Eat More Vegetables + Plant-Strong Cookbooks

Eat More Vegetables + Plant-Strong Cookbooks

As an extension of my intention to prioritize self-care this year, I am resolving to eat more vegetables. That means doing my best to include something green in every meal and eating the rainbow to benefit from all the goodness the plant kingdom has to offer. It also means finding new vegetables to try and learning how to cook them. For that, I have a collection of new cookbooks to help me out, which I'm going to share here in hopes that you can get some inspiration too. 

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Asian Omelet with Snow Pea Shoots (Egg Foo Yung)

Asian Omelet with Snow Pea Shoots (Egg Foo Yung)

 

This post is sponsored by San Miguel Produce. We've teamed up with Jade Asian Greens, who provided the vegetables, to bring you an Asian-style omelet packed with green goodness. 

I have such a crush on snow pea shoots (dau miu) that I want to talk about them again here. A few weeks ago, I wrote about a tofu scramble recipe that features these greens, and today I have an egg recipe that also effectively packs in the veggie goodness.

As mentioned in previous posts, I've been developing recipes for the Jade Asian Greens website. When I presented these two snow pea shoot recipes for them to choose, we loved them so much that we decided to share both of them. Hurray for plant power! 

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Baby Bok Choy in Fruity Sweet Sour Sauce

Baby Bok Choy in Fruity Sweet Sour Sauce


This post is sponsored by San Miguel Produce. We've teamed up with Jade Asian Greens, who provided the vegetables, to bring you an appetizing dish featuring baby Shanghai bok choy.

Considering how well-loved bok choy is, I was very excited to be given the opportunity to share one of my favorite ways of enjoying this vegetable on the Jade Asian Greens website. In this recipe, one of several I've developed for the farm in Southern California, baby bok choy is cooked with a fruity Chinese sweet-sour sauce to be served simply with rice. 

Bok choy literally means "white vegetable" in Cantonese and may sometimes be called Chinese white cabbage. It is the Chinese vegetable most people are familiar with and because of its versatility, it is ubiquitous in Asian food, especially in stir-fries and noodle dishes. Baby bok choy, which is what I've used in this recipe, is basically young, smaller bok choy that's prized for its tender texture. 

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Tofu Scramble with Tomatoes and Snow Pea Shoots (Dau Miu)

Tofu Scramble with Tomatoes and Snow Pea Shoots (Dau Miu)


This post is sponsored by San Miguel Produce. We've teamed up with Jade Asian Greens, who provided the vegetables, to bring you a protein-rich vegan breakfast featuring nutrient-dense snow pea shoots.

Christmas came early when we received a giant box of vegetables from a farm in Southern California. Yes, that's how some of us green-loving people like Christmas! (Hint, hint.) In the box were packets of baby bok choy and dau miu and the reason we've been showered with all these wonderful leafy greens is that I've been commissioned to develop some recipes for the Jade Asian Greens website. 

Nothing gets me more excited than writing about vegetables! I'm glad to know that my recent posts about finding and cooking Asian vegetables were something that you really enjoyed, especially this one on Asian greens. Today, we're turning our attention to snow pea shoots, known in Chinese as dau miu. And the recipe I'm sharing is a delicious way to sneak in healthy greens into your breakfast or brunch. 

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Lotus Root Soup with Corn and Red Beans

Lotus Root Soup with Corn and Red Beans

"The lotus flower blooms most beautifully from the deepest and thickest mud." – Buddhist proverb

I'm starting this post with this popular saying to give you an idea of the symbolic significance of the sacred lotus plant in Buddhist and Hindu art and literature. Straightforwardly, it means rising above the murk and resembles the purification of the human spirit. 

More importantly, I'd like you to get a mental image of where lotus roots, today's featured vegetable on the Spring Discovery series, come from. Mud. Yes, mud. 

Lotus roots are rhizomes of the lotus flower that grow in muddy ponds across Asia, known for the striking pattern of holes that reveal themselves when cut crosswise. As a young child in Malaysia, I called lotus root the "telephone vegetable", and I grew up having them boiled in soup with peanuts. The lotus root soup recipe I'm sharing here is a vegetarian version that I now make. 

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Two Birthday Cakes: Thai Basil Avocado and Kaffir Lime Leaf Mango

Two Birthday Cakes: Thai Basil Avocado and Kaffir Lime Leaf Mango

Vermilion Roots is TWO! So I made two cakes. Not that I need any excuse to crowd your screen with the plump, juicy colors of seasonal fruits and fresh berries, but I can't think of anything more suitable for this blog's status as a Spring baby. Besides, these beauties are for sharing. They deserve attention and we, my dear friends, deserve to celebrate. 

You'd probably realised by now that I'm a fan of unconventional cakes. I'm known to show up at potlucks with a green cake in hand, and to commemorate this blog's first birthday, I made a savory Chinese turnip cake served with spring onions and Sriracha sauce! Continuing the tradition of unconventional cakes this year, I present to you Thai Basil Avocado Cake and Kaffir Lime Leaf Mango Cake, both smothered with all the berries the land has to offer this season. 

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Vegetable Stir Fry with Black Fungus (Easy Buddha's Delight)

Vegetable Stir Fry with Black Fungus (Easy Buddha's Delight)

Today's featured vegetable on the Spring Discovery series is technically a fungus. Since I've told you about white fungus, it's only fair that I also bring your attention to black fungus. This edible fungus grows on trees and is commonly available as cloud ear or wood ear mushrooms, owing no less to its appearance. Do you see ears in the bowl?

These mushrooms don't impart a whole lot of flavor but are enjoyed for their unique rubbery and gelatinous texture that adds a slippery yet pleasant crunch to dishes. They are also rich in dietary fiber, high in iron, and used in traditional Chinese medicine to help with blood circulation.

They are one of the key ingredients in a popular Buddhist vegetarian dish known as Buddha's Delight or Lo Hon Jai that is traditionally served by the Chinese in Malaysia during Lunar New Year and other festive occasions. 

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Five Spice Taro Rice (aka Yam Rice in Malaysia)

Five Spice Taro Rice (aka Yam Rice in Malaysia)

Taro root (wu tao in Cantonese and keladi in Malay) is probably not the friendliest looking vegetable in town. It has an irregular shape with dark shaggy brown skin that is an irritant to our skin and its flesh is mildly toxic when consumed raw. Yet, we eat it and we love it. It is regularly available in Asian grocery stores and farmers markets here in the San Francisco Bay Area, which tells me that there's a healthy demand for it. I personally think it deserves a little spotlight, which is why I've picked it as the featured vegetable of this week's Spring Discovery series. 

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Chinese Broccoli with Garlic (Gai Lan) + Getting to Know Asian Greens

Chinese Broccoli with Garlic (Gai Lan) + Getting to Know Asian Greens

With the arrival of spring comes the desire to go outside and explore, and one of my favorite things to do is visit the farmer's markets and peruse the stands for new vegetables to try, a passion I've diligently documented in the Spring Discovery series on this website. With the help of friends and vegetable-focused cookbooks, I've made many delicious discoveries since moving to America from Malaysia. 

This year, my focus turns to Asian vegetables, some I grew up eating and took for granted, some I've known about but lost track of since I moved due to name inconsistencies or differences in appearance, and some completely new to me. It's time to get reacquainted with some old friends and make new ones.

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Fig Leaf Spice Blend from Dandelion and Quince

Fig Leaf Spice Blend from Dandelion and Quince

For a year we lived in a house with a big fig tree. It was the best thing about the house, along with the plum, kumquatorange, and avocado trees. During a year fraught with challenging life transitions, these magnificent trees, so exotic and peculiar to my tropical origins, blessed us with their alluring fruits. 

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Kohlrabi Carpaccio + What I Learned from The Vegetable Butcher

Kohlrabi Carpaccio + What I Learned from The Vegetable Butcher

Kohlrabi! 

For months, ever since I first saw it at the farmer's market, this bulbous vegetable haunted me with its elusive identity, tantalizing me with the potential of its portly presence and slinky tentacles. 

What is this? How do you cook it? What does it taste like? TELL MEEE. 

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Baked South Indian Fava Bean Fritters with Green Chutney

Baked South Indian Fava Bean Fritters with Green Chutney

Remarkable things happen when you work on a farm. If I made a list it would be lengthy, but I'll just name one that has impacted my eating habits the most: the discovery of new vegetables. When I started volunteering at One Acre Farm in Morgan Hill, California, last Fall, I found out I really like long beans. It helps that your farm host is a fantastic cook who makes intuitive cooking effortless. I've been going back to help on the farm on a weekly basis, and was recently introduced to fava beans. 

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Asian Rainbow Chard Wraps

Asian Rainbow Chard Wraps

Swiss chard is one of those vegetables that makes you go wow and inspires awe with its big bold leaves and multi-colored stems. I get awfully excited in its presence. It's been about three months since we subscribed to a CSA farm share and I can't think of a better way to eat fresh vegetables. There's something about receiving a big box or bag of vegetables and unwrapping it like a Christmas present. A gift of health and nutrition. What I love most are the surprises. Even when I know what I'm getting in a particular week, I'm always gleeful and wide-eyed, which is often the case when I get a bunch of amazing swiss chard.

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Japanese-Style Green Garlic and Spring Onion Fried Farro

Japanese-Style Green Garlic and Spring Onion Fried Farro

I have been busy stalking certain vegetables that I've been told are only available during this time of year. Green garlic, or spring garlic as it is sometimes called, is one of them. If no one had told me about it, I wouldn't have been able to tell it apart from spring onion. Thankfully, I'm subscribed to a CSA farm share as part of my mission to find new vegetables to try for my Spring Discovery project, and urban farmer Angie of The Freckled Rose has graciously offered to tell me more about it. 

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Chinese Turnip Cake + A Special Anniversary Tribute

Chinese Turnip Cake + A Special Anniversary Tribute

Vermilion Roots is turning one in a few days and I wanted to make a cake to celebrate the milestone. I know what you are thinking: a cake made with turnips? Well, yes. There are a few things you should know about this cake. Firstly, it's a savory cake that goes really well with hoisin and sriracha sauce. The so-called icing on the cake are sprinkles of chopped spring onions and red chilis. It's based on a traditional Chinese dish known as "lo bak go" commonly served at dim sum restaurants and a staple in some parts of China during the Lunar New Year. 

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