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.

Weeknight Pasta with Walnut Sauce and Kale

Hello!

In a past life as a personal chef, I would make this recipe for a client almost every week. He couldn’t consume anything acidic (onions, garlic, vinegar, etc) so I was always searching for ways to get a lot of flavor into a dish without falling back on those ingredients. You can add onions, garlic and/or vinegar but I think this dish is good without them too. And it’s one of those recipes that you can vary in SO many ways:

  • Pasta: I used fusilli but but you can use just about anything (if you make the sauce chunky, I think a short pasta would work best; if you puree the sauce, long, thin pasta would also work).
  • Nuts: I like the combination of walnuts and pine nuts but you can use just walnuts or try a different combination of your choice.
  • Herbs: I always used parsley in the past but I think basil or chives would be great too
  • Cheese: I like the way Pecorino stands up to the flavor of the walnuts but I think Parmesan or even goat cheese would be great.
  • Greens: don’t limit yourself to just kale – arugula, collards or chard would also be great. For tender greens, you can fold them right into the hot pasta without cooking them first.
  • Optional items: saute a little garlic with the kale and then deglaze the pan with a little white wine; finish with a little lemon juice or white wine vinegar; add caramelized onions.

Pasta with Walnut Sauce and Kale
makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound pasta of choice (I used fusilli)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces kale, destemmed and finely chopped
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded Pecorino
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  • Cook pasta according to packing instructions and drain. Set aside.
  • While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 12″ traditional skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the kale and saute, stirring frequently, until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add to a large mixing bowl.
  • Clean out the skillet used for the kale and dry. Return to the stovetop and toast walnuts over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a large cutting board. Toast the pine nuts, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to the cutting board. At this point, you can either chop the nuts finely by hand or transfer 3/4 to a food processor and process until finely ground; roughly chop the remaining nuts for added texture. Transfer nuts to the bowl with the kale.
  • Add the parsley, butter, olive oil and cheese to the bowl with the kale and nuts and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Mix with pasta and serve.

 


Vegetable Packed Pancakes

Hello,

Turning traditionally sweet food into something savory is nothing new. Of course there is Zucchini Bread and Carrot Cake but the vegetable additions are usually masked by lots of sugar and sweet spices. Nowadays, you can find items like Corn & Basil Cupcakes, Rosemary, Almond and Parmesan Cookies, and even our Savory Quick Bread with Broccoli Rabe and Sun-dried Tomatoes, which keep the basic shape of the original item but lacks most or all of the sweetness.

This is my take on a Buckwheat Vegetable Pancake recipe from Fresh Food Fast (one of my favorite cookbooks), which looks like a pancake but is served as a savory side dish. The author uses cabbage where I use kale but I think a number of vegetables would work well. These are great because you can flavor them in any number of ways – I added a few dashes of a Turkish spice blend but I think curry powder or Italian seasoning would be great too. You could also skip the spices and just add fresh herbs, like dill or parsley.

I didn’t try it, but you might be able to make this vegan by swapping the eggs for flax or chia eggs and using a plant based milk. Let me know how it turns out if you try it!

Also, if you want a dipping sauce to serve along side, try this spicy yogurt sauce: mix together 1 cup whole-milk yogurt, a couple tablespoons chopped cilantro, 1 small minced garlic clove, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon (or more as desired) cayenne.

Vegetable Packed Pancakes
makes about 10 3″ pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free flour of choice (I used 1/4 cup buckwheat + 1/4 cup brown rice flour but you could also use more all-purpose)
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1-1/2 cups milk (I used soy milk but use whatever you have on hand)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 cups finely chopped kale
  • 1 large carrot, grated on the medium holes of a box grater, about 3/4 cup
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Spices / herbs of choice, optional
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil for frying

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, salt and baking powder. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and oil. Pour the wet mixture over the dry and stir to combine.
  • Add the kale, carrots, scallions and spices / herbs, if using, to the batter and mix well. The batter will be thick.
  • Heat a tablespoon of oil over medium heat in a 12″ non-stick skillet until shimmering. Using a 1/3 cup dry measure, add three scoops of batter to the pan. Cook until the first side is spotty brown and there are bubbles around the edge, about 3-5 minutes. Flip and cook until the second side is spotty brown and the pancakes are cooked through, another few minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and cook the remaining batter.
  • To keep all pancakes warm while working in batches, you can place the cooling rack inside a rimmed baking sheet and transfer to a 200 degree oven.

Super Greens & Sunflower Seed Pesto

Hello!

You may find you are short on time to cook this weekend if you are enjoying the beautiful weather. No worries – you can throw together this pesto in no time with items you most likely have in your pantry. Don’t limit yourself to just tossing it with pasta, although that is a perfectly wonderful way to enjoy it. You could also use it on sandwiches, a base for pizza, tossed with broccoli or cauliflower just to name a few.

While you can use all sorts of greens, seeds/nuts and cheese in pesto, I especially like this mix for a few reasons. I used the arugula, spicy asian greens, Spigarello broccoli rabe leaves and basil mix from last week’s CSA share which really provides a great flavor base (you could also use kale or another hearty green). It is paired with sunflower seeds, which are economical and the flavor stands up well to the spicy and bitter greens. I then used a mix of Sequatchie Cove Creamery aged Coppinger and Parmesan, but you can also use just Parmesan or other aged cheese of choice.

Get out and enjoy the sunshine…and then make this when you come in to eat! Enjoy!

Super Greens & Sunflower Seed Pesto
makes about 1-1/2 cups

Recipe notes: I always find pesto needs salt and although not traditional, a little lemon juice, too. Be sure to taste after adding the cheese as you may find you don’t need it.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3 medium garlic cloves
  • 5-1/4 ounces (about 3-1/2 packed cups) of hearty greens, tough stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan or other aged cheese of choice (grated on the large holes of a box grater)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, if desired
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, if desired

Directions:

  • Place sunflower seeds in a single layer in a 12″ traditional skillet and place over medium heat. Stir occasionally until most of the seeds are toasted, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large capacity food processor.
  • Place the garlic cloves (with skins still on) in the same skillet and place over medium heat. Flip occasionally until the skins are starting to blacken and the garlic gives slightly when squeezed, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat and when cool enough to handle, remove skins and add to the food processor.
  • Add the greens to the food processor and process until mostly broken down, about 15-30 seconds. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the processor as needed. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the cheese. Taste, and add salt and lemon juice if needed. Serve immediately or store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.

Carrot & Turmeric Soup

Hello,

Making this soup is a lesson in balancing fresh and cooked flavor and seasoning based on taste. The base of the soup – onion, turmeric, carrots, coconut milk – would make a nice soup by itself, but it is definitely kicked up a notch by adding fresh flavors at the end. I like to incorporate fresh versions of ingredients cooked in the soup, like the carrots and turmeric. It helps to intensify both of those flavors and brightens up the dish. I then added two additional ingredients that I think almost every dish needs at the end – a little acidity and a little sweetness (a lot of dishes need extra salt too but I added plenty in the beginning). I chose apple cider vinegar and honey as I think they pair nicely with the other flavors but you can play around and try what you like (lemon juice or white wine vinegar in place of the apple cider vinegar and maple syrup or sorghum in place of the honey might be nice). Whichever route you decide to take, just taste, make small adjustments, and taste again. Enjoy!

Carrot & Turmeric Soup
makes about 4 servings for a main dish, 6 for a side dish

Recipe notes: 1) I found fresh turmeric at the farmers market a couple of weeks ago so have been using that over dried. If you don’t have access to fresh, use 1 teaspoon dried turmeric instead and add it all in the beginning with the garlic; 2) I preferred this soup the day after making it as the flavors had time to really blend and smooth out, but it was still very good the day of.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 3 teaspoons grated fresh turmeric, divided
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (from about 2 medium cloves)
  • 1-1/8 pound (about 6 medium) trimmed carrots, chopped into 1/2″ pieces, divided
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3-4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • To serve: croutons and/or chives

Directions:

  • Heat oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan until shimmering. Add onion and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and just starting to brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons turmeric and garlic and stir frequently for 1 minute. Add 1 pound of carrots, water and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a blender and add the remaining turmeric and carrots, 3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar and honey and puree until completely smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Pasta with Tatsoi & Gingered Butter Sauce

Hello,

You are receiving tatsoi in your CSA share this week so I wanted to share this really fast and flavorful recipe that I made a few weeks ago. There isn’t much to it so I would suggest serving it as a side dish or adding some protein to make it a complete meal. Enjoy!

Pasta with Tatsoi & Gingered Butter Sauce
Serves 4-6 as a main dish, 6-8 as a side dish

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound pasta (I used penne but really anything would work)
  • 1/2 pound (1 medium head) of tatsoi
  • 1-2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Cook pasta according to package instructions then drain and set aside.
  • Remove the root end of the tatsoi and thinly slice the stems and leaves, taking care to keep them separate.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a 12″ traditional skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the stems and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the sake, bring to a simmer and cook until slightly reduced, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated. Add the tatsoi leaves and stir until wilted. Toss with the pasta and season to taste.

Korean Lettuce Wraps with Bitter Melon

Hello!

Are you wondering how to use your bitter melon? Well, I think I found the perfect recipe for carnivores and vegetarians alike. I was searching for a ground beef lettuce wrap recipe and found this one. The sweetness and spices in the recipe are just want you need to balance the bitterness in the melon. I made the recipe with ground beef but I am sure it would be equally as tasty if you substituted tofu. You can also make use of your Red Leaf lettuce in this recipe. I found the large, crunchy leaves worked great as wraps. We hope you enjoy it!

Korean Lettuce Wraps with Bitter Melon
makes enough for about 4 small servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 bitter melon, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds removed, and sliced 1/2″ thick on the bias
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 pound ground beef or firm tofu
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • Cooked white rice for serving
  • Lettuce for serving

Directions:

  • Heat the vegetable oil in a 12″ non-stick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add half of the bitter melon, season with salt and pepper and cook until first side is browned, 5-7 minutes. Flip and cook until the second side is brown and the melon is tender, another 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a serving bowl.
  • Prepare the sauce by mixing the soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, chili power and ginger together in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
  • Using the same non-stick pan, saute the beef over medium heat until cooked through. Alternatively, add a little oil to the pan, add the tofu, break it up into little pieces (follow this technique), and brown. Add the garlic, mix with beef/tofu to combine and cook for an additional minute. Add the sauce and simmer for a few minutes, or until the mixture has reduced slightly. Remove from heat and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve with rice and bitter melon in a large lettuce leaf.

Triple Sesame Noodles with Pak Choi

Hey hey!

At a loss for how to use your pak choi? Give this easy, delicious recipe a try. I made it super simple by just using pak choi but you could beef it up with other veggies or protein (steamed carrots and cubed tofu come to mind). We hope you like it!

Triple Sesame Noodles with Pak Choi
makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seed oil
  • 1 large head of pak choi
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • Toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Directions:

  • Cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again. Transfer to a large container, toss with sesame seed oil and set aside.
  • Slice off the root end of the pak choi and separate the leaves from the stalks. Slice both the leaves and the stalks about 1/2″ thick and clean thoroughly. Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high in a 12″ non-stick skillet until just smoking. Add the stalks and cook until the first side has started to brown, about 1-2 minutes. Stir and allow the other side to cook through and start to brown, another minute or two. Add the leaves and cook until wilted, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a colander if there appears to be some liquid in the pan. Then transfer to the bowl with the spaghetti.
  • Whisk the tahini, soy sauce, water, honey and garlic in a small mixing bowl until completely combined. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Pour over the noodles and pak choi and toss to combine. Transfer to individual serving bowls and top with the toasted sesame seeds.

 


Black Bean and Radish Green Dip

Hello,

Wondering what to do with your radish and salad turnip greens? This is a quick and easy recipe that will help you use your greens. You can definitely use other types of greens here but I love the extra spiciness that radish greens provide.

One note of caution – this dip is not pretty! It’s kind of a grey and army green color once it’s pureed, which doesn’t bother me, but I wouldn’t necessarily serve this at a dinner party 🙂 You could substitute the black beans for white beans and change up the spicing and it would probably be a bit more appetizing to the eye.

You can use this like you would hummus – use it as a dip for raw veggies or bread or as a smear on sandwiches or a veggie wrap. Play around and have fun!

Black Bean and Radish Green Dip
makes about 1-1/2 cups

Recipe notes: feel free to substitute other greens, such as kale, collards, or Swiss chard, for the radish / salad turnip greens.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 packed cup cooked radish / salad turnip greens (from about 8 large radishes / salad turnips)
  • 1/2 loosely packed cup cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

  • Place all ingredients in a large capacity food processor and process until a smooth paste forms, about 1 minutes, stopping to scrap down the sides as necessary. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Fresh Okra Cakes

Hello!

We are in a lull right now as the summer produce is dwindling and we are preparing for the “Fall into Greens” CSA session. To prepare for the CSA, we will release a series of blog posts featuring produce we expect to include. We are planning to have okra at the beginning of the session so I thought I would share my all time favorite way to use it. These little cakes are quick to put together and oh so delicious. You may think the okra would be raw tasting but it gives the cakes such a great texture.

Contact us here to sign up for the CSA so you can enjoy these cakes soon!

Fresh Okra Cakes (adapted slightly from Cooking with Les Dames d’Escoffier)
25 appetizer cakes or 10 side dish cakes

Recipe notes: 1) I have successfully substituted the all-purpose flour with garbanzo bean flour for a gluten-free version.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound fresh okra, tips and stems removed, cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup minced onion (about 1/2 of a large onion)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1/2 cup cooked medium-grain rice or 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions:

  • Combine the okra, onion, garlic, jalapeno, rice, flour, eggs and Tabasco in a large mixing bowl.
  • Just before serving, preheat the oven to 200 degrees and heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil, and when it shimmers and sizzles when a bit of batter hits it, drop spoonfuls of the mixture into the pan. Do not crowd the pan. You can make the cakes any size, from 1 tablespoon to 1/2 cup, depending on how you plan to serve them. Saute for 2 minutes or until the cake is nicely browned. Turn and cook the other side for 2 minutes. Remove the cakes as they are done to absorbent paper towels and keep them warm in the preheated oven until all are cooked. The cakes are best served piping hot – consume them within 30 minutes of frying.