Some of my favorite things during the Spring time in the South are: walking barefoot outside, the choir of bugs at night, rainy afternoons, fresh produce and eating outside. When I told you about Humble Roots farm in my last post with that beautiful Kohlrabi, I wanted so badly to go ahead and share this Bok Choy with you. Am I the only one who loves that word combo, Bok Choy? It’s fun to say – even more fun to hear your small children say.
The day that I bought the Kohlrabi from the Humble Roots farmers, I also grabbed this Bok Choy. And I only wasted one day of its fresh little life in between purchasing and cooking. That likely made it the most fresh produce in my house, at the time.
I grew up with vegetables that came straight from the ground to our table. Below is a picture of my brother and myself, as little tots, helping my dad in our garden. As the years would pass by, our garden would more than double. So when I taste grocery store produce and there isn’t that small taste of earth, that tiny bit of dirt in my mouth (that only sounds weird to you if you never grew your own veggies), it seems strange. But this Bok Choy, I washed it, and while there wasn’t any sandy grit in my teeth, the scent of it was so fresh. It was exactly as it should be. Maybe there’s a love affair with fresh produce when that’s what you grow up with. But I suppose there could be worse love affairs than being in awe of how God made these leafy things that bring our bodies life.
After I had the Bok Choy in hand, I went to Whole Foods and bought a local heirloom tomato [I’m going to estimate it as being the size of almost two softballs. It took both hands to hold it. Beautiful.] I also purchased some wild Alaskan Salmon and grabbed leaves off my Basil plant to make some pesto to accompany it all. I want you to have the recipes for this dish. But I also want to inspire you over and over again with the beauty and wonder of how these vegetables, fruit, fish and/or meat, that I cook, are made and look. The more you find yourself drooling over the beauty of this food, the more likely (I think) you are to actually cook, or eat, them.
How do you wrap your head around something this full of fruit being grown from a tiny, flat little seed?
Then there’s this. Look from the top down at this Bok Choy. Do you see the beautiful symmetry and balance of the leaves so big on the outside, swirling in, getting smaller, to the middle? So much beauty in a vegetable. I swoon.
Bok Choy can be cooked a variety of ways (including in soup), but for this recipe I’m going to have you cut the bottom off (flat like you would a head of celery). Then cut the whole vegetable in two, so that the majority of the green leaves are left apart from the celery-looking base. You will lightly drizzle the remaining Bok Choy with olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and broil on high (or just broil if your oven doesn’t have a high/low broil setting) for about 5-10 minutes or until it starts to brown. Don’t over-cook it or it will become chewy.
For easy reference:
- cut bottom of bok choy off flat
- cut bok choy in two, leaving leafy portion out of the equation
- lightly drizzle the white celery-looking stems with olive oil
- season with sea salt and pepper
- broil on high (or regular broil setting if you don’t have a high/low setting) until steps are slightly brown
Pesto. My children and I prefer pesto. Whenever I make meatballs, they prefer dunking their meatballs in pesto rather than a tomato sauce. To each their own. I have no specific pesto recipe. Let that not shy you away from making your own. My recipe would, roughly, be as follows:
- use a mini (or regular) food processor
- add a couple cups of washed and dried basil leaves
- roughly 1Tbsp fresh organic lemon juice
- about 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1 clove fresh garlic
- sea salt to-taste
Every time I make pesto, I taste as I go. I encourage you to do the same. You can’t mess it up too badly. Make it as thin or thick as you need, depending on your family’s preference or to best suit the recipe you’re making.
In my iron skillet I cooked the salmon on med/high heat with a small amount of olive oil, sea salt and pepper. When it was about 80% cooked, I removed and added to the baking sheet with the bok choy. I topped the salmon with pesto and broiled it along with the bok choy for about 5-10 minutes. Doing so completed the cooking process and warmed the pesto just enough.
Don’t worry. I cut into that beautiful tomato. It complimented the dish perfectly. There’s nothing better than a cold tomato with a little salt on it. Paired with a delicious sweet (sugar-free) tea, that dinner was magical.
And nothing makes eating out on the porch better than being in good company with a girl’s best friend. My sidekick of 10 years is never far from my heels. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Meet Maddie.
There’s no printable recipe for this post. But I hope you’ll pin it, or bookmark it, and allow it to inspire you to enjoy the outdoors, eat local fresh produce, cook vegetables you’ve never tried, and enjoy a warm Southern evening (even if it’s vicariously).
Blessings to your bellies and bodies.