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Orange Stir Fry Veggies and Quinoa (keen-wa)… no msg or gluten in sight

Use any mixture of veggies and meat that you prefer!

Tonight was one of those nights that I didn’t really feel like cooking (yes, it happens), but wanted more than just a salad. I decided to gather up a bunch of veggies and do a GF version of my typical stir fry. The changes that I’ve made are mostly to use gluten-free Tamari instead of soy sauce, and to substitute for the higher carb rice with healthy quinoa.

I will admit that quinoa is a grain that I knew virtually nothing about until deleting the wheat from my diet a few weeks ago. I knew it existed (although in my head I was pronouncing it wrong!), but that was about the extent of it. It was a sacred seed in the ancient Inca civilization, and it turns out that quinoa is a gem in any diet, not just for those going without gluten. It is a complete protein, and a good source of Magnesium, Manganese and Phosphorus. It has a glycemic load of only 18, and is not inflammatory. Low in cholesterol, it is an important source of plant-derived calcium, and it has a pleasing nutty flavor to boot!

Kept in the freezer, fresh ginger root is easy to grate as needed for recipes.

Kitchen Tip: In this recipe, I also use fresh grated ginger. I have a trick for ginger that I learned from my Mom; I keep the whole root in the freezer in a ziploc, and just pull it out and grate it when I want to add it to a dish. If you are like me, even though you use ginger, you may not get through the whole root before it molds, and keeping it in the freezer is a great way to store it, and it is even easier to grate when it’s frozen.

Here you see my handy zesting tool, but you can also use a sharp knife.

 

The orange zest adds a little extra flavor boost as well, and I use a zesting tool that I picked up in a kitchen shop to do this task. In general I am not a gadgety person, mostly preferring sharp knives, but this is a nice inexpensive tool that I bought back when I was doing lots of zesting for holiday biscottis and baked goods. I will definitely be changing my holiday routine this season, and exploring new treats!

 

Orange Stir Fry Veggies and Quinoa:

  •  2 C cooked Quinoa 
  • 1.5 lbs boneless chicken breast, cut into 1″ chunks (beef, pork or shrimp works too)
  • 2-3 Tb Olive oil

Veggies: (feel free to use my mix, or whatever you happen to have on hand)Veggies for stir fry

  • 3 Tb Olive oil
  • 1 C chopped Napa cabbage
  • 1 C chopped Broccoli rabe (or regular broccoli)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 1/2 Sweet onion, slivered
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1/2 C Crimini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 of an orange Bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 C slivered Almonds
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • Zest of 1 Orange
  • 1/4 C frozen or fresh peas, thawed

Sauce:

  • 3 Tb Olive oil
  • Juice of one orange (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 C Tamari GF Soy sauce
  • 2 tsp honey
  • dash of Cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tb fresh grated ginger
  • dash of Red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tb Apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 C coconut milk mixed with 1 Tb arrowroot powder (for thickening)

Combine all sauce ingredients in a bowl, except coconut milk and arrowroot. Set aside. Using a large heavy skillet (or wok if you prefer), heat 2-3 Tb olive oil and stir fry the chicken until just cooked through, about 5-6 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside. Heat remaining olive oil and add all “Veggies” except peas. Stir fry about 5-8 minutes or until veggies are tender. Add cooked chicken, peas and sauce ingredients, heat through. Add the coconut milk and arrowroot, stir to thicken. Dish over warm quinoa and serve.  Makes about 4 servings.

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Soy Sauce is Made of Wheat? You bet it is, Cupcake.

(Most soy sauces are, at any rate.)

In many products, the wheat and gluten is obvious. In other things… not so much. I have always used soy sauce in my marinades and with sushi, and I had no idea whatsoever that it contained wheat. This means that other products that use soy sauce may also contain wheat. Marinades, seasonings, salad dressings and some snack foods contain it as well. We were quite surprised when a package of beef jerky listed wheat as an ingredient! My son asked me why on earth they would put wheat in beef jerky (not just from the soy), and the fact is that it is used as a filler in a wide array of products. Wheat is cheap compared to other ingredients, and it makes other things go further. It might also explain why some of us feel awful when we were nowhere near a bowl of pasta or a slice of bread!

I was able to find GF (gluten-free) Tamari soy sauce online pretty easily at Amazon and Vitacost, but my local stores didn’t have it. I did find it in a neighboring town at Kroger, in both regular and low-sodium versions, and at a reasonable price.

If you usually buy prepared marinades, don’t despair, homemade marinades are a cinch, and usually taste a lot better too! So in honor of GF soy sauce, here is a combination of ingredients that I use as a wonderful marinade for meats. I say combination because honestly I do NOT measure when I put these things together, however I realize that not everyone feels comfortable using that method in the kitchen. For those that need measurements, please note that my quantities are approximations and that I just tweak it ‘til it tastes the way I want it to.

Asian Steak Marinade:

¼ Cup GF soy sauce
Juice from ½ lime
1Tb Olive Oil (walnut oil or sesame oil is nice too, though the flavor is stronger)
1 tsp Molasses (or honey)
1 Tb grated fresh ginger (I keep my gingerroot in the freezer, and just grate it as needed)
¼ tsp Cayenne pepper
1 Tb or so freshly minced Cilantro
1 or 2 thinly sliced scallions or a clove of minced garlic
Freshly ground pepper to taste
½ tsp of toasted sesame seeds

Combine all ingredients thoroughly, and pour over steak or chops, let rest at least 15 minutes, and grill or broil as usual.
This should make enough for 2-3 steaks or chops, just adjust the ingredients if you have more to marinade.

I want to stress that I really do just “wing it” and use a base and season it up from there. Soy sauce, some sort of citrus or vinegar for the sour, a touch of good oil, a touch of sweet, a touch of heat, and some herbs and spices, and you are good to go. I tend to use what I keep on hand, and that may differ from your kitchen, so if you don’t have exact ingredients, don’t let that stop you!

 

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