I never thought that I would be the person who purposely sought out shade at the beach. I’ve always had a love affair of sorts with the sun, but now I’m the first person to push my stroller and six months’ worth of graham crackers, diapers, and sunblock right under a tree to lay out the blanket.
I never thought that I would be this behind on our mail and laundry. Seriously. I used to be on top of things. I had systems. And time. But now? Our mail is in an unsorted heap roughly the size of a small dog. And the unfolded baskets of laundry have basically become additional pieces of furniture in our living room.
I never thought that would enjoy coffee. I have a very specific memory involving my dad’s thermos and a long road trip and an hour spent begging for a drink before being offered a taste from the dented, warm thermos. I tried it, spat it out, and briefly convulsed. But now, I look to it as my lifeblood most mornings.
I never thought that I would kind of enjoy getting up early. Well into adulthood, there was little I enjoyed more than sleeping in ’til 10 on a Saturday. But now, my kids are often up by 6 a.m. And I’m often amazed at how much I can get done before 9:00. And my favorites are the rare days I get up before anyone else and have a quiet cup of coffee. I think that’s actually within the definition of a morning person.
I never thought that I would love my kids this much. It sounds cheesy. But it’s true. Here’s how much I love them: I killed a medium-sized bug with my bare hands this week because it was kind of freaking Owen out. If you know me and my insect paranoia at all, you now know exactly how much I love them. When I first got pregnant, I knew I’d love my babies, but now I’m filled with this all-consuming-please-go-to-bed-but-live-with-me-forever kind of love that is emptying and filling all at once.
I never thought that I would like stir fry. My mom used to make this pre-assembled stir fry from our Market Day food co-op that my school used as a fundraiser. And it would make our house would smell like peppers, and it was basically the low point of my vegetable-hating childhood. But now? I could eat Asian-inspired dishes every day. I have kind of been on a kick. And this stir fry totally fit the ticket.
Our CSA boxes have been filled with things that send me east to Asia. And while I love our go-to stir fry, I was eager for something a little different. We used cabbage, bell peppers, summer squash, onion, and a last-minute addition of arugula, which gave a little peppery bite to balance the sweetness of the teriyaki sauce. Speaking of which, please, please take the five minutes to make your own teriyaki sauce. I literally timed myself, and it was literally five minutes of work to get a better-tasting, better-for-you sauce than what you would buy at the store.
(recipe from Carpé Season)
An easy weeknight meal that comes together quickly. Homemade teriyaki sauce couldn't be easier to make - plus it's cheaper and better for you than what you can buy at the store!
Teriyaki Sauce & Marinade:
(if not using chicken, halve the ingredients for the sauce since you won't need a marinade)
1 cup soy sauce
6 tablespoons mirin*
6 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspooons honey (to taste)
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/4 cup water
slurry: 2 tablespoons water + 1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 lb. chicken, cut into 1-inch pieces
10 oz. uncooked rice noodles (vermicelli)**
4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
3/4 cups onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups cabbage, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups summer squash or young zucchini, chopped
1 bell pepper, seeded, cored, chopped
2 large handfuls red kale or arugula
(optional: sesame seeds for garnish)
*Mirin is basically a sweet, less alcoholic sake. If you can't find it, replace it with some cooking wine or sherry and additional sugar.
**You could replace this with a similar amount of soba noodles or 1 1/2 c. uncooked rice
Prepare Sauce & Marinade Chicken:
At least a half hour before cooking, mix all of the sauce ingredients together EXCEPT 1/4 cup water and slurry.
Place cut chicken into a container and pour about 1 1/2 cups (or about half) or sauce mixture over chicken. Stir gently to coat; cover and keep in the refrigerator until cooking time.
Cook Rice Noodles:
Bring about 8 cups of water to a rolling boil. Add rice noodles and stir gently so they don't stick. Boil for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
Cook and Assemble Stir Fry:
Mix together the slurry, then whisk the slurry into the remaining teriyaki sauce. Set aside.
In a medium saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add chicken, discarding remaining marinade. Cook, stirring frequently for about 8 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink, then set aside. You may need to drain off excess liquid as you cook.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add onions and cabbage and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add the squash and bell pepper, stirring frequently, and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
Give the teriyaki sauce one last whisk to incorporate all the cornstarch. Then, pour about 1 1/2 cups of it into the vegetables. Gently toss in the cooked (and drained) chicken and the rice noodles.Toss over high heat for 1-2 minutes until ingredients are coated. In the last minute of cooking, add in the mizuna or arugula until just wilted. Add more teriyaki sauce as desired
Serve immediately, top with sesame seeds if desired.
(Any remaining teriyaki sauce will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for a week.)