Friday, October 29, 2010

Asian Greens--Bok Choy and Tokyo Bekana

This final week of the 2010 CSA Season was once again full of asian greens. I meant to post these recipes last week, but time just seem to melt away. Hopefully you still have plenty of the asian green offerings still stored in your fridge, otherwise I believe both the bok choy and the tokyo bekana will be part of next week's extended CSA share (pick up on TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY 1pm until dark) as long as we do not get a freeze this weekend.

When I first graduated from college I worked at the Stroud Water Research Center with a Chinese scientist who was always telling me about this delicious mild asian green--something like a cross between cabbage and romaine lettuce. I was so happy when the Johnny Seed Catalog finally started offering the green he was talking about, known as Tokyo Bekana. Tokyo Bekana is basically the lose leaf version of Napa/Chinese cabbage. It has a wonderful sweet and mild taste and crisp texture. I made a delicious chicken salad last weekend with chiffonade cut tokyo bekana, a curry-lime dressing, finely chopped apple, and dried cranberries (from trader joes)--it was delicious.

Bok Choy is an asian green you might be more familiar with, but still in need of recipe ideas. I have included three recipes all from Barbara Kafka's fantastic recipe book Vegetable Love:

Radiant Bok Choy
This is one of my proudest recipes, with a minimum of ingredients and a maximum of flavor and beauty. The white part of the bok choy turns the brilliant color of Asian mendicants' robes and the green stays intensely emerald.

The vegetable does very well on its own with rice. As a vegetarian dish, it can have soaked dried shittake, stemmed and cut into strips, added during the final six minutes of cooking. It can a succulent sauce and side dish for chicken or fish--or shreds of either can be added for the final six minutes of cooking time.

1 tablespoon of canola oil
2 tablespoons of turmeric
2 pounds of bok choy (about 4 pieces), halved lengthwise
1 can of coconut milk, plus enough water to make 3 cups liquid
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice or 4 lime wedges

In an 8- or 9-inch saucepan, heat the oil over low heat. Stir in the turmeric and salt and cook for about 1 minute. Add the pieces of bok choy, laying them on their sides cramming them in so as to make them compact as possible.

Pour in the coconut-water mixture, cover the pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for 6 minutes. The bok choy should sink into the sauce and cook evenly. If some of bok choy is not covered with liquid, turn the pieces. Re-cover and cook for 6 more minutes.

Stir in the lime juice, if using. Or serve hot, accompanied with lime wedges, if desired. This is also good tepid. Serves 4 as a side dish.

Ginger and Garlic Baby Bok Choy
This is a perfect side dish with fish, or serve on a mixed vegetable platter that has no other vegetables using vinegar. It is good hot or cold.

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 pound baby bok choy (about 35; 5 cups)
2 quarter-size slices peeled fresh ginger, cut into matchstick pieces (about 2 tablespoons)
1 clove garlic, smashed, peeled and cut into thin strips
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

In a 10-inch frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat for 3 minutes, or until very hot. Add the bok choy, ginger and garlic. Cook, tossing regularly with two wooden spoons, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the leaves are completely wilted but the whites are still slightly crunchy. Keep the heat between medium and medium-high so that the pan is sizzling but the oil is not sputtering.

Add the vinager and salt. Cook for 1 minute more. Remove from the heat and serve. Makes 2 cups.

In this recipe, also from Vegetable Love you can replace the napa cabbage with the tokyo bekana. Also the soy-sesame dressing can be replaced with any good Asian dressing--something with ginger would be delicious.

Shredded Napa Salad
Make this in the winter when the selection of other greens is limited. It has a lightly Asian flavor and is very pretty. It's as good as a side dish as it is a first course. It goes very well with fish dishes.

1 ounce dried shittake mushrooms (about 5 medium mushrooms)
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 pound napa cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)
2 scallions, trimmed and sliced (about 1/3 cup)
1/3 cup Soy-Sesame Vinaigrette
1 ounce red or daikon radish, trimmed and cut into 1/8-inch slices (about 1/4 cup)

Combine the mushrooms, vinegar, hot pepper sauce, 1/2 cup of water and black pepper in a 2 1/2-quart souffle dish or casserole with a tightly fitted lid. Cover tight with microwave plastic wrap or the lid. Cook at 100% for 5 minutes. If using plastic wrap, prick to release the steam.

Remove from the oven and uncover. Allow to stand until cool enough to handle. Using scissors, remove the mushroom stems and discard. Cut the mushrooms into 1/2-inch strips.

In a large serving bowl, combine the mushrooms with the cabbage, scallions and the dressing. Toss to coat, and scatter the radish slices over. Serves 8.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sunchoke-Jerusalem Artichoke Links

As I mentioned in the previous post, I want to provide some recipe links for the more unusual vegetables that are showing up in this week's share. Jerusalem Artichokes also known as a sunchokes, are a great flavor for this time of year--earthy, nutty, and sweet--delicious. These little tubers are not only delicious they are good for you, the only draw back is that they can cause gas. Read more by clicking the links below:

-A posting I put up last season about Sunchokes (go phillies!!!).

-Two great intros to Sunchokes from Culinate All Choked Up and Deborah Madison's musings on Sunchokes

-My favorite good food advocate and celebrity chef Jami Oliver's Sauteed Jerusalem Artchoke recipe

-A chicken and sunchoke recipe that looks amazing--to be honest I have never tried pairing chicken with sunchokes--sounds delicious

Sunchokes are also great eaten raw, enjoy.

This Week's Share--Beets, Bok Choy, and Sunchokes

This week's share includes many vegetables that you might not be so familiar with cooking or preparing. I am going to do my best to post a serious of entries on these various fall staples including the Tokyo Bekana Asian Green, Sunchokes also known as Jerusalem Artichokes, and Bok Choy (Pac choi). In the meantime click on the link below for some guidance in dealing with the baby beets in this week's share. These beets are from a more recent planting, and should have less of an earthy taste, since they were grown with a more steady supply of rain and cooler weather. The beet greens are as delicious as the tiny roots.

Links (all from Culinate, a great online resource for recipes and such)
-Beet Intro
-Beet and Beet Greens on Pasta
-Beet Greens and Yogurt

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cider Brined Chicken

Cider brining is a great way to add flavor to our already flavorful chickens and turkeys. With cooler weather on the way and the availability of fresh chickens this week, I thought you might be interested in some cider brined chicken recipes:

From my
and here is another great recipe for apple cider brined chicken breasts on arugula salad with sweet potato and apple chutney (see photo above). What a great use for this week's share.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

This week's share-cabbage and chicken

This week's share includes potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, salad/asian turnips, daikon radish, arugula, tokyo bekana asian green, cabbage and broccoli (from lancaster farm fresh coop), green beans, peppers, and sunkchokes. This week is also the last opportunity to purchase fresh chicken. Chickens will be available starting this afternoon (Tuesday, October 12th through Thursday, October 14th). I will be posting more recipes using chicken and the other share vegetables over the next couple of the days. In the meantime Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbook Fame (and friend of Nikki) recently posted this Green Bean Slaw Recipe that is just perfect for this week's share:

Green Bean Slaw Recipe
I used a moscato from Trani, Italy here, but feel free to experiment with other sweet white wines. The one I used was about 14% alcohol - just the right amount of boozy for a salad like this. As far as advanced prep goes - you can make the dressing a day or two ahead of time if you like. And you can slice the green beans, and make the croutons a day ahead of time as well. I used a wood-fired oven spelt walnut bread for the croutons here, but use whatever good bread you have on hand.

2 small handfuls (about 1/2 cup) golden raisins
1 cup / 240 ml Moscato / sweet white wine
yolk of one hard-boiled egg
3 tablespoons creme fraiche or heavy cream
1/3 cup / 80ml extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 a small cabbage, cored and shredded very finely
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 big handfuls green beans or haricot verts, very thinly sliced and cooked in a pot of boiling salted water for 20 seconds, drained (well) immediately, and cooled under cold running water.
A big handful of arugula, roughly chopped
2 handfuls (about 3/4 cup) toasted walnut halves
2 handfuls of torn rustic bread, pan-toasted until golden in a big splash of olive oil
A bit of shaved pecorino cheese

Place the raisins in a small bowl and cover with the wine. Let soak overnight, or for at least a few hours.

To make the dressing, mash the yolk of the egg in a small bowl. Gradually mash and stir in the creme fraiche. Very slowly add the olive oil beating constantly. It should be smooth and glossy. Whisk in the vinegar and lastly the salt. Taste and adjust if needed.

When you're close to being ready to serve the salad, toss the cabbage and the vinegar together in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
Just before serving, drain the raisins and add to the cabbage. Add the green beans, arugula, and most of the walnuts. Toss a few times. Add about 2/3 of the dressing and toss gently, but well. Taste and add more dressing if you like. Add most of the croutons and most of the pecorino cheese, before tossing again. Serve topped with the remaining walnuts and pecorino.
Serves 6-8

Monday, October 4, 2010

This Week's Share--Roots and Rain

This week's share will feature a whole lot of roots (and tubers) including sweet potatoes, potatoes, salad/asian turnips, daikon radish, and beets. The share will also include greens--arugula and asian, green beans, and peppers. Unfortunately all the recent rain has put an end to the tomatoes. I will however be giving out the green tomatoes for those who like to fry them up or click here for a recent Food in Jars pickled green tomato recipe.

The large long white daikon radish might be new to you click here for a link to an overview on the daikon radish and a related daikon salad recipe. Considering the chilly weather I thought this NY Times Daikon and Mushroom soup recipe might be of interest.

Enjoy this week's share and make sure you scroll down to check out four amazing recipes that Nikki has sent along.

Notes from Nikki--4 great recipes

A big thank you to Nikki, who despite her busy fall schedule has still managed to put together some amazing recipes made from recent share vegetables.
Potato Leek Soup

Admittedly, I do miss those summer nights of yore, but I also love cooking up a pot of soup on a chilly fall evening. The following recipe is for a very simple potato leek soup. I used bacon in the mix, but feel free to nix that. A glug of olive oil will also do. Also, I used the red-skinned potatoes from last week's share, un-peeled, but any variety of potatoes will work just fine, even a mixture. You can't really mess this soup up. Enjoy!


1/3 lb of bacon, diced
3-5 leeks (depending on their size and your taste for them. I say, don't be shy. ;-)), white and light green parts only, sliced (make sure to wash out the grit after you slice them)
2-3 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped
About 12 small-medium potatoes, quartered
1-2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
4-6 C chicken or veggie stock
1-2 C whole milk
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Shredded cheddar cheese for topping
Chopped parsley for garnish


Cook bacon in a soup pot over medium heat until fat is rendered.
Add in the leeks, sauteing until softened and fragrant.
Toss in the garlic and saute briefly.
Add the potatoes and thyme, stirring to combine and coat the potatoes.
Pour in the stock and turn up the heat to bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the potatoes are fork tender.
Smash the potatoes using a potato masher (or the back of your spoon).
Add in the milk, sea salt, and pepper.
Using an immersion blender, blend the soup just a bit to incorporate everything. (This step is optional. Feel free to leave the soup alone of you want it more chunky and rustic).
Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Ladle the soup into bowls, top with shredded cheese and a bit of parsley, and serve.

Sweet Potato, Black Bean Quesadillas

I brought these to a potluck yesterday and they were gone before I could even get a slice. Luckily I got to taste and sample them during the cooking process. ;-)
The following recipe makes 4 large quesadillas, which I then sliced into eighths like a pizza. Perfect for a party. Feel free to cut the recipe in half for a smaller crowd or a family dinner (or, if your family eats as much as mine does, keep the recipe as is ;-)).


2 large sweet potatoes, roasted in a 400 degree oven until soft, skinned, and mashed
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2-3 large cloves of garlic, minced
Glug of olive oil
A couple of generous pinches of mexican oregano
2-3 tsp cumin
1-2 tsp smoked paprika
1-2 tsp ancho or chipotle chili powder (just the ground peppers, not a "chili powder" mix)
Sea salt
3 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 lbs (or so) cooked, shredded chicken breast tenders (I simply cooked these over medium heat in some olive oil. Another option would be to use leftover roasted chicken or omit the chicken altogether)
8 large, flour tortillas
3 C shredded cheddar or jack cheese (or a combination of both)
1 bunch cilantro (minus the stems below the leaves), chopped


Preheat the oven to 400.
Saute the onion and garlic over medium heat until softened and fragrant.
Add in the cumin, smoked paprika, ground chili, and sea salt.
Toss in the black beans, stirring to incorporate.
Saute a bit longer, allowing the flavors to meld.
Kill the heat.
Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Set aside.
Spread about 1/4 of the sweet potato mash onto one of the tortillas.
Top this with about 1/4 of the bean mixture and 1/4 of the shredded chicken.
Sprinkle cilantro over the chicken (don't be shy) and then top the cilantro with about 3/4 C of shredded cheese.
Place another tortilla over top of the cheese and bake in the oven until the tortilla starts to brown in spots and the cheese is all melty and yummy.
Repeat the above steps until you have assembled and baked 4 large quesadillas.
Slice the quesadillas with a pizza slicer and serve.


Green Beans and Zesty Tomatoes

This is a very simple recipe that will showcase those lovely little green and yellow haricot verts especially, but any of the green beans from your Inverbrook share will do, really. Also, any and all of the tomatoes from your share will work. This a sure fire recipe, really hard to mess up. I happened to serve this with meatloaf and mashed potatoes as you will see in the photo. It's so versatile, it will make a lovely side dish for any number of main dishes, or a beautiful lunch all on it's own. Enjoy!


1-2 lbs or so green beans, stem end snapped off
1-2 large cloves of garlic
Glug of olive oil
1-2 tsp lemon zest
About 1 C or so fresh tomatoes, chopped
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Shaved parmesan for topping


Saute the garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until fragrant.
Toss in the lemon zest and beans, stirring to combine.
Cover and simmer, shaking the pan occasionally, until the beans are just barely tender (this will happen within 5-10 minutes, tops, so check very frequently).
Uncover and toss in the tomatoes, sea salt, and pepper.
Saute very briefly, just until heated through.
Turn off the heat, taste and adjust the seasoning, and serve topped with a few shavings of parmesan.

Arugula, Edamame Pesto

This stuff is so yummy, I simply can't stop eating it. I have put it on chicken, eggs, bread, tomatoes, potatoes, etc. Seriously, I have an addiction, and I really don't even care that much for arugula. :-) Anyway, the following recipe makes a vat of this stuff, but it stores really well, so have at it (or, feel free to cut the recipe in half). I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!


1 lb frozen, shelled edamame beans thawed (1 lb of fresh cooked edamame or fava beans would also work)
1/4-1/3 C olive oil
2-3 large handfuls arugula, washed and torn
1/3-1/2 C shredded parmesan
1-2 large cloves of garlic, smashed
Juice of 1 large lemon (add in some zest too, if you like the flavor)
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper


Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.
Add in some water to thin, if necessary.
Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Spread on any number of things (or just eat it plain, by the spoonful) and enjoy!