Oh, Snap! Stating the Obvious

In Challenge, Chinese, CSA, Quick Meal, Rice, Seitan, Vegetables on June 13, 2012 at 2:51 pm

It’s always very challenging getting children (or child-like spouses) to eat their veggies.  Growing up, we always had salad AND cooked veggies with our dinner.  Whenever I’d tell people me little sister’s favorite food was broccoli, they were shocked and practically reached over to take her temperature.  I never understood how people can really HATE so many kinds of produce.  In fact, as I am writing this, I am thinking of a girl I knew in college who said “I don’t eat anything Green.”  Except green M&Ms.  Really?  She said that in such a way as to convey how proud she was of her strict diet.  Needless to say, this girl was not the poster child for physical fitness.

Racking my brain for any kind of veggie I don’t like, I can only think of half of one – the seeds of a thick cucumber.  It’s really just a texture thing, but I have incredible gag reflexes from the seeds.  However, with the seeds scooped out, I’m really just fine to eat them.  Besides, that’s why they make the seedless kind :).  My hubby, on the other hand, has a laundry list of veggies to avoid.  Some I can understand, because they are bitter or not flavorful, but others are weird.  Like he won’t eat asparagus because of the way it smells AFTER he’s eaten them.  Or how he’ll eat raw carrots but not cooked ones.  Nick, if you’re reading this, sorry to blow up your spot!

Now that it’s CSA season, I really have to pick and choose what less desirable items I can actually get Nick to eat.  For example, braising greens, kale, and anything leafy that isn’t lettuce won’t pass his test and usually gets reserved for my lunches and breakfasts.  Everything else can either be mixed into a pesto, soup or stirfry as a means of concealment.  Of course, come July and August he will see the value in all the tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, and peppers, and I won’t hear a peep of complaints!  Every Saturday that I go to pick up the disbursement, he asks what’s in the bag, and I start the list off with the items he likes.  This week, we got snow peas, which are probably his favorite green veggie.  In fact, any time he works from home and I ask what he got for lunch, he says “shrimp and snow peas.”  When I began the list with the peas, he said “oh, I really like snow peas,” as if we were on a first date and I knew nothing about him.  Silly Rabbit!

Snow peas all cleaned up, ready to be stir-fried in a snap!

Knowing the importance of using leafy greens first, I try to plan my meals by getting those out of the way in the beginning of the week.  To be honest though, I don’t really physically make a menu plan, but rather a mental guide.  Even though these peas could last til the end of the week, Nick was gonna be out of town for a business trip, so I opted to make them on a Tuesday instead of a Friday.  I had all the ingredients  I needed to make a Chinese take-out dish at home: lettuce, snow peas, and garlic scapes from this week’s share; scallions from when I made Mexican slaw; and of course brown rice and chicken that are always on hand.  The only thing missing was some vegetarian protein, so I stopped at the healthfood store to pick up some seitan, and also some ginger since I didn’t have any at home.

You could make this recipe with any kind of protein, and serve it over rice or in a lettuce wrap.  Here it is!  I’m gonna make it a vegetarian title :).  I’d advise doubling the recipe, because it makes great leftovers!

Gingered Snow Peas and Chinese 5 Spice Seitan Lettuce Wraps

Serves 2

3 scallions, greens and whites, thinly sliced
2 garlic scapes (or cloves), thinly sliced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger root
1 pint snow peas
1 tbsp cooking oil, divided
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce, divided
8 oz seitan, sliced into medallions
2 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp Chinese 5 spice
1.5-2 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp red chili paste (Sambal Oelek)
6-8 leafy lettuce leaves, such as Boston or red leafy
Brown rice (optional)

First thing to do is finely slice all the scallions, ginger, and garlic scapes.  For the ginger, I actually used a handheld grater.

Using 1 tsp EVOO in a large wok, I added the aromatics and the snow peas, cooking for only 3-4 minutes.

I transferred the veggies to a bowl and poured a tsp of low sodium soy sauce on top.  While the veggies sauteed, I combined corn starch with Chinese 5 Spice.  This blend includes pepper, star anise, fennel, cinnamon, and cloves.

I dredged the seitan medallions in the mixture.

Shaking off any excess powder, I browned the wheat meat in a tsp of oil (the other tsp was reserved for chicken) for a minute or two on each side.

Then I added the vegetable broth.  You can start with 1.5 cups, and if it thickens up too much add about 1/2 cup more.

You also add the rest of the soy, toasted sesame oil, and red chili paste to incorporate with the sauce.

I transferred to a bowl while I prepped the chicken.  It is the same process as the seitan.  Doesn’t that looks meaty??

Chicken dredged in 5 spice corn starch.

Chicken browning in a wok for 2 minutes each side.

Add vegetable broth, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and red chili paste.

You can serve the protein with the snow peas in lettuce wraps (the way I ate mine).

Here comes the airplane!

Come. To. Mamma.

You could also eat it on a plate with rice, like Nick did with his chicken version.

Chinese 5 spice chicken; gingered snow peas; brown rice cooked with a mixture of water and vegetable broth.

Even though we have different tastes, we can eat together in harmony.

A restaurant experience, without the restaurant.

Funny enough, when we sat down to eat, Nick said “oh, snow peas, I like snow peas.”  Seriously?  Then I snapped, and said “duh, I know that, why did you think I made them tonight?”  Isn’t it pretty obvious that 1) I know my hubby well and 2) men don’t listen?  I certainly think so.  But at least I get him to eat his veggies.

  1. yummy! This looks delicious 🙂 Forget about take-out…I want this…NOW!

    Come and link up to this week’s party. Looking forward to seeing you there 🙂

  2. I love lettuce wraps (because lettuce is the hardest thing for me to use up). Whenever we get snow peas, I tend to throw them into my son’s lunch whole.

    • I feel ya on the lettuce! Ive been trying to use it only with other CSA veggies, but thats proving difficult sometimes. I went to make a salad for lunch yesterday to use the rest up, and let’s just say it was such a random combo I’d never do it again. Lettuce+ cold brown rice + black beans + pear + red onion + parm cheese with lemon dijon dressing. Maybe using chickpeas instead would make it better?

  3. […] Leafy lettuce – Radish, Red Onion, and Orange Salad with Lemon Dijon Dressing and Gingered Snow Peas and Chinese 5 Spice Seitan Lettuce Wraps […]

  4. […] challenges this week are 1) using all the cilantro and 2) finding a use for escarole.  I know I’ve said there’s no veggie I hate, but let’s just say escarole isn’t exactly my fave.  Wish me luck! Share […]

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