My friends seem to think I am breaking the law when I cook cucumbers. But they totally approve the results. This dish is impossible to mess up, you just need kimchi, a bit of oil, and salt. You can also stir fry the Korean staple with pork belly or make fried rice with it.
Heat up about a tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the sliced cucumbers and a bit of water (e.g. 1 tablespoon,) cover and let cook for a couple minutes. Sprinkle a little bit of salt and pepper (optional) - not too much because kimchi is salty. Then mix in the fermented veggies and cook for another minute.
This dish is inspired by Mindy! An amazing artist and a humble cook. After tasting this at her place, I had to make it at home when I saw the beautiful bicolor corn at the farmer's market.
Ingredients: 5 ears of corn, 1 red bell pepper, 1 green bell pepper, 2 carrots, 1 onion, 2 limes, and 5 cloves of garlic
Seasoning: Salt, pepper, paprika
Shave off the corn, chop the bell peppers, carrots, onion, and garlic. Quarter the limes. Heat up 2 tablespoon of oil over high heat. Add onion and cook until slightly golden or when you can smell the flavor. Mix in corn, carrots, ~2 tablespoons of water, cover, lower to medium heat and let cook for 4-5 minutes. Then add the bell peppers, garlic, the seasoning, stir fry for a minute. Squeeze lime juice, mix well, cover and let cook for a couple more minutes.
Salad with Pine Nuts
When the heat is brutal, even I had to opt for cold food. This salad is another dish inspired by my New Zealand brother.
Ingredients: Lettuce, onion, cucumbers (the yellow spheres in the picture are apple cucumbers,) tomatoes, and pine nuts
Dressing: Honey mustard
Pine nuts prep: heat up the pan with a bit of olive oil, low heat toast the pine nuts until it turns golden. I used the remaining oil in the pan to fry the purple onion slices. Cut and toss together all the vegetables, mix in the pine nuts and purple onions. Serve with dressing.
Tofu and Assorted Mild Peppers
Sauce: Add a couple splashes of soy sauce at the end if you want easy. Or try mixing together ~3 tablespoon soy sauce, ~1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 2 cloves chopped garlic, ~1 teaspoon honey and ~1 tablespoon warm water (warm to thin the honey first before adding to the sauce mix)
Place 1-lb firm tofu block between towels and pressed down on it with something heavy. I used paper towel and a steam plate to drain the water. Squeezing out the water helps tofu absorb the sauce. Leave it for 30 minutes is okay, I let it sit for an hour. If you do longer, move it into the fridge.
I used 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon avocado oil to pan fry the tofu. Heat up oil before frying the little cubes. Medium-high heat.
Add in peppers and sauce, mix, cover, lower heat, and let cook for 4-5 minutes (adjust time per veggies you use.) Remove lid, medium-high heat, do some final mixing, and cook for another minute. Done.
Amaranth or Chinese Spinach
Stir fry with oil and garlic over medium heat. Mix in a little bit of salt. Voila. I cook other spinach and most greens the same way. Easy and tasty.
Shishito Peppers and Zucchini
The red/orange shishito peppers I picked up were quite spicy. Stick to green ones if you prefer a mild taste. Here I cut one zucchini to long strips to match the pepper shape, but you can cut it however you like. Stir fry with oil and garlic over medium heat. Add a bit of water, cover with lid to steam for a few minutes, then mix in a splash of soy sauce, and cook for another minute.
Tip from farmer:
Stir fry zucchini and onion with thyme
I added cipollini onions and mushrooms to the mix and cooked everything together as before. The only difference was that I seasoned it with salt instead of soy sauce.
Tomatoes, Onion and Eggs
Stir fry onion over medium-high heat with oil first until slightly golden, add tomatoes, cover lid and let cook until soft. Scramble the eggs and add a little bit of salt to the mix. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the vegetables and mix well. Pour the eggs over the pan and stir gently in pockets so the eggs fill the pan evenly. Lower heat, cover lid, let cook for a few minutes. Then divide the pancake with the spatula into pizza like slices, flip the slices and let cook the other side for 1-2 minutes.
Alternative: green onions instead of onion.
We only want the leaves, so discard the stems and ants. Stir fry with oil and garlic over medium heat. Cover lid and let cook for a couple minutes over medium heat. I usually don't need to add any water because there is water from rinsing the leaves. Mix in a bit of salt. Done.
Tomato Parsley Garlic Sauce
A quick easy sauce to go with pasta or rice.
Stir fry garlic and tomatoes with oil over medium heat and cover with lid to make some sauce first. Mix in parsley and sprinkle some salt. Done.