Nothing like a little Valentines Day weekend getaway to the mountains to inspire some love in the kitchen! My hubby surprised me with this rather superb idea late Friday afternoon, “Hey, I just found out that Monday’s a holiday. How about we go up to the Big Bear cabin for the weekend, you know, sort of a Valentines Day thing?” Absolutely! I packed up some clothes and a bag of meal fixins… soba noodles, TJ’s portabella mushroom soup, dried wild mushrooms, romaine, oatmeal, apples, garlic, golden yogurt, and a few more of the basics just in case we decided eat in.
We finished up some business in L.A. on Saturday, had a satisfying lunch at Whole Foods in Porter Ranch, and then were on our way to Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino mountains. We stopped at the Trader Joes in Redlands to pick up a few groceries to supplement what I’d packed… broccoli, ginger, salad stuff, and some sandwich supplies. We arrived at the cabin in the early evening, hungry, tired from a long day, and ready for some nourishment. He suggested we go out for Chinese, but then we looked at each other and knew we did not feel at all like going out. “Oh wait!” I said. “I brought soba noodles! I can make some kind of a stir fry with the broccoli.”
Making do in our friend’s lovely cabin with what I’d brought and the modest supply of ingredients there we had everything we’d need. In no time at all I whipped up a tasty stir fry with ginger, broccoli, tofu, green onions and wild mushrooms. Lacking tamari or Braggs Aminos and arrowroot or cornstarch powder, I thought that carton of TJ’s mushroom soup might make a good substitute. Righto! Toss in the soba noodles and we had dinner in under 30 minutes. Here’s how it came together:
Big Bear Ginger-Broccoli & Portabella Mushroom Stir Fry with Soba Noodles
Yield: 2-3 servings
The dried mushrooms are optional, but give great flavor. Also, I did not have green onions when I made this and it came out wonderfully delicious. I include green onions here because I think they’d make it even more so.
1/4 cup or so of dried wild, shitake, or portabella mushrooms
1 cup hot water
2 tablespoons coconut or other vegetable oil
1/4 tsp. crushed red chilies or cayenne (more/less to taste)
2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch broccoli (about 1-1/4 lb) or Chinese broccoli, chopped in bite size pieces
4-5 green onions, chopped
14 ounces cubed firm or extra firm tofu
1 carton Trader Joes Portabella Mushroom Condensed Soup
2 bundles soba noodles (packaged soba noodles come in little bundles; each bundle yields 1 generous serving)
tamari soy sauce (optional)
Place dried mushrooms in bowl or other dish and cover with a cup of hot or boiling water. Let stand while you continue with prep.
Put 2-3 quarts of water with dash of salt in big pot and put on high heat to bring to boil. While it is heating up, get started on the veggies. When water comes to boil add soba noodles and cook 4-5 minutes or until done. Drain.
Meanwhile, heat oil in wok over high heat and sizzle red chilies for 15 seconds. Add chopped ginger and sizzle another 30 seconds while stirring. Add garlic and then add broccoli. Stir and fry on high heat for a few minutes. Add onions and tofu. Continue to cook over high flame, stirring frequently, until broccoli is just tender. Add mushrooms along with soaking water and the mushroom soup. Stir and heat thoroughly. Remove from heat. Adjust seasoning with salt or tamari if desired.