I feel strangely compelled to share this story with you.
I met Eric about 6 months before I was set to go work in South Sudan for a year. And after we’d hung out a few times, texted about 800 times, and had generally not ceased thinking about one another for a few weeks, we decided to give dating a try, even with the deadline of my departure looming.
We proceeded to completely fall for one another in the months that followed (cue your aaaws here), and then came January. And we found ourselves at the airport: me with a backpack the size of Nikola Pekovic on my back and Eric with a forced and compensating disposition of calm.
We waited until we met up with Jen (my South Sudan partner in crime) to begin our goodbyes in earnest. I cried so hard I threw up. Eric was pretty sniffly too. And after about 13 hugs (backpack and all), I finally turned from him with blurred vision and stumbled towards the first security personell.
As I fumbled to get out my passport and boarding pass, the snarky gentleman manning the security checkpoint looked at me and said, “That your boyfriend? Don’t worry…you can call him when you get to college,” as he pointed towards the door Eric had walked out of with his chubby and apathetic thumb.
I seethed. I thought seriously about hissing at him like a possum. Did he not know that where I was going I would maybe get to talk to Eric on the phone every three months or so…and that internet access wasn’t really a guarantee…and that with his one casual comment, I had lost every last bit of resolve I had?
As I started to completely sob and try to explain just why I was so sad to this man, Jen gently took my arm and shook her head and guided me past him.
Why do I tell you this? Because tomorrow, Eric is taking me to the airport again. And Owen and I will be leaving him to bach it up for 5 days while we visit my family. And I thought it would be really funny if we reenacted our tearful goodbye…you know, just to see what kind of response we could draw from the observers around us, including onlooking security guards.
While I may be leaving Eric to fend for himself with frozen pizza, I am not leaving you in the same boat. One of our go-to meals at this house when there are fresh veggies to be had is stir fry. This is such a flexible meal…use up any vegetables you have around…add chicken..or beef. It’s a great way to use up a CSA box…or those veggies that are hiding in the bottom of your fridge. And the homemade sauce is so simple, and definitely more flavorful than any store-bought brand I’ve tried…full of gingery garlicy goodness. This meal is fast and summer-fresh – hope you like it!
stir fry sauce recipe barely adapted from Simply In Season (yields 6 servings)
The variety of meat and veggie combinations is endless with stir fy. For the sauce, I just add a little more brown sugar and garlic than the original recipe calls for.
For the Sauce:
3 tbsp. soy sauce
2 1/2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. sesame seeds
2 tsp. ginger root, peeled and minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
(optional) few drops of hot sauce
3/4 c. chicken or vegetable broth
1 tbsp. cornstarch
For the Stir Fry:
1 1/2 c. rice (we use long grain brown rice)
1 tbsp. + 2 tbsp. oil
(optional: 1 lb. meat - we generally use boneless, skinless chicken breasts), cut into 1/2-in. cubes
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
app. 4 c. vegetables* (this time we used)
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large handful bok choy, leaves removed, thinly sliced
1 small-medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 c. green beans, ends removed, cut into 1-in. pieces
*other great stir fry veggies: asparagus, sugar snap peas, mushrooms, green onions, celery, carrots, cauliflower
*Cook your rice! For long-grain brown rice, you add 3 c. of water to your 1 1/2 c. uncooked rice. Bring to a boil. Then, lower the heat and let the rice cool. Cover the rice and let (barely) simmer for about 40 minutes, or until water is gone and rice is tender.
For the Sauce:
Combine all ingredients (EXCEPT broth and cornstarch) in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Just before adding sauce to stir fry, combine broth and cornstarch in a small bowl until cornstarch is dissolved. Then add cornstarch/broth mixture to the sauce bowl and whisk to combine.
For the Stir Fry:
Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add chicken. Stir and cook until chicken is no longer pink in the middle and just slightly golden brown. Set aside.
Drain grease from pan.
Heat 2 tbsp. oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat.
Add your veggies.** For this version, I added the onions first and cooked them, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes.
Then I added the bok choy and green beans and sauteed for 2 more minutes.
Then I added the zucchini and cooked for 1 minute.
Finally, I added the bell pepper and cooked for an additional 2 minutes.
Place your cooked meat back in the skillet and pour in your sauce. Turn heat to high and bring the sauce to a boil, stirring constantly.
When sauce reaches desired thickness, remove pan from heat.
Serve over cooked rice.
Add your veggies in the order they need to be cooked, based on how long they take to stir fry. Here's a handy little chart that lists the stir fry time of many vegetables.