Monday, October 13, 2008

The Great Garden Adventure

This year in the garden I decided to be a little adventurous. I talked my mom into letting me plant three new vegetables, such as our garden had never seen before: eggplant, soybeans, and leeks.

I choose the “Japanese” variety of eggplant. They are long and skinny compared to regular eggplant. I’m not sure if it was the seeds, soil, or just confusion, but our eggplants did not grow long and skinny. They grew short and fat, with the rounded bottom like the eggplant you buy in the supermarket. Unfortunately, I never got around to stir-frying it up in soy sauce like they do in Taiwan because I never got around the pasty and bland taste of it. I only tried seasoning, breading, and topping it with spaghetti sauce and that was enough to loss my motivation for eggplant.

The soybeans were good and I was even able to convince my mom to try them and to acquire a liking for them. (Any of you who know my mom, know that she isn’t very adventuresome when it comes to trying new things). Here is how I prepared my soybeans:

Coarse sea salt

Wash the soybean pods well. Do not cut or open the pods. Steam the pods in a pan with water until the pods are soft and you can poke them with a fork. Drain the pods well. Lightly cover the beans with salt, not so much that there is excess salt, but enough that you can see it sticking to the pods. Stick a pod between your teeth and pull the seeds/beans out. Do not eat the pod, but lick the salt off your lips.

As for the leeks, I did not plant them early enough. They take over 140 days to mature, so plant them early. I had very few leeks survive and those that did grew small and slightly, not having enough time to mature. By the time we harvested our garden (due to frost) most of them were no bigger than a green onion. However, they were still edible. I made soup with my leeks. Here’s how I made it (FYI: I don’t measure anything):

Chicken broth
Canned milk (or half and half or cream)
Black pepper
Bacon bits

Peel and dice potatoes. Begin boiling them in broth. When then are slightly soft, add onion leeks, and celery, all chopped. Add canned milk. Add enough liquid (A combination of canned milk, water, chicken broth, regular milk, half and half, or whatever you have) to make as big a pot as you wish. Add black pepper, parsley, and whatever seasonings you wish. Add bacon bits for a meaty flavor. Boil until soupy. Add cornstarch to thicken. Enjoy.

It was a fun summer season with lots of fun new foods. What should I plant next year? Any suggestions?

1 comment:

Russell Wilkerson said...

Try using your eggplant to make some Eggplant Parmesan. You will plant even more next year.