Summer seems closer than ever, especially now that we picked up our first batch of vegetables from the Carroll Gardens CSA this past weekend. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and every other week from now until November, Jim and I will receive a selection of seasonal organic vegetables and fresh flowers from the Garden of Eve farm on the East End of Long Island.
This is the first year we’ve joined the CSA, and I’m very excited about it, for multiple reasons. Not only are we supporting local farmers (always a good thing, as explained by Michael Pollan in The Omnivore’s Dilemma), but I’m looking forward to becoming a better cook by simply having to cook more at home. Not to mention that I’ll be confronted with some vegetables I probably would not have chosen if making my own selections at the grocery store.
For example: bok choy. This week’s shipment was a bounty of greens, including kale, spindly arugula, butterhead lettuce, tangled pea shoots, mixed greens, and a large, leafy, bitter bunch of bok choy. We also received some radishes and asparagus. My fridge has not looked this well-stocked in ages, and we are even splitting our pick-up with another family! It’s kind of a stressful feeling, looking into the refrigerator only to see piles of food that must be cooked and eaten quickly before it all goes bad. It’s really not supposed to be this nerve-racking.
But back to the bok choy, commonly known as Chinese cabbage. I think I had cooked it perhaps one other time in my life, sautéed in olive oil with red pepper flakes. But I wanted to do something different last night, and so I found this recipe for Stir-Fried Sesame Bok Choy.
The whole operation took less than 5 minutes, from warming up some sesame oil in my wok, adding some minced garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes, and stir-frying the chopped and cleaned bok choy leaves with some soy sauce, chicken broth, cornstarch, and a dash of sugar. I topped the leaves with some toasted sesame seeds, and that’s it. A new side dish of bitter greens, courtesy of the neighborhood CSA. My roast chicken was proud to share the table with it.
So here’s to a summer of fresh vegetables! Tonight I’m tackling the kale. Any ideas? Most of the recipes I’ve seen suggest sautéing it with bacon. Mmmm, bacon.