On a trip to Boston we stopped for some apple picking with some friends. We went to Highland Farm in Holliston. They offer 11 varieties of apples but it was pretty late in the season so there were lots of apples on the ground. We mainly picked Pink Lady apples (my favorite!) and Honey Crisp. My daughter loved eating the apple straight from the tree with juice dripping down her chin. It is funny because each time we go out “foraging” for food, she eats a ton while we are picking but when I try to serve the same fruit on a plate she doesn’t show much interest. She did this when we went blueberry picking in Oregon and the same thing happened with the apples. Maybe eating straight off the tree… or just in nature is the trick? Or maybe she feels like she is getting a free meal? Anyone else notice this with children? Whatever the reason, we will try to do pick-your-own more often!
I have lots of recipes but in general I stick to meals that are easy to throw together and can pack as many of our homegrown veggies in as possible. I have about 5 go to recipes that meet this criteria but was getting in a bit of a rut when I decided to look to the internets to give me inspiration. The other day I went out to Korean food with my parents. I don’t eat Korean food all that often so when I do, it’s a treat. I had a fantastic vegetarian bi bim bap at the restaurant but after we left I started thinking about soondubu jjigae. Soondubu is a kimchi soft tofu stew. It is served bubbling hot in its cooking vessel at restaurants. I just couldn’t get soondubu out of my head. Then I thought… I probably can make that myself. So I did.
I adapted this recipe from Chow and you can find their recipe here. Here is my adaptation:
Soondubu Jjigae (Kimchi Soft Tofu Stew)
- 1 Tablespoon oil
- 1 small onion diced
- 2 teaspoons Korean chili paste (gochujang; This definitely makes it spicy so omit this if you can’t handle the heat!)
- 1 medium zucchini, diced
- Any other veggie you have in the garden!
- 1 cup Nappa Cabbage Kimchi, roughly chopped
- 2 cups vegetable broth (or any broth)
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 (14-16 ounce) package soft tofu, drained
- 2 large eggs (optional)
- 3 scallions, chopped
- Steamed white or brown rice for serving
First of all, you can basically throw anything into this pot so if you have veggies that you need to use up this is a great recipe to try. Second note, the kimchi I bought was pretty spicy on its own so I didn’t put any of the chili paste in. It was still delicious and just the right amount of heat. Adjust to your liking. Also the original recipe only calls for zucchini as the main veggie so if you do end up adding more vegetables to the dish, I recommend adding some extra broth for a more stew like consistency.
The veggies I grew in my garden that I decided to put in this dish were Trombetta di Albenga squash, Sweet Canary Bell Pepper, Hungarian Yellow Wax Pepper (for some reason these are supposed to be yellow but they are ripening as red… I saved these seeds from last year so maybe I mislabeled or they crossed!?), Orient long green beans and some Lacinato kale.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan with a lid on medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened about 5 minutes. Add salt. Add the chili paste, stir to combine, until fragrant about 1 minute. Add the zucchini and let cook for about 5 minutes if using Trombetta. This squash is harder than Black Beauty zucchini so I gave it a little more time in the pan. If you are using a softer zucchini just stir for about a minute. Add any other veggies at this time too.
Using a large serving spoon, add the drained tofu in very large spoonfuls careful not to break into smaller pieces. Gently press down into the soup until covered. Cover with lid and simmer for another 3 minutes.
Crack eggs into the simmering stew. Cover and simmer until whites are set (about 2 minutes). Dish the stew into bowls careful not to break the tofu or the egg yolks. Garnish with scallions and serve immediately with a side of rice.
This stew is hearty, healthy and perfect for fall. Enjoy!
Next on my ever-growing list to do is: grow Nappa cabbage (I already have seed!) and learn how to make kimchi!
Happy October! October is one of my favorite months. Since October is here I can add up how much I harvested in September.
My total poundage September (2013) was 78.4 pounds.
So far I have harvested 283 pounds of food off of my property in 2014. This number is definitely not going to get me to my 500 pound goal but I am not going to stop trying. I still have lots to harvest and I love being able to go into my garden 10 minutes before dinner, grab a bunch of veggies and cook a healthy meal. Also our 6 fruit trees have not produced much of anything the past two years (this is their second year in the ground) so I think next year if the fruit trees kick in a bit it will be very easy to get to my 500 pound goal.
One of my most impressive harvests has been kale. I pick kale almost every other day and add it to almost any meal (stir fry, miso soup, pizza, salads, pastas etc). I started being able to harvest kale in March and it has been a steady supply ever since. Kale is great because it only gets better with the cold weather so it almost is a year round crop here for me. This year I have harvested 14 pounds of kale which I guess doesn’t sound like a lot but every harvest I only grab a handful of leaves so each 45 gram harvest really adds up over time. Also kale doesn’t weigh that much! It is really nice to have a dependable crop since a lot of my other crops have not been as dependable this year.
Hope everyone is enjoying the weather!