Gamjajeon and Hobak Buchimgae ~ Korean Fried Veggie Treats!

Homemade Gamjajeon and hobak buchimgae from Kimchimari!

a little crunchy outside, a little tender inside ~ Korean jeon with potato and buchimgae with Korean squash

I’m not sure how I happened upon Kimchimari last night, but since I found it I can’t stop reading (and drooling)! With the explosion of Korean squash in the garden and a few oldish potatoes hanging out until we harvest our own, I had all the makings for these deceptively simple, savory Korean fritters (or pancakes) called gamjajeon and hobak buchimgae respectively.

The recipes come from Kimchimari — I’m just putting pics up here because I love the look of the fresh fritters, white and green and crispy golden brown. They were a perfect taste treat dipped in a little soy sauce and rice vinegar, with a splash of sesame oil.

Thank you JinJoo!

Korean squash and potato 'fritters'

tasty and crispy potato and korean squash fritters!

The pickling cukes are still running strong, with Straight Eights just beginning to produce. Next in line is this beautiful cucumber kimchi!

Weekend garden pics:

chinese chive blossoms

chinese chive blossoms in a sea of green squash leaves

korean squash on trellis

amazing Korean squash plants covering the trellis!

finally -- brinjal!

at long last, the beautiful brinjals are here! this is Orient Express variety

mexibelle pepper

mexibelle pepper ripening…

thai basil

thai basil is beginning to flower amongst the thai eggplant

beets and their greens

I love beets and their greens!

bodacious corn

corn, var. bodacious, still standing while others fell to heavy rain

lebanese zucchini

lebanese zucchini coming on late

pinks chillin'

not a garden vegetable, but a chillin’ kitty named pinkie 🙂

How does your garden grow?

 

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Jacques Pepin Meets Solai ~ Braised Baby Potatoes and Green Jackfruit in Coconut

garlic

home grown garlic ~ the first time!

We dug some early potatoes last week and they’ve been drying out/curing on a rack in the back room with the garlic dug in July. Today I brought everything outside — trimmed the stems and roots of garlic, brushed the remaining dirt from the potatoes, and sorted through it all in preparation for storage.

trimmed garlic

nice and neat and ready to eat!

The smallest potatoes were starting to turn a bit soft so I brought those inside, scrubbed ’em up, and thought of Jacques Pepin’s braised-and-browned-in-butter baby potatoes. One incarnation of that classic, delicious recipe lives here.

I had no chicken broth on hand, but I did have this wonderful emergency coconut milk in the fridge. I also had a can of green jackfruit. Immediately I thought of Solai’s amazing palakkai pirattal recipe, to which I always add more potato than called for… ring ring… hello? Fusion calling! This one is rich with butter, but soooo tasty.

Baby Potatoes and Green Jackfruit Braised in Coconut

1 can green jackfruit, rinsed to remove acidic taste, cut in small pieces

3-4 cups baby potatoes, washed well (cut larger ones in half)

3 TB butter

1 tsp fennel seed

1/2 tsp cumin seed

1/2 tsp mustard seed

small piece cinnamon

2-3 black cardamom

1/2 tsp red chili pwd

1/2 tsp turmeric

3-5 cloves garlic, chopped

So Delicious-type coconut milk to cover halfway (about 1 cup)

Salt and pepper to taste

~~~~~~~~~~~

baby potatoes and jackfruit

baby potatoes and green jackfruit waiting for a bath in spiced butter

Over med-high heat, melt the butter in a wide pan and add the whole spices, red chili and turmeric pwds, and fresh garlic. Saute a few moments, then add cut jackfruit. Stir to coat with the masala, then add baby potatoes and stir again to coat. Let it sizzle on medium-high heat 5-6 minutes, stirring to prevent burning.

coat with spiced butter

bathing in spiced butter

Now add coconut milk to cover the veggies about halfway, stir to combine, and bring to a simmer.

add the coconut milk

swimming in flavor!

Once simmering, prick the potatoes with a fork, lower the heat to med-low, cover, and cook about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. By now the potatoes should be tender — uncover and lightly press on each potato to crack it. Leave the cover off and cook an additional 5-10 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Switch off the heat and serve hot with rice or bread — alternatively, allow to cool completely and eat the next day (even better!).

yummy baby potatoes and green jackfruit in spiced butter

it’s ready!

After a few warm days the garden is really starting to produce…

kentucky blue pole beans and tomatoes

kentucky blue pole beans ~ about 4 qts! with marianna’s peace and lemon boy tomatoes

korean squash blossom

korean squash blossom

korean squash

and the korean squash ~ variety pum ae

lebanese zucchini

lebanese zucchini are catching up

kai lan or gai lan - chinese broccoli

for autumn ~ kai lan or gai lan ~ chinese broccoli ~ quick growing radish interspersed

moolie-cat-in-a-basket

moolie-cat-in-a-basket

Happy Sunday!

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Kohlrabi Sambhar — Take Three

coneflowers

coneflowers in the perennial bed

I always get a kick out of revisiting old posts – especially when I’ve been away from the blog awhile. Such have been my recent evenings, lazily going back in time and rediscovering lots of fun and food. It’s quite relaxing until it makes me hungry and I find myself rummaging in the kitchen — in search of something quick to whip up to quell that late-night craving!

We’re finally beginning to pick a few things from the garden — most everything is a month behind this year due to a chilly spring. Tonight I snapped up the three kohlrabi plants that had actually formed a bulb — most were stolen by slugs until I learned the cornmeal trick, but that’s for another day. I salvaged a few nice looking leaves and peeled the baby bulbs, thinking I’d cook them with the greens for something simple at work tomorrow. If you’ve never tried them, the aroma of fresh kohlrabi greens simmering is one of the greatest culinary delights! I learned this long ago from Anita, and I have made her delicious monjji haak countless times since.

This concoction was merrily bubbling away tonight when suddenly I wanted more. I wanted sambhar. I remembered its two previous incarnations here and here, but I wasn’t so ambitious. Then I remembered the sweet and sour khichiri I made last week when G had an upset stomach. Oh, such a happy revelation for my lazy self! All I had to do was toss that into the simmering pot, add the cubed kohlrabi, some sambhar powder and just a splash of tamarind water and voila! Instant, if somewhat uninspired, kohlrabi sambhar, my very favorite, appeared before my eyes, complete with built-in rice 🙂

instant kohlrabi sambhar

instant kohlrabi sambhar

garlic and baby kohlrabi

baby kohlrabi on the right, on the left is garlic!

baby kohlrabi

the baby kohlrabi forming a bulb

Happy Monday!

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Saturday in the Garden

 

summer squash and garlic chives

summer squash  “early prolific straight-neck” and garlic chives

The gardens in the north woods of Michigan are something of a challenge — you never know what will grow well. One year the tomatoes are awesome, the next it might be the peppers. I can’t complain about any of it, but it’s always a surprise. This year, the tomatoes all seem to have some disease so I can only hope for a few ripe ones before the vines die. The surprise has been the cucurbits — the squash and cucumbers in particular. My little Pickle-bush cucumbers have been going strong since June, and now the summer squash and Korean squash are growing beyond my wildest expectations! I’ve already had a mess of summer squash and the Korean squash are ready to pick.

summer squash blossoms

a mass of summer squash blossoms!

korean squash

korean squash climbing the trellis

korean squash ready to pick

korean squash ready to pick

Tonight’s supper included baby beets and their greens, summer squash and fresh lake trout, lightly smoked on the grill with coriander, pepper, and garlic sprinkled atop. Delish!

beets, pickling cukes, summer squash twins and green beans

today’s harvest included baby beets and greens, summer squash twins, pickling cucumbers and some lovely pole beans called ‘kentucky blue’

lightly smoked lake trout with baby white beets 'n greens, fresh summer squash

 

dinner (mostly) from the garden!

 

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Pick a Peck of Peppers

On Sunday we took a ride to the ‘Sunrise Side’ on Lake Huron, to see the lock on the Inland Waterway. I didn’t get a picture of that but I did get one of the huge USCGC Mackinaw — the icebreaker in winter — in the Cheboygan River. Not as pretty as the classic old Mackinaw, but impressive nonetheless. There’s also a cute little crib light peeking out from the river mouth.

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US Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw in the Cheboygan River

mackinaw crane

close shot of the buoy crane

cheboygan crib light

Cheboygan crib light

Then we came home and picked a peck of peppers! 🙂

banana peppers

loaded banana pepper plant

peck o peppers

various hot and sweet peppers – the first harvest!

Happy Monday!

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Happy Gardening from the North Woods!!

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potted herbs in the north woods – basil, thai basil, cilantro, and dill

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fresh dhania from the garden

Hooray for summer weather!

I am in arrears again — posting arrears! Do you even remember me, friends? I remember you all! 🙂

School had barely ended last August when the busy autumn appeared and I was consumed with job-hunting and visiting back to my kids and my folks in Massachusetts. The visiting was a huge success.

Home again to Michigan, dear G and I settled in for the end of winter here in the North Woods. January and February were quite mild , but it turned out to be a long, chilly March into spring. Over the winter months we organized the garden seeds, and did some indoor planting with the new grow-shelf! This has turned out to be a perfect set up, and not expensive at all.

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lots of little tomato and eggplant seedlings under the grow-lights!

This year we are trying some dwarf tomatoes. The Dwarf Tomato Project strives to combine heirloom tomato size and flavor with smaller plants for smaller spaces. I am excited and have high hopes for fabulous tomatoes with less disease/trouble! You can check it out here:

Craig LeHoullier’s Dwarf Tomato Project site

Spring finally did arrive and with it a new job for me. I was lucky enough to land a job as a legal assistant for a local attorney — just what I hoped for! It’s a total career change and I have so much to learn — thankfully my new boss is patient and a great teacher. That said, I barely cook on the weeknights now — all this using one’s brain at work is tiring! 😉 That means weekends are made for cooking and gardening. Although I don’t grow cauliflower, I love the huge $3 heads that appear this time of year — one could make meals for a week! Tonight I chopped one in half and came up with this mixed bag from a variety of sources — mostly Chef Harpal Singh and Manjula’s Kitchen 🙂 I also cheated with a can of Progresso Vegetable Soup — that stood in for tomatoes as I had none. Do you guys ever watch cooking videos? I love them! Anyway, here’s my takeaway from those and thanks to the chefs! 😉

Spicy Cauliflower Yogurt Masala Gravy

For the base:

2 tsp canola oil or ghee

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp mustard seeds

2 tsp ginger-garlic paste

1 medium onion, sliced thinly

2 tomatoes, chopped (or cheat, like me, with a can of soup!)

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp red chili pwd

2 tsp dhania-jeera pwd

1 tsp amchur pwd

1/2 tsp garam masala pwd

1/2 large head cauliflower, cut into florets (about 4 cups)

For masala yogurt gravy:

2 TB oil or ghee

1 tsp kalonji seeds

2 TB besan

1 tsp garam masala pwd

1 tsp kashmiri chili pwd (optional)

1 c yogurt, beaten smooth

salt to taste

fresh cilantro to taste

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Make the base:

Heat oil or ghee over med-high and add cumin, fennel, and mustard seeds. Let them sizzle and add ginger garlic paste, stir a few seconds, then add onion. Lower the heat and cook 10 minutes, stirring, until onion is golden. Add the tomatoes (or soup) and the turmeric, red chili, amchur, dhania-jeera, and garam masala powders, along with a good pinch of salt. Mix well, reduce heat to med-low and cover. Let this simmer for 10-15 minutes until tomatoes are cooked or soup has thickened. Use an immersion blender to mix this all to a smooth gravy. Add cauliflower florets and 1/2 cup water. Mix well, cover, and cook over med-low until cauliflower is done to your liking – about 10-15 minutes for tender.

Make the masala yogurt gravy:

Meanwhile, in a small pan, heat the oil or ghee over medium heat. Add kalonji, let them sizzle, then add besan and cook, stirring well, for 4-5 minutes or until toasted and fragrant. Add garam masala and optional kashmiri chili pwd – mix well. Off the heat, add the beaten yogurt and mix to combine. Add this to the cauliflower base mixture and stir well. Cover and cook on low for a further 5-10 minutes. Taste for salt, add fresh chopped cilantro and it’s done!

cauliflower masala.JPG

Perfect for rice as it makes lots of rich, spicy gravy — this one is a keeper.

I miss my blog hopping and all of my dear friends, so hope to spend some time doing that over the remainder of the summer — it will be fun to see who is still around!

~~~~~~~~

I’ll leave you with some pics of the little gardens in the north woods 🙂

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African queen potato-leaf var.  – baby tomatoes

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bee bath full of petoskey stones from lake michigan

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black krim tomatoes from seed – in the front herb garden with horseradish, my nana’s rhubarb, and a few weeds 😉

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korean squash growing up the trellis — corn behind

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dear g built a two-step deck for the tomatoes!

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orient charm, orient express, and thai long green eggplants – they love to live in pots on the tomato deck

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giant mariachi pepper plant – a fresno type – hope they will ripen to red!

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lemur in bee balm 🙂

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School’s Out!

harvest 8.18.16
the harvest basket ~ one evening last week

In the past few days since school ended, I’ve had time to look back at my poor neglected blog — never did I dream that over a year has gone by since I posted *anything*! Well dear friends, school is out, not only for the summer this time but for GOOD. I completed the requirements for my bachelor’s as of August 9. I’ll have to wait a few more weeks for the official conferral of my degree, but I’ve finished! This is the realization of a lifelong dream — and the exorcism of my only regret — not finishing college when I was “college-aged”. If you’re reading this and think it’s too late to go back to school — I hope you will think again. It’s *never* too late and I am proof positive. If I can do it, anyone can!  🙂

finito!
4.0!
a wee bit o’ bragging 🙂

I couldn’t have done it alone, however. I’ve been fortunate to have the unending support and encouragement of my fabulous kids, friends, colleagues, and of course — dear Gary. DG endured endless evenings alone while I studied — he took care of the house and the garden and the cats — all while acting as proofreader for each and every paper I wrote — quite ably, I might add.

I am forever grateful.

The big and little gardens in the North Woods are flourishing. It’s been a hot summer and many days we need to water twice. We have been blessed with loads of tomatoes (ripening early!); peppers hot and sweet; corn; squash (winter and summer) and cukes; chard; beets and carrots; lettuce growing in the shade; papdi beans and pole beans flowering; mini-melons and asian eggplant galore; herbs, too! Although it’s only the end of August, the kitchen is overflowing with good things to eat and preserve. My *other* dream of vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes is coming true this year — although a few have to be taken inside early as the birds are going nuts over them! 😉

heirloom tomato salad
the first tomato salad of the season — a celebration!

How does your garden grow? I can’t wait to hear 🙂

juvenile rose breasted grosbeak

juvenile rose breasted grosbeak with berry

juvenile rose breasted grosbeak enjoying the viburnum crop!

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