Bok choy noodles with green garlic chili crisp
And our garden progress!
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Yesterday, I finally started our garden: my very first garden (technically second if you count the raised bed that produced literally nothing except lettuce for the rabbits in our backyard of 825 E. Gorham in 2010), my very first time growing things without Kyle’s expertise leading the way, and my very first time playing in our fields with no attachment to yields, timing, or income.
I’m pretty excited about it even though all I’ve planted so far are things that would have been happier being planted a month (or more) ago.
I’ve got sweet corn and winter squash seeded: a whole damn bunch of each (nearly 80’) and I really hope they turn out. I transplanted some cabbage, kale, chard, and collards (things I eat endlessly) alongside a couple zucchini and cucumber plants (because why not) and a few dozen fun long, pink onions from Winterfell Acres. Tomorrow, I’ll throw the peppers and tomatoes into the ground.
For me, the last minute gardener, my focus is mostly on the things I love to preserve and can’t imagine my life not being abundant in. We’ll get plenty of fresh eating veggies from our CSA with Winterfell Acres week to week, but certainly not enough to preserve. And the thought of buying my own sweet corn, tomatoes, and winter squash in the volumes we’re used to eating seems truly silly.
So instead, I now have a ridiculously oversized garden that looks quite a bit like one of our farm fields (because it is in fact, a third of one of our farm fields) covered in landscape fabric (because I’m going for ease here) and row cover (because bugs!).
It actually makes me laugh how much it resembles our farm— almost as much as it makes me laugh that I feel called to grow things during the year we determined we needed (and deserved!) a break from growing things, but the heart wants what the heart wants.
All I know is that I am so very happy to have this little garden, to have an outdoor task I can do with my mom and with Lilly, and to continue to grow things in some way on this beautiful land we’ve stewarded for the past nine years and I’ve loved for my whole life.
Anyway, life is good. It’s been filled with sunshine and adventure and time outdoors. And the eating has been delicious. I’ve been so happy to be receiving a CSA box each week. It has been shaping our meal plans and inspiring me in the kitchen- just as I knew it would.
I’m even learning to enjoy things that I would rarely bring home from our own farm (like beautiful leafy bunches of swiss chard and so many heads of lettuce). We’re devouring more greens than ever before, which again, is ironic since we’ve never had a shortage of greens in our life, but I’m absolutely loving it!
Dark leafy greens (like kale, chard, spinach, and bok choy) are especially having their moment in our kitchen. We’ve been enjoying them wilted on polenta, stuffed into quesadillas, added to smoothies, and stirred into noodles.
My absolute favorite dish of the last month, which I’m already ready to repeat (a thing that doesn’t happen often at our house), are these wonderful noodles made with bok choy, kale and green garlic from our CSA box.
I love pretty much everything about this dish. The crispy pork. The abundant greens (there’s two small heads of bok choy and a bunch of kale in there!). The nuts, seeds, scallions and super fun green garlic chili crisp. It’s just a powerhouse meal with so much flavor, and it’s so dang easy. Truly could not be more simple.
I hope you love it and that it helps you to eat more greens :)
BOK CHOY NOODLES WITH GREEN GARLIC CHILI CRISP
This recipe was created with the Winterfell Acres CSA box in mind, (which had a bunch of green garlic, a bunch of kale, and two small heads of bok choy) but is incredibly versatile. You could substitute chard, spinach or tatsoi for the greens, or use more bok choy or more kale. All you really need is 6-10 cups of any cooking green.
I love love love the green garlic chili crisp because it’s such a fun way to make an all purpose condiment out of an awesome spring ingredient, but if you don’t have green garlic, feel free to substitute 10 cloves of garlic. You could also use 8-10 garlic scapes.
Takes 45 minutes
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sunflower oil (or other neutral cooking oil), divided
4-6 green garlic stalks, white and pale green parts, minced, divided
3 tablespoons red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound ground pork (ground beef, turkey or chicken would also work fine)
5 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/3 cup water
1-2 heads bok choy, sliced
1 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed and sliced
10 ounces ramen or rice noodles, we love these ones from Lotus Foods at Willy Street Co-op
1/4 cup roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup sunflower oil and 4 minced green garlic stalks. Cook over medium heat until the garlic is just beginning to turn golden, being careful not to overcook. This should take about 10 minutes. Strain garlic from oil (reserving both) and stir red pepper flakes into hot oil. Allow oil to cool and add garlic back in. Set aside.
In a large skillet, warm remaining tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add remaining green garlic and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add pork and brown well, allowing parts to get a little crispy, about 10 minutes. Once browned, reduce the heat to low, and add soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, maple syrup, water, bok choy, and kale. Cook until greens are wilted.
In a kettle, bring water to a boil over high heat. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and add to pan with the pork and greens. Toss well to coat noodles and add a couple pinches of salt. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
Serve warm with peanuts, sesame seeds, scallions, and green garlic chili crisp to taste. We use several spoonfuls of the chili crisp, and typically end up with very little leftover. But if you do have some leftover, just keep in the fridge and use within a couple weeks.