Friday, June 24, 2011

Posting and running (CSA Week 2!)

CSA Share Week 2

Here are week 2's spoils! One quart of strawberries, 3 apples (selected by a cute kid), more scapes, more spinach, chard, komatsuna (also labelled bok choy, although it doesn't look like it!), a bunch of mint, a huge bunch of scallions, more lettuce, and woohoo, a giant napa cabbage.

I must post and run--I'm leaving for a trip to Vancouver iiiiin....oh, 45 minutes or so. Hooray! I hope there are still some spot prawns left. In the meantime, I leave you with a portrait of what happens when one finds oneself awash in garlic scapes:


Thursday, June 16, 2011

CSA Week One!

Fruit Share Week 1

A couple of years ago we joined a CSA for the first time and loved the experience--so much awesome produce! (Too much in some cases--there is only so much corn you can eat, and I probably still have an ear in my freezer somewhere.) Anyway, after skipping last summer, I decided to join a CSA again, and this was the share from week one. (For those who aren't familiar, CSA stands for community supported agriculture and is a program where you basically purchase a share of a farm's output. It's great because you're directly supporting a farm and in return, you get many, many weeks of extremely fresh produce. It is not great if you don't like or are picky about your vegetables!)

Veggie Share Week 1

Week one spoils: scallions, garlic scapes, cilantro, radishes (extremely peppery!), spinach, dandelion greens, mixed salad greens, and arugula. Plus two quarts of strawberries and an apple, from the fruit share. (As a bonus, you get to see my extremely cluttered windowsill where I take most of my photos. Unfortunately, that is also where most of my plants are now living...)

Stir fried garlic scapes and pork

I am determined to make use of everything! The scapes have already gone into a stir-fry with some pork.

Saag Paneer

The dandelion greens, spinach, and some of the cilantro got turned into saag paneer (thanks for the suggestion, Jack); making paneer at home is the easiest thing in the world! The scallions will become scallion pancakes. And as you might have guessed, I will be eating a LOT of salad this week.

There are lots of CSA programs out there now; this is a good site if you want to find one near you. For those who are in NYC, Just Food is a good resource. And if you're interested in Chubby Bunny specifically (which is the one I've joined!), you can visit their blog. I'm looking forward to a summer (and fall) of vegetable goodness!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

When Life Gives You A Strawberry

The Victim

I mentioned a few posts ago that I bought a strawberry plant--and it's been producing strawberries! Hooray! However, there is one problem with only having one strawberry plant--it seems like only one strawberry wants to ripen at any given time. (Okay, it looks like two in that photo, but really only one of them was fully ripe.) So I had a dilemma--if I ever wanted to eat strawberry shortcake, I was either going to have to save and freeze strawberries until I had enough (boo) or I was going to have to make one tiny strawberry shortcake. I bet you can guess what route I took ;) (Also, I have finally named my strawberry plant--meet Margaret!)

Cream Biscuit

I know people have different preferences when it comes to strawberry shortcake, but for me, it's not real shortcake unless it's got a biscuit base. (I mean, not that a cake based one wouldn't be tasty, but it's not the same!) Cream biscuits are great for shortcake and literally take 15 minutes to make from start to finish. You don't even have to cut any butter in, because the only ingredients are flour, salt, baking powder, a pinch of sugar, and heavy cream. Super easy! I cut out rounds with a small cookie cutter; these baked for about 8 minutes. Of course, after they're done baking you have more choices to make--butter or no butter? Sweetened whipped cream or plain whipped cream? Macerate the berries first or not?

wee strawberry shortcake

My choices: no butter, sweetened, not macerated. Mostly because I was in a hurry. And here is my tiny shortcake, just slightly bigger than a quarter. One bite and it's all gone!


These are not from my plant, I bought these at the local farmer's market this morning. $7 a quart, can you believe it??? Too expensive for me to make jam from...I'll just enjoy these fresh.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Umaimono Fair at Mitsuwa


So I mentioned in Monday's post that I was home this weekend for serious zongzi production...well, there was also time to take a trip to Mitsuwa for their Umaimono Food Fair! I love their food fairs, they usually bring in different vendors from Japan and you can pick up some really neat things. Of course, the chirashi don above is just a regular one from the actual supermarket section...but it was really yummy and hit the spot!

Kukuru Takoyaki

And to go with that, we got a box of takoyaki as well. They had a stand set up and were making them on the spot, and all of the guys were really goofy and seemed like they were having a great time. I tried and failed to get a picture of them shaping the takoyaki--boy do they move fast!


I know this picture is a little messy looking, but that's because we didn't eat them until we got home, and they had gotten a little banged up in transit. Delicious, though!

Hiroyuki Sakai cake

And for dessert? (Restaurant dessert, to be precise.) Why, this mysterious box bearing the name of Hiroyuki Sakai...(that's Iron Chef French, my favorite!)

Green tea roll cake

Containing this gorgeously wrapped green tea roll cake...

green tea pudding roll cake

With a surprise core of pudding (yes, pudding!)! Exciting, no? I think this is totally cool! And it was quite tasty. I think I will try to replicate this should I ever summon the courage to try making a roll cake....

Alright, that's enough babbling from me, happy Wednesday!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Duan Wu Jie (aka Dragon Boat Festival)


Well, the last time I wrote about these was in 2009, and when I went home this weekend to help make zongzi, my mom said "What, you need to take pictures again??" Well yes, yes I do! So here is another post on one of my favorite foods ever!


I always refer to these as sticky rice dumplings, but I don't know if that's really an accurate name. At any rate, they are parcels of sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves, and either filled with pork or sweet red bean paste. The fillings vary by region (and by family) but in our family, we make them Shanghai style (so my mom says) filled only with pork. Other styles may include salted egg yolks or chestnuts or pure giant chunks of pork fat etc. But I like them our way the best.


Both the pork and the rice are marinated first in soy sauce (and other seasonings). The bamboo leaves come dried, so you have to soak them, boil them, and scrub them before they can be used. Fortunately, all of that hard work was handled by my mom, and I was just needed for the actual wrapping.


So you make a cone out of the bamboo leaves, add a spoonful of rice to the bottom, a big chunk of pork, and then top it all off with more rice, as my mom is demonstrating here.


You then fold the extra leaves down and to the side to seal in all the goodies, and then tie the whole thing shut and end up with...


This! A nice, neat bundle of deliciousness. This is one of my mom's--you can tell because she's tucked all the extra leaf away neatly.


And this is one of mine, after cooking. As you can see, I like to leave my extra leaf bits stick up--I think it looks nicer this way. And personally (and I said this last time too, haha) I think mine look better ;) But the really important thing is the taste, and that is always flawless, thanks to my mom's preparation.


Mmmm, sticky rice and pork....we made a mere 66 this year (plus another 20 sweet ones, filled with red bean paste) which means I will have to eat them sparingly to make them last. But I think I will go have one for breakfast, it is the day of the actual festival, after all....