Gardening versus Cooking

Posted May 17th, 2011 in Meat in, Recipes, Salads and tagged , , , by Rebecca Lane

The Garden Before the Overhaul

I’ve been in the garden. For me, time passes very quickly when I’m digging, weeding, or just dreaming in my garden. I love the feel of dirt on my hands and the ground beneath my feet. My vegetable garden was in a shambles and needed to be completely overhauled. So despite the rain that’s what I’ve been doing. And now the asparagus are starting to show, the rhubarb is beautiful, I discovered strawberry plants and onions, herbs that I thought had been lost. Its always a wonder to me that I can forget what belongs where, but they always come back and surprise me in the spring.

Asparagus shoots - I ate them this morning though!

You may be able to tell that I’m not the kind of person who makes detailed plans of my garden. Every year I intend to! But then I get caught up in the sheer wonder of all that’s going on, and usually fall behind on the weeding or edging or mowing or planting. Mother’s Day weekend I visited a garden in Kanata that was wonderfully organized and everywhere you looked there was colour and things sprouting. Mine’s not like that!

My garden is quite beautiful in its own way though and if you ever want to see it, I’m always happy to show it off like a proud parent!

Garden half finished

After my time in the garden, I managed to head into the kitchen and make a delicious supper. I was hungry after all of the labour! And my body ached!

Pad Thai

My sister-in-law and I made this recipe together from her favourite cookbook, the name of which escapes me though. I’ve made quite a few changes to it as my husband can’t eat shellfish – so here’s the adaptation.

400 g package of broad rice noodles
3 Tbsp fish sauce
3 Tbsp Hoisin sauce
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (2 limes juiced)
1 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp chili sauce
1/4 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
8 oz. boneless chicken breast, diced (1 large chicken breast – both halves)
2 eggs beaten
3 cups bean sprouts
6 green onions, slivered into 1 inch lengths
2 Tbsp toasted chopped peanuts

Garnish: coriander sprigs, 1 lime cut into wedges

Soak noodles in warm water for 20 minutes, drain and put aside. Combine fish sauce, lime juice, maple syrup, chili sauce, and stock. Put aside.

Heat a wok on high and add oil and a little stock to cook the oil down. Stir in the garlic and cook for 10 seconds, then add the chicken. Stir fry 3-4 minutes until chicken is no longer pink, add eggs and toss until scrambled. (You could easily make this a vegetarian recipe by replacing the chicken with tofu.)

Add noodles to wok. Mix well to combine. Pour sauce over top. Cook until noodles are soft – about 2 minutes. Stir constantly.

Stir in bean sprouts, onions and peanuts and fry 1 minutes. Serve with garnish.  This is also delicious the second day if you have any leftovers.

I served the pad thai with an Asian coleslaw from Caroline Dupont’s Enlightened Eating cookbook.

Asian Coleslaw

1/2 red cabbage, shredded
1/2 white cabbage, shredded
3 carrots, grated
2 green onions, slivered
1 cup bean sprouts
1/4 cup sesame seeds

2 Tbsp tamari
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
3 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp honey
1 clove garlic
1 tsp grated ginger

Toss all of the salad ingredients together. Then put all of the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well. Pour over the salad and allow to soak well before serving.

Garnish with coriander and some fresh sprouts on the top.

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