I don't usually watch TV, but the show Chopped has always intrigued me. Maybe because it feels a little more like reality TV than the rest of the genre. The ingredients in my kitchen are never as extreme as those given to the contestants, but frequently at the end of the week, or when I just haven't had time to get to the grocery store (despite there being 4 on my way to and from work...), daily meals pose as much a question of what I want to eat as what I can put together from what's here.
This week's challenge came from multiple sources: 1) I received a mysterious green leafy vegetable in my CSA (and I thought I was a greens master), which thanks to Google I learned is called gunsho, a refreshing and crunchy Chinese variety; 2) a half-eaten package of soba noodles that I discovered when sorting out my cabinet last weekend, which I'd forgotten was there and was driving me crazy with its half-finishedness; 3) white turnips, another CSA goodie that I was loathe to prepare in my usual way--roasting on high heat for a good 45 minutes--in my un-air conditioned apartment after a weekend of 90-degree temperatures.
The solution? A one-pot, low-mess recipe that walks a fine line between summertime-light and comfort food. It will be easy to reheat throughout the week and supplement with more greens or other fresh produce as needed. Plus, the turnips are a great source of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Challenge accepted--and met.
5 medium white turnips, halved and thinly sliced into half moons
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon ginger root, grated
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons tamari
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 small bunch cilantro
1. Press and drain the block of tofu between paper towels, at least 30 minutes.
2. Cover noodles in a large pot partially with water. Bring to a boil, and cook until just soft, around 5 minutes. Drain any remaining water, and set aside.
3. In the same pot, combine the tofu, garlic, ginger, tamari, oil, and turnips over medium heat. Cook until the turnips and garlic begin to soften, about 5-10 minutes.
4. Add the gunsho, scallions, and water. When the greens are just steamed, add the peanut butter and apple cider vinegar; stir well.
5. Reduce the heat to simmer, and add the noodles back to the pot. Mix well, and reheat for a few minutes.
6. Divide into bowls and top with chopped cilantro.
Features Editor Jennifer Kurdyla is a New York City girl with Jersey roots and a propensity for getting lost in the urban jungle. An experienced publishing professional, yoga instructor, home chef, sometimes-runner, and writer, she adopted a vegetarian lifestyle in 2008 and became vegan in 2013. She has written for The Harvard Review Online, The Rumpus, and Music & Literature and maintains a wellness-based website, Be Nourished, which features original writing and recipes. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram @jenniferkurdyla, Twitter @jenniferkurdyla, and Pinterest.