Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sauteed Bok Choy and Shittake Mushroom Caps... Buddah's Delight!

Asian culture was a huge influence in my upbringing. My Aunt Debbie is my mom's sister. Growing up, she was one of my favorite people (still is). I knew her as being elusive, enigmatic, and adventurous. For the first chunk of my memory, she was living in Hong Kong. I don't remember exactly how long she was over there, I believe she was working for a bank. I do remember getting pictures in the mail, the best and most creative birthday presents ever (know anyone else who learned to use chop-sticks at the age of 4 with a Hello Kitty set?), and being completely enthralled in her bi-annual visits. She taught me as much as a 4-10 year old could absorb. I loved eating at Dim Sum restaurants with her, just to hear her order in Mandarin. She'd also pass along recipes she learned over seas, my mom had some too, and our home-made Chinese dinners were always my favorite meals.

We still make them frequently, and I've held on to most of the recipes, as well as branching out in to other Asian cuisine. My favorite times are visiting Debbie up in New Hampshire. We sit on the dock in the morning and plan a huge Chinese feast. I can remember piling in to her car and trucking down to Boston in the dead of winter to hit up the markets in China Town. Star Anise? Check. Szechuan Peppercorns? Check. Chicken Feet... ugh, check.

I promise there are no chicken feet in this recipe.

Sauteed Bok Choy and Shittake Mushroom Caps
1 Head of Bok Choy, chopped in to 1" pieces
(if Bok Choy isn't available, Chinese Cabbage will give you a similar flavor)
2 containers of Shittake Mushrooms, stemmed
2" of Fresh Ginger, pealed and chopped into sizable pieces
2 cloves Garlic, smashed and loosely cut
2 tblsp Vegetable or Peanut Oil
2 tblsp Sesame Oil
4 tblsp Soy Sauce

1) Over medium heat, heat vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok. Add the ginger and garlic and saute.

2) Once the garlic begins to brown, add the bok choy. Saute until the leaves begin to wilt.

3) Add the whole mushroom caps. If they seem too big to you, you can slice them in half, but there's something great about those big mushroom pieces. Add the sesame oil and sautee the vegetables until the mushroom caps are soft.

4) Finally, add the soy sauce. Just stir the vegetables until they are lightly coated. Transfer to a bowl and enjoy!

Tip: This dish takes less that 10 minutes to cook, so you want to make this last.

I'm sure I've said this before, but there are just some foods that make you feel good for having eaten them. This is one of those instances. Bok Choy is one of those veggies that stays crisp and flavorful and holds a lot of refreshing flavor, even after you cook it. Shittake mushrooms have this wonderfully earthy, meaty, flavor. They are by far one of my favorites. This is such a good vegetable dish to compliment any meal, and it's easy to make. I usually make it with a good piece of marinated steak or home made dumplings!

Yum! No forks allowed!

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