OFF-DUTY | VEGGIE STACK

It's finally Friday! And what's the best part? I took today off to have some me time. Since I joined the working world, I’ve struggled to find time to spend with my family, clear miscellaneous bits of work, hit the gym, and simply to relax. So, sprawled out in bed and snoozing till noon is a slice of joy ^.^

I started the day (after escaping bed) with some brain training games, watching youtube tutorials (for self-improvement), then moved on to cooking. This is my new morning routine. I built it after watching this video: "How to have more willpower". After watching this, I now assign my morning tasks starting with the ones that require more willpower, brainpower and focus.

Willpower is at its peak when we awaken after sufficient sleep (7-8hours), then it gradually depletes throughout the day. “Willpower is like a muscle, it gets tired too”. Before I built this new willpower-friendly routine, I used to waste my attention in the morning by binge watching youtube videos. Honestly, this was a trap that I couldn't escape. Why do they have to automatically play the next one!? I think “Hm...just one more…”, and I keep watching. After a while something would distract me and I’d shoot a glance at my clock. Oh crap! Hours have vanished from my day :/ Youtube, the cruel thief of time.

I always thought doing something I enjoyed the most in the morning would kick start my day smoothly, with me feeling awesome. In retrospect, quite the contrary: this sequence normally drained my attention and willpower leaving me fatigued and in need of a good coffee. At the end of a typical day, I’d achieved an average 4 out of the 10 things on my to-do list…urgh, wasn’t cool. With my new routine, I still watch youtube videos in the morning, BUT only for 60 minutes max and strictly on tutorials for self-improvement.

It’s been four weeks since I readjusted my routine. This small change in prioritisation, has greatly improved my productivity. Every day I’m striking off more and more items on my to-do lists! 

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • ½ bunch of Chinese spinach
  • 1 whole Indonesian honey sweet potato
  • ½ of a brinjal, sliced in thick circles
  • 1 head garlic, chopped
  • ½ cup dried shrimps
  • 1 tablespoon of chilli flakes
  • 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt (Chobani) 
  • 1 tablespoon of apple vinegar (Heinz)
  • 1 tablespoon of whole grain dijon mustard (Maille) 
  • Olive oil

Kitchen Equipment

  • Vegetable knife
  • Chopping board
  • Vegetable shredder
  • Potato peeler
  • Egg skillet (for stir-frying dried shrimp followed by pan-frying sweet potato Rosti separately)
  •  Large skillet (for frying spinach and brinjal)

Preparation

  • Cut spinach into three parts (roots, stems, leaves)
  • Dispose the roots, cut the stems into three parts. Separate stems and leaves into two bowls.
  • Peel sweet potato and shred it. Squeeze out every drop of water from the sweet potato. Side aside in a bowl.

Cooking

  • Pour 2 tablespoons olive oil onto a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and fry till golden brown. 
  • Add spinach stems first as they take longer to soften. Stir fry them for 2 minutes then pour in spinach leaves. When spinach leaves start to turn darker, scoop them up. 
  • On the same skillet, lower to small heat. Pour another 2 tablespoons of olive oil and arrange brinjal around skillet. After 3-4 minutes, flip brinjal slices when they soften and turn slightly brown. Repeat on the other side. As brinjal doesn't have much flavour, I've added 1 tablespoons of apple vinegar, and they turned out to be quite a good match.

In order to stack them up in circles of similar sizes, I've used the small egg skillet (those for sunny side-ups) to cook the Rosti. 

  • Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil onto an egg skillet over medium heat. Lift and swirl the egg skillet for olive oil to be evenly coated. Grab a handful of shredded sweet potato and gently add on the skillet. Use a tablespoon to press Rosti such that it is spread evenly and flat like a pancake.
  • Now here's the tricky part-Flipping the Rosti! When the edges of the Rosti turns brown, hold your breath, count on 3 and flip! Sometimes I do need some luck:)
  • Add in 1 teaspoon of olive oil around the circumference of the Rosti, making sure the other side gets an even colour, otherwise, it will be charred. Repeat step 5 then scoop it up. 
  • Again, on the egg skillet, turn the heat down. Pour in dried shrimps. This is a fast step and keep an eye on skillet. Toss them with a tablespoon continuously till aroma diffuses and the shrimps turn a shade darker. Turn off heat. 
  • Moving on, the sauce comprises a 2:1 ratio of Greek yogurt and Dijon mustard. So this means 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt and 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard. Mix them evenly. 
  • Here comes the stacking part. First, place Rosti at the center of a plate, assemble spinach stems followed by the leaves. Next, stack three slices of brinjal on top. Finally, garnish with dried shrimps and chili flakes. 
  • Serve Veggie Stack with the mustard-yogurt sauce on the side. 

Have a great weekend, enjoy!Xx