Tuesday, August 25, 2009

bok choy bonanza

I work full-time as a nanny for a 16 month old little boy named Naveen. I cook for the family as well. They always have such amazing and eclectic ingredients. Lingonberry jam, elderflower concentrate to make lovely elderflower spritzers with soda water. Spices like fenugreek, anise seed, Nigerian cayenne pepper. 
Yesterday I was checking out the fridge full of an endless supply of fruits and vegetables from the CSA and Fairway. Listening to some Elivis Costello, The Clash and The Cramps for some punk rock motivation, I decided upon two heads of bok choy. I never seem to cook with bok choy. I don't know why. When it comes to greens, I always seem to go with the swiss chard, spinach or kale. I love Asian flavors like soy sauce and ginger so I don't know why I never cook with bok choy. Well, today is bok choy day. Looking through the Mark Bittman book (How to Cook Everything Vegetarian) and getting his take on how to cook this vegetable. He recommends keeping it simple. I like simple. I separated the long white stalks (similar to celery) from the leafy green tops. Made sure to wash the stalks thoroughly because there's always a ton of dirt stuck on them. Also, washed the leafs too. Chopped the stalks into about 1 inch pieces and chiffonaded (rolling the leaves up like a cigar and then finely slicing them) Used about 6 tablespoons canola oil in a cast iron skillet and added the stalks first. Cooked them until tender, about 10 minutes, and then added the leaves. Added about 2 T of chopped garlic and ginger. That took about another 10 minutes. Added about a cup of water to help them soften and simmered it for a bit longer. I had about 2 and a half cups of brown rice that I had cooked earlier. So I added that to the already simmering bok choy. The rice helped to soak up some of the excess water and lended a lovely tenderness to it as well and reminded me a bit of a risotto ( I had earlier stir fried some 2 day old rice with olive oil and fried an egg with it. So good! Helped soften up the old rice and give it some much needed flavor) Seriously. This turned out real good. So simple and real good. Naveen devoured it. His parents had recently learned that he's allergic to wheat, dairy, soy, and peanuts. Luckily, this kids loves his vegetables. There's really an endless variation on brown rice and vegetable dishes or any sort of grain really. Today was a bok choy bonanza.

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