The Veggies Are Here!

Tonight I made a pile of veggies from my CSA share that was spectacular. It's not an all-local meal by any means, but it was a good use of the new bounty that late spring puts in my fridge. Check it out:

A few ample handfuls of sugar snap peas
One head Chinese cabbage
As many shiitake mushrooms as you like
about half a stalk of an onion flower
1 head broccoli
a little peanut oil and rice vinegar for sautéing

Simple peanut-ginger sauce:
1/3 cup good-quality peanut butter (none of this sugary stuff, but plain, ground peanuts)
2 tbs rice vinegar
2 tbs tamari or soy sauce of choice
1/8 cup peanut oil
2 fat cloves of garlic
a one-inch piece of ginger, peeled

One bundle Soba noodles

Here's what you do:

Cook the soba noodles as directed on the package and set aside.

Cut up all the veggies into little slivers. Be sure to take the stems off the mushrooms and the snap peas. Toss into a pan with a dash of peanut oil and rice vinegar, maybe some tamari if you like. Sauté over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is wilted and the snap peas are a bright, vivid green (about 10 minutes)

While the veggies are cooking, make the sauce: toss all the ingredients into a food processor and add a little water (about 3 tbs or so). Whizz together and add water as needed to reach the desired consistency (you want it thick, but more liquid-like than paste-like).

Once the veggies are done, turn the heat to low and toss the noodles and the sauce into the pan. Stir everything together until the sauce has been incorporated fully.

Garnish with a few slices of onion flower stalk or garlic scapes if you like and serve hot. Makes enough for two.

Pig 'n' Peppers

12 Long, sweet peppers, any variety available, so long as hey have enough room to stuff (not bell-peppers)2 cups uncooked rice 4 cups hot, salted water 1 1/2-2 cups pork sausage 2 large shallots 1 small hot-hot pepper 6 oz queso de campo (Mexican farmstead cheese) 1/2 cup molé sauce

Cook rice in the water until a little al dente. Chop shallots and the small hot-hot pepper finely. Place shallots, hot-hot pepper and pork sausage in a large pan and cook until shallots are translucent and the pork is done. Pour the cooked rice into the pan with the sausage. If there's a little cooking water left, that's fine. Cook until the rice is tender, all water has evaporated and everything is well mixed.

Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF. Cut off the tops of the stuffing peppers and remove the seed head. With a small spoon, stuff as much of the pork and rice mixture into the pepper as you can, using the back of the spoon in a circular motion. It's okay if the pepper tears a bit. Just stop if it does and be gentle. Place the stuffed peppers in a roasting tin with a little lard or other handy oil. Cover peppers with the cheese and the molé sauce. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the peppers are hot and the cheese bubbles. Serve hot with a few sprigs of cilantro and/or slices of avocado, if available.

Serves 6.