This time of year, dinner is both frantic and fantastic. The heat tells us "don't you even think about going into the kitchen" and both the farmers and the kids aren't keen on coming in for supper when there's still daylight in which to weed, work, play, build, create and imagine.
Most nights, it's 6 p.m. before we even start thinking about dinner. So, we peek in the fridge or in the field and try to come up with something -- anything -- that gets food in our bellies quickly.
Luckily -- and this is the fantastic part -- there's usually some combination of wonderful veggies to work with. This is how we've cooked since we started farming -- and likely how our CSA customers cook too -- Iron Farm Chef. Instead using a recipe and choosing ingredients that way, you get to create something from whatever you have that's fresh and handy.
Last night, it was this: Quick Pan-Fried Noodles With Summer Veggies. This went from fridge peeking to eating in less than 20 minutes.
Here's the deal:
1 Tbs canola or safflower or sunflower oil (or olive or coconut for that matter)
1 Tbs sesame oil (toasted oil if possible)
3 Tbs chopped garlic scapes
1 Tbs minced fresh ginger
1-2 cups broccoli, roughly chopped
1 medium zucchini, cut into large chunks
3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
(Any other stir-fry veggies you might have on hand. I like a little color, so red pepper or carrot is nice. The key is chop large pieces, but not squares – you want to have as much surface area as possible hitting your hot pan.)
3-4 Tbs soy sauce
2-3 Tbs rice vinegar (or white vinegar will do)
1 tsp lime juice
1 package round or flat udon noodles. (We like the Koyo Organic Round Udon noodles at 2Js Fresh Market.)
- Start a large pot of boiling water and cook pasta according to package directions.
- While your noodles are cooking, preheat a wide pan to to medium heat. Add oils and scapes and ginger. Saute until just softened and fragrant.
- All all your chopped veggies and turn up the heat a little, moving the veggies around briskly with a spatula or large spoon. You want to sear the veggies, not sautee them. They should be sizzling and tender, but not mushy.
- Mix the soy sauce, vinegar and lime juice in a small bowl (and add a squirt or two of sriracha if you’re feeling spicy).
- Drain the pasta and add to the veggies in the pan with the soy sauce mixture. Turn pan to low and mix the noodles, veggie and sauce together while everything crisps up in the pan a little.
- Serve with peanuts and/or sesame seeds on top. (And sriracha. Always sriracha.)
Note: This dish is infinitely variable. Add other veggies or cook up some ground pork (if you're in the Great Falls area, stop by the Groundworks Farm booth at the Farmers' Market) or sliced pork loin or chicken before you stir-fry the veggies. Or, as I did the other night, incorporate some sliced leftover grilled pork chops. If you’re using meat, first brown the meat in the pan, remove meat from the pan, stir-fry the veggies and then add the cooked meat at the end, incorporating with the sauce, veggies and noodles.