Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bok Choy & Spinach Stir Fry with my FAVORITE Tofu

We had a lovely kitchen sink dinner on Monday night that just happened.  I was looking for ways to use up the remaining items in our box on Monday and Tuesday night.  We still had bok choy, spinach, and sugar snap peas.  I contemplated an orange vinaigrette-sugar snap pea salad, spinach quesadillas, bok choy stir fry.  Then I came upon a recipe through the Cooking Light recipe network, which also includes recipes from Sunset, Southern Living, Health, Real Simple, and occasionally Food & Wine (it's called MyRecipes).  All are great magazines, and it's fabulous to have a resource that pools the recipes in one place. 

Monday was also my first non-running workout during my self-imposed running hiatus.  I have been having an issue with my knee, and I'm pretty sure it's just inflammation (runner's knee), which happens when the inside leg muscles are less strong than the outside leg muscles.  Women are more prone to runner's knee due to their hip structure.  Luckily, it's completely treatable.  So far I've simply self-diagnosed, but if my running hiatus doesn't work, I might have to visit a sports medicine doctor to get a real diagnosis.  In addition to the hiatus, I am planning to do targeted strength moves and stretches (I've done them twice now), as well as ice when sore and use ibuprofen before and after serious workouts.  I am also going to pick up a knee sleeve to see how that works.  I am thankful that I get to manage an issue like this now and get it under control before I undertake a training plan for another race.  I think I was over-running and not doing enough other forms of exercise - I am recommitting to yoga!

So after my first non-running workout this Monday (elliptical ... sigh ... and some strength/stretching), I got home and whipped up this lovely stir-fry, packed with greens and topped with my favorite tofu recipe.  I got the inspiration from a Food & Wine recipe via MyRecipes, but I swapped in some different ingredients because I didn't have ginger and I wanted to add in some other veggies.  I went with an orange-sesame vinaigrette, and it paired perfectly with the tofu and some quick couscous.  Confession: I know that couscous is nutritionally anemic compared to other grains, especially whole grains, but it takes a total of seven minutes to make (boil 1 1/4 cup liquid - water or broth, add fat - butter or olive oil, add salt and seasonings or don't, and toss in 1 cup couscous, cover, remove from heat, let sit for five minutes, fluff with a fork and serve).

This took a little bit longer than a normal post-workout dinner, due to all the veggie prepping and making a new recipe for the first time, but it was TOTALLY worth it.  On the table in less than an hour, and it was delicious and satisfying.  Plus PACKED full of good-for-you greens.

Bok Choy, Spinach, and Carrot Stir-Fry with Savory Tofu
Stir-Fry adapted from Food & Wine, Tofu adapted from Jack Bishop's A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen

For the stir-fry:
1/4 cup orange juice
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
salt and pepper
1/2 yellow onion, sliced (I used 2 green onions from my box)
2 large carrots, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large head bok choy (I used four smaller ones)
1/2 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed
1 big bunch of spinach (I used a big bag) - remove prominent stems and rinse well
1 tablespoon soy sauce

In a small bowl, combine orange juice, lemon juice, dark sesame oil, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, and salt and pepper to taste. To prepare the bok choy

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes.  Add the carrots and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the bok choy stems and sugar snap peas and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add the bok choy, spinach, a big pinch of salt, and the soy sauce.  Stir constantly until the greens collapse.  Add the orange vinaigrette sauce and cook for about 1 more minute.  Serve immediately.

For the tofu:
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
dash of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 16-oz block of extra firm tofu, pressed for a few minutes and blotted dry with paper towels, cut into 8 1/2 inch slices, each slice then cut in half

In a small bowl, combine the veggie broth, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, garlic, red pepper flakes, and a dash of salt.

Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch non-stick pan over medium-high heat.  Add the tofu and cook for 6 to 7 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent excessive browning (you want it to get golden brown).  Flip the tofu and cook on the second side for 5 minutes.  Add the sauce and simmer (it will bubble, this is good), flipping tofu once, until the sauce has reduced down into a thick syrup, about 2 minutes.  Serve atop the stir fry and a grain, with any extra glaze scraped on top.

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