My New Favorite Stir-Fry Sauce

Hi!

Stir-fries are perfect for weeknight cooking. During the time it takes to cook rice, you can chop and quickly saute your vegetables and protein and make a sauce. In the past, I have fallen into the trap of thinking I can just mix together soy sauce with a few other ingredients and it will turn out well. It usually doesn’t. I end up with a thin and overly salty sauce. So I set out to create a go-to sauce that can work with anything.

I wanted to use store-bought hoisin sauce as a base as it thick and flavorful but then I looked at the ingredient list on the back of the bottle. Most contain artificial colors and flavors. Instead, I decided to use some of the ingredients and flavors of hoisin but make it completely from scratch.

You can use just about anything in a stir-fry but here is my general guidance: choose one protein – meat, shrimp, tofu, tempeh, mushrooms; choose one hardy vegetable that will retain some crunch – carrot, radish, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, asparagus; choose one or more tender vegetables – greens, pak choi, scallions, peas, summer squash, eggplant, bell peppers, onions.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Stir-Fry Sauce
makes about 1 cup / enough for roughly 4 servings

Recipe note: this sauce freezes well so make a double batch!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup white miso
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup chicken / vegetable broth or water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder

Directions:

  • Add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined.
  • Add the sauce to the remaining 1 minute of cooking the final batch of your stir-fry. This will allow the cornstarch to thicken the mixture slightly. You can keep any cooked but unused sauce in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.

Radish & Green Onion Tzatziki

Hello,

Do you love Greek yogurt as much as I do? Yes, it’s more expensive than regular yogurt but it is oh-so-creamy and delicious. If you can stop yourself from eating it straight out of the container (when drizzled with honey, watch out) then you will love this sauce.

Tzatziki is a Greek sauce traditionally made with shredded cucumbers but here I used radishes and green onions instead. I served it with falafel but you could use it as a dip for pita chips…or you can eat it with a spoon ūüôā

Radish & Green Onion Tzatziki
makes about 1-1/2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (I use Fage brand)
  • 4-5 medium radishes, grated on the medium holes of a box grater (should be about 3 tablespoons)
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Mix all ingredients together until well blended. If you are making this ahead, you may want to salt the radishes to draw out excess moisture. Otherwise, the sauce will be thinned out a bit by the liquid from the radishes.

 


Henbit & Dead Nettle Pistou

Hello!

Have you guys tried the henbit and dead nettle that Mark & Gina brought to market last week (check out our Instagram account for a side by side picture)? They are both considered “weeds” and often treated as such but given they are¬†nutrient dense and medicinal, we think they deserve a place at your table.

I didn’t have any experience with either plant so I started by trying them raw. I found dead nettle to be a bit more interesting but both have an earthy flavor with hints of celery, parsley and a bit of bitterness. Try them for yourself – you might taste something much different!

You can definitely toss either in a salad, wrap or smoothie but I was looking for something to add to a bean stew I made today and came up with the recipe below. Pistou is just a fancy word for pesto without nuts. It is typically made with basil, similar to pesto, but I used henbit and dead nettle in its place. It packs a lot of flavor so a little goes a long way! Use it with anything rich – stews, fried food, cheese.

Give it a try and let us know what you think!

Henbit & Dead Nettle Pistou
makes 1/2 cup

Recipe notes: 1) I purchased a pre-shredded, extra aged cheese from Sequatchie Cove Creamery last week and used it in place of Parmesan and it turned out great – play around and try different cheeses; 2) I started the recipe using a mortar and pestle (as shown in the picture) but I didn’t have the patience so I transferred everything to a food processor.

Ingredients:

  • 2 small or 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup very loosely packed henbit leaves
  • 1 cup very loosely packed dead nettle leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan or other aged cheese of choice (see note)

Directions:

  • In a small food processor, add the garlic, henbit, dead nettle and oil. Process until mostly pureed but with a little texture left. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the cheese. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Easy White Bean and Kale Hummus

Hello!

I love hummus (I haven’t met many that don’t) so I am always looking for ways to make a great version at home. I have made really wonderful hummus from dried beans but it takes forethought and time, which doesn’t lend itself well to a quick, pull together meal. So I was really intrigued to find this version which cooks canned chickpeas in their canning liquid in the microwave. I really didn’t understand the science behind it but tried it anyways – turns out you can make really good hummus from canned beans! Someone commented on the original post with details on why this works:

‚ÄúChickpeas are high in a starch called amylose that forms large crystals as it cools after cooking, leading to a grainy texture. But exposure to high heat will break the crystals down. There‚Äôs no risk of the grainy texture recurring once the hummus is refrigerated, as the oil it contains will coat the individual amylose molecules, inhibiting crystallization. If your goal is to make the smoothest possible dip, then give your chickpeas a quick zap before pureeing.‚ÄĚ

I am not sure if this holds true for cannellini beans too but I still followed the same procedure. If nothing else, it cooks the garlic at the same time, and I prefer the tamed down, cooked garlic flavor. I adjusted some of the other seasonings from the original posting – less tahini and more olive oil, lemon juice and salt. If you aren’t sure what you will like, just start with less and add more to taste.

I hope you enjoy this hummus as much as I have!

Easy White Bean and Kale Hummus
makes 2-3 cups

Recipe notes: 1) this recipe is also great with canned chickpeas; 2) I used 8 ounces of kale and it was more than I wanted to add to the hummus – but you may find you want to load it up, so add to your hearts desire!

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15-ounce) can of cannellini beans, NOT drained
  • 2 to 4 peeled garlic cloves, depending on how garlicky you like it
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 to 8 ounces kale, de-stemmed and finely chopped
  • Roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes or hot peppers for garnish

Directions:

  • Microwave undrained beans and whole garlic cloves in a mixing bowl for 4-5 minutes.¬†Add to blender or food processor and process with lemon juice, salt and tahini. Stream in 1/4 cup olive oil while mixing.¬†Process until smooth and creamy, scraping down sides as needed. Taste and adjust seasonings as¬†needed. You can eat it directly but I like it best after it has been refrigerated. It thickens up and the flavors meld.
  • When ready to serve, heat remaining olive oil in a 12″ skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the kale and cook, stirring often, until just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir desired amount into the hummus. Serve with pita, crackers and/or cut up veggies.

 


Indian Mustard Green Sauce with Potatoes

Hello!

Here is a tasty Indian inspired sauce that can be easily made ahead and frozen (prepare the potatoes before serving as they would not freeze well). Traditional sag aloo is based on spinach but I like the added complexity from mixing kale and mustard greens together. Experiment with a different mix of greens and let us know how it turns out.

This sauce is not a something that can be quickly thrown together – it will take a bit to make but well worth it in the end. Plus, it’s a great way to use a lot of greens at once! If you want to shorten the recipe a bit, you can use your favorite pre-ground Indian spice mix – I think equal amounts of curry powder and garam masala would work well. You could also use another vegetable in place of the potatoes – thaw out frozen cauliflower for an easy substitution.

Saag Aloo (Spinach Sauce with Potatoes)
serves 4

Recipe notes: 1) you can substitute waxy potatoes like Red Bliss but don’t use starchy potatoes such as Russets as they tend to fall apart and not hold their shape, 2) you can add more jalapeno depending on your desired spice level – although it is impossible to tell how much heat any one chile will give without tasting it (as it depends on the growing conditions), 1/2 jalapeno probably won’t give much noticeable heat.

  • Ingredients:
    • 4 medium (1-1/3 lb) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled if desired, and cut into 1″ cubes
    • 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • Kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
    • Seeds from 3 cardamom pods, about 1/4 teaspoon
    • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
    • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1 medium sweet onion, peeled and cut into a small dice
    • 1/2 large jalapeno, seeds and ribs removed, minced (optional)
    • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
    • 3-4 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
    • 10 ounces kale (about 1 large bunch), washed and roughly chopped
    • 10 ounces mustard greens (about 1 large bunch), washed and roughly chopped
    • 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained and chopped
    • Juice of one fresh lime
    • 1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
    • 1/2 cup roasted cashews, chopped
    • Rice and/or naan to serve
  • Directions:
    • Place potatoes in a microwave safe bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes, remove plastic wrap away from your face to avoid the steam, and test for doneness. Cover and cook for a few minutes longer if they aren’t cooked all the way through. Alternatively, you can steam the potatoes in a steamer basket set over simmering water (should take about 5 minutes to cook through). Set aside.
    • Grind the cumin and cardamom seeds using a mortal and pestle or a spice grinder. Combine with the remaining spices and set aside.
    • Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the spice mixture. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the onion and jalapeno and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 4-5 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the greens in 2 or 3 batches, if necessary, until they have wilted down and start to release moisture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until almost all of the moisture has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
    • Remove from heat and transfer 1/2 of the spinach mixture to a blender or small food processor. Pulse until mostly smooth, about 5 1-second pulses. Return the puree to the skillet with the remaining greens and stir to combine. Add the tomato, lime juice and heavy cream, if using, and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Stir in the potatoes. Serve over rice and top with chopped cashews.

 


Minted Eggplant Dip

Hello!

Just a quick recipe post for the lovely Japanese eggplant Mark and Gina will have available at market. Japanese eggplant have thinner skins, less seeds (which can make eggplant bitter), and denser flesh than the large Italian variety. They also cook really fast given their small size, making them perfect for the broiler, which I use in the recipe below.

We hope you enjoy!

Minted Eggplant Dip
makes about 1 cup

Ingredients:

  • 13 ounces Japanese eggplant (about 8 small), washed and dried thoroughly
  • 1-1/2 to 3 teaspoons minced mint
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Crackers, pita or cucumbers for serving

Directions:

  • Adjust oven rack to the highest position and heat broiler on high.
  • Prick each eggplant numerous times with a sharp knife to ensure they don’t explode when cooking. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and evenly¬†arrange eggplant on sheet.¬†Cook eggplant for 4-5 minutes, or until skin is well charred. Carefully flip eggplant over and cook an additional 4-5 minutes. Remove from oven and check for doneness by piercing with a knife. If eggplant is not completely soft, return to the oven and continue to cook. You may need to lower the oven rack and continue to cook further from the broiler if skins are already blackened but the flesh is not cooked through. Once cooked completely, remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  • Once eggplant is cool, cut open and scoop out flesh with a spoon. Transfer to blender with the remaining ingredients, only adding 1 teaspoon of mint to start. Blend on high until smooth, about 15-30 seconds. Taste, adding more mint or other seasoning if desired. Serve.

Green Tahini Sauce

Our friends over at Choose To Eat have a recipe for falafel that comes together really fast with the use of canned chickpeas. Falafel is great served with a tahini sauce but we thought it would be even better with a healthy dose of greens included. You can use any greens you have on hand Рkale, spinach, tender collards, Swiss chard, mustard greens, even radish tops. Serve the falafel and sauce with pita and my personal favorite, our Curtido recipe, and you have a filling, healthful dinner in no time!

Green Tahini Sauce
makes about 1 cup

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1/2 to 3/4¬†packed cup of chopped greens
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt

Directions:

  • Place all ingredients into a blender and process until very smooth, 30-60 seconds depending on your blender. Taste and add extra greens, salt or lemon juice to taste.