In the last week or two, my fridge has been filling up with fall vegetables.
First there was the craving for dark, leafy, bitter kale that I finally dug up at the local farmer’s market a week or two back and which has been keeping beautifully as a handful of it has found its way into pasta and risotto and soup and as oven-baked chips over the last 2 weeks.
Then there was the huge chunk of muscat pumpkin I couldn’t resist not so long ago from one of the little fresh produce stands around town.
And then a week ago, there was the offering of fresh-from-the-ground leeks and beets from my in-laws’ garden, who we were visiting for the weekend.
And finally, yesterday evening, there was the brown-eyed buttony mushrooms (no idea what they are called), that cuddled in clumps and called out to be taken home.
Which resulted in bits and pieces of all of these things muddled up in my vegetable bin.
But I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them. Over the last couple weeks, I have been watching this Korean TV drama that is simply amazing. (Thank you, Christian and Anna for getting me ridiculously hooked 😉 ). A drama centered in the kitchen of the royal palace some several hundred years back. Our heroine is Jang Guem – a girl who masters the art of cooking for the king. And in almost every episode there is dish after dish being prepared. Mountains of jewel-colored ingredients piled on counters, being chopped and steamed and fried and mixed by the talented cooks…driving me a little mad.
So tonight, somewhat after the Korean custom, I made a series of salads and dishes. The beets and leeks and pumpkin were shredded and mixed with ginger, lime juice, grating of garlic, a bit of honey, some soy. I blanched the kale in water until it turned emerald green, squeezed it dry, and mixed the chopped leaves with some sesame paste, soy, vinegar, and lemon juice. The mushrooms fried up beautifully with some chopped baby corn and cilantro, only seasoned with salt and a chopped garlic clove. And finally, I soaked shitake mushrooms and cooked them up with some ground beef and sweet basil and half a green chili.
Brown rice as a base and it was quite a tasty, healthy dinner. Leftovers available tomorrow – head to my place for lunch!