Saturday, May 22, 2010

This Week at the Farmer's Market- Napa Cabbage Ramen Noddle Salad

Saturday is my day to go to the farmer's market. I love our market; it is a mixture of plants, meats, veggies, fruits and prepared foods. Today Katie and I shared a shaved ice with fresh crushed strawberries and a bratwurst. Both were amazing. I brought lamb so we will be having lamb steaks for Sunday night's dinner. (Yum!) I also had to have the Napa cabbage. Katie's favorite salad is a Ramen noodle salad made from Napa cabbage. Finally I couldn't pass up the farm fresh eggs. I can't wait to have eggs Benedict tomorrow morning.
Even though our yard is in danger of being overrun by vegetable and fruit plants, I did buy more plants. I have always wanted to grow cucumbers but I have never had the room. So the solution seems to be a bush cucumber. I found them at the market and I purchased four dwarf bush cucumber plants. I don't have room for the sprawling cucumbers but certainly the dwarf bush cucumbers will work. I guess we will find out.
The garden is way ahead of schedule. The picture of the purple flower (above) is a Japanese eggplant. I planted five eggplants. I think I am going to be drowning in eggplants this year so if you have any great recipes for eggplant please let me know. Next to the eggplant is a picture of cherry tomatoes and below is a picture of Roma tomatoes. They hopefully will produce lots of tasty tomatoes. This week I provided them with organic fertilizer stakes so they will be "fed" all summer. Next to the Roma tomatoes is a picture of peas and peppers. The peas haven't flowered yet but the peppers have already flowered and are growing peppers. The peppers below are hot peppers and at the very bottom of this post are bell peppers.

We even have grapes growing. This year we have so many grapes, the squirrels and birds may actually leave some for us. Also the beans are flowering. We have two kinds of beans this year. My favorite of all of the plants is the corn (pictured at the very bottom). I looks like grass but (hopefully) will soon be as tall as Katie.

The only items we used from our garden for dinner was the herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme, and chives) for the rub for the porchetta style pork. Saturday night in addition to the Napa cabbage salad (recipe below) we had porchetta style pork roast. It roasts at 300 F/149 C for hours so it is juicy and pull apart tender. (Below is a picture of the pork-- it was absolutely incredible).

Katie's Favorite Ramen Noodle Salad
  • 1 Head of Napa Cabbage
  • 1 Bunch green onions
  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • One 3 oz (85 g) Package of Ramen Noodles
  • 1/4 Cup (36 g) of Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • 1/4 Cup (60 ml) of Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 3/4 Cup (180 ml) of Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 Cup (113 g) of Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
Finely shred the Napa cabbage and finely chop the green onions and put in a large salad bowl.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the crushed Ramen noodles and sesame seeds and sauté until toasted. Put in a small bowl and allow to cool.
To make the dressing:
In a small saucepan, heat vinegar, oil, sugar, and soy sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil, let boil for 1 minute. Remove the pan from heat and let cool.
When ready to serve combine all of the ingredients.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

This Week at the Farmers Market- Tom Yum Gai Soup

A bowl of Tom Yum Gai Soup
My Saturday mornings usually include a trip to the Tulsa Cherry Street Farmer's Market. I look forward to it all week. It has a great combination of locally grown produce and live plants.

This week I found some great tomato plants: Napa grape hybrid, chardonnay grape hybrid, and Victoria. I think I have a dozen tomato plants. Last year I planted too many pepper plants (more Steven's fault than mine). I guess this is the year of the tomato. I also have planted all kinds of herbs, shallots, leeks, beans, peas, peppers, eggplant, okra, corn, blueberries, raspberries, and even tomatillos (great for salsas). I also have a dwarf banana plant but it will not provide any fruit until next year. Below are pictures of my garden (which show that I need to get out and pick some weeds).
Tulsa is a great place, but until my garden starts to provide me with its harvest I only have access to fresh local produce once a week. It's amazing how much better fresh food tastes.

This week's fresh haul at the farmer's market was snow peas and green onions. I am in a soup mood (getting over a nasty cold) so I came up with a modified Tom Yum Gai soup. I love Thai food. I think the mingling of flavors is amazing. I grow lemon grass each year so I have access to one of the most important ingredients (at least in my opinion). Tom Yum Gai has an incredible balance between spicy and sour. I know it is not traditional, but I love coconut milk so I added it too. Here is what I did:

Tom Yum Gai Soup

Homemade chicken stock
2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
Can of Baby Corn
Can of Straw Mushrooms
2-3 Limes
5 Cloves of Garlic, Chopped
3 Shallots, Chopped
3 Green Onions, Chopped
1 Habanero Chili, Cut Down the Middle
Snow Peas
3 Roma Tomatoes, Sliced
Green Onions
Lemongrass Stem, Cut in Pieces
Galangal Root, Sliced (I can only find this at an Asian market)
Chicken, Chopped

Put a total of 10 cups of chicken stock, water from baby corn, and water from straw mushrooms in pot. Add lime juice, kaffir leaves, lemon grass, garlic, shallots, and galangal (or ginger if you can't find any galangal). Bring to a boil then let simmer for 20 minutes. Next add baby corn, mushrooms, chili, tomatoes, snow peas, green onions, coconut milk and chicken. Simmer for approximately 10 minutes.

Taste the soup -- I ended adding a little brown sugar , red curry paste, and chili garlic sauce. (The lime juice was too overpowering and needed to be offset). Since this soup was our main course, I added rice noodles.