I participate in a program called Bountiful Baskets. Have you heard of it? It’s a food co-op that is completely volunteer based. They get produce from the growers at a much discounted price. You “participate” twice a month by placing your order and payment on the Monday before the day you pick up your produce, which is Saturday. You get a very full basket with roughly 50% veggies and 50% fruit. My first basket had a head of romaine lettuce, a package of butter lettuce, a package of carrots, a ridiculously large yam, 9 bell peppers, a bunch of bananas, a carton of grape tomatoes, 5 oranges, a cantaloupe, two baseball size onions, a pomegranate, and 7 tomatoes! All of that was only $15! It’s pretty remarkable. You can’t get produce at that price in the stores. They also have add-on baskets that you can get, like tortilla wraps, multiple pounds of certain fruits, theme baskets like an Italian basket, and artisan breads. I bought two add-on baskets this last time and got the conventional basket, a four-pack of four flavored ginormous tortilla wraps, and another veggie pack. I ended up with a huge box of produce and I only paid $39. It’s so worth it to me. What do I do with it all? I try to incorporate all of it into my dishes that I’ve planned for the week. We have used all of it and haven’t wasted any or thrown it away. If you are interested, go to Bountiful Baskets to see if they are in your area.
In my last basket, I received watercress, which is something I haven’t cooked with before. I Googled several recipes and uses. You can use it raw in salads or cooked in things like soups and stews. I came across a few versions of Asian watercress salad, and then the lightbulb went off. I wanted Asian Wings with an Asian Watercress Salad. My family loves wings, so it was a huge hit from the get-go. Watercress has an interesting flavor journey. It starts out tasting like lettuce. Then it subtly changes to a slightly bitter flavor before ending in a quite peppery flavor. Very interesting, indeed. And I discovered that I love watercress. If you love veggies, give this a try.
ASIAN WINGS WITH WATERCRESS SALAD
FOR THE WINGS:
2 lbs chicken wings and drummettes
1 C honey
A few drops of oyster sauce
Asian chili paste, to taste
1/2 C water
A few drops sesame oil
1 C soy sauce
3 T cornstarch
1 T garlic powder
FOR THE SALAD:
1 bunch watercress, roots removed and stems and leaves washed and dried
1/4 C soy sauce
1/4 C rice wine vinegar
1-2 T brown sugar, to taste
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Red onion slices
1 avocado, sliced
Mix all of the wing ingredients together (except the wings and the peanut oil) in a medium pot, making sure to whisk it well to combine the cornstarch. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce to medium. Cook and whisk for about 5-7 minutes until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Preheat the peanut oil in a large skillet on high. Fry the wings in batches on both sides for a couple of minutes each side to crisp up the skin. Drain. Place the wings on a sheet pan with sides. Pour the sauce over the wings and stir around to coat. Bake the wings for about 15-20 minutes. Periodically spoon the sauce back over the wings. The sauce thickens and sticks to the wings as it cooks.
For the salad, whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, and garlic powder. Toss the watercress, avocado slices, and red onion together with the dressing. Serve the wings over the salad.