friend (especially one that needs to clean out the fridge!)
Don’t be turned off by the long time to make this dish, an hour of it is hands-off time with half being taken by pressing the tofu, and half spent marinating; if you were really in a rush you could skip both of these steps by just tossing the tofu in the marinade then cooking and have dinner done in about 25 (depending on how fast you can chop the vegetables).
- 14 oz block firm tofu
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tsp minced fresh ginger
- 2 tsp chile garlic sauce
- 1 tsp hoisin
- 1 tsp low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- ½ tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp whole wheat flour
- ¼ cup chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water (yes this is a meatless meal but I usually have chicken stock hanging out in the fridge so I tend to use it, you could easily sub one of the others to make it fully vegetarian)
- 2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp hoisin
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar (or in my case spicy seasoned coconut vinegar, I could see sake being good here too)
- 2 tsp chile garlic sauce
- 1 - 2 tsp sriacha
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- ½ tsp chili sesame oil
- 2 tsp grapeseed oil, divided
- ¼ cup onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 ears of corn, kernels cut off cobs
- Half a head of bok choy, chopped
- ¼ cup of shredded carrots
- ¼ cup of peas, defrosted if frozen
- Optional Garnishments: green onions, chives, sesame seeds. I ended up using sesame seeds and dried chives because I didn’t have any green onions or fresh chive on hand.
- Drain water from tofu, lay a towel on a plate. Place tofu on top and lay another towel on top of the tofu. Top with another plate and something to weigh it down (in my case a big can of soup). Place in fridge and let drain for 30 minutes. After draining, cut into small cubes.
- Combine garlic through sugar and toss with tofu. It will be a thick coating. Place back in fridge to marinate and continue with the recipe while it does.
- Combine sauce ingredients (stock through oil) in a small bowl and set aside while you cut all of the vegetables. I like to work with pre-set bowls before cooking so in one I had the red bell pepper and corn. In my salad spinner I had the bok choy, carrots and peas. In a small bowl I had the garlic and ginger, and on my cutting board was the onion (yeah I’m a little crazy like that).
- Heat 1 tsp of grapeseed oil in a large pan or wok over medium high heat. Sprinkle flour over tofu and toss. Cook tofu in pan, stirring occasionally (it’ll take about 6 – 8 minutes) until its browned and has a slight ‘crust’. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Heat remaining 1 tsp of oil. Stir-fry onion for 2 minutes or until the onion has started to soften. Add garlic and ginger, and cook, stirring constantly for 30 seconds.
- Add in red pepper and corn. Stir-fry for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Add bok choy, carrots, and peas, cook for 2 – 3 minutes more or until all of the vegetables are tender.
- Place tofu back in pan and make a well in the center of everything. Pour in sauce, bring to a boil and let the flavors combine, stirring occasionally, about a minute or two. Serve over rice or noodles, and sprinkle with chives and sesame seeds (or whatever other garnish you like). Serve with extra sriacha at the table for those who like it a bit spicier.
You’ve got to love a healthy stir-fry like this (or at least I do). Both my husband and I ended up adding a bit more sriacha at the table but if you’re not as big of a spicy food fan you can easily omit the sriacha from the recipe entirely.
This recipe is great because it feels like you’re getting this huge meal. When we portioned out dinner, each serving got half a cup of brown jasmine and a fourth of the tofu/vegetable mix and it was ginormous. The bowl was almost overflowing (and I have big bowls).
So if you’re trying to clean out your fridge, consider making this. You could easily sub in/out whatever you prefer/have on hand.