Tuesday, July 17, 2007

amazing days of grains

I have a huge container garden on my back deck, full of sun-loving plants---->flowering, fruit, vegetable, and herb. I really had grand visions for this south-facing garden (think BH&G centerfold), but there have been 3 major problems: a.)my backyard is full of large hickory trees which block the sun until about 3:30 pm, 2.)we suffered a pretty bad heat drought here over the past couple of months that no amount of running around, up and down stairs, with pitchers of tap water, could alleviate, and thirdly.)last week the rains finally came, greening out the foliage, but now the sky turns gray everyday right around 3:30 in the afternoon, right when the sun is angled best to supply much needed chlorophying love to my garden. So now a fungus grows among us, in the form of mushrooms and mold thru-out the soil. Thankfully, culinary herbs are best when not in flower, and I've got a bunch growing in pots all down the back steps.

Jaime, Sylvester, chives, parsley, spearmint, chocolate mint,
sage, marjoram, thyme, oregano, lemon balm, and basil

On Sunday and Monday, I had to finish off some "soy products" in the fridge before I 86 them (no, not an interstate) from my menu for a while. So Sunday night we had TJ's Soy Nugget lettuce wraps with a dipping sauce, a mound of quinoa with rice, and steamed broccoli with a thick, creamy, "cheesy" sauce. Ahhhh, simple pleasures!

taking the picture with a Rose of Sharon backdrop gives it a bit of a Hawaiian feel

the dipping sauce was tres simple as well: vegenaise, spicy mustard, shoyu, dash of brown rice vinegar, dash of maple syrup, and cayenne powder (kind of a glorified BK sauce)
The best way to serve leftovers is to add one or two fresh new ingredients, then present it in a different style. In this case, my batch of quinoa rice has gone a long way. Last night I sauteed some corn, scallions, and pine nuts, then tossed it with the grains and fresh minced ginger, and plated it atop a bed of mesclun. The tempeh, I first steamed, then marinated with brown rice vinegar, mirin, toasted sesame oil, ginger, and a splash of water (I saved the marinade to toss on my salad later). Then I browned the tempeh in my cast iron pan with a hint of sesame oil, and flash-sauteed some mushrooms. At the end, I threw some teriyaki sauce (shoyu, mirin, vinegar, maple syrup)in the pan to coat the tempeh, deglaze the pan and thicken into a sauce at the same time. The remaining sauce was drizzled over the plate. Wooo boy!

and here is the salad: carrots, daikon, cukes, cilantro, and sesame seeds,
with the ginger dressing

In today's lunch, I used last night's leftover grains and corn combo to make a new dish, and I finally finished off the quinoa rice! Peculiarly enough, it was the most savory, wonderful meal of them all....I will post the pic tomorrow. Until then, chow happily and ciao bella!

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