Today’s magic ingredient – olive oil infused with ginger!
In addition to yellow sun-dried tomatoes, I found this enticing little bottle at Eataly tucked within more varieties of olive oil than you can shake a stick at. It’s what the title claims – extra virgin olive oil infused with ginger oil. Simple, but intriguing enough for me to buy for future experiments. I’m dreaming of the pasta dishes, hummus spreads, and dipping plates I can make with this, but for now, I used it for a simple saute.
Sauteing is probably my favorite way to prepare veggies. I don’t like boiling them or roasting because I feel like this kills them too much, and aside from depleting the nutrients, taking away their vitality, blah blah blah, they just taste bad when you overcook them. I’ll only accept mushy vegetables if they’re called potatoes and they’ve been mashed (coming soon: perfect mashed cauliflower!). However, most health texts will say to steam your veggies instead, and while this sometimes works, I find them a little dull this way. Why not just eat them raw in this case? Enter the saute – cooks veggies to a perfect crisp without overcooking or frying. Voila!
One of my favorite dinners is basically to throw a ton of veggies and a protein into a skillet and go to town. Tonight I created a simple saute with the ginger olive oil, diced garlic, broccoli, cauliflower, seitan, and dashes of salt, pepper, and cayenne. Many times I’ll add soy sauce or Bragg’s liquid aminos, as well as nutritional yeast; however, I wanted to go minimal this time to let the flavors stand out on their own. All were served over a bed of long grain brown basmati rice, though any grain will do, really.
But what about the ginger oil? I think it added a nice heat and flavor to the veggies especially. What I liked the most was that it added the punch of ginger without adding ginger chunks (which aren’t pleasant to bite down on) or using weak ginger powder. I would definitely use it again.
I call this a winter blend saute because I went to NC State University, where they regularly served a vegetable dish called Winter Blend that consisted of broccoli and cauliflower. However, bless their hearts, they boiled these perfect veggies into oblivion, which resulted in mushy blandness where crisp pleasure should’ve been. Enjoying them in a saute is much better, trust me.
Winter Blend Saute with Ginger-Infused Olive Oil
1 TB ginger olive oil (you can use regular oil if you like, just maybe add some chopped fresh ginger or ginger powder)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup cauliflower florets
1/4 to 1/3 cup seitan chunks, sliced thinly (tofu works too)
Sea salt, cracked black pepper, and cayenne, to taste
Heat the oil on medium, then add the garlic and saute for a minute or two until golden; be careful not to burn. Add the broccoli, cauliflower, and seitan, and saute for a few minutes, allowing the vegetables to darken in color. Add the seasonings and cook until vegetables are done and seitan is starting to brown. Serve over rice.