Sunday, April 11, 2010

Vegetable Moo Shu

I went vegetable crazy at the market this week -- alfalfa sprouts, bean sprouts, beets, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, green onions, mushrooms, red peppers, and snow peas. These are not my usual vegetables. Well not all of them at once anyway.

It's spring and I've been craving vegetables, fish, seafood, yogurt, tomatoes, grapefruit, and basil -- in no particular order. Add to this about a gallon of room temperature Paradise Tea (I love this stuff!) daily and you have an accurate picture of what I've eaten for the past week. Oh! And rice -- brown and white.

Granted, when warmer weather arrives, many of us experience a change in eating habits. However, in the past, this has meant an increased taste for grilled meats and vegetables for me. The grill becomes king and anytime I can eat outside is perfect -- without heat and humidity, of course!

So what's up with the Asian vegetables and seafood? Fish or shrimp on the grill are reasonable, but the rice and bean sprouts keep falling into the fire! Why do I want to chop and stir fry inside, while everyone else is dusting off the grill for burgers and steaks outside?

I don't think it's the research study I'm doing with some grad students at the university -- something to do with nutrition therapy and identifying our eating triggers and how they affect our ability to lose weight. So far, we've uncovered a possible negative trigger for over-eating. Writing about food, at my computer in my kitchen, may be creating a huge and constant desire to eat -- anything -- anytime! I'll just bet there is some groundbreaking therapy that can change this! Uh . . . moving my official food writing headquarters to a room without a fridge and stove?

OK, so maybe being a research guinea pig is making me listen to subliminal messages to eat more vegetables and less red meat. I could believe that if: a) if I wanted to eat all kinds of vegetables, and; b) I really needed to kick a bad beef habit. Nope, I just want stir-fry vegetables and I have no desire for meat, of any kind!

I have another idea about the origins of these particular cravings -- Acupuncture!

No! Not acupuncture to change the way I eat. Although, if that really works, I definitely need to know about it.

All I wanted was a little relief from some aches and pains, without taking any of those scary drugs advertised on TV with side effects that overshadow the original complaint. Just say no!

I'm just a few treatments into my first experience with acupuncture and I have to say, it has changed my life for the better. Seriously! My right hip had a pain like a red-hot poker permanently jammed into it, and it was making my legs restless to the point of affecting my sleep and the amount of time I could sit in the car, or even a chair. Not good! If I sat too long at the computer I would be in agony. If I sat in the car for, oh, two minutes, it hurt like hell. Life was not good.

Well, you know I am the queen of research -- my own, not the kind leading to any sort of an advanced degree. So naturally, I have immersed myself in reading about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture, and I think that my immersion research may be creating subliminal, positive vegetable-craving messages to my brain . . . eat these vegetables . . . smaller portions of meat . . . no French fries . . . more bok choy . . .

And the acupuncture is working too! Last week I drove to St. Louis -- 2+ hours away -- and I swear I wanted to dance when I stepped out of the car and was hip-pain free!

Miracle? . . . Mystery? . . . Ancient Chinese Secret? . . . Whatever!

And while this weather would normally have me thinking about a big juicy hamburger on the grill, instead, I was inside chopping bok choy and broccoli and digging through the pantry for plum sauce today. Who knew homemade Moo Shu would be so easy and so good! No more takeout with the plum sauce or pancakes missing from the bag when I get it home! And I get to choose the vegetables I want!

Acupuncture, researching TCM and writing about Vegetable Moo Shu -- from my kitchen headquarters, no less -- just has to be an acceptable response to emotional food triggers. My Moo Shu was bright and light and crunchy and d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s. I feel great! And I've lost a couple of pounds without even thinking about it.

I'm not sure what to expect when my Qi is finally flowing as it should be. I do know that, just like everything else in life, it is an ongoing process, and isn't that always the challenge? Patience!

But if there is an east-meets-west, ancient wisdom-meets-scholarly research balance that results in less pain, less emotional eating, better food choices and an overall improvement to my quality of life -- I will be a pin cushion guinea pig for the cause.

This is my version of Moo Shu that was really, really good! So much better than the pictures.

Maybe I should strive for a better balance in my research -- one that allows more time for mastering the settings on my camera!

Red bell pepper
Broccoli flowerets, lightly steamed
Green onions
Shredded cabbage
(Optional choices for vegetables - bean sprouts, bok choy, carrots, celery, mushrooms, snow peas)
Olive oil (plus optional sesame oil)
Jeff's Special 1-2-3-4 Sauce
Moo Shu pancakes or flour tortillas (Ole brand Low-Carb, High-Fiber Tortillas are perfect)
Plum sauce (or hoisin)

Chop vegetables into small pieces (1/2 to 1-inch) and set aside. Heat small amount of olive oil in large skillet or wok. Add vegetables in this order, heating each for a minute before adding the next: red pepper, green onions, broccoli and cabbage. Continue to cook until cabbage is wilted and everything is heated through. Add 1-2 tablespoons of Jeff's Secret 1-2-3-4 Sauce and stir to evenly coat vegetables. Remove from heat and serve or cool to refrigerate for later use. Serve with warmed flour tortillas (2 - 4 per person) and plum sauce. Heat tortillas between two plates or paper plates to keep them from drying out. Lay tortilla on plate, spread with plum sauce and spoon vegetables into center. Roll like a burrito (one side in toward center, then left side in toward center, then wrap right side toward center and over left side) and enjoy!

Bean Sprouts on FoodistaBean Sprouts 


Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

We had vegetable moo shi at a restaurant last night. Hadn't ordered it for ages, and I'd forgotten how much I like it!

Kalyn Denny said...

It sounds very tasty. I haven't ever had acupuncture or seen it done, and the idea of it terrifies me!

Anonymous said...

Hi Cora, this looks amazing. We are doing vegetarian once a week and this is on the "must make" list!

Christine said...

I really still don't have the courage for acupuncture. i'm scared of needles. Thanks for sharing the healthy veggie mooshu wooshu!!! it's worth a try. If you wont mind I'd love to guide Foodista readers to this post.Just add the foodista widget to the end of this post and it's all set, Thanks!

Cora said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cora said...

Done and done - thanks Christine!

Becky said...

Cora, this looks great! And I swear by acupuncture. It's done amazing things for me. Also, for people afraid of needles (or like me have been terribly immune compromised and can't have the skin broken) there is another method that uses tiny electric shocks instead of a needle. I'm so glad you got your pain relieved!

Cora said...

Thanks Becky. So good to see you here again! Acupuncture is amazing and has really made a difference for me. I think anyone with pain issues should try it. :-D