Monday, August 13, 2012

What's Growing in the Garden 8/12//2012

After a night of soaking rain the garden was wet and shrouded in morning mist.
Thai basil, left, is waiting to be picked but parsnip, right, will be ready after frost and into next spring.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Homemade Kimchi

Kimchi is a tangy, spicy, pickled condiment and is Korea's most loved food. Koreans eat kimchi at almost every meal. Like Laotians and their padek, few Koreans can last more than a few days before their cravings get the better of them.  I adore kimchi too and eat it almost everyday. It's so convenient, we serve it as a vegetable and sometimes in more "exotic" ways, like our favorite grilled cheese sandwiches, that we call Kimcheese .  A few nibbles of kimchi in the middle of the afternoon boost my energy like no cup of coffee can.  It's our salad during the winter months when fresh salad greens look tired and winter weary.  A bowl of ramen noodles with kinchee and leftover meats is our all time favorite fast food at home. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Wilson Farm, Lexington, MA

I love markets, all kinds of markets. Farmers' Markets, ethnic food markets and I'll even include regular supermarkets.  It's not unusual for my husband and me to drive hours to go check out a new food store. It's one of the things we like to do together.  He enjoys driving and I like to knit and take in the view along the way.  Last Sunday, Wilson Farm was our destination.

It's located in Lexington, MA, they've been around since 1884 and are well known for their fresh fruits and vegetables that are mostly grown by them, on 500 acres, and the surrounding farms.  Also well known is their 8,500 square foot barn built with recycled lumber that houses the market.  More about the barn here.
Wilson Farm barn was built by Bensonwood Homes in 1996.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Lao Food: Tum Maak Houng or Green Papaya Salad

Tum Maak Houng has it's origin in Laos and the Isaan part of Thailand. It is one of the most favorite dishes of Laos, beloved by all it's people and those who live abroad will go to great lengths to find the green, unripe papaya.  Eaten throughout the day, as part of a meal or anytime snacking, it is adored by young and old.  Whether you enjoy spicy hot food or not, there's a tum maak houng for you.
Tum maak houng is pounded in a mortar and pestle to meld all its flavors.
It is impossible to nail this down to a single recipe or to describe the flavors of Green Papaya Salad.  Everyone has their own preferences. Even in my own family, we argue about whether it is too spicy, too sweet, not salty enough or maybe it needs a touch of lime.  The flavors we're after are hot, salty, sour and sweet, in that order. That being said, my Dad would turn his nose up at any tum maak houng that contained even one grain of sugar. He liked it hot and salty with chunks of padek and just a touch of lime juice.  My sister Thi makes it super hot, and on the sweet side with padek and tamarind paste.  My sister Li adds tamarind paste but no padek. She uses nam pa or fish sauce instead, making it not as sweet nor as hot.  My version is closer to Li's. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Easy 7-Layer Salad

It seems as though there's quite a selection of 7-layer Salad recipes out there and I'm sure every family must have their own version.  This one came from my friend Maggie's mom, or at least that's how I remember it, when I first started making it at every Thanksgiving more than twenty years ago.  It's an easy, do-ahead and take-along salad that's one of our family's favorite, even among those who don't love salads or vegetables, you know who you are ;)
Easy, do-ahead, take-along 7-layer Salad

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Homemade Pork Rind - "Kiep Moo"

My share of pork from Walpole Valley Farms included several sheets of pork skin with an inch of fat on them. I knew right away that I would make Kiep Moo with it.  Kiep Moo is the Lao version of pork rind.  Green Papaya Salad and Kiep Moo is my favorite Lao food combination.  Rich, crunchy pork skin is the perfect foil for the spicy, salty, sweet and sour Tum Maak Houng, the Lao name for Green Papaya Salad. 
Kiep Moo (Homemade Pork Rind)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

October Snow

"Live Free or Die" is the motto of our state. Or is it "Live Freeze and Die" as some might mock. But, come on, snow in October is unusual, even for New Hampshire.  I was skeptical when the Nor'easter was first predicted until the day before when it began to look like we really would need to button up for the winter. What if this same snow stuck around till spring?  Fortunately this was not the case and, even as I write this, it is a sunny 50 F degrees and the snow has all but melted.  But the day before the snow came, I frantically dug up, potted, picked and protected as many of my garden plants as possible.
I dug up this clump of Calendula to bring into the greenhouse.  They'll add color to an otherwise gray winter.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Roasted Salmon with Lemongrass and Kaffir Lime

Colors on my morning walk.

Every fall as the leaves turn and the landscape is ablaze with orange, red and yellow I bring in my two potted kaffir lime trees and dig up the clumps of lemongrass that I grow as an annual. Both are tropical herbs not meant to withstand the New England north winds. The lime trees will spend the winter in a sunny window giving us fresh leaves for winter soups and stews
Kaffir Lime

Monday, October 10, 2011

Harvesting Grapes in New Hampshire

Each October my Wayback friends (yes, we go way back) and I get together and volunteer for the grape harvest at Barnett Hill Vineyard in Walpole, NH. I'm just in awe of what it takes to run a vineyard...planting, trellising, pruning, tying, harvesting etc, not to mention the winemaking parts about crushing, tasting, bottling, aging and selling.

So about five years ago, when the call came seeking volunteers to help pick grapes, we didn't need much convincing and it has become our annual fall ritual.
Nylon netting over the grapes protect them from birds and wild turkeys.
Netting is removed just before we start picking.

Friday, September 23, 2011

What's Growing in the Garden: 9/23/2011

The days maybe getting shorter and nights cooler but don't give up on the garden yet...
Heirloom Rattlesnake Pole Bean reaches for the sky and pumps
out beans all summer long.  Great as snap beans or dry beans.
Save some seeds for planting next summer and you won't need to
buy seeds again.