Posts Tagged ‘bok choy’

Shiitake Mushroom and Bok Choy Udon Noodles

August 19, 2009

Lo Mein

I love Asian-influenced noodle dishes. Lo mein, udon noodles, buckwheat noodles. But I’ve always reserved them for dining out. Why? I can’t make the sauce taste as good as a restaurant. Until now. Well, almost.

There’s a particular udon noodle that my wife and I love. It’s precooked and in the refrigerated section at the Dekalb Farmer’s Market. They’re pillowy soft and gigantically thick and work well as a quick stir fry or as a ramen-type ingredient. I’ll take a picture of the packaging next time I pick them up.

While we were there, I also grabbed some shiitake mushrooms and some baby bok choy. I like baby bok choy leaves, but the stalk has never been my favorite. So I came up with a way to make it a bit different this time around.

I trimmed the leaves into bit-sized pieces and gave a pretty fine chiffonade to the stalk, keeping them separate. I sauteed the stalk in some garlic oil until tender and added the mushroom. As soon as the mushrooms released all of their water, I added the udon noodles, the sauce and the leaves of the bok choy, stirring just until hot. This way, the stalk of the bok choy was tender and the leaves still crunchy – the best of both worlds.

The sauce this time around was some kind of crazy concoction of the following: cherry butter (by McCutheon’s), soy sauce, dijon mustard, sweet chili sauce, teriyaki sauce, no chicken base (by Better Than Bouillon), dried ginger and cornstarch. I was on a roll and didn’t measure anything or write it down, and considering I made this over a month ago, the fact that I can remember everything (I hope) I put into it is an accomplishment all on its own. The key was the cherry butter which has a wonderfully complex flavor filled with vanilla and cinnamon. It’s become my favorite jam/jelly and I routinely enjoy it with whatever nut butter I’ve made (walnut was the most recent).

While it was no restaurant-quality, it did relieve some of my fears of being able to duplicate it at home and I can’t wait to try it again.

Sweet Potatoes, Cumin Rice, Seared Bok Choy

May 29, 2009

Finished Plate

Sweet potatoes are locally in season, it seems, so I’ve been grabbing them on sale whenever I see them ($0.49/pound? How can you resist). This dinner was really easy to put together and ended up being delicious.

Cumin is one of my favorite spices, but I have a tendency to overuse it (though not for my tastes, just everyone else’s), so I was pleasantly surprised when my wife enjoyed this rice so much.

I hate waiting 45 minutes+ for brown rice to cook so I tried to shorten it by soaking the rice overnight. Unfortunately, I spilled some of the water in the fridge so I didn’t have a good grasp on how much to use to heat it up and ended up overcooking it a bit. It was still good, just a bit mushy. Moral of the story? Soaking overnight totally works and I’ve used it since to reduce my cooking time by as much as 25 minutes!

The sweet potatoes were sliced lengthwise on a bias and sauteed in a really hot pan with some salt and pepper. Same with the bok choy to get that nice crisp, almost-burnt flavor and look. Just a reminder: really hot pans + plus oil = fire hazard, so be careful and have an extinguisher handy.

As I was putting the plate together I felt it needed something else so my wife suggested the last blood orange. I dismissed it initially but then had a change of heart and it turned out to great. The tartness of the blood orange was a perfect compliment to the sweetness of the potato and the spice of the cumin – an excellent choice that I will use again in the future.