Sunday, February 21, 2010

Amen

Oh how I love Mark Bittman.

His recent article/recipe, "A Good Stirfry Hides a Lot of Faults" is right on:

A Good Stir-Fry Hides a Lot of Faults

A post with two headlines:

1. Another comment on the superiority of winter vegetables.
2. I’m tempted to write a new book.

On the first: I have been away for four days. I returned with a couple of frying peppers. Everything else in the refrigerator is “old” by most freshness standards; it’s either weeks old, really, or it came from California or god knows where else. I had:
  • a piece of already-peeled pumpkin (I peeled it last week), from Vermont; when was I there? Early December.
  • a jalapeño and a leek, both in the fridge at least a week.
  • pressed tofu, which evidently keeps for weeks. (There will be a Minimalist column about this soon.)
  • garlic. O.K., no surprise there.
  • "Chinese" chives, the broad ones, bought nearly two weeks ago.
And it all seemed fine.

So I put up some quinoa, then began chopping and stir-frying, in this order: the pumpkin, the pepper and jalapeño, the leek, the chives, the tofu, the garlic. (I should’ve saved the chives for last. Oops. We all make mistakes.) What a lunch; the stir-fry was finished before the quinoa.

Which brings us to 2. It seems I have been home two or three days a week for lunch, almost always alone, sometimes with a guest. It seems I have a refrigerator full of various types of tofu (as I said, I’m working on a Minimalist recipe), and it seems all I do is stir-fry. It might be time to devote a year to this and do 365 Ways to Stir-Fry.

On the one hand, this makes no sense: They’re all the same, at least the pattern is. Then again, the same can be said for most braises, soups, sautes, roasts, etc. — all you do is vary ingredients and seasonings. So they’re all different. You don’t need inspiration, just a bit of grounding in technique (mine, obviously, is imperfect, as I burned the chives) and a refrigerator with some vegetables in it.

They need not even be that fresh.

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