My whole family acquired the cooking gene, a rich inheritance received from our parents. However the grander bequest was that of their love: Mom and Dad cherished one another in a steadfast, unspeakable way.
This security has always belonged to our entire family. It has never weakened, no matter what, for even death has not separated my parents.
My father went to heaven on November 16, 2006, but I contend that my mother enjoys his presence even more now. At 93, she sits in Buzzy-baby’s chair and eats ice cream with him. She joyfully informs me, when I call, that he is letting her finish his share too, as he always did while he was alive.
My parents each possessed individual attributes that allowed for their earnest commitment: my father had a beautiful heart and my mother unshakable faith. Over the years, I have declared that my greatest heritage of all comprises these two qualities. These endowments, along with the cooking gene, set the stage for all I get to do in this world. They have formed me: in love with my God, I am a food historian.
This legacy of devotion and faith is more precious than gold, though my siblings and I received gold as well.
My inherited strong heart, powerful faith, and ability to cook, all three, propel me into this marvelous, God-given destiny. Give me pots, pans, and ingredients and heaven-sent food results. My meals excite all your senses.
Today’s recipe, with its Chinese flair, is easy to follow, though it takes some patient chopping of vegetables. (The process of this preparation flows, especially after the first time you make it.) My dish is low in carbohydrates, vitamin-proficient, and has an inexpensive, high-quality protein. Abundant health and pleasure result!
The inspiration for it grew in me. Recently I was influenced by Chef Susanna Foo. She Americanized her Chinese cuisine by substituting our everyday ingredients, for their Oriental counterparts, which were challenging to get in the 1990’s. Foo discovered that these simple adjustments actually enhanced her cooking.1 Thus I chose apple cider instead of rice vinegar and, for heat, jalapeno instead of Szechuan peppers. My palette was also crying for orange juice in the mix. I added to these surprises typical Chinese ingredients: ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, coriander, and bok choy, which is a Chinese cabbage from Brassica rapa, the same species that gave us the turnip. (Note: the spice coriander is common to Chinese, Indian and Mexican cooking; its fresh leaves are known as cilantro.) The glorious blending of these foods thrilled me!
Now I encourage you: look to your life, discover your unique inheritance (your intrinsic gifts), go forward with them. Indeed your birthright was ordained before time began. In the meantime try my recipe!
- Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, Culinary Artistry (Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1996), p. 211.
Gingered Bok Choy with Ground Turkey Yields: 5-6 servings. Total active prep time: 1 1/4 hour.
3 tbsp oil (Coconut or avocado oil is best for sauteing; olive oil produces carcinogens at high temperatures.)
1 medium/large yellow onion, halved at the root and sliced thin
2 carrots (Organic carrots are very inexpensive; find them in 1 lb packages at Trader’s or Winco.)
2 stalks of celery
l large red bell pepper (It is important to use organic bell peppers, as this vegetable really absorbs pesticides.)
1 lb bok choy (Organic bok choy comes in smaller heads; weigh before purchasing.)
1 lb ground turkey (Natural is important; Foster Farms is reasonably priced and good.)
4 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and chopped fine
1 large jalapeno pepper, minced small (May use more for a hotter dish.)
3 cubes frozen garlic, or 5 large cloves fresh garlic (Frozen garlic is available at Trader Joe’s, it provides ease in cooking, especially excellent for this recipe.)
1/3 cup organic tamari (May substitute soy sauce, but not as healthy or flavorful; tamari is available in the health section at Fred Meyer’s, or at other national chains such as Whole Foods.)
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar (Raw is the best; inexpensive at Trader’s.)
1/3 cup orange juice (May squeeze your own, or use orange juice that is not from concentrate, such as Florida’s Natural or Tropicana’s.)
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp sesame oil (This is found at a good price at Trader’s.)
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 cup corn starch, dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water
Steamed rice (I personally prefer brown basmati.)
- Heat 1 ½ tbsp of oil in an extra-large frying pan over medium heat. Add a small piece of onion; when it sizzles, oil is ready; add remaining onions and carmelize (cook until dark brown).
- Meanwhile cook turkey in a large sauté pan. (Turn off heat when finished.) Go to next step in meantime.
- Clean all vegetables, except ginger, with an inexpensive effective spray (a mixture of 97% distilled white vinegar and 3% hydrogen peroxide); let sit for 3 minutes and rinse extra well. Set aside. While waiting for vegetables, start cooking rice.
- Next peel and mince ginger in very small pieces. Set aside.
- Chop garlic fine, if using fresh. Set aside. (Frozen garlic from Trader’s works better with this recipe.)
- When onions are brown, add to cooked meat, set aside. (Note: you will reuse this extra-large pan for cooking the vegetables.)
- Meantime dissolve corn starch in 1/4 cup cold water, set aside. Next slowly heat garlic, tamari, vinegar, orange juice, water, sesame oil, and coriander in a small saucepan over medium/low heat. It will take about 15 minutes for light bubbles to rise in liquid. Meanwhile go to next step.
- Prepare carrots by scraping with a knife and thinly slicing at a diagonal. (Scraping, rather than peeling, preserves vitamins just under the skin.) Cut celery in 3/4-inch wide diagonal pieces. Place carrots and celery in a bowl, set aside.
- Chop pepper in 3/4-inch x 2 1/2-inch wide strips. Place in another bowl with bok choy, which is chopped in strips the same size as the pepper-include greens. Set all aside.
- Heat remaining oil in the extra-large pan. Place a small piece of carrot in oil, wait for it to sizzle. Also turn heat on to medium/low under pan of meat/onions. Go to the next step.
- The liquid sauce should be forming light bubbles by now; add the cornstarch, which is thoroughly dissolved in water; beat constantly with a wire whisk. It thickens quickly. Remove from heat when thick and clear. (This takes only about 15 seconds.) Set aside
- Add carrots, celery, and ginger to hot oil. Stir well to coat vegetables with oil. Cook 3 min, stirring occasionally. Add bok choy and pepper strips, mix well with carrots. Cook for about 7 minutes, or until vegetables are done, but still crisp. Be sure to stir frequently.
- Mix together: hot meat, finished vegetables, and sauce. Serve immediately with steamed rice. This pleases the palate!