Saturday, May 30, 2009

Goma ae days

In these days of spinach bounty, here's how I take what seems to be an overwhelming quantity of leafy goodness that is busting out of the crisper drawers and threatening to creep into the container of yogurt on the shelf above and render it docile and tidy (the spinach, not the yogurt which tends to stay where you put it). And tasty. Very tasty.

The magic words are: Goma Ae. Brian and I used to order this when we went out to Japanese restaurants (ah, the days before GM was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy) but that was before we realized that we wanted to eat a much bigger quantity of it than any restaurant ever served and that it was so darn easy to make.

Take about 1.5-2 lbs of clean spinach. Pinch off the stems if they are tough. Dump the spinach (you can also add in other relatively tender greens--I put some mizuna in this batch) in a big pot of boiling water to blanch, then quickly rinse under cold water. Once it is cool you squeeze it like hell to get all the water out until it is about the size of a softball:
(If only all such unruly things were this easily contained. Kids...?)

In your mortar put 2 T roasted sesame seeds (you can see I buy the pre-roasted ones at the Asian grocery).
Pestle-ize them to a fine-ish grind:
Then add 2 T soy (I use Japanese lower sodium), 1 T rice wine vinegar, 1 T mirin, and 1 t sugar and mix it all together.
(I would bet that the above slurry can also be made in a blender if you don't have a mortar and pestle or if your forearms are just too darn tired today for all the grinding. My blender is putting me through hell at the moment by leaking all over the counter no matter how carefully and tightly I attach the base to the jar so I'll stick with the mortar for now.)

Chop the spinach coarsely, put it in a bowl and then dump the dressing over your chopped spinach. Drizzle on 1 t toasted sesame oil.
Use a fork to distribute the dressing and break up the clods of spinach.
Number of servings depends on the level of goma ae enthusiasm in your house. Brian and I can easily polish of a bowl this size but then we are a little piggy when it comes to this stuff.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tantre farm share, week 1

Last year I became incredibly curious what a week-to-week farm share looked like. I enjoyed reading about the creative uses the Gastronomical 3 ladies were doing with their split Tantre share and I loved Mary's Community Farm Kitchen blog (she not only lists the weekly full share, but if you are a part of her Kitchen CSA, she tells you how she will be preparing it for you).

If any of you are as curious as I was as to what a full-share looks like, I plan to post a photo of my weekly share from Tantre Farm. I also plan to briefly mention what recipes I intend to use to consume all this produce and would love to hear if you have any creative thoughts of what you would do (particularly when I inevitably get stumped by a vegetable!)

If you have a farm share that you'd be willing to photograph weekly, please let me know. I'd love to peek at your haul! I went with Tantre this year because one of the farmer-owners, Deb, came into my picky boy critter's class when he was in 2nd grade and actually got the kid to taste a tiny nibble of raw sorrel. I figure she must be magical because I haven't been able to pry his jaws apart for any leafy green in years and a magical farmer sounded like a good place to start.

So here is the photo of week 1 of my Tantre farm share:
The haul, from left to right: purple lettuce, green lettuce, some over-wintered fingerling potatoes, mizuna, asparagus, huge bag of spinach, french radishes, globe radishes, spring onions, chives

plus some rhubarb that sneaked out of the photo (rhubarb is sneaky like that):

What I plan to do with it:
  • Lettuce: salad (duh)
  • Fingerlings: roasted with olive oil, fresh rosemary and fleur de sel
  • Mizuna and some of the spinach: Warda's Spicy Greens with Bulgur (Tchicha bel Khoubiz) probably served with something lamb based, maybe some kofte
  • Asparagus: there are just a few beautiful spears (apparently some slugs have been having a field day with the asparagus crop this year) so I might supplement these with some from the store. I want to make a broiled miso asparagus dish called Dengaku
  • rest of the spinach: goma ae (I'll share my basic recipe soon), probably served some variation of miso soup
  • French radishes: my favorite cold soup, Chlodnik
  • Globe radishes: roasted radishes with radish greens (Yes, you can eat the greens like, well, greens! And this bunch has gorgeous greens.)
  • Spring onions: a couple saved for salad, the rest roasted along with the fingerlings
  • Chives: I already used up some in a chive-ricotta omelet as soon as I came home. The rest will be used for more omelets and as garnish for the Chlodnik soup
  • Rhubarb: pie (which will make my husband very, very happy since he knew he'd be getting lots of healthy food out of this farm share thingy, but didn't anticipate his favorite pie!)
Thoughts? Plans? Ideas?