Asian Saute of Cabbage Leaves & Bok Choy

cabbage leaves & bok choy

cabbage leaves & bok choy

 

Cabbage is a very ambitious plant. It confidently unfurls leaves that will grow larger each day until they are the size of your head. Meanwhile the days grow colder and you feel it should be focusing on its real purpose, its own head…of cabbage. Instead, it devotes so much energy to these big outer cabbagey leaves like it has all the time in the world. It feels like the main event will never happen.

Well, we just can’t wait that long, and you don’t have to either. This weekend I got a preview of the dinner-plate sized cabbage leaves that will be in our share. Sautéed for a few minutes in this dish, you’ll find the leaves to be a more tender version of cabbage. Any one who knows cole slaw knows that cabbage loves sweet and sour. I think you’ll find this recipe plays on that with rice vinegar and a sprinkle of sugar.

The Cabbage Leaf – A more tender version of itself:

1 bundle Cabbage leaves

1 head of Bok choy,

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Pull the big center stem out of the cabbage leaves as you would do with kale. Chop the rinsed and still wet leaves in large strips; sauté in sesame oil over medium-high heat. After leaves begin to wilt in 2 to 3 minutes, add the rinsed and chopped bok choy (stems and leaves).  Sprinkle with the vinegar, salt and sugar. Stir for another 2 to 3 minutes until all greens are tender.

cabbage leaves sautéing

cabbage leaves sautéing

 

Zucchini Latkes with Lemon-Chive Sauce

zucchini latkes

zucchini latkes

This is like the traditional potato pancake, but uses shredded zucchini instead. I served them with buttery egg noodles which pretty much guarantees they were a hit with the kids. A cool variation is that adding 2-3 teaspoons of Old Bay seasoning to the mixture makes these zucchini cakes taste amazingly like crab cakes. In that case, switch out the sauce for tartar!

Serves 4; Makes 8 latkes

Lemon-Chive Sauce

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Zucchini Cakes

  • 1 pound zucchini (about 2 medium)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup french fried onions
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil

In a small bowl, prepare the sauce by combining the four ingredients; chill.

Prepare latkes by shredding the zucchini in a food processor with grater attachment – or by using a box grater. Toss the zucchini in salt and let stand for 5 minutes. Press the zucchini in a strainer to remove as much liquid as possible; discard liquid.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl lightly beat an egg. Add flour, pepper and zucchini stirring until well combined. Fold in the fried onions.

In large non-stick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Drop 1/4 cup of zucchini mixture into skillet and flatten with the bottom of a measuring cup – or press into 3 1/2″ patties. Cook 5 to 7 minutes or until browned – turning once halfway through.

 

Short Cut Kohlrabi and Chard Vegetable Dip

a kohlrabi invasion

a kohlrabi invasion

Kohlrabi look like little green and purple aliens with long slender arms stretched high, “pick me, pick me!” But there is nothing alien about its taste. In German it translates to “cabbage turnip”. It is sweet, tender but crunchy, and easy to just peel and eat. When chopped and sliced it’s a great addition to a salad and I like to substitute it for water chestnuts in recipes – like in this one.

Using a seasoning mix is a completely delicious short cut to enjoy your dark leafy greens like kale, chard, or collards. I have been using Knorr Vegetable Mix and there are nice options in the Simply Organic brand too.

If you want a dip that eats like a meal, double the amount of leafy greens you use. When the seasoning packet calls for a 10 ounce package of spinach, I just substitute 1 bunch of my fresh organic Everblossom greens that I’ve wilted as described below.

Simply combine all of these ingredients together and dip away!

1 bunch of Swiss chard or other dark green leaf – wilted in simmering water for 5-8 minutes or until very limp, drained thoroughly (squeeze with your hands or press into a sieve) and chopped. If you use kale or collards you must remove the hard center stem.

2 kohlrabi, peeled and chopped

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup sour cream

1 vegetable recipe mix packet

kale and chard leaves beginning to simmer

kale and chard leaves beginning to simmer

wilted leaves

wilted leaves

 

 

Fresh Strawberry Slushies

 

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My ice crusher and blender did all the really hard work, but I was a hero to my girls with these chilly and sweet all natural strawberry slushies.

This recipe makes a blender full – about 5 cups.

3 cups strawberries, washed and capped
3 cups crushed ice
3 teaspoons lime juice
4-5 tablespoons agave nectar

Blend until smooth. Straws are required.

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Back for more!

Back for more!

Prosecco with fresh strawberry syrup

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Happy Flag Day!

It’s day two of strawberry weekend here at lemmontwist. Today’s recipe is about celebration — of our flag and our favorite organic berry.

Strawberry syrup is 1 cup berries mixed with 1 cup sugar, cook on medium/low. Mash berries with a potato masher. Continue to cook until it boils. Remove from heat. Then strain berries if you prefer to separate from syrup.

Pour 1 glass Prosecco or other sparkling white.
Drizzle with fresh strawberry syrup to taste.

Cheers!

Strawberry Salad

To make me feel slightly better for serving my children strawberry shortcake as their main meal, I also tossed a salad. Of course, they did not eat any salad.

chopped strawberry salad in poppyseed dressing

chopped strawberry salad in poppyseed dressing

I used my good ol’ organic haul from Everblossom this week.

  • Chopped lettuce – a handful for each serving
  • Strawberries, halved
  • Croutons – plain and salty
  • Tossed all together with a few tablespoons of Brianna’s Poppyseed Dressing (www.briannassaladdressing.com)

briannas

 

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberries. They're what's for dinner.

Strawberries. They’re what’s for dinner.

Tonight our Everblossom organic strawberries were the star of dinner — a strawberry salad followed by SHORTCAKE! I made this shortcake from a pre-made mix I keep on hand. My shortcake is brown because I use white whole wheat and instead of refined sugar, I use sucanat. Sucanat is an unrefined sugar that is brown and has a slight molasses taste in some things, but works very well here. If you’re interested, you can buy it at Sonnewald Natural Food store in Spring Grove.

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Since I also use this mix for pancakes, here are the instructions to make pancakes too… or in this case 8 individual shortcakes. If you’re Pennsylvania “Dutchy” like us, you will eat this with a healthy pour of milk and let the warm cake soak it up.

For the pancake/waffle/shortcake mix:
4 cups all-purpose flour (or white whole wheat flour)
3 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons superfine sugar

Sift together and store in a jar.

To make 8 individual shortcakes:
2 1/3 cups mix
4 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup milk

Mix all ingredients together,  drop them evenly on a baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

To make pancakes: to each 1 cup of pancake mix, add and whisk together
1 large egg
1 cup reduced fat milk (or full fat)
1 tablespoon melted butter

(to serve 4, start with 2 cups of mix).

Hakurei Turnips and Garlic Scapes with Sesame – updated

 

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I have been helping Elaine with recipes for the CSA since she started about 10 years ago. We shared this recipe back in 2012. I’ve posted it here just the same except I have modified it to use the season’s garlic scapes.

Hakurei turnips are the little white globes in your bag. They are sweet and spicy and will make a turnip lover out of you! No need to peel them.

Garlic scapes are the the twisty shoots of the garlic plant that have a mild and fresh garlic flavor. I like to substitute these for garlic and green onions – which I have done here.

Serves 2 (or more as a side)

8-12 hakurei turnips with greens

3 tablespoons sesame oil

3 garlic scapes, chopped into 1/4-inch chunks

Salt and black pepper

Sesame seeds and Soba noodles (optional)

  • Separate the turnips from their greens and wash and dry both thoroughly. Cut off both ends of the turnip bulbs (no need to peel them) and slice the bulbs into rounds about one-quarter of an inch thick. Chop the stems off the turnip greens and set the leaves aside whole.
  • Heat the sesame oil in a pan until it’s very hot (drops of water sizzle upon impact). Add the turnip slices, garlic scapes, a pinch of salt and a few generous grinds of black pepper. Stir frequently for about five minutes until turnips are slightly softened and browning on edges. Add turnip greens. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until greens are wilted and turnip slices are crisp, but tender.
  • Serve with cold soba noodles (prepared according to package instructions) tossed in sesame oil.
  • Serve with sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

A classic Thai salad, Everblossom style

My man tucking into his larb

My man tucking into his larb

Larb is a popular Thai salad of highly seasoned ground meat and herbs. It’s a lovable mix of spicy and sweet, but Elaine and I agree they should find a more appetizing name for it.

My version includes our organic radish, and tender baby napa cabbage, but any of the ruffled greens could be used. Chopped into ribbons they are a cool crunchy complement to the spicy meat. My larb also is made with ingredients that are easy to find. That’s important to me because what good is a recipe that lays on my desk while I go on the hunt for “Thai bird chiles” or “gochugaru”? That is an actual thing, by the way. I am not making that up.

Lastly, I love learning new things. Not only was larb new to me, but I learned how delicious a little sugar on minced garlic is! The gritty sugar helps the garlic to mince up finely, but then it also picks on the garlic’s natural sweetness. I may always sugar my garlic cloves from now on.

Serves 2, generously.

Cremini mushrooms, 1 package, quartered (about 2 cups)

1 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)

1 tablespoon butter (helps add a little fat and flavor to the turkey)

1 pound ground turkey

3 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon sugar

3 tablespoons lime juice

1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce (don’t skip this – it’s key to flavor and saltiness)

3 squirts of Sriracha hot sauce (about 1/2 tablespoon),or other hot chile of your choice

Cilantro, one big handful, leaves roughly chopped

5 or 6 radishes, chopped

Baby napa cabbage or other ruffled green, thinly sliced

 

Mushroom & Onion

Mushroom & Onion

  • Heat pan over medium-high; sauté the mushrooms and onion in butter until softened and browned. Add turkey and cook until browned, about another 7 minutes. Stir to crumble.
  • Place garlic on a cutting board and sprinkle with sugar. Mince.
  • In a large bowl combine garlic, lime juice, fish sauce and sriracha

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  • Add meat mixture. Toss and cool a little, then add cilantro and radish.
  • Place greens on a platter and top with the meat mixture.

NOTE: If you have basil, mint, and/or cucumbers, please feel free to chop and add too – all of these things are friends of larb. This is great served at room temperature and the meat mixture keeps well in the fridge.

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Whole Bok Choy

Bok Choy

Serving vegetables in its whole form is kind of a new concept for me. Like it was a rule that you had to chop everything into a bite-sized piece. Every time. I didn’t realize how seriously I believed in this rule until one night I watched my sister-in-law, Stacey, confidently cut the chard leaves ONLY in half and I was stunned. Honestly, in that moment, she simplified my life in a meaningful way. I had never even considered that I did not have to dice it, chop it, chiffonade or otherwise.  Why was I adding all this time to food prep?  The result – a whole cooked vegetable on the plate – is a sophisticated and natural presentation. It also seems to retain more moisture and flavor.

As for bok choy, my standard operating procedure was to chop its stalks and leaves vigorously and add it to a stir fry. Then last month a restaurant in, of all places, the lobby of a Hilton Garden Inn (I kid you not) offered grilled sesame salmon with whole sautéed bunches of bok choy. It was California after all. Again, I was stunned for a couple of reasons. First, wow, are they really getting things right at Hilton Garden Inn! Second, I don’t have to spend time chopping up bok choy either!

What you need:

  • Bok choy, whole bunches…that I can’t resist cutting at least in half length-wise
  • Sesame oil
  • Salt

Sauté bok choy halves in sesame oil over medium-high heat. Turning them gently to coat with the oil. Sprinkle with salt. When the pan is hot and steamy, cover with a lid and cook for 2 mins. Then turn the bok choy, cover again and cook for another 2 minutes.

Bok choy will be softened but still slightly crunchy at the largest parts of the stalk. Delightful.