Friday, May 9, 2008

Mizuna and Minced Chicken Stir Fry

Chicken and Mizuna

Steven and I recently signed up for a local CSA. CSAs are growing increasingly popular and I bet many of you are already familiar with the concept but we just learned about them a few weeks ago (man I feel so behind the times). CSA or Community Supported Agriculture is a program where you establish a relationship with a local farm and you receive a weekly, biweekly, or monthly box of produce that the farm grows. It's a great way to 1. eat locally and support local farms, 2. eat seasonally, 3. eat more fruits and veggies (because okay, let's be honest, who gets their 5-a-day, not me...) and 4. try fruits and veggies that you've never tried before. The great thing about our CSA is the variety and flexibility. Everything in our box is organic. Some items come from the main farm, other items come from other farms in Washington State, and some come from outside of the region to give subscribers a little variety. We can make substitutions, pickup either weekly or biweekly, or cancel or put our subscription on hold at anytime.


Last week our box contained:
2 Russet potatoes
1 bunch Carrots
1 Leek
.75 lb Zucchini
.75 lb Shallots
2 Hass avocados
4 Valencia oranges
2 Tommy Atkins mangos
2 Lemons
1 Romaine lettuce
1 bunch Mizuna
.34 lb Spring Mix

Organic carrots taste so much better than the giant supermarket carrots and Bunny was happy that the carrots came with green leafy tops attached, which he quickly nommed away.

After looking at our produce list for the week, Steven asked me what mizuna was. I wouldn’t have had a clue if he had asked me the day before, but it just so happened that I had just read a post about mizuna on Susan's blog, Food Blogga. I felt pretty sharp when I replied, "Oh, it's a Japanese mustard green." So I knew what it was, but I was at a loss of how to prepare it. Google to the rescue! I found a recipe for a mizuna and chicken stir fry from Whole Foods, and while I liked the idea, that recipe called for all sorts of random ingredients. I just wanted a simple mizuna and chicken stir fry. Mizuna, I discovered, cooks down a lot. It’s like spinach, you start out with a huge bunch and 2 seconds later, poof, it shrinks down to nearly nothing. I kept a 1:1 ratio of mizuna to chicken in this recipe but feel free to use more or less chicken. The mizuna also cooks very quickly. I added it after I took the pan off the heat and the residual heat of the cooked chicken and hot pan was enough to gently wilt the mizuna. If it's cooked too long, the greens will be limp and lifeless.

Mizuna and Minced Chicken Stir Fry
Inspired by Whole Foods

3/4 lb chicken breast
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Shao Xing rice wine
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp white pepper
3/4 lb mizuna
Salt to taste

Pulse the chicken breast in a food processor to mince it finely until there are no large pieces remaining but do not grind into a paste. Or alternatively mince it with a chef's knife. Mix the minced chicken with soy sauce, wine, cornstarch, sugar, and white pepper and set it aside to marinate.

Meanwhile, trim the ends off the mizuna. It's easiest to keep the mizuna in a bunch and trim the ends off all at once then untie the bunch to wash. My mizuna was pretty dirty, so wash it a few times to loosen and wash away any dirt on the stems and leaves.

Heat 2 tsp of oil in a wok or skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken
and stir fry until it is fully cooked through, about 4 - 6 minutes. When the chicken is fully cooked, turn off the heat and add the mizuna. Toss the mizuna in the hot pan with the chicken and it will start to wilt and cook down, season to taste with salt.

Serve with rice.

More about CSAs:
If you live in the Pacific Northwest area, there are many different CSAs to choose from (we signed up with Full Circle Farms). To find a local CSA in your area go to this website:

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