We had a couple days of unbelievable sunshine and warmth here in Dublin this week (though today it has turned cloudy and cool). In true la belle vie style my husband made the last minute decision to take a vacation day and we skedaddled off to Portmarnock beach. It felt so good to put my feet in the warm sand, breathe the salty air and listen to the ocean waves. When the weather is warm and the days are spent outdoors having fun all I really want is to come home and throw together something quick and easy for supper.
Taking a break from meat and carbohydrates for one meal can leave you feeling a bit lighter and healthier. That being said, you’ll be surprised at how filling a bowl of stir-fried vegetables can be. My Easy Everyday Vegetable Stir-Fry is packed with ingredients that promote the health of your skin– which really needs that extra support during summer battling the sun’s rays. Carrots, broccoli and Bok Choi are all known for their skin-boosting vitamins and minerals. Both broccoli and carrots are high in the anti-oxidant beta-carotene, while carrots contain silicon for strengthening nails and skin. No need to peel organic carrots– just wash and scrub off the dirt. Also, don’t discard those broccoli leaves– they’ve got higher levels of beta-carotene than the florets and stalks. Toss the broccoli leaves into your stir-fry at the end with the Bok Choi leaves.
Broccoli and Bok Choi are high in Vitamin C, which helps with collagen formation, repairing damaged tissue and protecting it from the destructive forces of free radicals. Reading the Neal’s Yard Healing Foods book I learned that the high sulfur levels in broccoli and Bok Choi may be helpful in promoting healing for those who suffer from eczema or acne.
Did you know white button mushrooms are a source of “the sunshine vitamin”, vitamin D? If you live in a northerly latitude like Ireland, add plenty of mushrooms to your diet. Since vitamin D is produced in the body after exposure to sunlight, we need all the help we can get!
This week in my newsletter, La Belle Vie, I’m sharing exclusive tips for keeping your skin healthy this summer.
Easy Everyday Vegetable Stir-Fry
You don’t need a wok, a large, heavy-bottomed pan (like cast iron) is better for achieving high, even heat. If you’re pan isn’t big enough, just use two skillets and cook half the vegetables in one pan and half in the other, splitting the flavorings between both pans.
- 2 Tablespoons canola oil
- 1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 2 Cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Broccoli head, about 13 ounces, cut into bite-sized florets
- 2 Medium-sized carrots
- 1 large Bok Choi Head
- 1/2 Pound mushrooms (white button or shiitake)
- 4 Scallions
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1/8 Teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
- Grated zest from 1 lime
- a pinch Crushed red pepper flakes, more if you like a lot of heat
Blanch the broccoli. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the broccoli florets. Turn the heat down to a simmer, cooking the florets 4 minutes, till crisp-tender. Drain the broccoli and toss it in a bowl of ice water to set the green color and stop the cooking. Once cool, remove florets from the ice bath, dry and set aside.
Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables. Slice the carrots into thin coins. Slice the Bok Choi stems into 1/2-inch pieces and cut the leaves into bite sized strips. Slice the mushrooms. Prepare the scallions by thinly slicing the white parts and chopping the green stems into 1-inch pieces, discarding the light green middle part.
Make the stir fry. Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet (preferably cast iron) on medium high. Once hot, pour in the canola oil along with the ginger and garlic. Cook for a few seconds, stirring constantly, until aromatic. Toss in the carrots, Bok Choy stems, mushrooms and scallions (reserve a small handful of scallion to garnish stir-fry later), along with the water. Cook the vegetables in the simmering water, stirring frequently. After 5 minutes add the broccoli florets and Bok Choi leaves; continue cooking 2 minutes more. Once the vegetables are crisp-tender, turn off the heat and add the rest of the ingredients, stirring the mixture to evenly combine. Serve the stir fry immediately with a sprinkling of the reserved chopped scallion and a wedge of lime.