A funny thing happened on the way to making Simply in Season‘s Gingered Kale and Tofu.
I knew from the start that I wouldn’t be using tofu. DH (Dear Husband) originally insisted that “protein alternatives” be used to remain true to the cookbook, but he has since relented as he rediscovered his extreme aversion to tofu. So I knew I’d be using chicken.
Then, when I went to pick up the CSA share tonight, lo and behold there was bok choy! DH and I LOVE bok choy. As soon as I saw it I said “oooh, bok choy!” And the lady in front of me laughed and said “I’m all about oooh, brussels sprouts. I’ve been loving those.” I didn’t have the heart to tell her that bok choy beats brussels sprouts hands down. On a side note, I was pretty excited about getting romanesca cauliflower and purple curly kale today. Needless to say, I decided then and there that I’d be adding bok choy to the kale in this recipe.
So what stayed the same? The marinade, for one. It’s a delicious combination of 1/2 C soy sauce, 1/2 C dry sherry or broth (I used chicken broth), 1/4 C rice vinegar or wine vinegar (I used white wine vinegar), 3 T brown sugar brought to a boil and simmered for one minute.
Then, instead of broiling tofu in the marinade as Simply in Season instructs (which, if you’re a tofu fan, you should check out because it does look like a pretty easy way of doing tofu), I stir fried chicken in sesame oil. Removed from the pan, then added 6 C of bok choy and kale to the pan and sauteed with 3 T ginger until wilted. When I added the jarred grated ginger, I thought to myself, hmmm, I wonder if I should have used a 1:1 ratio. I have no idea how jarred ginger compares to fresh. It seemed like a LOT of ginger.
At this point I wondered what was taking the marinade so long to boil, and DH was wondering what was burning. He came upstairs from doing laundry and noticed that the pot on the back burner was smoking. Let me add a disclaimer that I am not a clean freak but my kitchen is normally fairly clean. However, I have been in Canada for work the past two days so it’s in a hopefully temporary state of disarray. At that moment I realized that I turned the back burner (with an old pot on it) instead of the front burner (with the marinade) and quickly grabbed the old pot and put it in the sink At which point the smell of smoke was replaced with the smell of burning rubber. Oh crap, you know those Pampered Chef plastic spatulas that are supposed to be heat-resistant up to 500 degrees? Apparently a burning pot is more than 500 degrees.
While DH took care of the sink full of burning dishes, I suddenly realized that I was supposed to serve this over rice. Which I forgot to make. Which takes about half an hour because we don’t believe in instant or white rice (only basmati or brown). Luckily I remembered that I had bought some rice noodles at Saigon Market the other day when I was looking for persimmons. I put the chicken back in the pan with the kale and bok choy to simmer while the noodles boiled.
About 15 minutes later, DH and I were eating dinner. I must say, it was quite delicious and reminded me of something at a Chinese buffet (only much, much fresher) and I can’t place it. But it was gingery and sweet and sour all at the same time. The kale was bit chewy but the crunch of the bok choy made up for it.
I guess I learned my lesson: don’t cook after a long day of driving.
Oh, one more thing. When I went to write this blog, when I was typing in the recipe I realized that I was supposed to have added 1/4 C of lime juice and 1/4 C of fresh cilantro and a pinch of ground red pepper. And top the whole thing with toasted cashews or peanuts. Oops. I didn’t miss it, but to be fair to the recipe I think I’ll be taking a mulligan.