Terrific Broth

The life of two scientists, creating a small home, in big mountains

Category: From Farm to Table (Page 2 of 2)

Garlic rules!

Hey y’all! Today is a happy day. I harvested garlic from my garden and made some pesto with it! I also get to braid my garlic and it made me so proud!

This is my first year with garlic and a last minute decision. I got extra big pots this March after starting the garden, then I saw an old head of garlic in the fridge all shrunk up and it had some sprouting already. So why not. I split the cloves and pushed them root down into the soil and boy they grew! Not only the shoots were sky high but also the white roots completely took up the pots. By June their leaves have fell on the ground so I dug them up. The garlic bulbs were on the small side  – but they smelt sooo good. I could have put them back in the soil and given them a bit more time but I just cannot wait anymore!

I had so much fun watching them grow and just wanted to play with them as long as I can. So I decided to braid them. After cleaning the dirt off and drying them outside for a few days, I followed this awesome video “how to braid garlic” and gave it my best. My garlic were small so the final product did not look as impressive as the one in the video. But it did not stop them to serve as an awesome weapon for Mr. Apron Vampire Hunter. 🙂

I love my garlic braid so much now and just want to look at it forever. When hubby wants to use them I am all like “do not touch my garlic!”, which totally defeat the purpose of growing garlic. They also smell great. Hubby and I both love love love garlic and use lots of them in our dishes. One of my favorite way of eating garlic is to cook them with meat until they are soft and no longer spicy. Like this 40-garlic chicken. But to be honest my harvest is so small I probably cannot even get 40 garlic cloves out of them haha.

I also like picked garlic growing up. They are called “sugar garlic” in Chinese and they are a must-have for hot-pot in North China. And it is incredibly easy to make: fill a mason jar with garlic, dissolve one part of sugar in two parts of white vinegar and pour the mix into the jar until all the garlic submerge. Then close the jar and wait until the garlic is sweet and sour but not spicy anymore. It is salivating and great to eat with meat. My grandparents usually pickle whole garlic this way – he peeled off the hard skin but left a thin layer to hold the cloves together – and it usually takes a couple month before it is ready. I am impatient so I usually pickle cloves and remove almost all the skin, which only takes a couple weeks on the counter and up to a month in the fridge.

I am very curious if my garlic taste as good as they smell. So I agreed to use one head of garlic for pesto since we had another basil harvest today. It was GREAT. We made so much and had to freeze some in an ice tray.

Now I know what I am gonna put in my winter garden – garlic garlic and garlic!

Summer Peaches

Last weekend I baked my best-yet peach pie using local sweet peaches. I hardly had the chance to snap a picture of it before hubby cut it up. 🙂

I got these sweet peaches from local market. They are so sweet that I did not even need to add sugar into the filling – just cut them up and stuffed the crust and TADA! One thing I learned in NC is to go to get seasonal fruit at Farmer’s Markets. Even though we can buy any fruit any time of the year from a well-stocked supermarket, there is something special about in-season fruit and vegetables – they just taste better!

We are fortunate enough to live at a place where people eat local. There are two small Farmer’s Markets nearby, open once a week but on different days, and a really big one about 40 minutes driving distance that opens daily. Thee you can get:

1. Fresh produce that are fully grown. They might not last as long in the fridge, but they are more flavorful than their pre-picked counterparts in the supermarket.

2. More varieties. Now it is peach season and there are like five or six different kinds of peaches offered at Farmer’s Market. Some are sweeter, some are more crisp, so you can pick the right kind for you. We got the sweet ones for making pie, plus some slightly crisp ones for grilling. I grow arugula this year and we can never get tired of this grilled peach and arugula salad. It is so easy to put together and it is a real crowd-pleaser.

Getting groceries from Farmer’s Market is also a nostalgia for me. When I grew up in China, there wasn’t any supermarket or pre-packaged food. All the groceries, including meat and fish, were bought from Farmer’s Market. There were a lot of small Farmer’s Markets and they open every morning and late afternoon, so people generally pick up fresh produce on their way home after work, and cook dinner with them immediately. Frankly, fish and poultry were often killed right in front you for you to take home (yes it made me sad but they are waaaaay more delicious when they are fresh!). As a teen, I would swing by the market after school, picking up whatever I felt like for dinner that day, and cooking dinner before my parents got home. It was such an amazing experience and I always miss how simple and convenience life was at that time.

Oh, I finally bought the Pie book. It will be a very challenging summer to not put on some weight!

Basil Harvest + Our Favorite Ways of Using It

I got into gardening a couple year ago and it was so addictive! There is just something magic about watching plants grow. I am not a big flower person. But I love all the green leafy plants. Most of my crops are vegetables and herbs. I started with a pair of opposable black thumbs, probably because I grew up in concentrate buildings in China and never had any experiences with living plants. So my instincts about plants are mostly wrong. 🙁 The good news is that I am slowly learning from my mistakes and figuring out my plants one after another.

But regardless, there are some plants doing pretty well in my garden, like tomatoes, salad greens and herbs. Ironically, they are the ones I gave the least attention to. I seeded a few basil earlier this spring and did not even bother to separate the seedlings when I transplanted them into front yard. Boy did they take off! We have already had a few harvests and it seems that basil just grows back overnight after being clipped. Here is today’s trim:

We fell in love with fresh basil because of this Thai curry. I had never had any international cuisine before I came to U.S. Landed in Bay area, California, Thai curry was the first non-Chinese food I ate. I fell in love instantly. Once I figured out how easy it was to cook at home, we have always had coconut milk, fish sauce and red curry paste in our pantry. Now we started to get abundant supply with our basil plants, we discovered this pesto recipe and have been using it for this chicken kebabs. This summer, we started to make home-made pizza like this amazing pizza pie. Now only if we could get our tomato production up to make our own pizza sauce!

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