Mains

Asian Pesto for Stir Fries

I used a huge, fragrant bunch of cilantro this week for a pesto with an Asian flare, then tossed it into a stir fry. What I love about stir fries is that you can utilize whatever you have in your box, only a few extra items like onion or garlic need to be taken from the pantry. If you have this Asian pesto on hand, you can make a stir fry with just about any veggie. You could also mix it with ground meat and stuff it into a wonton skin to make a potsticker.

Asian Pesto

Makes 2 cups

6 garlic cloves

2-inch section of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into chunks

1 green onion, green and white section, chopped

1 cup roasted almonds

1 teaspoon chile flakes

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

2 cups of green tender herbs, such as cilantro, basil, mint, parsley or a combination of a few

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

In a blender or food processor, combine the garlic, ginger, green onion, almonds, chile flakes and lemon zest and juice. Pulse until it is chopped into fine pieces, then add the green herbs and oil. Process until a thick purée is formed. Season with salt and pepper. Store in a tightly covered jar and refrigerate.

To Make the Stir Fry

Toss one pound of cleaned shrimp, (or you could use cubed firm tofu or chicken) with a quarter cup of Asian pesto. Cut vegetables into bite sized pieces. Divide vegetables into bowls based on levels of firmness: onions, garlic, carrots or any other hard vegetable into one bowl; celery, broccoli, peppers or any other medium-firm vegetables into a second bowl. Tender vegetables like spinach, bok choy leaves, bean sprouts into a third bowl.

Heat a wok or large skillet until very hot. Add vegetable oil and heat until shimmering. Add shrimp and cook very quickly, for about one minute on each side. Remove shrimp from the pan. Add hard vegetables and cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes. Add medium-firm vegetables and cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes. Add soft vegetables, a tablespoon of Asian pesto, and 2 tablespoons of water. Cook for about a minute, until the vegetables wilt, add shrimp back in, and serve.

Super Simple Roasted Chicken Photos

 
Wash the chicken inside and out, and for crisp skin, blot the outside so it is completely dry with paper towels.

All of the ingredients you'll need, be sure to season the chicken generously inside and out. Stuff the cavity of the bird to add flavor and retain shape. I usually keep the legs untrussed, though you could tie them with some butcher's twine if you like.

Here she is, golden brown, crisp and delicious.

Super Simple Roasted Chicken

I make a roast chicken every week, and it’s one of those dishes that keeps on giving, and giving, and giving. Just an example, I am roasting it to serve with some roasted potatoes and carrots from our farm box, where the legs and thighs will be snatched up. Then I’ll do supper number two with the reheated, sliced chicken breasts, to serve with a yummy cauliflower side dish that has capers and red chile. I’ll throw a slab of the citrus herb butter I’ve made on the warm chicken breast slices for hubby and me to make them moist and extra fancy. Bella will have hers plain. Then I’ll reserve the carcass, pick off any additional meat for Bella’s favorite chicken noodle soup, and make the roasted bones into stock, tbpl (to be posted later.)

This chicken is so easy, Bella can make it!

Super Simple Roasted Chicken

Serves a family of three about 3 times, you do the math for your family.

1 5 to 7 pound natural or organic whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry

2 teaspoons garlic powder, about a tablespoon of kosher salt and a teaspoon of pepper, and an ample amount of olive oil to coat the skin of the chicken, you could also rub the skin of the chicken with minced fresh herbs, such as rosemary, sage, thyme

1 lemon, one-half of an onion, both cut into wedges, and a few sprigs of rosemary or thyme

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Rub chicken all over with olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper, including the cavity. Stuff the cavity with the lemon, onion and herb sprigs. Place chicken in a roasting pan and leave out of refrigeration for 30 minutes, allowing the chicken to become closer to room temperature. Place chicken in the oven, and roast for one hour, until skin is browned and crisp, and the juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a knife at the thigh. Alternately, you could use a probe thermometer and bring to 165 degrees. Let chicken rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Bok Choy

How do you bok choy? As another member of the brassica family, bok choy is has the same versatility as any cabbage variety, where it would star sautéed, blanched, or served raw. Bok choy finds its reoccurring role in stir fries, but it is excellent sliced thin for a slaw, where I enjoy it mixed with delicately cut Fuji apples and celery. I’ve seen recipes for bok choy leaves that were boiled, stuffed and baked, which I’ll try next time it comes in the box.  Tossed in sesame oil, seasoned with a simple nip of salt and pepper, then quickly charred on a grill turns bok choy into a sublime side dish. The Choy boldly goes forward in directions veering from Asia, where it’s been found in Provence-style preparation, sautéed with olives, fennel and tomatoes.

This week, I bok choyed in a stir fry with a Thai flare, tossed in with flank steak, onions and a rich red curry broth.

Red Curry Beef with Bok Choy

3 garlic cloves, minced fine

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 pound flank steak, thinly sliced across the grain

salt and pepper

Vegetable oil

1 medium onion, sliced thin

2 heads bok choy, cut into slices, stems separated from the leaves

1 1/2 tablespoon red curry paste

1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 cup coconut milk

Season the sliced flank steak with garlic, ginger and salt and pepper. Heat a wok or large skillet, then add oil and heat, then sear steak until it is browned. Remove from pan.

Add the onion and the bok choy stems to the same pan, and cook until softened. Stir in the curry paste, fish sauce and brown sugar and cook for 2 minutes. Stir the bok choy leaves in, wilt slightly, and then add the coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, until the milk thickens slightly. Stir the steak back into the pan, taste for seasoning and serve with brown rice or softened rice noodles.

Romaine Lettuce

The romaine coming from the farm has been so seductive; creamy white with light green tips, crisp and succulent. I’ve enjoyed the whole leaves as a crisp counter point to rich and spicy flavors, like these meatballs with an Asian splash.

Spicy Hoisen Chicken Meatballs with Romaine Leaves

Serves 4

1 pound lean ground chicken

1 egg

1 cup Japanese Panko breadcrumbs

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/4 teaspoon chili flakes

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup hoisin sauce

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1 cup grated carrots

8 large romaine leaves, washed a trimmed

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together the ground chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, onion, half of  the garlic and half of the hoisin sauce in a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and mix to combine. Roll mixture, about 2 tablespoons, into balls, and place on a baking sheet. Bake in oven for about 5 minutes, until meatballs start to become slightly firm.

Meanwhile, mix together the remaining hoisen, garlic and ginger.Remove meatballs from the oven, and using a pastry brush, lightly brush the sauce on the partially cooked meatballs. Return to oven and continue to bake for another 5 minutes, or until meatballs are very firm to the touch and cooked through.

Place meatballs on romaine leaves, top with grated carrots and cilantro, and enjoy right away.

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