So, have you ever had Chinese broccoli??
If not…. we need to talk. Because you’re missing out.
Chinese broccoli, also known as gai lan, is simply fabulous.
It looks like this:
And you can find it at your local farmers market or nearby Chinese market.
I particularly love this vegetable because it has nice toothsome stems, but at the same time, tender leaves and florets.
It tastes very similar to broccoli raab, with a slightly bitter edge, especially in the stems.
It stir fries quickly, and is perfect on its own with just a little oyster sauce, or added to more complex dishes, like this one 🙂
This dish was partially inspired by the dan dan noodles served at Lukshon here in LA (thanks Sang Yoon!).
Real dan dan noodles are smothered in a spicy Szechuan oil that is tongue-burningly hot. My version gets its spice from a combination of Sriracha, red pepper flakes, and hot sesame oil.
You simple stir fry up some Chinese broccoli, whisk together a quick sauce, brown some pork, & then toss everything all together.
The result: a warm spicy pot of noodles that far surpasses any takeout.
I hope you enjoy.
Spicy Pork Noodles with Chinese Broccoli
- 1 inch bunch Chinese broccoli, chopped into 1 pieces
- 4 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
- 1 ¼ cup chicken broth, divided
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, divided
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha
- 1 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce
- 1 lb ground pork
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 shallots, minced
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons black bean sauce
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 10 oz dried lo mein noodles
- 1 cup chopped green onion
- generous drizzle of hot sesame oil
Heat two tablespoons of peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet until shimmering. Add the Chinese broccoli and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the stems are crisp-tender, roughly 10 to 15 minutes. When the broccoli is crisp tender, remove from the pan into a bowl and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together ½ cup chicken broth, 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons oyster sauce, 1 teaspoon Sriracha, and 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce. Whisk until combined, and set aside.
Add two more tablespoons peanut oil to the pan & set over medium-high heat. Add the ground pork and sauté, breaking up with a spatula into tiny bits. Cook for roughly 10 minutes until browned.
Add the garlic and shallots and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, until fragrant.
Add the ground black pepper, black bean sauce, red pepper flakes, soy sauce, ¾ cup chicken broth, 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar. Stir to combine, and cook for a few more minutes until evaporated. Turn off the heat & let the pork rest in the pan until the noodles are ready.
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, and add the noodles. Cook for 5 minutes (or according to package directions) until tender, & drain.
Add the noodles to the pan with the pork. Add the reserved sauce from earlier, & cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened slightly.
Add the Chinese broccoli & green onion and toss to combine. Drizzle liberally with hot sesame oil & serve.
Every week, I visit a local farmers market.
Whether it’s Culver City, Palms, Santa Monica, Mar Vista, or even Hollywood, I love love love the bounty of fresh produce & locally produced goods.
Walking through the stalls, browsing the best that nature has to offer, gives me chills… and mega inspiration.
This week was all about PEACHES.
Warm, sun-ripened peaches with enticingly sweet flesh & delicate fuzzy skin.
Fresh picked peaches taste nothing like the ones sold at chain grocery stores.
Fresh peaches are actually allowed to ripen on the vine, so they develop maximal sugar and sweetness. They are soft, juicy, and bursting with flavor.
In contrast, many grocery store peaches are picked while still rock-hard and unripe.
That green-tinge you see on so many supermarket peaches? Yeah, that’s not supposed to be there.
Green means the peach was picked while under-ripe to help it hold up better during transport. Unripe fruit has firmer flesh, so it can be stacked & stored without squishing & bruising.
Yes, that unripe peach will eventually ripen on store shelves, but it will never reach the same level of deliciousness as a fresh picked peach.
Since this salad features peaches, try to seek out locally grown organic peaches before making it. It will seriously make a world of difference.
The sweet, tender slices of fresh peaches are easy to pierce with a fork, and melt in your mouth with the creamy, tangy goat cheese & fresh basil.
Extra-firm peaches will change the texture & experience of this salad, so splurge for the best peaches you can find!
Peach Frisee Salad with Goat Cheese & Basil
- 2 small heads frisee, torn
- several handfuls of baby greens
- extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
- 2 small yellow peaches, halved, pitted, & thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup torn basil
- 1/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts or walnuts
- ½ cup crumbled goat cheese
- fresh cracked salt & pepper
Thoroughly wash and dry your baby greens, using a salad spinner or paper towels.
Place in a large serving bowl, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar & toss to mix well. Remember to drizzle lightly at first. You can always add more oil or vinegar, but you can never take away! Aim for a ratio of roughly 2 parts oil to 1 part vinegar.
Sprinkle the sliced peaches, torn basil, nuts, and goat cheese over the salad.
Season with fresh cracked salt & pepper & serve family style!
I try to make it a habit to eat veggies at least 3x per day.
That could mean breakfast-lunch-dinner, or it could just be lunch & dinner with a snack or two sprinkled in.
This is important, since the typical American diet is sorely lacking in fresh produce- especially green leafy veg! Did you know that nearly 1/4th of the general American public (22.6%) doesn’t even consume veggies once per day?? At the very minimum, you should aim for 2-3 cups of vegetables each and every day.
Vegetables are truly nature’s medicine.
They provide us with powerful phytochemicals that slash our risk of developing many chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and even dementia. We co-evolved alongside plants, and our body literally requires them for good health!
One of the easiest ways to include some veg at dinner is to serve a simple side salad.
Now I’m not talking anything crazy. No need to dice a zillion vegetables or labor over a complicated dressing.
In fact, my favorite simple side salad is just that.
It features fresh delicate baby greens tossed with a classic red wine vinaigrette.
And that’s it. No heavy vegetables or add-ins. Just lightly dressed baby greens.
And don’t be deceived. Although this salad is super simple, it’s also crazy delicious.
The homemade vinaigrette is the perfect complement to the slight bite of tender greens. The tang from the vinegar, creaminess from the Dijon, and delectable hint of garlic on the back end make this salad seriously addictive.
Try serving this Simple Side Salad alongside pasta dishes, grilled meats, or even at family gatherings. But watch out, it disappears quickly!
Simple Side Salad
- 8 oz mixed baby greens
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt & pepper, to taste
In a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard, garlic, red wine vinegar, and olive oil. Season with fresh cracked salt & pepper to taste and whisk again until well combined.
Place the baby greens in a large serving bowl. Drizzle with just enough dressing to coat. (Be careful not to over-dress or you’ll end up with a limp salad!)