Elaina’s Eats: Fresh Vegetable Stir-Fry

The absolute best place to go on the weekends isn’t one of the many bars in Meadville. It’s the farmer’s market Saturday morning at the Market House. The Second Saturday Community Market may have ended, but the farmer’s market lives on during the harvest season.

Over 50 percent of the ingredients in this stir-fry dinner were fresh from a garden and most of them came from Saturday’s market.

Most of it’s cheap and it’s healthy and colorful and fun. Just go check it out, please.

First things first, if you will be cooking meat, defrost and begin marinating it now. I threw together cubes of chicken with a low-sodium soy sauce and garlic marinade in a plastic bag and put it in the fridge.

Then begin cutting up mass amounts of vegetables. Don’t be afraid to mix and match your vegetables, but be sure to create a colorful spread. It’s pretty and it’s healthy.

We used onion, zucchini, red and green peppers, broccoli, green and yellow beans, garlic, spinach and a banana pepper.

Word to the wise: save the banana pepper for last, just in case it’s one of those that would blow your mouth away or burn your eyes to tears.

If you want to make garlic bread, now’s the time. Use butter or olive oil with some fresh garlic or garlic powder. Wrap it in foil or lay on a baking sheet.

I set out two pans, one large for veggies and one smaller for chicken and a pot for the quinoa.

Once everything was cut, I turned the heat on under the large pan and poured in a tablespoon of olive oil.

After heating it up for a minute or two, I added onion and a clove of garlic. The longer you cook the onion, the better.

It’d be a good idea to start boiling your water now for the quinoa, or any other grain you so choose, such as rice, couscous or pasta. Look on the side of the box for cooking directions.

Wait until the onion begins browning before adding more vegetables. I began with the zucchini, which I slice with skin on, because I find it takes longer to cook to my desired taste and texture.

Then, I tossed all of the other vegetables into the zucchini pan and drizzled a little soy sauce over them. I added another three cloves of garlic.

Get your meat out of the fridge and into the pan. Cook it in some of the marinade, so there’s a thin layer of liquid on the bottom of the pan.

Don’t forget to check if your water is boiling and begin cooking your grains.

With three burners, this recipe is perfect for dominating your dorm kitchen.

Stir the veggies, stir the veggies. Add some herbs! Fresh is best, but dried will still do the trick. I used fresh basil while cooking and then we sprinkled some fresh cilantro on our plates. You can buy fresh herbs at the farmer’s market.

Flip your chicken.

Stir your grains.

Stir the veggies. I don’t think there is an exact science to telling when vegetables are done cooking, so my advice is to taste test. If done, turn down to low until everything else is ready.

Cut a piece of chicken in half when you think it’s ready. If done, turn off.

Check your grains, fluff or drain and serve!

Elaina’s original recipe includes:
olive oil
green and yellow beans
red and green pepper
banana pepper
quinoa, or rice, couscous, pasta
soy sauce
more garlic