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Pork Stir-Fry With Vegetables

This stir-fry, also from The Pleasures of Cooking for One, by Judith Jones (Knopf, 2009), is a versatile recipe in which you can mix and match. Leave out the meat if you want a vegetarian dish. Use it as a template for a stir-fry. The important thing is to have everything prepped ahead of time and lined up near the stove. Have sauce ingredients mixed in a little bowl and have cooked rice ready.

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 garlic clove, smashed and peeled

1 slice ginger, about the size of a quarter, peeled

2 1/2 - 3 ounces pork tenderloin, cut into 1/4-inch pieces or small strips

3 or 4 mushrooms, sliced thick

1 small rib celery, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

Six 1/4-inch strips red bell pepper

1 tablespoon dry sherry

1/4 cup chicken broth or water

Small handful of snow peas, strings removed, cut in half on the diagonal

2 teaspoons soy sauce

Pinch of salt

Pinch of sugar

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon water

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

A few cashews or macadamia nuts (optional)

Heat a wok, if you have one; otherwise, use a large skillet. Pour in half the oil and when it's hot, scatter in the garlic and ginger. Swirl for half a minute, then toss in the pork and stir-fry over high heat for less than a minute. Remove the meat to a bowl and pour the remaining oil into the wok.

Toss in the mushrooms, celery and bell pepper, and stir-fry for another minute. Add the sherry and broth (or water), toss in the snow peas, cover and let steam for about 1 1/2 minutes.

Uncover and return the pork to the pan. Mix together the soy sauce, salt, sugar, cornstarch and water, and pour into the wok. Stir-fry for a few seconds to heat and blend. Drizzle the sesame oil over and sprinkle the nuts, if using, on top.

Spoon out into a warm bowl and serve with rice. 

Try asparagus, sugar snap peas, young zucchini, tender bok choy, julienned broccoli stems, broccolini, julienned carrots, scallions, peppers. Dried mushrooms soaked for 30 minutes are good, as are fermented black beans. And, of course, you can use other meats, such as chicken, or seafood. The possibilities are limitless.

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