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.