Monthly Archives: January 2011

Black-Pepper Pork Banh Mi

I don’t usually think about eating sandwiches in the winter. Sandwiches usually = light, cool summer fare, at least in my mind. But when I was creating my weekly menu plan a few weeks ago, I came across a recipe for pickled daikon radishes and carrots (I’d just gotten a bunch of each in my Greenling box). At the end it said “Remove vegetables from liquid before using in banh mi.”

I’d never heard of banh mi before and did some googling. Turns out it’s a Vietnamese sandwich that has many, many variations, and many, many fans. There are entire websites devoted to cataloging the different types of banh mi you can make. Pickled daikon radishes and carrots are a common condiment, though, no matter which iteration you go with. So is cilantro, which I love. Mayonnaise is a typical spread, but since I think it’s disgusting (Mayo is Satan’s condiment. It’s true.) I ate my sandwich dry. The fillings were delicious enough without it. The site I link to below has many different meats and condiments you can use to create your own banh mi.

Black-Pepper Pork Banh Mi (adapted from Banh Mi Battle)

1 lb pork tenderloin, thinly sliced
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp sugar
1-2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp finely chopped shallots or onion
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp sesame seed oil

6 bollilos (Mexican sandwich rolls) or other sandwich roll

Pickled daikon radishes and carrots
Cilantro sprigs
Thinly sliced cucumber
Thinly sliced red onion
Mayonnaise (optional)

For the pork, combine all ingredients in a zip-lock bag and let the pork marinate for at least an hour. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add pork and marinade. Cook 3-4 minutes per side, until pork is cooked through.

To assemble the sandwiches, cut a slit lengthwise into each bollilo. Pull out some of the bread from the inside (this gives you more room for fillings). Fill with pork and condiments of your choice.

– Stephanie

Mustard Green and Lentil Sprout Curry

I consider this dish a personal victory over two of my produce nemeses: mustard greens and lentil sprouts. I know that both of these vegetables are perfectly lovely and nutritious, but they gave me fits before I finally tamed them in this dish. Mustard greens and lentil sprouts are not inherently tricky to cook, I just didn’t grow up eating them and I didn’t have a clue about what do with them when I first got them in the Local Box.

However, the nutritional promise of these two ingredients has kept me trying to include them in our diet. Mustard greens have anti-inflammatory properties and tons of B vitamins– great for dealing with stress– and lentil sprouts have plenty of fiber. Over the past year of trial and error I’ve learned a few tricks for cooking these ingredients, and with tonight’s curry success, I feel confident sharing them. For mustard greens:

  • Wash mustard greens really well before and after chopping to get rid of any grit. We use a salad spinner.
  • Use recipes with bold flavors, like curries, to complement the strong flavor of the mustard greens.
  • Chop the leaves in fine pieces before cooking them.
  • Plan to cook mustard greens about twice as long as you would a milder winter green like spinach. This knocks out any toughness, even in the stems, and improves the final texture of the greens.

For lentil sprouts, I don’t have any preparation tips since most recipes call for the whole lentils in salad. Just wash ’em and go! I like sprout salads okay but my favorite way to eat lentil sprouts is to sneak them into spicy stews like this curry. They become very tender as they cook and fade into the background texture of the dish.

This particular curry came about after I experimented with several different recipes from around the internet: Jugalbandi’s Sprout Curry, Allrecipes’ Curried Mustard Greens, and Matthew Card’s Chickpea Dal. The final dish is a hybrid of all these, and it comes together in just about half an hour in the kitchen. I originally planned to add a full can of chickpeas to this recipe and decided against it when I ran out of room in my pot. However, they would have been a welcome addition (along with some extra liquid) if I had needed to stretch the recipe for an unexpected dinner guest.

Mustard Green & Lentil Sprout Curry (serves 4)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1 bunch mustard green leaves, stems removed, chopped fine
1.5 cups lentil sprouts
15 oz. can stewed tomatoes
6 oz. can tomato paste
6 oz. water
3 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 cup light coconut milk
Chopped cilantro or parsley for garnish

In a large, lidded skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onions, minced garlic and diced jalapeno and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients to the pot, except coconut milk and garnishes. Stirring constantly, cook until liquid comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. At the end of cooking, stir in coconut milk. Garnish curry with fresh cilantro or parsley and serve with rice, naan, or pita.

Click here for a printable copy of this recipe.

Field Report 1-28-11 –

Field Report 1-28-11 – – Dino Kale – Not as Cool as a T-Rex, but Easier to Eat

Greenling Local Box Video January 24-28

Check out the Local Box contents for this week! The Napa Cabbage is not quite as big as last year’s Frankencabbage, but it should be plenty for two big salads.

What are you planning to make with your Local Box?

Local Box Meal Plan: Jan. 24-28

Video coming later, folks. For now, I’m super excited to see the return of Napa cabbage. Not only is it tasty, but it reminds me of last year’s Frankencabbage. Now, there’s no guarantee that this week’s bounty will be the behemoth size of Frankencabbage, but we can hope! Anywho, here’s the full list.

Tangerines – Orange Blossom
Mustard Greens – Naegelin
Broccoli – Texas Daily Harvest
Various Lettuce – Acadian
Baby Arugula – My Father’s Farm
Red or Green Kale – Naegelin
Napa Cabbage – TDH
White Mushrooms – Acadian
Yellow Onions – Naegelin
Grapefruit or Navel Oranges – G&S

I’ll be making:

Cabbage-mushroom pie – I probably won’t both making my own crust, and just pick up one from the store.

Stir-fried kale with broccoli – I’m going to use orange or tangerine juice instead of lemon juice.

Orange, walnut, and Gorgonzola salad with citrus vinaigrette – Any of the citrus you get here will work well in the dressing.

Roast pork chops with bacon and wilted greens

– Stephanie

Fennel Potato Soup with Turnip Greens

This soup is not what I intended to make for dinner last night. My regularly scheduled menu was interrupted last week when my sister had a beautiful baby girl! My niece’s name is Ella, and the past few days have been completely absorbed by this new little member of our family. Thanks to Ella’s arrival, we ended up eating out for dinner on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights with family.  I’m not complaining– how could I when I look at a face like Ella’s?– but I do have a lot of leftover produce in my fridge. Four meals’ worth, to be exact! Plus, heavy restaurant meals will make anyone feel bloated.

In order to knock out a lot of veggies and help my poor stomach, I turned to this Potato-Fennel soup recipe from the Mayo Clinic Foundation for Medical Education and Research. I knew the potatoes would give the soup a mild flavor, and fennel is supposed to be great for digestion.

I adapted the Mayo Clinic’s recipe by incorporating turnip greens and radish tops into the soup, and by increasing the liquid in the recipe accordingly.  And since I had just one half-pound bulb of fennel on hand, that’s all we used. (I couldn’t taste it a bit in the final dish.) I happened to have radish tops and turnip greens in my fridge today, but any cruciferous dark green would work well here.  However, I would avoid would be mustard greens; their spiciness would probably overpower the delicate balance of flavors in this soup.

All weekend I’ve been imagining what kinds of food Ella will enjoy as she gets older.  Maybe she will grow up to be the next Michael Pollan. Or a great chef. Whatever happens, I hope that some day I can make her a big steamy bowl of this fennel soup and tell her all about the Thursday night that she was born!

Fennel Potato Soup with Turnip Greens (4 large servings)
adapted from the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 fennel bulb, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 cups chopped dark greens, such as turnip, arugula, radish, spinach, or kale
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh ground pepper
Sour cream for garnish
Fennel fronds for garnish

Chop the onion and fennel bulb*. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion and fennel. Saute until the onion is translucent and the fennel begins to soften, about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, peel and chop potatoes and wash and chop greens.  Add potatoes and greens to the pot, along with the broth and milk.  Bring the soup to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are very tender, about 20 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Taste and season accordingly. Ladle into bowls, garnish with fennel fronds, sour cream, and additional pepper.

*If you’re new to fennel (anise), like me, it can be tricky to know how to cut the bulb open. Here’s a great video with instructions:

Click here for a printable copy of this recipe.

Smoky Chickpeas and Greens

I’ve been on a dried bean kick lately. They are so cheap, and so easy to prepare! Just soak all day, cook until tender (30 min. to an hour, depending on the bean), and you’re done. I usually cook up a bag at a time and freeze in 1 or 2 cup portions so that I always have some on hand. (FUN FACT: 1 can of beans equals about 1.5 cups.) Anyway, I had an abundance of chickpeas in the freezer and kale in my Greenling box last week, and came across this recipe.

I seriously heart it so much. There are several contrasting elements that make it so, so tasty: smoky flavors from the bacon and smoked paprika, brightness from a squeeze of lemon juice, and creaminess from a scoop of Greek yogurt or sour cream. Yum!

While this isn’t vegetarian, you can probably easily make it so by using oil instead of bacon (the smoked paprika will still give it a smoky flavor) and using vegetable broth instead of chicken. Whichever way you try it, I think you’re going to love this recipe just as much as I do.

Smoky Chickpeas and Greens (from Cooking Light)

2 center-cut bacon slices
1 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 1/2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
4 cups cooked chickpeas (or 2 15-oz cans, rinsed and drained)
4 cups chopped fresh kale (or other hearty green)
1/2 cup plain reduced-fat Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
4 lemon wedges

Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan using a slotted spoon, and crumble. Add carrot and onion to drippings in pan, and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt, cumin, and red pepper; cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in chicken broth, 1 cup water, and beans; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add kale to bean mixture. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until kale is tender, stirring occasionally. Ladle about 1 1/4 cups bean mixture into each of 4 bowls, and top each serving with 2 tablespoons yogurt or sour cream. Sprinkle with bacon and serve with lemon wedges.