Monday, May 25, 2009

Chinese Bok Choi Salad

One of the best things I did in the garden this year was to install the hoop house. We have been able to enjoy garden fresh vegetables for over a month now when others in our area are just now planting. All the cool weather crops are coming in very well. On Sunday I was able to pick such a large salad, I was able to feed 14 people for lunch. There was a wonderful variety of lettuces, spinach, corn salad, oriental salad greens, beet tops, radishes and herbs such as chives, oregano, parsley and basil. All I added was some chopped boiled eggs and shredded cheese to make it a meal. The lettuces and greens are doing so well in fact, that my daughter was still able to make another large salad to take to a picnic for 8 people today. Ah don't worry there is plenty left to eat all week long!

For dinner tonight I wanted to use some of the Bok Choi, or is it Pak Choi...I really don't know the difference. I made up this simple but tasty salad as a side dish for grilled burgers.

Chinese Bok Choi Salad

1 large or 3 small Bok Choi or Pak Choi

Wash the Bok Choi and remove large stems but do not discard. Chop the stems and place in a large bowl. Stack the leaves and cut in half down the middle from the top to the stem end. Now cut the leaves into strips, similar in appearance to shredded cabbage and place with the stems into the bowl and set aside.

2 tablespoons margarine
2 tablespoons blanched slivered almonds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 package Ramen Noodles, crushed while still in package (Oriental or chicken flavor)

Remove the seasoning packet from the Ramen Noodles and set aside. Melt margarine in saucepan and saute the almonds, sesame seeds and Ramen noodles until golden. While this is cooking make the sauce. When golden brown, add to the Bok Choi in the bowl.

**This step is not totally necessary but adds a little more flavor. You may choose to just place the ingredients into the bowl with the Bak Choi.**

2 tablespoons vinegar (rice wine, red wine or plain white works)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sugar (or sugar sub works well also)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 packet seasoning mix from Ramen noodles

Place above ingredients into a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake well. Pour over all the ingredients in the bowl and toss well. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

I hope you enjoy this simple spring salad at your next picnic or backyard Bar-B-Que! Kim

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Maple Banana Bread

I had a couple bananas looking a little brown and decided it was time to make some banana bread. I modified a very old recipe I had that used honey as the sweetener to use up my maple cream that had crystallized (note to self: use it up sooner!). It tastes great and the natural sweetness of the maple shines.

1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup maple syrup (or in my case crystallized maple cream)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons milk
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 5x9 loaf pan well and set aside.

In a large bowel, mix the melted butter and syrup. Stir in the beaten egg and mashed bananas, milk and vanilla extract.

In another bowel, sift together the flour, baking soda and baking powder. Stir the flour mixture just until moistened in the the banana mixture (over mixing will make the banana bread tough).

Pour into greased baking pan and place into the preheated oven. Bake 40-50 minutes or until a knife placed in the center comes out clean.


Garden Art

Last year my granddaughter Jordan and I grew a couple birdhouse gourds. Today grandpa drilled a hole in one so Jordan could paint it. Of course, she painted it pink! She wanted a flower for the bird to go into, so I outlined it for her and she painted it in. A final coat of a clear sealer will help keep it safe.

I think the birds will love it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Today's Harvest

The garden is giving us ever more food each day. Today we were able to pick enough greens for a very large salad for dinner tonight. It is so amazing to be able to simply go out to the backyard and find something wonderful.

Dinner yesterday was a great stir fry using all my Asian vegetables...too bad I didn't think to take pictures for you all to see. Kim

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mother's Day

Things have been very busy in the garden the past few days. The kids came over as a gift to help move a 6 yard dump truck full of compost to some new raised beds. I added 2 beds of 3'x8'. One bed is for raspberries and the other is for lignon berries and blueberries. A 4'x8' tiered strawberry bed was added along with 2 beds of 4'x8' for trellised plants and tomatoes.

Everyone helped including my 4 year old granddaughter and garden girl, Jordan. It is amazing how much enthusiasm she has for gardening! She helped move the entire pile of compost to the new beds. As a matter of fact if we tried to take a break, she would tell us we are not tired yet LOL. Here she is with both her daddy and grandpa.

Once the garden beds were filled, she just had to start planting. You must know that she is "a big girl" and "I can do it all by myself". Here she is planting the beans that will grow between the tomato plants. I heard tomatoes love the nitrogen that the beans help fix and will grow stronger and larger.

Things are beginning to grow and green up well and hopefully the weather will stay warm enough to have things planted over the next couple weeks. I'll update again soon so please come back to My Little Corner of the World. Kim

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Time for an update

Sorry to have been gone for so long but as you may have read my husband is very ill. Between work and taking him to numerous doctor's appointments, I have very little time left. What time I do have, I have been putting in new raised beds and starting the summer crops. The plants in the hoop house are growing like crazy and I am able to get large dinner salads daily from it. I also planted lots of Asian vegetables which are now able to be harvested for stir fry twice a week.

Today I tilled under the large raised bed, moved some some soil from another bed into one of the new ones and borrowed a trailer to pick up some compost this weekend to fill the new beds. I am already tired but now have to get ready to work this evening. I'll post pictures soon so you can all see the progress...thanks for stopping by, Kim.