Rarely do I post about cooking the kind of food I ate growing up. Usually if I make stir fry for dinner, I’m feeling lazy, or tired, and not in the mood to take pictures and wax poetic about the food. But I suppose I should give Asian cooking a little credit here. When I first started learning to cook, I stayed as far from it as possible. I was determined to learn about pork chops, marinating, roasting, sauces, etc. (Pork chops are easy for a college kid trying to learn to cook). Eventually, I realized that many people were not exposed to vegetables the way I was (as a staple rather than as a side) nor did they look at meat the same way (as a flavoring agent rather than a focal point). Vegetables were steamed, boiled, flavorless, textureless. Stir fry, rather than a method of bringing out the flavor and texture of food, equaled a foreign packet of mysterious, MSG filled sauce (with crunchy noodle topping) added to the same sad vegetable mix.

I probably make stir fry about once a week. It’s easy, fast, and tasty. I use either beef or pork as the meat, and have a few simple favorites. Green beans are one – either sauteed with meat or cooked without. On high heat, saute them until their skins pucker and shrivel and add a bit of soy sauce and water so they don’t burn. They’re crispy, salty, and addictive. I love to grate carrots and stir fry them in a hot pan with garlic until they brown and caramelize. Again, a splash of soy sauce, but also a pinch of sugar, and this dish transforms into a complex mosaic of salty, sweet, and caramel. This is especially good with a few shreds of beef. (Pre-stir fry all meat, then add it back to the vegetables along with associated juices). Broccoli, onions, bok choy, bean sprouts, spinach, all these vegetables are delicious to stir fry. My mom makes a dish with pickled bamboo, turnips, and pork, which I could eat every day for the rest of my life. Ahhh… this is my comfort food.

Lately, I’ve had eggs left over from various sort of baking adventures (it’s cookie season…) and parts of eggs. This dish is a great use for parts of eggs as it’s essentially scrambled eggs, but with a delicious savory twist.

eggs and tomatoes
down home with jenn

Beat 3 eggs. Cut 3 tomatoes into strips. I like plum tomatoes, they have less juice. If you are using bigger tomatoes, you should use fewer tomatoes accordingly. Heat up some oil (Asian cooking almost always calls for vegetable oil) in a pan and scramble the eggs gently, just until cooked. Set aside eggs. Heat up a little more vegetable oil until shimmering. Stir fry the tomatoes, cut side down (but not too much stir in the fry, you don’t want them to fall apart). When they are soft, add 2 sliced green onions. Keep on stir frying until fragrent, and add salt. Then add back the eggs and heat through. You could pepper, too, if you like pepper.

The heat at all times once the tomatoes are in should be above medium – this is what stir frying is all about. There should be enough liquid from the tomatoes to keep them from sticking, and movement keeps the food from burning. You should be cooking the liquid off, not poaching the tomatoes in their juice and making more juice leach from the vegetables. We want the vegetables to stay crisp and tasty, not get soggy and sad!

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