Newsletters: 15 June, 2011

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 15 June, 2011. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

In the belly
Bok choi, pak choi, snow cabbage, or Chinese cabbage is a relative of cabbage and turnips. It’s a zero calorie or negative calorie food, and facilitates weight loss. It’s also an excellent source of vitamins C, A, and K, along with various minerals. Bok choy contains sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates, which are responsible for it’s spicy-bitter taste and are being studied as possible cancer-preventers. It’s a natural for stir-frying and steaming. Those with thyroid issues may wish to take advice before eating large amounts of bok choy, however, as it can encourage the formation of goiters.

In the kitchen
Bok choi is in plentiful supply just now, so I thought I’d look for something new to do with it. By far the most common thing to do with Bok choi is to stir-fry it, but here are a couple of other options.

Chicken broth and noodles
1.5 Tbsp sesame oil, divided
1 lb lean ground turkey
1 bunch sliced scallions, divided
4 cloves minced garlic, or to taste
1 Tbsp fresh minced ginger
4 c chicken broth
3/4 cup water
3 c thinly sliced bok choy
8 oz whole wheat or buckwheat noodles
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 cucumber sliced into matchsticks
Cook ground turkey, all but 2 tablespoons of the scallions, garlic, and ginger in 1 Tbsp oil over med. heat, stirring often and breaking up the turkey, 4 to 6 minutes until no longer pink. Remove to a plate. Combine broth, water, bok choy, noodles, soy sauce, vinegar and the remaining 1/2 Tbsp oil in the pan and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring frequently, about 4 min., until the noodles are tender. Return turkey mixture to the pan and stir to blend. Top with the reserved 2 Tbsp scallions and cucumber.

Cilantro Fish Stew
1 lime
8 oz. peeled deveined shrimp (20- to 24-count)
8 oz. skinless cod fillet in 2-inch chunks
2 large shallots, finely chopped
1 t sugar
2 Tbsp + 1 t fish sauce
6 oz thinly sliced bok choy
3 thinly sliced scallions
2 c packed fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
2 t vegetable oil
2 c water
1 c frozen peas
1 c brown rice (measured raw), cooked, to serve
Grate 1 t lime zest into large resealable plastic bag. Cut lime into wedges and set aside for serving. Add shrimp, cod, shallots, sugar, 2 Tbsp fish sauce, pinch salt, and 1/2 t pepper to bag. Seal bag and shake to coat. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Cook shrimp mixture in oil 5 min or until shallots are tender, stirring occasionally. Add water and bring to a boil; simmer 4 minutes. Stir in peas and heat 1 to 2 min. Stir in bok choy, scallions, and cilantro. Cook 2 minute, until bok choy is crisp-tender. Stir in remaining fish sauce. Serve over rice with lime wedges.

Index to all blog posts.

Steamed bok choy with black vinegar and sesame oil

1 large bunch bok choy
3 Tbsp Chinese black vinegar (may substitute balsamic vinegar)
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. Chinese chili paste
2 tsp dark sesame oil
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sesame seeds

Cut about an inch off the bottom of the bok choy stalks and discard. Separate the ribs, remove the leaves and shred into strips about 1/4 inch wide, then slice the stems into 1/4 inch slices. Keep stems and leaves separate. Combine remaining ingredients. Steam the stems for 4 minutes; add the leaves and steam 4 minutes more, then toss with vinegar mixture and add salt if needed.

Adapted from Peterson, James, Vegetables. William Morrow, 1998. ISBN: 0688146589

Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.

Bok choy

Native to: China
Local season: best fall-spring
Also spelled pak choi and called leafy Chinese cabbage, this is a “zero calorie food” — meaning it’s so low-calorie you burn at least as many calories eating it as you get from it. It’s a member of the cabbage family and likes cool weather, making it popular for winter and early spring gardens.

It provides a bunch of anti-oxidants and is an excellent source of vitamins A and C. You’ll also get lots of vitamin K from it, and the various B-complex vitamins that are so important when you’re under stress (and who isn’t these days?). It also supplies a variety of minerals — calcium, phosphorous, potassium, manganese, iron and magnesium — along with some more recently popular nutrients such as omega-3s, beta-carotene, and lutein.

Read more:

Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.