Saturday, September 29, 2012

Bok Choi & Kale

While shopping at the Barbee Farms stand at Davidson this morning, they had a master chef preparing dishes made with the fresh vegetables. What we tasted was simply wonderful, loaded with flavor and all interesting. It shows what one can do with vegetables when taste remains important and the chef knows what he/she is doing.  This was the same chef the Barbees used for their tasting at their Farm Tour recently.
Bok Choi Slaw

1 head bok choi
¼ cup agave nectar
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 TBL soy sauce
¾ cup canola oil
2 TBL sesame seeds
1 cup slivered almonds
Optional: scallion or green onion
Chop the bok choi. Combine the agave nectar, vinegar, and soy sauce. Lightly stream in the canola oil. Lightly toast the sesame seeds and almonds. Combine all ingredients.

Smothered Kale & Mushrooms

2 TBL extra virgin olive oil
2 TBL butter, cut into small pieces
4 cloves garlic, chopped
24 small cremini mushrooms, wiped clean and halved
¼ cup Marsala wine (white or red balsamic vinegar can also be used)
Salt and pepper
Optional: pinch of red pepper flakes
Heat a medium skillet with extra virgin olive oil and butter over medium to medium high heat. When hot, add garlic and mushrooms and place a lid which is too small for the skillet down into the pan, pressing and smothering the mushrooms. Cook 7-8 minutes, stirring once, then toss the kale into the pan, turning it with tongs to combine with mushrooms. Smother the greens for 1-2 minutes, until wilted; then deglaze the pan with Marsala and season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste. A sprinkle of Pecorini Romano for garnish may also be used.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fresh Ginger Cooking

Alan and Barbara Hall of Mother's Earth Farm, participating farmers at the Lomax Incubator Farm, provided a few wonderful recipes for cooking with their fresh ginger. Ginger makes so many dishes taste wonderful, and fresh ginger make an amazing difference over the dried stuff available in many food markets. Baby ginger, which the Hall family sells at the Davidson Market, has a sweet ginger flavor, with no bitterness and mild "heat". No peeling is necessary, so there is no waste. Ginger tops, sold with the ginger, can be sliced and dried, or frozen and used in recipes where a mild ginger taste is preferred.
The kale recipe below was modified slightly by Carol Schmidt, by adding some fresh garlic.

Kale With Fresh Ginger
1 bunch kale, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 TBSP fresh ginger, sliced thinly (leave whole when slicing so they are round and beautiful in the dish when finished)
2 TBSP soy sauce
2 TBSP diced fresh garlic
Olive oil for cooking
Sauté kale in olive oil until just bright green (the pan will be relatively hot). Add ginger and garlic, and cook one more minute, stirring kale, ginger and garlic together. Add soy sauce to deglaze the pan and stir vigorously to coat the kale, ginger and garlic with soy sauce,  about 30 seconds. Serve hot. Can be served over fish, grilled chicken, brown rice, or as a vegetable side dish. 
Spicy Mango Sauce
1 mango, ripe, cut into small chunks
2-3 oz fresh baby ginger, finely minced
1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 3-4 inch long pieces
1/4 cup orange juice
1 chili pepper, thinly sliced, seeds included if extra spiciness desired
Pinch of salt
Pinch of garlic powder
1 TSP honey
Place all ingredients in a sauce pan. Simmer until thick. Remove lemongrass stalks. Serve hot. Serve with tuna steaks, pork, grilled chicken, or any strong fish. Serve over grains or rice.

Ginger Lemonade
6 cups of water, divided
1 ¼ cups sugar
¼ cup grated fresh ginger
1 ¼ cups fresh lemon juice
Lemon slices (optional)
Combine 1 cup water, sugar and ginger in a small saucepan; bring to a boil and cook 1 minute, or until sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool. Strain ginger mixture (if you do not want the pulp) into a pitcher. Add 5 cups of water and juice and stir well. Serve over ice and garnish with lemon slices. Serves 8. 

Ginger Chai
Black tea
Cardamom seeds; 2 seeds per cup
Fresh ginger; 1 TSP per cup
Cinnamon (sticks or powder); 1 TSP per cup
Measure milk according to number of cups, and pour into saucepan. Heat milk until a soft boil; add spices and tea; simmer 5 to 10 minutes. When using cardamom seeds, split open before adding. Strain and serve.