April 30, 2012

Springtime Stir Fry

Ah, spring time. The time of year when I get spoiled and can walk in my backyard to do my grocery shopping.

Tonight, I had planned to make a veggie stir fry out of whatever vegetables I found ready. Here's what I found after my ten-minute "shopping spree":
Tonight's meal harvest. The carrots are hidden by that gorgeous purple bok choy

I found red radishes, white turnips, purple bok choy, red swiss chard, orange carrots, green onions, a white onion, and the newest addition to our garden palate, broccoli rabe (pronounced raw-bee).
New this year: broccoli rabe. Look at that cute little flowerette!

After a few minutes on google recipes, and I found a recipe to modify into this:

1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic
2 teaspoons ginger
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 1/2 tablespoons water
and all the veggies listed above, sliced less than 1/4 inch thick or diced

  1. In a large bowl, blend cornstarch, garlic, 1 teaspoon ginger, and vegetable oil until corn starch is dissolved. Add in radishes, turnips, carrots, bok choy stems, broccoli rabe stems, white onion, and swiss chard stems. Toss to lightly coat.
  2. Heat sesame oil in a walk over medium heat. Remove vegetables from the bowl and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. 
  3. Meanwhile, add the swiss chard leaves, bok choy leaves, and broccoli rabe flowerettes to the bowl. Toss to lightly coat.
  4. Add the remaining vegetables to the wok. 
  5. Stir in soy sauce, water, and 1 teaspoon ginger.Cook until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 4 more minutes.
  6. Add green onions to the wok. Stir to mix well and serve over rice.
Finished stir fry
And, yes, the kids liked it and asked for seconds. Well, Natalie didn't like the swiss chard, but ate everything else on her plate. It helps to have her big sisters saying, "But Natalie, that's not just any vegetable. Those are Daddy's vegetables!"

April 29, 2012

Radishes and recipes

To some, radishes are the evil-stepsister of the spring crops. To others, they are the little red gems that signify the end of winter. In our house, they are all gems.

Radishes usually come in shades of red, white, and pink. This year, we planted Crunchy Royale, Pink Beauty, and White Pink Pong Ball. We also have a vibrant purple variety called Amethyst, and it does honor to its name. Raw, radishes add a great splash of color to the salad or the table. But, for some -- me included -- their spicy kick can be overwhelming in large doses. Cooked, though, radishes take on an entire new taste. They mellow without losing flavor, resembling the succulence you expect from fresh cauliflower but with better texture.

Health-wise, radishes do their part to boost your immune system. A half-cup of radishes provides 15 percent of your daily recommended amount of Vitamin C, with a splash of fiber thrown in for good measure.

My preferred way of preparing radishes is to slice them into 1/4-inch slices. Boil them for 4-5 minutes. Drain, and add 1 tablespoon of butter. Stir until butter is melted and serve warm.

We also tend to throw them into stir fry dishes, add them to noodles, slice super-thin and add to salads, or just skewer them on a kabob and grill until fork-tender.

But don't take my word for it. Here are a few other professional recipes:


April 9, 2012

Tomatoes ahead of schedule?

With such a wonderful spring, I planted tomatoes out two weeks earlier than I have ever planted them. Is that going to push them along to have earlier tomatoes this year, I hope so. Here are some comparison photos, you decided.

April 6, 2012 photos
I need to sucker and remove the lower branches.


April 12, 2011
These plants were suckered and had the lower branches already removed.

April 24, 2010

April 30, 2010