8.26.2010

Tofu and Vegetable Stir Fry

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Now that we're moving out of Monrovia, I'm getting pretty sad to leave behind our little town. It's been so nice to walk everywhere -- library, grocery store, movie theater, the husband's work. We even got two new bars this past year, both one block from our place. And, best of all, there's the Produce Exchange. 

The husband has been involved with this small group of foragers and produce enthusiasts for many months now. The Exchange occurs the first Saturday of the month, and residents are encouraged to bring their homegrown goods and exchange them. But if you don't have a yard, or simply don't grow anything, you can still stop by and take your pick from the offerings. The husband always comes back with several bags of goods -- grapefruits, chard, green beans, lemons...

I am normally still sleeping while all this superb sharing is going on. But, last month, I woke up early enough and walked the three blocks to the corner of Ivy and Palm. The set up is minimal, people are friendly, and the public very suspicious. It was entertaining to watch folks walking or driving by and looking on with doubt and suspicion.

Here's what a typical Q & A went like:

Public: What's is this about? Are you selling these items?
Produce Ex: No, we are the Produce Exchange. What you see here is available for free.
Public: Free?
Produce Ex: Yes. Monrovians bring over their homegrown produce to share.
Public: But, what if I don't have any produce to share?
Produce Ex: That's alright. You are still welcome to participate and may take whatever you like.
Public: (look of surprise) But how do you make money?
Produce Ex: (as patient as ever) This isn't about money. It's about sharing produce and getting to know your neighbors.
Public: (this goes either two ways) Um, no thanks OR Wow, really? That's great.

It was funny.

Point of this long intro? Well, the beautiful green and yellow beans you see below are from the Exchange. I think the carrots might be as well. I used these fresh vegetables for a simple stir fry weeks ago. But am only now getting to writing about it.
Along with the vegetables, I added firm tofu to the mix, lots of garlic, ginger, oyster and soy sauce, and served it all over steamed white rice. A nice, light dinner. And made with (some) free vegetables!

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