Bok Choy and Turnip Greens

Well, tonight I had my first-ever disappointing experience with a 5 Spices, 50 Dishes recipe. My first response, as I doctored up the tasteless, watery black-eyed pea curry, was anger and a sense of betrayal. But as I realized the specific missing flavors that I was trying to add into the dish – fat and sweet – my eyes strayed over to the empty can of coconut milk – lite coconut milk (it was all I had in the house!) – and I knew I had no one to blame but myself.

Well, the curry ended up quite edible after generous infusions of ginger, Earth Balance, salt, and vermouth. (How does vermouth make absolutely everything better?) And I accompanied it with a fabulous side – spicy bok choy and turnip greens stir fried with garlic and ginger. Unfortunately at this late stage in the game I had to compost at least half the turnip greens, which is a shame. I don’t know if I’ve ever cooked them before. I was put off by their prickly texture when they were raw, but once they were cooked I could not get enough of them. Super-yum!

Stir-fried Bok Choy and Turnip Greens with Goan Black-Eyed Pea Curry Over Brown Rice

I’m about to run out of garlic (although luckily Libby left me some she had in her bag from hostelling), and the curry used my second to last onion. I may have to go shopping soon for these must-have staples if the magic box fails to provide…

With no further ado, however, here is the recipe I used for the bok choy (it’s modified from the internet and I want to make sure I have a copy for the future – it was that good).

Spicy Bok Choy and Turnip Greens with Garlic and Ginger

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon Thai red curry paste
  • 1 head mature bok choy, sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 bunch turnip greens
  • Salt
  • 3 tablespoons broth
  • 2 tablespoons vermouth (recipe called for Shaoxing rice wine, which would be great, but I’m out)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce

Heat a large wok or skillet until very hot. Add the canola oil and heat until just smoking. Add the garlic, ginger and chili paste and stir-fry until lightly browned, about 30 seconds. Add the bok choy and turnip greens and a pinch of salt and stir-fry until crisp-tender, 5 minutes. Add the broth, cooking wine and soy sauce and cook, tossing, for 2 minutes longer. Finish with a drizzle of sesame oil.

Rainbow Chard and Spinach

Tonight for Libby’s final meal I made a Chard, Spinach, and Onion Torta from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Suppers. For the first time I really experienced that feeling I’d hoped to find by getting the CSA box – that sense of spontaneous discovery and trying new things based on whatever arrives. I mentally reviewed which veggies I still had left (a mighty surplus, I’m sad to report, since my next box comes tomorrow!) and then flipped open a favorite cookbook. The first recipe I flipped to was this torta, which I’d never made before, and, by substituting a bag of spinach for one of the two bunches of chard the recipe called for, I was able to use my large bunch of rainbow chard, that bag of spinach, an onion, and some garlic.

It was a perfect recipe to make tonight because it calls for a bread crumb crust. I never have bread in the house, but tonight I had half a loaf of getting-stale Grace Baking rosemary-potato bread I’d bought for Libby as a must-try Bay Area favorite, and the flavor it added to this dish was phenomenal. It basically makes the whole thing shine. (Not to knock the “light cream” I invented out of a mixture of broth and kefir, of course! I took several creative liberties with the recipe, as is my habit.) This was basically a full-meal dish, but we accompanied it with a salad of lettuce, radishes, carrots, and green beans from previous weeks’ boxes.

(It’s not a stellar picture but we were more interested in eating and getting Libby to the airport than in lighting and styling.)

Chard, Spinach, and Onion Torta

Butternut Squash

Inspired by the huge bowl of pumpkin seeds we had left after carving jack o’ lanterns last weekend, Libby and I decided to take on a recipe for Pumpkin Ravioli with Pumpkin Seed Pesto someone had posted on Little did we know what we were getting ourselves in for…

First off, each pumpkin seed had to be individually hulled. Our huge bowl of seeds amounted to a paltry 1/2 cup after we (mostly Libby, who invented a fabulous technique involving systematic tiny pinches between the teeth) spent hours hulling the damn things. We were so exhausted that we decided to postpone the project for another day.

Four days later, we finally had everything assembled – butternut squashes boiled, pureed, and sauteed with onions and Earth Balance (we decided to make the ravioli filling using the squash from Weeks 2 & 3 since the pumpkin meat was currently in the form of rotting jack-o-lantern), pumpkin seeds roasted and blended into pesto, filling prepared – and then finally we made our ravioli. We didn’t make our own pasta (Thank God – it would have been another week!) but used premade wonton wrappers instead (sold in the supermarket in the produce section with the tofu and the fresh Asian noodles) which worked beautifully.

It was, admittedly, incredibly delicious. And, honestly, in no way worth all that work. However, there are many ways this process could have been streamlined, and I loved the ease and the artistry of making tortellini and ravioli shapes with the wonton wrappers, so I’m sure some much-simplified form of this recipe will live on in my kitchen.

Boxwise, this recipe used butternut squash, onions, and garlic. We ate our ravioli with a green salad with lettuce and carrots and green beans and radishes from Week 2 or 3 (I have a serious lettuce backlog) and the entire bunch of arugula sauteed with garlic. (I wouldn’t do this again – I was worried about all the greens I got this week going bad before I could eat them, so I cooked up the giant bunch of arugula, but it was so much tastier raw… oh well, I’ve learned now.)

Just for fun, here are Libby and I posing with the parent pumpkins who donated their seeds and started this whole mess in the first place!Halloween with the vomiting punkin and the hand-eating punkin

Sweet Corn

The last sweet corn of summer. Three ears yielded a lot of kernels – maybe even more on these cobs than the non-bonus cobs I had a couple of weeks ago. Libby husked and de-silked the stalks. She reported finding corn worms, but this time I was spared interacting with them in person.

Tonight for dinner Libby and I had a beautiful meal of Star Anise Tempeh (from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Suppers), pillowy white sushi rice, a huge green salad (using some of a previous week’s lettuce and radishes and carrots, plus some leftover Nicoise green beans), the Indian Yogurt I’m obsessed with which is a variation of a 5 Spices, 50 Dishes recipe, and our yummy, yummy corn, cooked up with turmeric, mustard seed, dried serrano chiles, parsley, and hint of sugar in a delicious preparation from 5S, 50D.

Fuyu Persimmons and Tokyo Turnips: Week of October 31

This is a very full-feeling box. Perhaps because there are so many wonderful fresh greens – my favorite!

Romaine Lettuce (2 bunches)
Fuyu Persimmons (4) (harder than I’d like – we’ll see if they ripen at home)
Spinach (a great big plastic bagfull, still on their rosettes)
Rome Beauty Apples (3 or 4)
Bok Choy (2 Bunches)
Tokyo Turnips (4 or 5 radish-sized turnips on a bunch of greens)
Chard (a good sized bunch)
Arugula (A huge bunch of mature arugula)
Sweet Potatoes (3)
Carrots (5 small carrots)
*Bonus* 3 Ears of Corn that are not part of the box value, put in because they are the end of the crop and many of the ears are not fully formed.