Bok Choy is a member of the cabbage family, although it doesn’t look much like the cabbages we’re used to. Its texture is more like celery at the bottom and a leafy green such as spinach at the top.
Bok Choy is common in Chinese food, but rarely used in other cuisines. It is extremely nutritious. It has a particularly high level of calcium, with 870mg per 100 calorie serving, and an absorption rate of 53%. When you compare that to cow’s milk, which has only 188mg per 100 calorie serving, and an absorption rate of 32%, you can see that it makes a good addition to any diet.
To prepare bok choy, you can wash the leaves and stem, then simply steam or stir fry it. Sprinkly a little soy sauce on if you like. Alternatively you can chop it up and use it as you would any other vegetable, in soups, stews, curries or pies. Add this to as many of your recipes as possible, for a real nutritional boost!
Native to the Mediterranean region, arugula is a green leafy plant from the mustard family, also known as rocket. Arugula has a rich peppery taste, and is a good source of vitamins A and C, folate, potassium, magnesium, calcium and phytonutrients. It has been enjoyed the Italians and French for centuries and now is becoming popular in the US.
Arugula is most often used in salads, particularly in a mesclun or mixed green salad, along with other leaves such as dandelion, chervil, endive, frisee, and baby chard, lettuce, spinach and kale leaves.
In addition to its use in salads, it can be made into a pesto sauce, or sauted or steamed and added to pasta dishes.
This simple salad makes a light lunch or substantial side dish. Arugula becomes more peppery as it ages; baby arugula is mildly spicy while mature arugula packs a bigger bite.
1½ pounds French fingerling potatoes (or substitute other small, waxy potatoes such as Yukon Gold)
4 ounces arugula, plus a little salt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 medium shallot, peeled and quartered
⅓ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place the potatoes in a large saucepan, add enough water to cover by an inch, add salt to taste, and bring to a boil. Cook until fork-tender, about 15 minutes; be careful not to overcook. Drain, chill quickly with ice or cold water and refrigerate until ready to use. The potatoes can be cooked a day ahead.
In a food processor or blender, combine the oil, vinegar, shallot, ¾ teaspoon salt and pepper. If no appliance is available, mince the shallot very fine and whisk the ingredients together, or shake them well in a screw top jar.
Slice the potatoes crosswise ¼ inch thick, leaving on the peel, and place in a large bowl. Add the arugula and most, but not all, of the dressing. Toss the dressing with the potatoes and arugula until they are lightly coated and flavorful, adding the remaining dressing if necessary. Arrange the salad on four salad plates, making sure a few slices of potato show on each plate, and serve.
This traditional “griddle dumpling” from Romagna is actually a stuffed Italian flatbread, similar to a calzone but stuffed with greens. This easy version uses whole-wheat pitas.
6 pieces whole-wheat pita bread
1½ teaspoons chopped garlic
¼ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
½ pound Swiss chard, beet greens, spinach, or savoy cabbage, or a mixture
½ pound bitter greens, such as arugula, radicchio, rapini, Chinese broccoli, mustard or turnip greens, or curly endive
¼ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Cut each pita bread in half and open to form a pocket. Wash, trim, and thinly slice the greens.
Place garlic, broth, greens, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a large, deep non-stick skillet. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook until tender. If any liquid remains, uncover and cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until it evaporates. Season with the salt and black pepper and set aside to cool.
Drain the greens and stuff inside the pita halves. Heat filled pitas on a hot, dry griddle or cast-iron pan over high heat, turning frequently, until hot and flecked with brown spots. Serve hot.