Tag Archives: squash

Saimin with glass noodles and grilled veggies…

Our adventures on the Big Island- Hawai’i this past week falls somewhere between magical and breathtaking.  We hiked to volcanoes, across black lava flow, bathed in the sun on empty palmed beaches, and felt the mist of waterfalls on our faces.  We also ate without regret.  We ate at local fare restaurants and shopped at farmer’s markets. Beyond the plethora of fruit and veggies we found locally made goat cheese, local beer, and of course seafood.  Hawai’i understandably has a mission to grow and eat locally and minimize consumption of imported goods, you appreciate the effort of getting goods to these islands when standing on their shores, they are geographically truly remote.  With the diversity of micro-climates they grow very successfully and with bounty, and the markets leave you wanting for little.

One meal stands out in particular. It happened to fall on the last day of our vacation. As we headed to the airport with that little pang in our stomachs-already missing our vacation-we found comfort in this rustic little restaurant called The Red Water Café, in Waimea.  My husband had the local catch sandwich and I had the saimin. Saimin is a traditional Hawaiian soup that finds its base and roots in Asia. Full of eclectic flavor, yet hearty and comforting at the same time. Another perk, The Red Water Café makes all their broth from scratch,  and they use local, organic produce.  Take that.  So here is my effort to recreate this soup. This attempt was mostly a selfish effort to help our little family soothe the island withdraw, and ease back into mainland reality. Enjoy this little piece of island heaven.

Saimin with glass noodles and grilled veggies…

marinate (at least 1 hour):

½ package organic, firm tofu, cubed (keep separate)

½ Kobacha squash, cut in half through the equator, then cut into thin moons (really any hard squash you have works fine or even sweet potatoes/yams)

8-10 crimini mushrooms, quartered

in:

Soy sauce to cover the goods

Then about 2 tsp toasted sesame oil

Then cook on grill either indoor or outdoor until nice grill marks appear and the squash tenderizes.

make broth:

8-10 cups vegetable broth (homemade if you can)

2 tbs miso paste

1 large clove garlic, shredded (microplane)

1 tbs fresh ginger, shredded (microplane)

2 tbs soy sauce

let simmer on low heat to bring out all the flavors

then add:

1 package of Asian glass noodles, hydrate per the package instructions first, rinse, then add to broth.

1 organic bok choy, roughly chopped

2 heaping handfuls of bean sprouts

marinated and grilled squash and mushrooms

marinated tofu

Let simmer to infuse all flavors.  Then add salt and more shredded ginger to taste.  At this point I used a specialty smoked sea salt for an extra dimension of flavor.  Williams and Sonoma sells one that is pretty nice.

Serve with a spoon and chopsticks.

Eat together, toast to each other, and share!

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Eat Local challenge installment two: Summer squash and corn chowder…

Oh yum. Oh yum.  *Sob* *sob*, *sniff **sniff*.  This is me lamenting the waning of the summer heat and sun, and thus the sweetness of New England corn.  Funny, because in my early New England days, I was rather ambivalent about corn, take it or leave it…mostly just leaving it.  However,  a wise friend from upstate New York frankly told me, “well, you just haven’t had good corn then”…and turns out she was right.  Now, I can’t get enough over the summer, and hustle as much as I can from the local farm stands.  The smell of corn on the grill makes me want to walk around barefoot and soak up the sun with friends around the BBQ.

As part of the Eat Local Challenge I paid homage to New England corn with this soup.  Sweet and smoky, with a little tang of feta, and an essence of thyme…oh yum.

Also, no need for a roux as the starch in the corn thickens the chowder up nicely, so easy and delicious.

Summer squash and corn chowder…

2 yellow squash: George Hall Farm: 12.03 mi

2 ears corn: (blackened on grill for depth of flavor): George Hall Farm: 12.03 mi

2 shallots: George Hall Farm: 12.03 mi

1 small clove garlic: George Hall Farm: 12.03 mi

3 tbs butter: Smyth’s Trinity dairy farm: 27.02 miles

1 cup heavy Cream: The Farmer’s Cow Milk (6 CT family farms)

½ cup milk: The Farmer’s Cow Milk (6 CT family farms)

1 tsp each fresh thyme and oregano: GeoRoots Solar Growth Farm: 16.14 mi

2 oz feta: Beltane farm: 41.11 mi

kosher salt

Cook corn on the grill until lightly blackened, turning regularly. Then shave off kernels with a sharp knife.   On your stove, in a medium pot, over medium, heat melt 2 tbs butter. Add diced yellow squash, shallots, and garlic (you can substitute shallots w/ yellow onion if you cannot find shallots locally).  Season lightly with salt, cook until translucent.  Add 1 corn cob worth of kernels to the squash mixture.  Add fresh thyme and oregano.  Then puree mixture in blender until smooth.  Place pureed mixture back in pot.  Add milk, heavy cream, and rest of butter and mix well.  Add the rest of corn.  Season with salt to taste.  Garnish with feta, thyme and a couple of corn kernels. Serve hot


Eat together, toast to each other, and enjoy!


Eat Local Challenge: stacked ratatouille salad with with fresh chevre and basil…

The “locavore” movement is not new by any means, as it has been particularly active and vibrant coast to coast both in the farming community and restaurant industry for years. Restaurateurs nationwide have committed themselves to only using ingredients grown typically within a 100 mile radius of their city of residence/operation, and supporting their local farming communities. In doing so, they are also raising political awareness over manufactured and imported foods and the toll they take on the environment. There are varying degrees of orthodoxy to this movement, some chefs/cooks committing themselves to every ingredient being local, others allowing themselves the luxury of “exotic” spices and seasonings like salt and peppercorn. It really is mindful cooking at its best and seasonally delicious. San Francisco is a leader in this restaurant movement, you can find restaurants in your area that maintain this focus at some of the websites below.

These are some websites that I love and follow:

www.eatlocalchallenge.com

www.locavores.com

www.localharvest.org

www.eatwellguide.org

www.supernaturalrecipes.com (I love Heidi Swanson, her cookbook Super Natural cooking is so inspirational…and beautiful)

Bon Appétit Management Company recently challenged its readers to create a menu made completely of locally grown ingredients, with the only exception being salt.  The criteria for locally grown in this challenge being goods grown or harvested within 150 miles of your home.  So, certain ingredients in Connecticut surfaced as particularly challenging; olive oil, any grain products including bread and pasta, sugar, and citrus.  Cooking vegetarian can be particularly challenging without grain products, no pasta, no crostini, no sandwiches, paninis….aye! This challenge was really fun to do, I highly recommend giving it a go where ever you live, have fun at the farmer’s markets and local farms, or in your own garden.

Here is the first recipe of my Eat Local Challenge menu.

Stacked ratatouille salad with fresh chevre and basil

Ingredients (serves 2):

4 tomatoes: Urban Oaks farm : 9.18 mi

1 white eggplant: Shenstone Gardens :19.75 mi

1 zucchini: Roses Berry Farm: 16.63 mi

basil: own garden: 4 tbs

2 Tbs butter: Smyth’s Trinity dairy farm: 27.02 miles

1 4 oz log chevre: Beltane farm: 41.11 mi

1 clove garlic: George Hall Farm: 12.03 mi

3-4 Tbs white wine: (Gentle Shepard): Jerram Winery: 17.21 miles

kosher salt to taste

Slice eggplant and zucchini thinly and lengthwise.  Slice summer squash in to thin coins.  Place in a large bowl, and salt generously to draw the water out. Let stand for 20 minutes and then strain and rinse.  In a large saucepan, melt 1 Tbs butter, add one smashed clove garlic and then toast zucchini, squash, and eggplant.  They should be nice and golden brown with a little crunch.  Slice fresh tomato into coins and mince basil.  Then stack eggplant, zucchini, squash, and tomato; crumbling fresh chevre in between each layer.

For dressing, quarter and slow roast 2 large tomatoes in an oven (or toaster oven) at 300 degrees for 20-30 minutes.  Place in small saucepan, add white wine, and reduce.  Add fresh basil and salt to taste.  Process in blender or food processor and drizzle over top of salad. Mince more basil for garnish and sprinkle over salad.

Eat together, toast to each other, and enjoy…local food!