Dark Days: Orange-ish Broccoli & Bok Choy Stir Fry
This post was fully intended to make this week’s round-up, but things got a little off-kilter this week. It happens. But! Since each week’s post is due by Wednesday night and it’s now Thursday, let’s call this “look, Jes is ahead of schedule and already cooking something for the upcoming week’s Dark Days!” Shall we?
Last weekend, G & I drove down to Raleigh to watch some opera (Philip Glass’ Les Enfants Terribles), drink some drinks, and eat some fantastic food (more on that later). While there, we managed to swing by the North Carolina State Farmers Market–a 30,000 square foot farmers market run by the state of North Carolina. The compound, yes, I’ll call it that, was composed of several long warehouse buildings with open backs. For the winter, produce largely took up 3/4 of one of the buildings and another building was mostly full of more permanent vendors who sell cheeses, meats, anything that might need refrigeration or electricity. A seafood building stood on the far end of the area, but only one fisher was there with some shrimp and not much else. We were both simply amazed at the space and can’t wait to see it in its full summer glory.
Since it’s winter, the place wasn’t as hopping as it could be, but, to an outsider, it was mecca–rows upon rows of farmers selling greens and tomatoes and pecans and honey and eggs and pastured meats and even local wine. I had to seriously restrain myself from buying a little bit of everything in the place. While I do wish I’d bought a box or two of tomatoes to can, I stuck with buying things that I generally can’t find here during the winter: broccoli, cheap bags of spinach, bok choy, onions, strawberries. Yes, strawberries. Strawberries raised in a solar powered greenhouse. Amazing! (We’ll get back to those strawberries next week…)
The thing that I liked the most about the market, though, was that it wasn’t just a bunch of green hippies selling things–there were some, but the majority of farmers were older, family run farms. And I trusted the signs–“home grown,” “local,” even the couple of “organic” ones here and there. In Roanoke, some of the sellers at the downtown market just ship in produce from Florida and sell it under the guise of “local.” Here, you knew it was local, you knew it was fresh, and you knew it was well cared for. Honesty. Sometimes that’s all you need.
But what to cook with the loot? Since Monday, January 23, was Chinese New Years, and one of the Dark Days challenges was for a one pot meal, I figured I’d whip up some sort of Chinese-inspired stir fry. Not necessarily “one pot,” but pretty darn close (damn that rice needing its own pot). With the veggies I picked up at the market–broccoli, bok choy, scallions–and a sauce I concocted out of whatever I had available in the pantry, the finished dish was anything but authentic, but beautifully green and delicious. Sometimes there’s nothing like a simple stir fry to highlight fresh picked produce, and I think this one really shone given its simplicity: vegetables, sauce, rice. And what I’d give for something like the NC State Farmers Market near me–utter abundance even in the heart of winter!
Orange-ish Broccoli & Bok Choy Stir Fry
For the sauce:
2 tbsp Bragg’s Amino Acids
1/4 c orange marmalade
1/4 c orange juice
1/2 tsp Sriracha sauce (add more to taste)
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp Sherry
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp arrow root powder (or cornstarch)
For the stir fry:
2 tbsp coconut oil
4 heads bok choy, washed and leaves separated
2 heads broccoli, washed and chopped into florets
2-3 scallions, chopped into rounds
2 c cooked rice
In a small mixing bowl, combine all sauce ingredients. Whisk to combine and adjust to taste (add more Sriracha for heat, orange juice for acidity, Bragg’s for salt and umami).
Meanwhile, in a wok over medium-high, add the melt the coconut oil. Add the bok choy and saute, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes until it begins to wilt. Add the broccoli and saute, stirring/flipping constantly, for 3-4 more minutes until both the broccoli and bok choy is cooked as desired.
Take 2 florets of the broccoli out of the wok and add them to the sauce in the bowl to warm the sauce. Once the sauce is warm, pour into the wok and cook 1 minute until thickened and thoroughly coating the vegetables.
Serve on top of rice and garnish with sesame seeds and chopped scallions.