Thursday, June 3, 2010

Lightly Cooked Veggies with Fermented Black Bean Sauce over Brown Rice

Today started early since Dan had a morning meeting in Annapolis and wanted to stop at his office for a while before heading south. I hate moving early in the morning. Let’s just say I have never been nor will I ever be a morning person. After Dan had his breakfast I did a little exercise and got on line while I waited for the TV to be delivered. The TV arrived about 10am so I didn’t have to wait long, which was very nice. If anyone is in the market for electronics HHGregg has a great selection, reasonable prices and they deliver.

I spent a little time in my garden this morning watering and weeding. I need to spend more time out in the garden tomorrow and this weekend. There is a lot of work to be done. I have decided gardening is like housework it is never finished. However, my tomatoes have quite a few little yellow flowers and the lettuce is growing very well. It is so nice to have fresh salad in the summer directly from the garden to the plate.

Dan ended up having lunch in Annapolis at McCormick and Schmick's with our friend Carmella after the meeting. Apparently the restaurant has a nice cucumber and strawberry salad with white balsamic that Dan really liked. He also ordered an asparagus side, no butter sauce. The only down side of the meal was Carmella wanted to substitute the fries for a salad and was told they don’t allow substitutions. Not the best customer service I would say. They clearly did not the customer is always right memo.

During the afternoon I went back to trying out exercise DVDs on Netflix. I am enjoying the variety of instructors and exercises. No DVDs have stood out yet as must haves, but I have many more to work through so there is still plenty of time. ;-)

Like usual I did not plan dinner but decided to go with the flow. I tend to look in the refrigerator and decide what needs to be used and start with that. Since the bok choy and shitakes were the oldest that meant Asian food to me. I added other veggies to the dish to make it substantial enough for 4 servings, dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow. Here is what I did:

Lightly Cooked Veggies with Fermented Black Bean Sauce over Brown Rice
Serves 4


1 ½ cups brown rice (I used brown basmati)
3 cups water
7 ounces tofu, baked until lightly browned (brush with ½ tablespoon liquid aminos before baking)
½ large yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced tip to root
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (allow to stand 10 minutes before cooking so the allicin has time to develop)
½ inch fresh ginger, finely minced or grated (if it is organic you don’t need to peel it just clean it well under running water with a vegetable brush)
2 medium bok choy, thinly sliced (approximately 6 cups)
2 leaves kale, julienned
½ pound fresh shitakes, stems removed and caps thinly sliced (save the stems in a freezer bag for mushroom stock when you need it)
4 carrots, julienned
2 tablespoons fermented black bean sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar or mirin
Sriracha, to taste if you want a little heat - optional
¼ cup fresh cilantro, to garnish
Cashews for garnish if you choose (Dan thinks these are a must have item) you can also use peanuts or omit this completely - optional


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the tofu into 6 even slabs and coat it in the liquid aminos. Place the seasoned tofu in a well seasoned cast iron pan and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven allow the tofu to cool for a few minutes so it will release easily from the pan and flip it over. Bake for another 30 minutes to form a crust on the second side.

While the tofu is baking combine the rice and water and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, reduce to a simmer and cook until the water is absorbed. If you use an enameled cast iron pan the rice will be ready in approximately 30 - 35 minutes. I allow my rice to stand covered for 10 minutes once I turn off the heat this makes fluffier rice.

While the rice is standing combine the veggies and ¼ cup of water and sauté quickly. Whisk the fermented black bean sauce and rice wine vinegar together and add to the pan with the veggies. Toss to coat the veggies with the sauce. If you are using sriracha add it to the sauce before combining with the veggies.

To serve plate the brown rice, top with veggies and finish with cilantro and cashews (if desired).

Nutritional Analysis (does not include the optional nuts):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 436.83
Calories From Fat (11%) - 50.07

Total Fat - 6.17g
Saturated Fat - 0.81g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 833.32mg
Potassium - 1092.72mg
Total Carbohydrates-  88.43g
Fiber - 9.19g
Sugar - 12.08g
Protein - 15.64g


This is one of those quick weeknight dinners that I fall back on regularly. You can vary this by using any veggies you have on hand. Additionally is just as good with lo mein as it is with rice.

If you are used to eating Asian food from a restaurant you will think this dish needs salt. I intentionally used less black bean sauce so the sodium wasn’t through the roof. You can either add more black bean sauce or liquid aminos to suit your taste buds.

Each serving of this dish contains approximately 20,950IU of vitamin A, 80mg of vitamin C, 295mg of calcium, 135mcg of folate, 195mcg vitamin K, 415mg of phosphorus, 180mg of magnesium, and 38mcg of selenium. I would have preferred a lower sodium count, but this is just what happens with Asian food. However, comparing the saltiness of this dish to restaurant Asian food now I know why I always retain water after eating Chinese. It must contain three days of sodium at a minimum.

Unrelated note:

Dan actually came home at a decent time today. I wonder if the TV had anything to do with it? ;-) Hmmmm. Well he didn’t get it set up yet but there was lots of measuring so he could decide about the furniture to go around it. I am getting more bookshelves. Yay! I may be as happy about that as he is the TV. Those of you that know me well know that books are everywhere in my home and I always buy more. In fact I ordered three more books last night from Amazon, three textbooks on nutrition actually. I can’t wait for them to arrive. I just love learning new things. ;-)

We were about half way through dinner when I realized I forgot to put the tofu on top the dish. Duh! That is why the picture doesn’t include tofu. I added it far too late to get a picture. But it looks just like the tofu I baked for the recipe on tofu with satay sauce posted here.

After dinner we decided to watch the first episode of “Thirty Something”. I was so excited to see this on the Netflix instant options. I was obsessed with this show when it was on in the late 80’s and early 90’s. So far it is just as entertaining now as it was all those years ago. However, they were a little whiny and self absorbed. But I am still enjoying it.

I did get some time in the kitchen today but I will need to fill you all in on that tomorrow. For now I am signing off to relax before turning in. I hope everyone had a great Thursday.


  1. LOL - I know Jason has managed to leave early to get home to a new toy before. I'm glad to know I'm not the only blogger to goof with pictures and leave something off ;-) I totally agree with the garden being like housework. Gardening, to me, is much more fun though.

  2. Heather,

    Something tells me all married ladies can relate to the hubby antics! LOL

    I am serious when I tell you I am a ditz. We were half way through eating when I realized no tofu. After I baked it I left it in the oven to stay warm and promptly forgot it.

    Gardening is more fun than housework but it would be nice if the weather was better. At least I clean house in the AC. ;-) Can you tell I hate heat and humidity? LOL

    talk to you later,

  3. Nothing compares to eating homegrown, fresh picked veggies, especially the tomatoes!

    New bookshelves are so much more exciting to me than a new t.v.;) Like you, I think it's fun to learn new things! I just donated a bunch of books to our local library's used book sale, and my shelves are still full;0

  4. Janet,

    I have come to the conclusion that electronics are definitely guy territory. All men seem to love them and all women seem to not get too excited about the prospect.

    I need to see if my library does something similar I could get rid of at least 50 books and not miss them. My book collection is really out of control. I keep thinking I need to go electronic but I like holding books. Must be an "old thing". ;-)

    talk to you later,

  5. Dan actually came home at a decent time today. I wonder if the TV had anything to do with it?"
    HAHAHA this made me smile:)

  6. Michelle,

    Boys do seem to like their toys, LOL.



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