Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hot Poppin' Sesame Seeds!

Cooking in the Whiskers' household is always done under the watchful eye of Marcy.  Her usual perch is on top of the refrigerator where she lays like a lioness, draping an arm over the door.

But tonight she wisely chose to observe a little further away from the stove.  The upright piano is high enough for her to see over the counter, yet far enough from the flying sesame seeds.

Do you know what this is?  It was my challenge for the night.

Tokyo Bekana.  It's an Asian green.  (Duh...Tokyo?)  I'd never heard of it until we joined the CSA.  At first I thought it was another bunch of leaves to toss in a salad, but it has quite a bitter taste.  So I followed a tip from our farmer and decided to cook this one. 

I figured that a dish of Asian greens had to have an Asian flavor, so after a little online research I knew that I couldn't go wrong with sesame, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic.

You could use the following recipe to cook any Asian green, but I highly recommend the Tokyo Bekana.  (I'm making myself laugh as I type about this obscure vegetable like I have more than one night of experience with it!)

Hot Poppin' Tokyo Bekana

2 T sesame oil
2 T sesame seeds
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 small pieces of chopped ginger
Mounds of Tokyo Bekana
2 T gluten-free soy sauce
1 T brown rice vinegar

In a wok, warm the sesame oil on medium heat.  Add the sesame seeds and stir until you are overwhelmed with the nutty fragrance, the seeds darken, and you wish you had a spring roll.

Next, add the garlic and ginger, but watch out!  The sesame seeds freaked out and flew out of the pan in all directions when I added the garlic and ginger.  This was quite a surprise to me, but I persevered through the stings, and I stirred, yelped, and danced in front of the stove.  All the while, Marcy watched.

After a minute, add greens by the handful, cooking them down.  In 3-5 minutes they will still be a beautiful, light, spring green, and the stems should still be crunchy. 
I served the greens with plain quinoa.  The nutty taste complimented the Asian flavor of the greens, and it was especially delicious drizzled with leftover saute sauce.

I'd love to tell you that, in addition to learning about a new vegetable, figuring out how to cook it, and being amazed that I actually had all of the ingredients I needed in my kitchen, I also served Asian-flavored salmon with a orange, soy, honey marinade.  Mmmm.  Doesn't that good?

Maybe next time.  We settled for leftover salmon that had been frozen for such a night as this. 

Remember, this is crunch week.  Six days of school to go.

So, the next time you're in the produce section of your local grocery store, pick up a bunch of Tokyo Bekana.  Ha!  Good luck with that one.

Seriously, have any of you seen this before?

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