Monday, May 23, 2011

lavender and kumquat

lavender and kumquat

We harvested some lavenders and kumquats this weekend.  I am planning on making lavenders sachets to keep in closets and drawers.  I read that they are effective moth repellents.  In any case, my clothes will smell nice.  Right now they are hung upside down in bundles in the closet, because that's the only dark dry place I can think of.  The darkness will help retaining their purple color.  

As for the kumquats, I will probably make another round of the candied kumquats.  Maybe I'll reduce the sugar in the syrup this time and roll them in sugar after they are dry.  

Friday, May 13, 2011

lunch for the lazies - avocado tomato salad (over noodles)

avocado tomato salad

The main ingredients (avocado and tomato) used for this dish were not from the garden.  I wanted to write a post on it, so when we get those perfectly sun-ripen tomatoes I will remember to make this again.  The green garlic, green onion, and lemon used in the sauce were from the garden.  When I cut into them, the aroma filled the whole kitchen.  I really love using fresh home-grown herbs.

avocado tomato salad

This salad is sweet, sour, spicy, yet refreshing.  I generally don't like food that's too sweet or spicy, so you can adjust the amounts of ingredients to your taste buds' liking.  The noodles are optional.  You can mix some olive oil and seasonings in the noodles.  I didn't because I wanted to keep it light (and I was lazy).

I didn't really take down the measurements, so these are just guesstimates.  Just adjust as you are making the sauce.

1 avocado, cut in chunks
1/2 ripe tomato, chopped
5 jumbo shrimps, cooked (boiled, sautéed... however you like it)
noodles (optional)

1 green onion, chopped
1/2 green garlic, chopped
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 dry chili pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar/brown sugar

1 - In a bowl, combine all the ingredients for the sauce.  Mix well and taste it.  Adjust to taste if necessary.

avocado tomato salad

2 - If you are adding noodles, boil and drain noodles.  Place the cooked noodles on a plate.

3 - Mix avocado, tomato, and cooked shrimps with the sauce.  Place the salad on top of the noodles.  Grab a fork and dig in!

avocado tomato salad

Monday, May 9, 2011

Chive blossoms and kumquats

I didn't plan well.  Right now we are not getting much veggies from the garden other than the perennial herbs.  Even the peas are dead (from the heat wave we had last week).  But, I still managed to gather a few things from the garden.

chives blossom and thyme

There are plenty of chives blossoms in the garden at the moment.  I've used stalks of garlic chive blossoms (before the blossoms open) in asian cookings, but I'd never eaten the blossom itself before.  I don't know why but I thought chive blossoms would be tasteless or have a floral scent.  I snipped a blossom off and took a bite, and it tasted like, well, chives.

seaweed dish

First I used it as a garnish for an appetizer dish.  I simply boiled and strained some seaweeds and clear noodles (they are also called glass noodles, bean threads, mung bean vermicelli...).  Then, I mixed in a little bit of salt, pure sesame oil, chive blossoms, and thin threads of ginger.  This dish can be served warm or cold.  These delicate lilac flowers really add a nice touch of color and flavor to the dish.


I also made a quick omelet with the recipe here.  All I used was chive blossoms, thyme, and sliced mushrooms.  It was satisfying and delicious.


Another recipe I want to try is Villager's chive blossom vinegar.  I don't have white wine vinegar.  I wonder if it works with rice vinegar, too.  Maybe I'll give it a try if I can find a glass jar.


I was delighted to find some kumquats still hanging nicely on the trees.  We harvested some back in February and March then we kind of forgot about them.  I thought they would have rotted or dried by now.  I was surprised that the fruits have not turned tough or dry.


I decided to make some sweet treats with Thomas' recipe that I've been wanting to try.  I didn't roll them in sugar, because there was the right amount of tanginess and sweetness after they were simmered in the syrup.  They were so addicting that we finished them before I had a chance to dip them in chocolate.  There are still some kumquats left on the trees.  Maybe I'll make another batch of these or try making some kumquat preserves.