Wednesday, October 10, 2012

greens overload--conquered!

Our CSA has been pretty much straight greens for the first two weeks.  Spinach, kale, arugula, bok choy, mustard greens.  Although I could freeze the spinach and possibly some of the other greens, I've decided to take on the challenge of working through bag upon bag of leafy greens.  

spicy greens and soba noodles

Have you ever had the experience where you look at a beautiful seasonal cookbook in late winter and salivate over the early spring recipes?  Then you realize you're in the upper Midwest and those spring ingredients won't be available locally until June, or late May if you're lucky.  I'm trying not to whine about other parts of the country being way ahead of our growing season.  Instead I'm pulling out my spring recipes and enjoying the first crops of the Wisconsin summer.

heat sources utilized

I've been taking some liberties with my recipes since I have had spring garlic and onions readily available.  In addition to a couple of cloves of garlic, I added my last spring garlic stalk and tripled the green onion input.  I was also pretty liberal with the ginger.  And I opted to use some teeny tiny serrano peppers from the farmer's market in place of the crushed red chili flake.  But when I got to tasting the noodles, the heat from the peppers was not coming through, so I threw in a scant teaspoon of gochugaru, Korean chili powder.  When that wasn't cutting it either, Matt suggested we turn to togarashi, a tasty Japanese seasoning mix of sesame seeds, chili powder, orange peel, and more that was one of the only spicy things to cross our lips in Japan.  My good friend togarashi finally did the trick.

This is an easy and solid stir fry that could be very flexible with the greens and seasonings used.  Throw in whatever greens you've got on hand--they cook down quite a bit.  It calls for balsamic vinegar, which I can only assume is a stand-in for Chinese black vinegar.  Along with the rice vinegar, I thought it lent kind of an odd sweetness to the dish, so I think next time I might try sherry vinegar instead.  

Spicy Greens and Soba Noodles
very slightly adapted from

6 oz soba noodles; or substitute other Asian noodles such as udon, somen, or ramen 
2 tsp sesame oil; or substitute peanut oil
1 tbsp vegetable oil, preferably peanut
1-2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp minced garlic
½ tsp crushed red chile, such as piquin
¼ c chicken or vegetable broth (be sure to use vegetable broth for a completely vegetarian dish!)
8 oz mustard greens, bok choi, spinach, or other greens, stems removed and coarsely chopped
2 oz straw mushrooms (I omitted these this time)
1 c mung bean sprouts
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds for garnish, plus sriracha, sambal, or togarashi as desired

    For the sauce:
    1 tbsp balsamic or sherry vinegar
    4 tsp rice vinegar
    1 tbsp peanut oil
    2 tsp light soy sauce
    1-3 green onions, chopped
    ¼ tsp dark sesame oil
    ¼ tsp crushed red chile, such as piquin or gochigaru
    ¼ tsp sugar
      Cook the noodles according to the directions on the package. Drain and rinse the noodles and place in a bowl. Add the sesame oil and toss to coat.  Combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and stir to mix.
      Heat a heavy skillet or wok over medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil, and when hot, add the ginger, garlic, and chile and stir-fry for a couple of minutes.  Add the broth, and when simmering, add the greens and cook until done. Add the mushrooms and mung beans and cook for a couple of minutes.  Stir the sauce into the vegetable mixture, add the noodles, and toss to coat and reheat.  Put the noodles into a bowl, garnish with toasted sesame seeds, and serve.
      A meatless meal actually on a Monday...imagine that!

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