So often we think of salads when trying to come up with summer dinner ideas, but salads aren't the only entrees that don't require use of the oven. Stir-frying is a great option for a quick, summer meal. Turning on a burner won't heat up your kitchen, especially since you can cook a stir-fry in a matter of minutes. Even a stir-fry involving meat cooks quickly - about 10 minutes of stove time. Summer vegetables, such as green beans, snow peas, bok choy, cabbage, broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini, scallions, carrots and mushrooms are all great stir-fry ingredients.
The general method for making any good stir-fry is simple: Prepare all of your ingredients in advance since the cooking goes so quickly (cut your meat into very thin pieces and cut your vegetables bite-size); heat oil in a wok or skillet over medium-high; add garlic and ginger to the oil for about 30 seconds before adding any meat or veggies to season the oil; cook the meat in a single layer (no more than about 1 cup of meat at a time) until about 80% cooked, remove from pan and set aside; cook vegetables according to density (thicker vegetables, such as carrots, first since they require the most cooking time, lighter vegetables like bok choy last); add meat to cooked vegetables and add ingredients for sauce into a well in the center of the wok, letting sauce thicken for a few seconds before mixing with the rest of the cooked ingredients; season to taste and serve immediately.
Using a rice cooker is a quick and cool way to prepare rice to serve along with your stir-fry. As for sauces, there are so many possibilities. For a simple stir-fry, I like to use a good toasted sesame oil, garlic and ginger (fresh grated or pureed ginger that comes in squeeze tube) for the seasoning. Sometimes I add a little tamari (wheat-free soy sauce), vegetable or chicken stock, crushed red pepper flakes for an added kick, or cornstarch if I am after a thicker sauce. There are so many good stir-fry recipes around - give one a try while the temp is still rising so you can keep your cool while cooking.