The first thing I want to mention in this post is that I’m officially a college graduate! Okay, maybe not quite official because I still have one more class to take this summer, but I participated in the event anyway. Two weekends ago, I graduated along with my friends and classmates from UMass Amherst. I still find it unbelievable that four years have gone by since I started college. I know I’m getting older when I start asking myself, where did the time go? While it will be a bit of a pain to commute to a nearby university to take my summer class three times a week, it’s still somewhat of a relief to me to have some free time before I jump right into my career. It also gives me some more time to actually figure out exactly what I want to do, because anybody who knows me well knows that I’m an incredibly indecisive person and am still in the process of pondering my future career.
The second thing I want to mention is that I recently had a photo of mine featured on Foodgawker for the first time! I logged onto WordPress a couple of weeks ago, not expecting anything exciting, when I saw that I suddenly had 1,000 more views than last time I checked a couple days earlier. I looked at Foodgawker to see if my most recent submission had been accepted, and sure enough, it had. With the craziness of graduation weekend approaching, I had almost forgotten I even submitted it. I remember telling my roommate Emily a few months ago that my goal was to have a photo featured on Foodgawker, not really believing it would happen any time soon. I realize many food bloggers have their recipes featured on Foodgawker all the time, but being new to the food blogging world, this is an exciting accomplishment for me Click here if you want to see my submission on Foodgawker.
The week before I graduated, my brother Chris visited along with Mirva and Naomi. It was really nice to have them visit me in Amherst, and also to see my niece again. We had lunch at this awesome barbeque place near me called Bub’s BBQ (if you’re ever in the area, you have to try it out) and then I took them to a nearby waterfall. These photos are straight out of my camera, so I apologize for the dark and bleh colors.
Onto the food: I’m a big fan of Asian food, particularly Chinese, Japanese, and Thai. My favorite meal that my mother makes is a simple stir-fry with chicken and lots of veggies over rice. I wanted to take that and give it an Asian twist. I recently found a stir-fry sauce I really love from Trader Joe’s called Island Soyaki Sauce. Stop and Shop carries a similar teriyaki sauce called Soy Vay Island Teriyaki Sauce, which is what I used for this recipe. I love these sauces because they have that classic salty and spicy teryiaki taste, with a hint of pineapple and honey.
Traditional Chinese stir-fry is prepared in a large, round-bottomed pan called a wok and the technique is similar to sautéing. My dad bought a wok when I was younger and used to love to cook us stir-fry using it. I don’t own a wok, so I used a regular frying pan. I chose to use tofu because I actually love it (weird, I know), but I’ve cooked this recipe with chicken before and that was good, too. Steak or pork would also work nicely. To use meat, simply follow the same directions (marinating, sautéing), but note that meat takes longer to cook than tofu and it may be easier to cook it separately and add it to the veggies at the end. Marinating is optional, but it really gives the tofu or meat more flavor.
Island Teriyaki Stir-Fry
- 7 oz. firm or extra firm tofu (about half a package, which are typically 14 oz.)
- 1/2 cup Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki Sauce (or soy/teriyaki sauce of your choice – or even make your own! I like this recipe.)
- 1 cup uncooked brown rice (I used the quick-cooking kind that only takes 10 minutes, to save time)
- 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1/8 tsp minced ginger (or powder, if minced is not available)
- half a medium white onion, diced
- 2/3 cup chopped broccoli
- half a red bell pepper, diced
- 1/3 cup chopped mushrooms (I used portabella)
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- diced green onions and cilantro to garnish
- Slice tofu into strips and remove excess water by wrapping in a clean towel or paper towel and pressing down gently. Dice into 1-inch chunks, and place into a small plastic bag with teriyaki sauce. Toss to coat tofu evenly and place in refridgerator for 1-2 hours.
- When tofu is done marinating, cook brown rice according to package instructions. Cover and set aside.
- In a large frying pan, heat olive oil and add garlic and ginger.
- Add diced onions and broccoli cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then stir in diced red pepper, cooking for another couple minutes, and then mushrooms. Mushrooms generally cook quickly, while onions take longer. This method prevents your vegetables from cooking unevenly.
- Shortly after adding the mushrooms (2-3 minutes later), pour tofu and teriyaki sauce into pan. Make sure to get as much teriyaki sauce from the bag into the pan as possible. Add red pepper flakes.
- Cook for another 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cooked brown rice and cook for another 2 minutes. Garnish with green onions and cilantro and serve.