Early Summer Stir-fry

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Category : Main Dishes, Recipes, Vegetarian

Early Summer Stir-fryCooking a perfect stir-fry dish requires careful planning as the ingredients are being chopped and prepared. Especially important is to group the ingredients by cooking time.

For this particular stir-fry, I sorted ingredients into five groups, as you’ll see below. I knew the meat would take the longest to cook (about 6-8 minutes). Most vegetables would take 2-3 minutes at most, so I started adding the longest cooking vegetables when the meat was only half done. That way they finished together.

Preheating the pan is a necessity. Some people recommend using high heat, but I find that medium high works fine for me. Since there’s no local olive oil, I used a scant teaspoon of butter added after the pan was hot and just before I added the meat. It kept the meat from sticking until it began to release its own juices. After that, I used a few tablespoons of homemade chicken stock each time I added new ingredients.

I also used beef labeled for “stir-fry”. It comes already cut into very thin strips which cook quickly. Ground beef could have been used, too.

This recipe uses one more new variation of garlic. We’ve talked about “garlic greens” (the stalks) and “garlic scapes” (the stalks including the buds). In this recipe I used “green garlic”. It’s the fresh garlic bulbs, not dried as bulbs are usually sold and stored. They have the texture of onions or shallots, but the flavor is all there!

You’ll see that green garlic, chicken stock, and salt were the only seasonings used. The natural juices of the beef and the rich flavors of fresh local ingredients require no other flavor enhancement.

One final note: I used some shiitake mushrooms from Snohomish County. I haven’t found any grown in Whatcom County available in stores yet, though I’ve seen some from British Columbia.

  • Prep Time:
    30 min
  • Cook Time:
    10 min
  • Ready In:
    40 min
Servings: 3-4 servings
  • 1 tsp butter (Breckinridge Farm, Everson)
  • A little salt in a small bowl (near stove, so you can grab a pinch quickly) (see Exceptions)
  • 1 cup chicken stock (homemade)
  • 1 lb stir-fry beef strips (Bennett Farms, Everson)
  • 2 cloves green garlic, minced (Rabbit Fields Farm, Everson)
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, chopped (Terra Verde Garden, Everson)
  • 2 small zucchini, chopped (Growing Garden, Bellingham)
  • 1 cup snow pea pods (friend’s home garden, Lummi Island)
  • 1 baby bok choy, stems and leaves chopped separately (Terra Verde Garden, Everson)
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms (Grandview Mushrooms, Arlington, Snohomish County–see Food Purchasing Priorities)
  • 1 cup snap peas, shelled (Broadleaf Farm, Everson)


Chop all vegetables except bok choy leaves and shelled peas into approximately half inch chunks. Chop bok choy leaves into approximately 1-1/2 inch squares.

Sort ingredients into five groups as follows:

  1. Beef strips
  2. Minced garlic
  3. Broccoli and zucchini
  4. Snow pea pods, bok choy stems, and mushrooms
  5. Shelled peas and bok choy leaves

They’ll be used in that same order.

Heat a wok or heavy pan over medium high heat, until a drop of water sizzles and evaporates instantly.

Add butter, followed by meat strips as soon as butter is melted. Quickly sprinkle on a healthy pinch of salt and begin stirring frequently (almost constantly), cooking for about 3-4 minutes until browned.

Add minced garlic, stirring quickly, cooking for about 30 seconds.

Add 2-3 tablespoons of chicken stock, followed immediately by broccoli and zucchini. Add another small pinch of salt, and stir quickly. Cover the pan tightly for about a minute.

Add 2-3 tablespoons of chicken stock, followed immediately by snow peas, bok choy stems, and mushrooms. Add another small pinch of salt, stir quickly and cover the pan tightly for another minute.

Finally, add the shelled peas and bok choy leaves. Stir constantly until leaves have wilted and all ingredients are done (another minute). Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Serving Suggestions:

I served this with perfect fresh cherries (from Cloud Mountain Farm, Everson) for dessert.

Food Sources:

Home garden
Community Food Co-operative, Westerly and Cordata, Bellingham
Terra Organica, Flora and Cornwall, Bellingham

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