Simply Fresh by Julie Wern

Featured Item–Tatsoi

Before I became a CSA member I never knew there were so many different kinds of greens out there in the world. Spinach, chard, kale and collards were about all I was familiar with. Occasionally I would venture in to Asian markets and see all kinds of interesting greens, but I naively assumed I could only use them in Asian preparations.

Now I realize that for all practical purposes, a green is a green is a green. Use them interchangeably or mix them together, it seldom matters. Sure, some are spicier or more peppery, some are tender while others have tougher leaves or stalks, and they may have slightly different cooking times, but the basic ways they enhance a dish are all pretty similar…they can all be used in soups, stews, stir fries, salads, pastas, grain salads or sides, casseroles, etc…

Like my father used to always say to us kids about the exotic foods from the sea he wanted us to try…”It tastes like chicken”. The corresponding saying in the greens world would probably be “it’s a lot like spinach”. This is true for our featured item this week, Tatsoi.

Tatsoi, often called spoon mustard (for the shape of its leaves), spinach mustard (see, there’s the spinach), or rosette bok choy is a member of the Brassica family and is a close relative of bok choy. When young the leaves can be quite small and are often added to pre-packaged salad mixes (as a “spinach”). As the plant grows the leaves become a little bigger and are often cut to include their edible stalks, which have been described as “tender”. Because Tatsoi is in the mustard family, it does have a bit of a bite, especially when raw, but some say these greens are milder than many other mustard greens.

Tatsoi can be eaten raw, although some say raw preparations are best with very young Tatsoi greens. You often find recipes pairing raw tatsoi leaves with strong or bracing flavors (like citrus or vinegars), or with umami flavors like soy sauce, fish sauce, or seaweed.

Tatsoi can be cooked like (yes, you guessed it) spinach. Because it is so tender, it requires little cooking time and can often just be added last minute to dishes (or right after taking them off the heat). As mentioned above, add tatsoi leaves to soups/stews/chilies, pasta dishes, grain side dishes, casseroles, stir fries or simply saute the greens for an easy side dish.

Here are some ideas culled from the internet for both raw and cooked Tatsoi

Bacon Scallops with Tatsoi (click here for recipe)

Brown Butter Pasta with Tatsoi click here for recipe

Tatsoi Salad with Rutabaga, Pear and Horseradish (click here for recipe)

Noodle Soup with Chicken, Tatsoi, and Bok Choy click here for recipe


I stopped using woks once I found out that most are made with dangerous metals, including Teflon. I now make my stir-fries in my Scanpan, which is a safer option (I hope) for non-stick cooking. However, I found I had to alter my technique in order to get vegetables that were tender before burning, especially with some of the fall vegetables that have a longer cook time. I came up with the following method that works well for my family, which is a hybrid of pan frying and braising.

Fall Stirfry                                                                                        Serves 6


– 1/4 cup mirin or other rice wine

– 3 tablespoons organic low sodium soy sauce

– 1 teaspoon salt

– 1 teaspoon sugar

– 2 tablespoons cornstarch

– 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

– 1 tablespoon ketchup

– 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

– 4 teaspoons coconut oil, divided, or more if needed

– 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

– 6 cups mixed vegetables, (carrots, broccoli, radish, turnip, bok choy, cabbage, kohlrabi, cauliflower etc…)

– 1-2 cups chopped fresh greens (Tatsoi, radish or turnip tops, kale, mustard greens etc…)


Mix mirin through sesame oil in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large non-stick skillet or wok on medium-high heat until very hot. Add half chicken pieces and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through. Turn chicken out into a large bowl. Add 2 more teaspoons oil and heat well. Add second batch of chicken and cook as with the first. Add second batch of chicken to the first in the bowl.

Add all longer cooking vegetables (including any stems but not greens) to pan and mix in mirin-soy mixture. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Stir occasionally until vegetables are tender. Add in any quick cooking vegetables and cook until tender. Finally, add back in chicken and greens. Cook just until greens wilt and chicken is heated through.


In case you manage to get some raspberries this week….

This recipe was adapted from 100 days of Real Food (click here)

Whole Wheat Raspberry Muffins                                                            makes 12 muffins


– 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour

– 1 teaspoon baking soda

– 1/2 teaspoon salt

– zest of one meyer lemon, or regular lemon

– 1 stick butter

– 1 egg

– 1/2 cup pure Grade B maple syrup

– 1/2 cup buttermilk

– 1 teaspoon vanilla extracr

– 1 cup fresh raspberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Line a muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest.
  3. Cream the butter until smooth. On low speed, add egg and mix until incorporated. Add buttermilk and vanilla and maple syrup and mix just until incorporated. Gradually add in flour mixture. Carefully fold in raspberries.
  4. Divide batter among the muffin cups. Bake until a tester comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 3 minutes. Remove muffins from pan (careful, they are hot) and allow to cool completely or eat while warm.SOURCE: Adapted from 100 days of real food


This salad is great for highlighting fall favorites and utilizing CSA turnips and greens. Try substituting different greens for the arugula. Remember, a green is a green is a green…..

Maple Walnut Vinaigrette                                                                         Serves 4


– 2 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

– 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, preferably Grade B

– 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

– 1 tablespoon minced red onion or shallot

– 2 tablespoons walnut oil

– 3-4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

– salt and pepper to taste


With a stick blender: Place all ingredients in a container large enough to avoid splatters while using the blender. Blend until smooth and emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

By hand: Using a mortar and pestle, grind onion with a bit of salt until a paste forms. Turn out into a small bowl. Mix in maple syrup, vinegar, and Dijon. Gradually whisk in oil until mixture is emulsified.


Fall Arugula Salad with Hakurei Turnips, Pears, and Pomegranate     Serves 4


– 1 recipe Maple Walnut Vinaigrette

– 6 large handfuls arugula, torn into bite-sized pieces

– 2 large hakurei turnips, cut into bite-sized batons

– 1 large organic pear, cored and cut into bite-sized pieces

– 1/2 cup Pomegranate seeds

– 2 ounces goat cheese

– 1/4 cup candied walnuts, optional


Toss arugula with vinaigrette to taste. Place arugula in individual salad bowls. Divide pears, pomegranate seeds, Hakurei turnip batons, goat cheese, and walnuts among salads. Serve immediately.

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