Last week, Margo True, our fearless food editor, brought me a mix of Asian greens from the test garden. Evidently, our plan for growing a Japanese garden didn’t work out as planned and what I had was the odds and ends that we were able to eek out. 

When she gave them to me I was so busy finishing projects for our August issue that I didn’t have time to deal with them. Instead, I wrapped them in individual bunches in damp paper towels (keeping the labels with them so I knew what they were), set them on a tray, and covered them with a towel. I put them in the fridge to store until I could cook them the next day.

So what happened? The same thing that happens at home after I stock the fridge with fresh produce: I forgot about them. I went out of town on business and when I returned, they were wilted and ugly. I immediately felt bad that I had wasted them after all that Margo and Johanna, our test garden coordinator, had done to grow them.

I wasn’t sure what to do with them since there wasn’t enough of one thing to focus on. I decided to combine the tatsoi, mizuna, komatsuna, and green onions for a stir-fry mix.

Luckily, leafy greens that have almost reached the expiration point can still be used. First, I picked off all the yellow or dried up leaves and set them aside. Then I picked the remaining leaves from the stems and soaked them in cold water for 5 minutes to both clean them and to let the greens soak up water, helping them to recrisp. I did this three times to help get all the dirt off and refreshen them. I drained them and they looked as if they had been brought back to life.

I heated up the wok with a bit of vegetable oil and tossed in the greens with slices of garlic, red chile flakes, and a bit of soy sauce. After stirring them for a minute of two, they cooked down and the garlic toasted.

They were delicious and exactly like a side of greens you might get at a Chinese restaurant.


And those yellow leaves and remaining stems? The chickens were very happy to call them lunch.



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