Thursday, August 19, 2010

GARDEN HARVEST

One of the more interesting things we planted in our garden this summer was Bok Choy.  It was a spur of the moment inclusion simply because Jan Becker had the plants this spring and was getting rid of things, so I scooped them up.  We ended up with 2 of these, made a place for them in the center plot and stood back to see what they'd become. 

I'll admit that I've only had Bok Choy one time and only picked these up because I thought it would be interesting.  Fast forward 2 months and we now have two good sized heads ready to harvest and I'm scrambling for ways to use it.  Since it's basically thought of as an Asian ingredient, I've found a couple of stir fry ideas plus one pretty intriguing soup that I'm going to try. 

If you've not tried Bok Choy, it's sometimes described as a cross between a cabbage and lettuce in flavor.  I tend to think it's very cabbagey and quite crisp.  It lends itself nicely to a quick saute so that the leaves wilt and cook while leaving a crunchy bite to the stems.  They take longer to cook than spinach so give them some extra time in the pan. 

Tonight I decided to try the following stir fry for a quick meal for one.  The longest part of the meal preparation was cooking the brown rice, so this turned out to be quick, easy and really very good. 

BOK CHOY WITH CHICKEN AND CASHEWS

1 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
4 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced thinly (1/4 inch) (I had a piece of grilled bison strip steak left over from a couple nights before and used a few slices of that instead of the chicken - more about this bison later, it was terrific!)
1/4 cup chopped green onions, including green ends
1 small garlic clove, minced
large handful bok choy - rinsed and sliced, including leaves
drizzle of sesame oil (be very stingy with this, it's extremely strong and a little bit goes a LONG way)
1 tsp. soy sauce
Salt
sprinkling of roasted, salted cashews, chopped

Heat oil in a small skillet or small wok on medium high heat. Add the chicken slices and cook quickly.  Remove from the pan and keep warm.. (I skipped this since my steak was already cooked.)

Add onions, then garlic, then bok choy to the hot pan. Sprinkle with sesame oil, soy sauce and salt. Cover, and let the bok choy cook down for approximately 5-6 minutes. (Like spinach, the bok choy will wilt a bit.)

Remove cover. Lower heat to low. Stir and let cook for a minute or two longer, until the bok choy is just cooked. Add the chicken (or steak) back to the pan to heat through.  Gently mix in cashews and serve over cooked brown or white rice.

As written above with the chicken, this recipe weighs in around 700 calories (including the rice).

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