I am thrilled to be writing weekly packets for you–Sauvie Island Organics members–with recipes, tips and notes about the beautiful produce you are receiving. I hope you find some inspiration here every week and I welcome your feedback.
A few introductory thoughts:
In many of the recipes I will be writing for you every week, quantities listed are approximations. There are so many variables for each household at any given time—how many mouths to feed, what else are you making, your own taste of how you like things, quantity of veg you want/need to use up, etc. So please feel free to adapt and use your own best judgment.
I often include “notes” and “tips” for certain vegetables with quick ideas and techniques for preparing them. If you’re in a hurry, these should be a good resource.
Green Garlic Notes
Joi Choi and Green Garlic Stir-fry with Lime
Asian Noodle Salad with Toasted Sesame Dressing with Joi Choi
Green Garlic, Kale and Feta Frittata
Cook-With-What-You-Have Salad with Kale or Lettuce and Beans
Basic Bean Cooking Notes
Green Garlic Notes
I plant garlic in my own garden each fall so that I can exclusively use it as green garlic, in its immature state when it looks a bit like a green onion (scallion). I put it in just about everything—from salad dressings to pestos to egg dishes, and of course anywhere you would use a regular clove of garlic. Green garlic is sweet and milder than the mature cloves so you can use it generously. Depending on the size of the stalk you can basically use the whole thing, save the roots and outermost layer of the stalk. I usually cut the top few inches of green off but you’ll be able to tell how much to cut off depending on how tender it is. If it seems fibrous trim/peel it back a bit more.
- Radishes are wonderful, as the French eat them, with some good butter and good sea salt.
- They add color, crunch, and sweet-spiciness to salads—you could make a lovely one with the lettuce and a dressing of some minced green garlic, Dijon-style mustard, red wine vinegar, olive oil, some fresh thyme if you have it and some hardboiled egg.
- They are good sautéed or braised with other veggies (or stir-fried, see below).
- The greens can be quickly blanched and made into a pesto by themselves or in combination with other herbs.
Joi Choi, Radish and Green Garlic Stir-Fry with Lime
–inspired by 101cookbooks.com
Serves 2-4 (main/side)
There are lots of ways to approach this technique and flavor combination. If you have ½ a bunch of asparagus on hand, by all means use it in this dish.
You can include extra-firm tofu or very thinly sliced flank steak or leftover chicken in this dish. Alternatively you can fry an egg on the side and top the stir-fry with it.
Whatever approach you take you want to have all your vegetables (and protein, if using) cut up and ready to go when you start. The dish just takes a few minutes cook.
**NOTE: If you are using meat or tofu (cut into small pieces or very thin slices respectively). Fry it briefly in toasted sesame oil in a wide skillet or wok over high heat. Then remove from pan while you proceed with the rest of the ingredients.
Toasted sesame oil
4 green onions (or chunk of regular onion), thinly sliced
scant 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 a bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (optional)
1 bunch radishes, cut in half (or quarters if large) and tops washed and roughly chopped
a couple big pinches of fine-grain sea salt
2 stalks green garlic, trimmed of tough ends and roots, finely chopped
1 big handful of toasted cashews, chopped up a bit or roasted peanuts or slivered, toasted almonds
4 cups (more or less) joi choi, washed and cut into 1-inch ribbons/chunks
zest and juice of one lime (or zest and juice of half a lemon)
1 tablespoon soy sauce sauce or Shoyu
1 small handful fresh mint, thinly sliced (optional but very good)
Add a (generous) splash of toasted sesame oil to the pan and, as soon as it is hot, add the onions, ginger, red pepper flakes, radishes, asparagus (if using), and salt. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes, then add the garlic, nuts, and bok choi and radish tops and stir-fry for another minute or 2, or until the greens wilt. Return tofu or meat (if using) to the pan. Stir in the lime zest and juice and the soy sauce sauce. Cook for another 30 seconds, stirring all the while.
Remove from heat and stir in the mint. Taste and add a bit more salt if needed. If not using meat or tofu top with fried egg or serves as is with rice or just as a side.
Asian Noodle Salad with Toasted Sesame Dressing and Joi Choi
–inspired by Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair
This is fairly classic combination. It’s a perfect place for some green garlic and Joi Choi this week. You can adapt at will and actually some slivered radishes would be great too.
Serves 4-6 as a side and 2-3 as an entrée
1 (8-ounce) package soba noodles (or whole wheat spaghetti – Barilla is a brand for this)
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup chopped cilantro and/or mint (can omit in a pinch)
1 bunch joi choi, washed and cut into ½ inch ribbons
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons tamari (or regular soy sauce)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
2 teaspoons, minced green garlic
pinch or two of chili flakes (or more depending on your taste)
Cook soba noodles according to package directions. About 90 seconds before the noodles are done add the chopped greens to the noodles, bring back to a boil and cook until both are tender. Drain and rinse noodles and greens in colander.
Toast sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat. Keep seeds moving until they give off aroma, pop, and begin to brown. This just takes 3-4 minutes. Remove and set aside. They burn easily so watch carefully.
Mix dressing ingredients in large bowl, add noodles, greens, sesame seeds and cilantro. Mix well.
Green Garlic, Kale and Feta Frittata
This is one of my quickest, go-to dinners for a busy day. The options are literally infinite as to what to include. In this version green garlic and kale are the core, with a bit of feta. You could add the radish tops here as well if you like. This is wonderful the next day in sandwiches or as a snack. It’s just as good at room temperature as it is cold or warm. To make this a bit heartier, you could add potatoes cut into small dice that you cook with the green garlic.
3 green garlic stalks, washed finely chopped
2 medium potatoes, scrubbed and cut into ½-inch dice (optional—see headnote)
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
6-8 eggs (or whatever you have or want to use)
3-4 cups, chopped Kale (or kale and radish tops)
2 ounces feta or fresh goat cheese (optional—can omit choose or substitute some Parmesan or even sharp cheddar)
Heat the butter and oil in a heavy sauté pan or well-seasoned cast iron pan or non-stick (if it’s heatproof and can go in the oven). Add the green garlic and a few pinches of salt to pan and sauté over medium heat until they soften about 7-8 minutes. If you are using potatoes, dice them small and sauté them with the green garlic. Then add kale and turn up the heat to medium-high and add a small splash of water and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes minutes until just tender and wilted.
Set your oven to broil.
Lightly whisk the eggs until they’re just broken up—no need to get them frothy or really well mixed. Add a few generous pinches of salt and several grinds of pepper and crumbled feta or goat cheese. Pour eggs over the vegetables and tilt the pan to evenly distribute the eggs. Cover and cook on medium heat for a few minutes. When the eggs begin to set around the edge take the pan off the heat and set under the broiler (uncovered) until the eggs are cooked and slightly puffed and golden.
Let sit for a few minutes before cutting and serving. It will come out of the pan much more easily that way. Serve with a slice of bread and salad.
Cook-With-What-You-Have Salad with Kale or Lettuce and Beans
I am a bit of a bean evangelist (delicious, inexpensive, shelf stable, etc.) I love adding whatever cooked beans I have in the fridge to salads made of whatever I happened to have around. This is my favorite lunch or quick addition to dinner. This is less of a recipe and more of a general guide for you to use with what you have on hand and your tastes. You can use most any kind of bean and any fairly sturdy salad green. You can use either the lettuce or kale (raw) in this salad.
Serves 2-4 depending on whether it’s a side or main dish and of course how hungry you are. I can easily eat half this salad myself.
1 cup cooked, cooled beans (chickpeas, black beans, pinto or white beans or lentils—see bean cooking instructions below), well-drained
4 cups, finely sliced kale, tough stems removed or roughly torn lettuce
1 teaspoon finely chopped green garlic
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
About a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar (red wine, champagne and sherry vinegar are my favorites)
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon honey
1-2 hardboiled eggs, roughly chopped (optional)
2-3 tablespoons toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds
Put beans and kale or lettuce in a large bowl. In a small bowl mix garlic, lemon juice (or vinegar), salt, pepper, honey and olive oil. Toss everything together well. Taste and adjust seasoning and then gently toss in egg and seeds, if using.
Basic Dry Bean Soaking/Cooking Instructions
If you aren’t in the habit of soaking and cooking dry beans here are the basic steps. The flavor of the beans is very good this way and they are much, much cheaper than cans. Once in the habit, it’s not much work at all. And I always soak and cook more than I need for any given recipe and freeze the rest in some of the cooking liquid. I also rarely cook beans for use in the moment. They improve so much if you can let them sit in their cooking liquid for an hour or so, or up to 8 hours. I usually cook them while I’m doing something else in the kitchen and then have them on hand for the next few days and/or freeze them for later use.
3-4 cups dried beans (garbanzo, white, black, pinto. . . ) Rinse beans if they look dusty and pick out any stones. Usually I don’t find anything like that. Place in a large bowl covered by about 4 inches of cold water. Soak over night or 6-8 hours. Drain and rinse beans.
Place soaked beans in a large pot and cover with cold water by several inches. Add a few whole, peeled garlic cloves, a bay leaf and a big chunk of peeled onion. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and let cook covered until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally (this helps prevent some beans from softening before others.) If your beans are old (hard to tell!) salting them at the beginning can prevent them from cooking properly, so salt mid-way through or at the end. When you do add salt, be generous, as in at least 3 teaspoons kosher salt to start if you’re cooking 4 cups or so of dried beans. They’ll probably need more still. The time it takes for the beans to cook will vary depending on the kind of bean and the freshness of the dried beans. Garbanzos take the longest, usually about 45 minutes. Black, white and pinto can be done in 15-40 minutes. Let beans cool in their liquid (if you’re not in a rush) and then use, freeze, etc. If you’re freezing some, fill your container with the beans and then ladle in the cooking liquid until the beans are almost covered. Cooked beans also keep in the fridge for 5-6 days and for several months in the freezer.
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