Saturday, March 03, 2007

Lifestyle: Eating Well on Practically Nothing #2

by Joni Miller
Exclusive to Commercial Drive - Live!

Why you should eat garlic

· The Egyptians worshipped it

· Garlic contains Vitamin C, B6, Selenium.

· Garlic lowers blood pressure, protects against flu, asthma, arthritis, ulcers

· Garlic reduces your risk of cancer.

· It's antibiotic, and anti-inflammatory.

· If there's a vampire invasion, it could provide some protection

· Garlic tastes great!!!!

· Garlic rocks!!!!

· Garlic turns any meal into a PARTY!!!!

· You can grow it yourself (but you're too late for this year - you should plant it in the fall. More on that later...)

If your girlfriend or boyfriend or transgendered friend doesn't like the smell of garlic on your breath - maybe they can find somebody else - you know - someone boring. Or, you could always buy the extra strong breath mints.

HINT: To easily peel garlic, trim the flat end off, and then lay the clove on your cutting board. Place the flat of your cutting knife on the clove, and whack it with your fist. The skin will separate from the clove, and you can cut it up.

Check out these websites.

Care and Feeding of Your Cast-iron Frying Pan

I'm really glad you got the big one - you won't regret it.

Now, here's what you need to do to treat it right:

· put it on a burner and warm it up

· pour some olive oil into the pan, turn the burner off

· let it sit for awhile, then make sure the oil is rubbed all over the pan

The best way to wash a cast iron frying pan is to rinse it out with hot water right after you take your food out of it. Get a bristle brush. Don't use soap. Avoid soaking your pan in water - it'll dry out, and it might rust. You want to keep it lightly oiled at all times.

Stir Fry 101

I learned about the art of stir frying from a guy named Michael, in Calgary when I was a teenager. He had a girlfriend, I had a boyfriend. He also had long dark hair to his waist, played the congas and liked to walk around wrapped up in African prints. So cool. And the thing was, Michael could COOK. He had a wok and he knew how to use it. I used to sit on a stool in the kitchen of his hippy house and watch him cut up things.

I should mention that if you want to, you can own a wok as well. I've owned several - and then gave them away because I found them too awkward to store, and not multi-purpose enough. A wok is good for stir fry. With a cast iron frying pan, you can Impress your date with a Spicy Chicken stir fry for supper, some pop corn for the show and then a Deluxe Spinach and Feta omelet for breakfast.

Tofu Stir Fry


Olive oil


soya sauce


tofu (preferably the firm kind. Santa Barbara market sells it fresh)

Vegetables - the ones you like. Judge quantities by how many hungry people you plan to feed.

Some suggestions: broccoli, celery, bok choi, carrots, peppers, snow peas, bean sprouts, canned water chestnuts


· Chop everything up first. Try slicing the vegetables on an angle. It looks cool, and the vegetables will absorb more of the garlic

· Heat your frying pan on a high heat

· Cover the bottom with oil

· Test for readiness by splashing a drop of water on the pan - if it sizzles immediately, the pan is hot enough.

· Add garlic & onions. Stir gently, and let them get a bit brown

· Add tofu & sprinkle with soya sauce

· Stir less now. You want to let the tofu get crispy and brown.

· Monitor the heat - you may want to turn It down.

· When the tofu Is nice and brown on all sides, start adding vegetables, one variety at a time. Start with the ones that take the longest to cook.

· Stir regularly, and when all the vegetables are added, put a lid on and let it steam.

· Don't over cook - you get more nutrition out of the vegetables, and it tastes better.

· Serve with rice or noodles.


There are all kinds of rice - white, brown, short grain, medium grain, long grain, basamati. Brown has more nutrition. Short grain cooks faster. Basamati costs more.

Try them all, and you'll find out what you like.

There are many ways to cook rice, but here's a method that works for me:

· Put rice in pot - as much as you think you need

· Cover with water, swish it around, then dump the water out. This washes the rice.

· Add clean water to the pan. Measure with your finger - the water should cover your middle knuckle.

· Put the pot on a burner, at high heat

· When It boils, turn It way down and keep an eye on It, until there Is almost no water.

· Turn the burner off, and cover with a lid.

· PS Make the rice before you start your stir-fry.


You can buy Chinese noodles that cook up in about 3 minutes. Boil water in a pot when your stir fry is almost done, add noodles, drain & serve.


There are all kinds of sauces you can add to your stir fry for extra zest. The Apollo Poultry shop near First and Commercial has a nice selection, and they don't cost much. Soya sauce and garlic tastes pretty good too.

Super Easy Tofu Stir Fry

You can buy pre-cooked deep fried tofu at the Fujia (Clark and Venables).

Ignore the instructions for frying tofu. Cook your vegetables, then add the tofu.

Happy eating!

Next edition: more than you wanted to know about buying and eating chicken.

Joni Miller is a writer, musician, graphic designer, fund raiser, mother of two. She is the author of a forthcoming book entitled "The Starving Student’s Guide to Eating Well on Practically Nothing". As a lifetime freelancer, mother and travelling musician, she is well versed in the art of living on nothing.

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