Spring Walks

In the time it has taken me to post these photos, the leaves have exploded on the trees and thunderstorms have rumbled through the area. The humid air makes running a sticky, sweaty business. Seems like summer is here just in time for Memorial Day.

This was the first time I got to watch spring unfold in central New York. Now that I’ve experienced all four seasons here, I’m starting to truly feel at home. I’m in awe of the hills and the valleys and the natural drama created by glaciers thousands of years ago.

When attempting to get to the parking area for a state forest, we ended up on an unpaved seasonal road that became very steep. A couple walking down the hill informed us that we could only get to the top if we had a jeep with four-wheel drive. To get to the parking area, we would need to drive around to the other side of the hill. Instead, we abandoned my poor Camry where it was and hiked up the hill.

Unfortunately, unlike in Hungary, there was no castle at the top.

A few weeks later, we drove to Pratt’s Falls in southern Onondaga County. We have only begun to explore the parks and hiking trails in the area. I plan on taking advantage of every nice day to get outside.

hammond hilltrees

sign postyellow flowers

h hillpratt signwaterfallrootsQuestion of the Day: Where is your favorite place to hike?


New Ingredient Week Three: Bok Choy

I know that any leafy green vegetable is packed full of nutrients, but aside from salad greens, I bypassed most of them in the produce section. Until several months ago, kale seemed to me like some vegetable from the dinosaur age. Then I discovered that it is a good substitute for spinach in many recipes (think portabello and kale lasagna!).

Soon the bok choy was beckoning me. I have had bok choy (aka Chinese cabbage) in various dishes at Asian restaurants, but one of the intimidating things about getting a new veggie in my own kitchen is deciding how to prep it. That is why the cook book Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop is a handy resource. If I am wondering how to prepare or store a vegetable, I turn to this book. Each vegetable has a description and several recipes.

With bok choy, just separate the leafy greens from the stalks (as with kale). But hang on to the stalks! They need to be cooked longer than the greens, but both parts are delicious.

DSC_9267Braised Bok Choy with Garlic (adapted from Vegetables Every Day)


1 large head of bok choy                                                                                                         2 tablespoons olive oil                                                                                                             3 cloves garlic, minced                                                                                                             1 cup vegetable broth                                                                                                           salt                                                                                                                                             black pepper

1. Separate leafy greens and stalks. Chop and discard the rough ends of the stalks. Chop the greens and stalks and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large pan. Stir fry the stalks for two minutes. Add the garlic and stir fry for two more minutes

3. Add the greens, vegetable broth, salt and pepper. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for about ten minutes. Remove the lid and increase the heat for 3-4 minutes to evaporate the excess liquid. Serve and enjoy!

bok choy bowl

Noodles and Tofu (adapted from Hilary Phelps’s blog Genuine Joy)


  • 8 ounces soba noodles (or pad thai noodles)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 package extra firm tofu, pressed, drained and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into thin strips
  • 1 1/2 pounds of broccoli, broken into florets
  • 1 pound bok choy, stems and leaves separated
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • Sesame seeds (optional)


  1. Cook soba noodles according to directions on package
  2. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Sauté veggies and garlic with lid on, stirring occasionally, until they are crisp tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. (add bok choy leaves only for the last few minutes)
  3. In a separate pan, fry the tofu for 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden
  4. Meanwhile make sauce by whisking together peanut butter, vinegar soy sauce, and sesame oil, and red pepper falkes. If sauce seems too thick you can thin with water.
  5. Add noodles, tofu and sauce to pan. Toss and cook until heated through.
  6. Top with sesame (if using)

The verdict? Bok choy is crunchy and delicious. I enjoyed the braised bok choy with garlic as a side dish, but as part of the noodles and tofu stir fry it was truly delicious.

Question of the day: What is your favorite leafy green?