I bought myself a new toy today. A 10 inch santoku knife. It's beautiful. Sharp. Solid. Makes me feel almost like a professional chef.
Funny the things that get me excited.
Which brings me to today's topic on Eat. Live. Be: a healthy eating tip. Mine is simple. Cook foods you like and have fun while cooking them. Fresh greens (if you like them). Pasta with cheese (if that's your thing). Fruit. Chocolate (!).
I make a point of cooking my favorite foods. Sometimes that means swiss chard three times a week. Sometimes it means an abundance of grape tomatoes or strawberries.
And I make a point of having fun. I own a stand mixer and food processor, and I have a few really good knives. These tools make cooking fun for me, and encourage me to spend more time doing it.
This year, I joined a CSA. I did it mostly for practical reasons - I thought it'd save us money and help us eat healthy. Turns out that it's a ton of fun! I love opening my weekly CSA box and seeing the surprise produce. I love being part of the farming community, even in a small way. I love trying new foods and cooking with the seasons. It makes healthy eating more fun than ever.
This recipe uses seasonal mizuna, a rich dark green leafy vegetable that can be eaten raw or steamed. It was the first time I tried it, and it was great. Full flavored but not bitter or sharp. It combines well with Asian flavors. If you can find some, I highly recommend it.
Chicken with Mizuna
Use tofu instead of chicken for a vegetarian version.
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sake rice wine
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 bunch scallions or green onions, sliced thin
1 lb. trimmed string beans or haricot verts
1 bunch mizuna
First, prepare the chicken. Mix together the soy sauce, sake, oils, honey and ginger in a large bowl. Cut the chicken into small cubes (about 3/4 inch). Mix the chicken into the marinade and refrigerate for at least an hour, preferably 4-5.
About 1/2 hour before serving time, heat half the oil in a large frying pan or wok. Add the scallions and saute over medium-high heat for a few minutes. Remove the scallions and add about half the chicken bits (leave behind the marinade, but reserve it - you'll need it later). Brown the chicken for a couple of minutes, rotating the chicken now and then to get all the sides browned. Remove the chicken, add the remaining oil, and let it get hot. Add the rest of the chicken bits and brown.
Now, add back the scallions and reserved chicken. Pour in the reserved marinade. Cover the pan, bring to a boil and cook at a strong simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the string beans and cook for another few minutes, covered, till the beans are tender.
Finally, add the mizuna and cook for 2-3 minutes, uncovered, to get rid of some of the extra juices and steam the greens.
Serve hot next to whole wheat pasta or brown rice.