Here's the latest reason why I love having a seemingly endless supply of cherry tomatoes this summer. It's adapted from a cookbook I picked up over the weekend, about Hmong cooking in America.
There is a big Hmong population in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and they have wonderful farmer's markets in the cities. It's one of many food traditions where I'm really curious but not very experienced, so I was happy to find this book - Cooking From The Heart: The Hmong Kitchen in America - over the weekend. The book is equal parts recipes and cultural history, so I'm looking forward to reading it.
Lots of the recipes are heavy on fresh herbs like mint and cilantro, and Asian greens - sounds good, right? The first thing I made was based on a chicken and tomato stir fry, which the authors say is more Hmong-American than traditional Hmong food from Laos.
Here's the ingredients:
1 tbsp. canola oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled, lightly crushed, and coarsely chopped
6 scallions - I used everything, saving some of the green ends for garnish
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 a package of Morningstar chik'n strips (chicken-style seitan, or any seitan for that matter, would be good too)
20 or so cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp. tamari
1 tsp. agave nectar (sugar would work fine too)
1. Stir fry the garlic and scallions for 2 or 3 minutes in the oil, just until they begin to soften and become fragrant. Add the mock chicken or seitan, reduce heat, and cover for five minutes - just to steam the mock chicken or seitan until it's nice and hot.
2. Add the tomatoes and cilantro, and stir fry over medium heat just until the tomatoes are warm and the cilantro wilts a little bit. There's no need to overcook either, to keep the flavors nice and bright.
3. The original recipe calls for oyster sauce, but I finished this with tamari and agave nectar, mixed with just a couple tablespoons of water. Mix it in at the end, again just until everything is hot - a minute is enough.
4. I added lime juice to complement the fresh flavors of the green scallion ends and cilantro, but it's just fine without. Season to taste with black pepper, and eat immediately - I made some good white rice, which soaked up the flavors beautifully :)
This was worth snapping a photo too - chickpea croquettes from this month's Vegetarian Times, with a Greek-seasoned tomato and cucumber salad. The croquettes include roughly equal parts canned chickpeas and chickpea flour. I'm learning that chickpea flour is good in all kinds of places, and here it takes a star turn instead of a supporting role.