Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lunch Week 27: Asian Cooked Salad

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it, unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided. So my lunch for the week: Asian Cooked Salad To be quite honest, I didn't know what to call this dish. It's a bunch of cooked vegetables thrown together like salad with Asian flavors. What I did know was that I wanted something lighter this week. An abundance of vegetables from my CSA share helped me in that department. All the vegetables were sliced thinly. First, a nice purple cabbage. Lots of vitamins and nutrients there. Next, some kale. I always find fresh kale at the farm. Dark leafy greens equal healthy! A leek for sweetness. It looks like a giant scallion but it's much milder in flavor. There is a lot of dirt found in leeks. The best way to clean them is to slice it lengthwise, then chop into small pieces and soak in cold water. The dirt will naturally fall to the bottom of the bowl. Make sure you wash these thoroughly. An onion. I love onions. Great flavor. Chopped thinly again. Some bright orange carrots. Peeled, then ribboned. Just take your peeler and run it along the carrot lengthwise. It'll make ribbons that look like pasta. Finally, some meat. This week I chose chicken. I cut them into strips and marinated it in soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, flour, salt, and sriracha sauce. Sriracha is a famous hot sauce. It's recognizable with the rooster in front. It's not a super spicy sauce where you can't taste anything else. It has a good heat and also very good flavor. Once everything is prepped, I start to saute everything one by one. First the kale. They wilt down very quickly. Don't forget to salt everything as you go. Next, the onions. I cooked these until golden brown. They're nice and sweet. The carrots softened really quickly. But I left them slightly crunchy for texture. A quick cook for the leeks. I wanted them to retain a slight raw flavor. The last of the vegetables was the cabbage. Due to its deep purple color, I didn't want it to color all the other vegetables in the cooking process. Mixed all together. What a colorful salad! Now the chicken goes into the pan. There's a lot of juices that create a nice sauce. This will also dress the salad. All mixed together now: Asian cooked salad! The chicken is still nice and tender. The sauce is slightly spicy but very flavorful. Mmm, the taste is addicting. The vegetables are still slightly crunchy which adds great texture. All these hearty vegetables make this dish filling. And they've absorbed the sauce well. Not a bad way to use up my farm share. Upper Meadows Farm 12 Pollara Lane Montague, NJ 07827 (973) 293-8171 uppermeadowsfarm.com

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