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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Asian Chicken Stir-Fry with Swiss Chard and Borage

Ten years ago I spent some time studying both herbal medicine and landscape design. I learned all sorts of lovely things about all sorts of lovely plants that I absolutely couldn't wait to grow in my huge Colorado backyard garden. But before I could turn the yard into the garden of my dreams we moved to an apartment in California and for three very long years there wasn't room to grow anything at all. Now that I've moved to Utah I am finally, the very proud owner of a wonderful kitchen garden full of fruits and vegetables and herbs of all kinds. I am in HEAVEN!!!

One of the plants I've been dying to grow all these years is borage. It's a pretty little blue flower that attracts bees and tastes like cucumber! How cool is that? I had never actually tasted it before, but I remembered that it was supposed to be yummy so when I found it at our local nursery, I just had to snatch it up. I bought three and it flowers so prolifically that's it's more than met my needs.

Borage, it turns out, is a pretty darn cool plant. It's super easy to grow, it self seeds every year in your garden so you'll never have to plant it twice. It also attracts bees like mad, so if you happen to grow vegetables that need bees to pollinate like zucchini, this is an excellent companion plant to slip into your garden. Especially since bees have been noticeably scarce this year. And both the flowers and the leaves are edible. Both taste like cucumber and while the leaves are edible raw, they tend to be a bit bristly so they actually take on a much nicer texture when cooked. When cooked, they retain their cucumber flavor which makes them a great addition to everything from salad to soups to stews to stir-fry. I like to chop a couple of leaves for my drinking water (mixed with mint it makes a fantastically fresh summer drink!), use the flowers as a garnish on my salads and my four year old and I have been freezing flowers into ice cubes for special treats. He thinks it's pretty darn coo and they are awfully pretty.

Which brings me to our stir-fry. I was cutting vegetables up for salad the other day and my husband came home and announced that instead of salad, he had stir-fry in mind and when he feels like creating something, I've learned that the smartest thing I can do is just get out of the way. So I handed everything over and he went to work. I had chopped some fresh borage leaves for our salad and he took a taste, thought a minute and got to work. The finished product was amazing! It's the first time I've ever had anything quite like it and it most certainly won't be the last. My pad of paper was out and I was taking notes before we'd even finished eating.

I sort of debated posting this though, because borage isn't a very typical ingredient, and certainly one I've never seen sold at the store, but I finally decided that everybody should have such a pretty, easy to grow (and very nutritious) plant in their garden or on their patio. Grow it! Eat it! Give little baby plants to all your neighbors! You'll all be hooked!

Asian Chicken Stir-Fry with Swiss Chard and Borage
Serves 4

2 chicken breasts, cut into strips
1/2 t chili pepper paste
1 t minced garlic
3 T Tamari (soy sauce)
onion salt
1/4 C cashews
6 kale leaves, shredded
5 Borage leaves, shredded, plus flowers for garnish
5 baby leeks (or 3 green onions - the baby leaks were from my garden)
4 radishes, minced
1/2 C snap peas
1/4 t sesame oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 C chopped cucumber

Rice

Saute the chicken on medium high. Season with chili pepper paste, garlic, Tamari and sprinkle with onion salt. Add cashews and the onion and saute for a minute or two, then add kale, borage, radishes and peas. Saute until the greens have wilted. Serve over rice, topped with cucumber and borage flowers for color. It's easy, it's quick, it's amazingly delicious and very impressive for company. :)

*Medicinally, borage tea has long been used to relieve stress. Brew a cup in the evenings to relax before bed. Enjoy!

2 comments :

  1. I really like your blog. It is so creative! I wanna try cooking that. You should check out mine.. I'm traveling to 14 countries really soon to take photos of families for childrens books. I'm super excited! For every book sold, we will give a book to a child in need.

    www.e3carlyjo.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. I want to cook this recipe. I think this is better than the other stir fry recipe that I found on the other blog. I hope that this will be more perfect if I will add a Recipe for Stir Fry Sauce. Thanks for sharing this here.

    ReplyDelete

 
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