The funniest things have ended up in my wok since I started stir frying. If you had once told me I would stir fry watermelon rinds, lettuce or bacon (lots of bacon), I might have been speechless. That was before Grace. Life before Grace Young, the kind mentor of my new adventures with my very old wok as well as she who encouraged me to add some modern ones to my kitchen. Her book, Stir Frying to the Sky’s Edge, by Grace Young (SFTTSE) and Wok Wednesdays have changed my idea of how to cook many things, but especially have made vegetables a much easier component to many of our meals. The most simple ones are the stunners for me. Watermelon rind, a waste not, want not, substitute for fuzzy melon, that has so much charm on it’s own, that I look forward to the return of watermelon season and will even seek out thick skinned ones for the chance to play with more rind! Stir-Fried Aromatic Potatoes were another surprise – and worked as nicely with red potatoes as they did with a mixture of sweet potatoes and red potatoes and were another completely new taste and texture. All you have to do is prepare your ingredients, which helps you organize your mind, and then the performance at the wok is a dance you can interpret to your own delight.
This week, the dish on schedule was a simple but elegant and pleasing one, and completely new to most of us: stir-fried romaine lettuce with garlic! One of the most simple preps ever, this is a perfect side dish, or even the focus of a meal served alongside rice. The stunner is that the flavours and textures are so appealing. Better than any wilted salad under a heated dressing, these lettuce pieces retain texture and glisten, while their flavour takes on a silkiness without any loss of appeal. The recipe for Stir-Fried Lettuce with Garlic Chili is from SFTTSE. Dishes like this can open your ideas about what can make a special dish, what kind of meal you can easily create — how you can cook a rainbow of nutrition in an ancient way, in a completely modern experience. The blend is magic. And simple, and yes, easy.
This recipe is on page 195 of Stir Frying to the Sky’s Edge by Grace Young. Wok Wednesdays is a group of home cooks who are cooking, or wokking, their way through the cookbook, and providing an amazing community of support to each other with their enthusiasm and generous knowledge sharing. Come take a peek at the group on Facebook or visit the Wok Wednesday’s website for a recipe schedule and guidelines.