Count Broccula's veg-head ramblings

My home experiments with vegetarian cooking. Focused on seasonal produce with some vegan stuff thrown in for good measure. I may include random other food-related stuff as I please.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Joi Choi-a-palooza

Well, I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to do with the rest of the joi choi (like bok choy), and I had a ton of it left. I looked through several cookbooks until something sounded good, and Jack Bishop was my man again today. I found something in his "A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen" that caught my eye. I didn't use the recipe, exactly, but I liked the basic ideas and flavors and ran with those. First, I put some water on to boil, and when it was boiling I threw in some buckwheat soba noodles (one bundle). Then I got out that big head of choi and went to town. I hacked off the bottom two inches. I separated the leaves from the stems. I heated a big sautee pan with a tiny bit (maybe a teaspoon) of sesame oil, a teaspoon or so of garlic, a little more than that of ginger (I use jarred ginger and garlic because I use so darned much of both). Then I sliced the stems up and threw them in the pan. I sauteed them over medium high heat for just about five minutes while I chopped the leaves (I actually sliced them into long strips), then I threw those in, too. Meanwhile, back at the pasta . . .
I drained the pasta after five minutes of boiling, then heated another non-stick frying pan with cooking spray and dumped the noodles in. I poked them around with a spoon just until they were spread pretty evenly over the bottom of the pan. Then I let them cook over medium-high heat for another five minutes or so, then flipped them over as best I could with a big spatula. They had gotten a little brown on the bottom and formed sort of a pancake.
The joi choi leaves didn't take long -- when they looked soft and turned bright green, I tasted a piece, but it was still not as tender as I liked, so I let them go for another minute or two, probably five minutes total.
To serve and eat this mess, I cut the pancakce in half, slid it onto a plate, topped it with half the joi choi, then dripped a tiny bit of light soy sauce and some hot cock* and ate. It was surprisingly good.

Some notes -- hot cock is what I (and most of my pals) call sriracha hot sauce. Listen, it's super hot and it's got a big rooster on it. What do you expect? Anyway, if you don't like spicy foods, stay away from this stuff. Or if you prefer just a little spice, try chili-garlic sauce instead, it's milder but still flavorful.

Joi choi/bok choy -- This is one of the reasons I like experimenting with the CSA vegetable box. I am not a huge fan of bok choy normally in restaurants, not because it tastes bad, but because they just give you SO MUCH of it, and it's not all that flavorful. Sometimes it seems there's a whole head of bok choy floating limply in a half gallon of soup, and it just gets tiring. But as a home cook, I can prepare it how I prefer, and tonight's dinner was a good example of that.

Also, I made more celery root chips. I used less salt this time, and table salt instead of sea salt, which kind of overpowered them. I also sprinkled pepper on them. They took longer than the recipe for baked potato chips I had suggested (10 minutes on the first side, 5-7 on the second), but I was also using air-bake style pans (with a layer of air between two sheets of metal), which always take longer, but cook really evenly. It was actually kind of a hard decision, though, because yesterday's celery root salad was quite good, too, and I kind of was craving it on the way home. Still, the chips evoked a good response from my sweetie, and I'm enjoying them, so all's well that ends well.


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