Veg Box Dinner – Stir Fry and Bok Choy with Chinese Black Beans

October 19th, 2011 / Comments 3

I’ve traveled to Brighton, a seaside town sixty miles south of London, to visit my son Matthew while his wife, Alison, is in Australia on a business trip. Weekday mornings we take the train to the university where Matthew is teaching and we work – he writes and I write. We meet for mid-morning tea, lunch and mid-afternoon tea before heading home. During, between and after meals, our conversations regularly turn to food.

veg box Veg Box Dinner   Stir Fry and Bok Choy with Chinese Black BeansMatthew and Alison have a “veg” box from Riverford Farm delivered every Thursday. The organic vegetables and fruit come in a reusable cardboard box and are accompanied by seasonal recipes and news from the farm. The “veg” box, augmented with a bit of meat or fish, milk, cheese and eggs and miscellaneous items like fresh ginger and hot peppers from the grocer at the train station, is the center of their healthy and sustainable diet. This week’s box had leeks, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, parsnips, fennel, potatoes, onions and baby bok choy.

On Thursday, we had “veg” box stir-fry and bok choy with black beans for dinner. Here’s how Matthew did it:

“Veg” Box Stir-Fry

He washed and sliced enough leeks, carrots, cabbage and broccoli to fill a medium bowl, about four cups. For the sauce, he combined a tablespoon of soy sauce, a tablespoon of white wine vinegar, a heaping teaspoon of cornstarch, two teaspoons of hoi sin sauce, a tablespoon of toasted sesame seed oil and a tablespoon of sugar in a small bowl. He heated two tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large pot, added three small, whole, dried chili peppers, two cloves of garlic and a one-inch knob of ginger root, both minced. As soon as we could smell the garlic and ginger, he added the vegetables. After the vegetables had cooked for five minutes, he added the sauce and cooked the vegetables for two more minutes.

It took less time for Matthew to cook the bok choy than it took for me to set the table and serve the stir fried vegetables.

Bok Choy with Chinese Black Beans

He rinsed and quartered three heads of baby bok choy, put a splash of vegetable oil, about two teaspoons, one clove of minced garlic and a tablespoon of rinsed, salted Chinese black beans and the bok choy into a cast-iron frying pan over medium-high heat. After the bok choy had cooked for a minute, he added a tablespoon of white wine, turned the bok choy over and cooked it for another minute.

We evaluated dinner as we ate it. The texture of the crisp bok choy and the sweet/sour sauce on the stir fried vegetables were pluses, forgetting to remove the whole chili peppers before serving the stir fry was a negative. We awarded dinner four-stars.

On Saturday, I bought a pint of strawberries and a small container of double cream, (heavy cream in Vermont), at the train station market so that I could make strawberries and cream French toast for Sunday breakfast. Here’s how:

Strawberries & Cream French Toast

I rinsed the strawberries, removed their leafy caps, sliced them and combined them with a tablespoon of sugar. I toasted four pieces of sunflower seed, whole-wheat bread. I combined two eggs, two tablespoons of cream, a teaspoon of sugar and a quarter of a teaspoon of nutmeg in a shallow bowl. I put the toasted bread into the egg mixture, set it aside for ten minutes, turned the slices over, waited ten minutes more so that the bread would absorb the eggy mixture, and then sauteed the bread in butter in a medium cast iron frying pan over low heat.

I found a whisk and recruited Matthew to whip half a cup of the cream. When the French toast was golden, I sprinkled each serving with a teaspoon of sugar, added a generous helping of strawberries and a scoop of whipped cream to each plate. We sat in the sun, enjoyed our breakfast and tried to decide what we should make for dinner.

Here’s a link to the Riverford Farm website. If you live in the UK you may be able to arrange to have a Riverford box delivered. Whether or not you have a veg box delivered, the Riverford site has a great variety of recipes here.

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