Monday, November 16, 2009

Toxic Wok

You know that feeling when you realize that upon rushing to the bus stop, you stand there puffing and when you finally catch your breath, you look up to see the your bus disappearing over the horizon?   That  feeling is often followed by the realization that if you had left your apartment 20 seconds sooner, or if you hadn't stopped to rearrange the pillows on the sofa--I keep telling DH they go blue, red, blue dammit--or if you hadn't chosen to wear the lavender suede maryjanes that needed to be brushed or if you had avoided petting that your neighbor's poodle...the dog that ignores you anyway.  Just 20 seconds sooner, and you'd be on the bus, on your way and not late for your nail appointment.  It's an odd feeling.

I get the same feeling sometimes when I am cooking or cleaning.  As a recent inhabitant in the domestic domain, I've missed the bus, and I didn't even know there was a timetable.  Let me explain, we live in a very green community.  To be honest, I love, love, love the progressive milieu of the Bay Area...for once, my left of left of center politics doesn't brand me as if I were a revolutionary wackado.  In fact, upon telling a friend that DH and I are NPR junkies, I was met with a raised eyebrow and her worry that I might be a closet conservative.  I especially love how every foodie I meet tends to be greener than the average eater.

I'm finding too, that the domestic domain is a very green world. Until moving here, I had no idea that being green isn't just a political act, but a domestic one as well.

For example, take the trash. Taking out the trash is a critical thinking exercise.  It has to be sorted before we can toss it into the appropriate dumpster.  I can't tell you how often DH and I have stood in front of the bank of recycling cans trying to decide whether or not the now empty carton made from 90% post-consumer recycled paper should go into dumpster #1, dumpster #2 or dumpster it ineed paper, because it was made from recycled paper?  Or since it is now cardboard, should it go in with all of the cardboard?

Since when did taking out the trash become a science project?

I thought I was a green cook.  I mean, it's easy and really, quite simple to be a green eater.  Organic food is good for you -- no brainer there.  We buy mostly organic, we support local farmers.  I read Michael Pollan and embrace the Slow Food movement with open arms and empty spoon poised to dig in.

But the pots and pans I use are betraying my green intentions. My cool nonstick pots and pans are the Bill O'Reilly of kitchen ware.  Oh yeah?  They're toxic.   This is especially true when you use high heat.  That cool non-stick wok, might be filling our tiny apartment with an ominous cloud of toxic gasses.  Wait, but if I am using the wok to stir fry organic kale and tofu, doesn't that cancel the dangers?

Probably not...

Actually, I have been whining incessantly hinting for a set of Le Crueset pots.  I love how heavy they are--wait until you see my biceps--actually, the heavier the pot, the better heat conduction and ultimately the better the cooking will be.  To be honest, I saw their Caribbean Blue and swooned.  Look:

Too cool? Right? Can't you see this set with yellow serving bowls and pink dish towels?  I can see myself stirring a hearty cassoulet in my lovely Caribbean Blue French Oven. I have a bit of work to do convincing DH that $400 for a set of pots is reeaally a good buy--I mean they are green--a lovely aqua blueish green.

This is so weird, before I became a wife, I used to covet things like the latest Marc Jacobs handbag, not cookware (albeit French cookware) ...even weirder, when I was single, I could tickle that desire and buy the handbag even if it meant eating Top Ramen for a month. I'd happily slurp my greasy noodles as I gazed lovingly at my new purse. Marriage imposes an odd sense of accountability.

For now, I'll suffer through the fume emitting wok-cooked this:

Shiitaki Mushrooms & Dino Kale

1 lb Shiitaki mushrooms--roughly chopped and stems removed

2 large bunches of Dino kale (this is milder than the regular stuff -- remove stems and chop into 1 inch pieces
2 cloves of garlic smashed
1 small onion sliced
1 Tbl chopped ginger
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbl  of sesame oil

red pepper flakes
2 Tbl oyster sauce
2 Tbl corn oil  

  • Heat the oil in your wok
  • add onions, ginger, sugar, red pepper flakes and garlic--cook on medium high until onions are translucent
  • add the kale, turn up the heat and keep tossing until it wilts
  • add mushrooms, let them cook down, tossing occasionally to avoid scorching
  • when the mushrooms shrink down, add the oyster sauce and sesame oil and serve
Enjoy!  This works with any green leafy vegetable--bok choy, spinach, napa cabbage.


No comments: