Winter is greens season, here in Arizona.
This is something I didn't appreciate about living here until we joined a CSA -- we're in a sub-tropical rather than temperate climate, giving us a year-round growing season. Not the same things all year, of course -- they change with the seasons. After two and a half years, the rhythm has gotten almost comforting. And right now, the temperatures are mild enough for greens that cannot take our summers. Plus we also get root vegetables -- the other reason to like this time of year. But mostly, we notice the greens, including many we'd never heard of before joining -- our farmer likes his Asian and heritage varietals.
Dinner, of course, goes by the harvest. Greens mean, mostly, lots of stir-frying.
And what's for tonight? Poking through the fridge, I find -- ah, here, better use up this head of tatsoi
while it's still fresh -- the collard greens
can wait a few more days. And what's in this bag? -- that handful of small white beets from a couple weeks ago, left to wait for more to show up and be a useful amount. Tonight I'm cooking for one, though, so those are enough -- and I'm tired of the turnips and radishes (the boundary between which, we've learned, can be quite fuzzy). And while taking an onion out of the drawer-cum-root-cellar, I see one of the small butternut squashes
is spoiling. Time to use the half that's still good -- and that should be tasty with the beets. With a little chicken or tofu for protein, that's a meal. With the sweetness of the beets and butternut, no stir-fry sauce needed. Stir-Fry Something
1/2 cup rice
1 cup cubed root vegetables or squash (or anything else that needs steaming instead of stir-frying)
1/2 small onion
2 cups greens, chopped
1/3 cup chicken or tofu
(optional) stir-fry sauce
(optional) piñon nuts or chopped cashews or peanuts
(1 cup = 250 ml, all measurements except the rice highly approximate, i.e., never measured)
Place rice in rice-cooker with appropriate amount of water. Place cubed veggies in the rice-cooker's steamer basket, and put on top. Press the cook button. Depending on the type of rice, this will take 20-40 minutes. Go wash some dishes or something, and come back about 5 minutes before the rice is done.
Dice the onion, place in wok with just enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Chop the greens, cut up the protein.
When the rice cooker clicks over to warm, place wok on the stove over high heat. Stir frequently. When the onion starts to brown around the edges, put the next ingredient in: If your protein is chicken, that's next -- sear until the outside is no longer pink, stirring constantly; if your protein is tofu, that goes in last -- skip to the next step. Put in the greens, stirring constantly until they reduce, frequently after that until done. Try not to over-cook. If you're using a stir-fry sauce, that goes in now. If tofu, that in now. When you turn off the heat, if nuts, that now, along with any chopped cilantro you may have decided on at the last moment.
Mix the steamed veggies into the stir-fry. Plate the rice. Serve the stir-fry on top.
Serves 1 with leftovers for a bit of lunch, or adjust amounts by half again as much and serve 2 without leftovers.
Mmm -- greeeeens. With beeeeets.