Fun Food Friday…Thai Stir Fry and Julia

I haven’t spoken with my friends over at The Growers Exchange for a while, so today we say “Hi” to them, give them a big thanks as well as a nod of appreciation for both the recipe below  (yeah Caroline!) and for the donation of 5% to Plant A Row For The Hungry, if you buy their FAB Herb kit, a perfect gift for your friend the gardener or chef! However, for this deal you must act this weekend. They just wrote me yesterday and said -“We’re also getting ready to roll out our new spring 2012 lineup on Monday, which means the end of our huge fall sale. Since we’re making room for spring, all of our 4″ herbs are only $3 until Sunday evening (except for Bay and Lemon Grass.)” GREAT DEALS for the Herb lovers of the world!

First the food……Caroline’s Thai Basil Stir Fry (From The Growers Exchange)

Julia_Thai and Herbs
Julia with the Thai Basil Stir fry on one hand and the Potted Herb Kit in the other.

“This is an easy recipe for even the worst cook out there! You can add whatever you like, flavor to your desired intensity and best of all, it’s super healthy and cheap to make! Try substituting your protein source if you’re not into tofu…chicken or shrimp will also work well!

  • Canola Oil (enough to coat the bottom of the wok)
  • 1 Pkg Organic Firm Tofu
  • 1 Bag Frozen Vegetables (I used a stir fry mix that included broccoli, mushrooms, red peppers and rice noodles)
  • 3 Spears Fresh Celery
  • 1  Carrot, Shaved
  • 1/4 Chopped Onion (or add to taste)
  • 1 Cup Crushed Peanuts
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (to taste)

Marinade  •1 Cup General Tso Sauce (I found this prepackaged at the grocery store)
• 1/2 Cup Thai Basil ‘Siam Queen’ (dried from fresh plants)  (Note from Julia, although it would not be nearly as exotic, or fun, you could use regular Basil)
• 2 Cloves Fresh Garlic

The  ‘Siam Queen’ Thai Basil I used was grown right here on our farm at The Growers Exchange! I salvaged one of the plants before it was done for the season and brought it home to experiment with. When I realized that my cats were going to eat it if I didn’t do something with it quickly, I snipped the stems at the soil level and dried the leafy stalks in my warm, dry pantry. (Our of their furry, destructive reach!) After it was dried, I placed it, stems and all, into a labeled zip lock baggie for later used. Removing the dried leaves were easy–just rub the sides of the bag together and they literally crumble from the stems into a perfect dried seasoning. Remove the stems and you have a delicious culinary herb with sweet, licorice and lemon flavored tones. Don’t be intimidated to use new herbs, as I was at first with this exotic Basil. Being so used to its Italian cousins, like the ‘Italian Large Leaf’ Basil, I was a bit pessimistic when planning my meal, since it was a new flavor. (‘Lemon Sweet Dani’ Basil, another lemon-anise flavored Basil, may also be a great flavor to add to your favorite Asian recipe)  Luckily, it turned out GREAT! Try using new culinary herbs in your recipes and you might surprise yourself as to the exciting new flavors you discover!
Instructions **This works best if your vegetables are either fresh or you have thawed your frozen veggies prior to cooking. Heat your wok on medium heat and add canola oil til it coats the bottom. While this is heating, slice tofu into even pieces and press excess water out. Add pressed tofu, General Tso sauce, 2 cloves of fresh garlic, and 1/2 of the Basil ‘Siam Queen’ to a bowl and let marinate. Make sure all pieces are coated. (You can also let your protein marinade over night which will make it more flavorful. Because tofu absorbs sauce or seasoning easily, it may not need as long to marinate. For chicken, shrimp or other proteins, they may take long to absorb the desired amount of flavor.)
Add a clove of garlic and the chopped onion to the heated canola oil in the wok and let them simmer for a minute to release their flavor. Then, add vegetable mix, chopped celery, crushed peanuts and season with the remaining ‘Siam Queen’ Basil and red pepper flakes. Let this simmer together, remaining on medium to low heat, and stir occasionally. Once mixture seems to be cooked thoroughly and there are no frozen pieces left, add marinated tofu. Stir and let cook for 3-5 minutes or until tofu has cooked through and mixture seems well combined and cooked. (The air in your kitchen should be brimming with aromas by now!) Top with shaved carrot and let simmer for another minute, but remove from heat before carrot is wilted. …Serve and top with more crushed peanut. You can also use an edible, aromatic herb like ‘Citrus Kitchen’ Mint as a great garnish. Eat and enjoy!” – Thanks Caroline! http://theexchange.thegrowers-exchange.com/carolines-thai-basil-stir-fry/ 

THE GREAT DEALS. If your Herbs did not make it inside, or they got a frost bite nibble, like mine did. You can purchase from The Growers Exchange a lovely Home For The Holidays Herb Garden Kit, it is even on Sale! (picture of it above in Julia’s right hand.) “Purchase this kit during our Fall shipping season and we’ll donate 5% of every sale to Plant A Row For the Hungry! …This custom culinary kit includes BayProstrate RosemaryEnglish Thyme and Garden Sage – four all natural, farm fresh herbs that will compliment all of your favorite holiday dishes. Also included is a hand thrown clay pot, one bag of rich soil, four of our very own favorite family recipes, a gift card and decorative packaging —all topped with a big, bright bow…Not only is this a great gift for someone you love, but it also helps hungry families across America this holiday season. Every time you purchase this flavorful custom kit through our fall shipping season, we’ll donate 5% of each sale to Plant A Row For The Hungry.

LIST PRICE: $59.95   OUR PRICE: $49.95      YOU SAVE $10.00! ”
… and don’t forget about the $4.00 Herbs as well.   click here for web page to buy

Eat Well, Do Good and Be good!

See you all on Monday – have a great weekend, and don’t forget about Daylight Savings Time if you live in place that changes.

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