A few random spring things…
- Humblebee and me, a soap and cosmetic making resource and she’s in Calgary too. Makes me want to make more soap. I’ve been making a bit of soap and her tip to use some lard in the soap recipe has improved the texture of my homemade soap. It’s a lot harder than the soap I’ve made using only vegetable oils, which means it lasts longer and it doesn’t become a globby mess soon after you start to use it. (Sorry to those I’ve given those too soft bars of soap.)
- Sprouting my own mung bean sprouts, following this method by Maangchi. It was a favourite of my family too. (I made pea shoots this evening for dinner, not a family favourite. Only the tops are tender and I cut off too much of the tough part of the lower pea shoots. H compared it to on chewing grass.)
- Listening to my kids play their oboe and flute. It’s been recital and end of year concert time. As I write, they are practicing together. There are thoughts of going busking together.
- Kim June Johnson. I heard the song Oh June on the radio and was smitten. I bought the album, Canvas and Clay, and the title track is also one of my favourites.
- A few spring and summer recipes… Sorrel is mostly done for now in my garden, but it’s the season for kale salads, rhubarb muffins and more, and chocolate beet cupcakes. My friendly neighbourhood herbalist says to eat your beets in the spring time – it’s the season of the liver, but she probably didn’t have cupcakes in mind. My family doesn’t like beets, but they like these cupcakes. Not really a seasonal recipe, but we’re loving this method for making oven fries.
I’ve started using things I’ve grown in the garden. I’ve made herbes saleés from chives, sorrel, sage and oregano and some chive blossom vinegar. A great way to use vegetables including greens to make vegetable pancakes. Here is my method/recipe. The measurements are approximate.
4 cups of vegetables. Slice up all vegetables thinly into matchstick size. Include green onions or chives, carrots, minced garlic, and anything growing in the garden. The last batch included lamb’s quarters, chick weed, tender pea shoots, sorrel, garlic chives and green onions and radishes. (All but the radishes, garlic and carrot were home grown.) Add kimchi if you have it. I didn’t this time.
1 cup flour
1/2 cup rice flour (or more flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup water, add more later if needed.
1 egg (or more water)
1 Tablespoon of sugar (optional)
Combine the vegetables and batter. It may seem like too much vegetable to batter ratio, but it only needs to coat the vegetables. Or if you like change the ratio. Heat the frying pan to medium and add oil, then about a 1/2 cup to 1 cup of batter and spread out thinly on the pan. Cook for a few minutes until browned. Then turn over and add more oil around the edges of the pancake and cook a few more minutes. It will take longer than a usual pancake to cook. Unlike a breakfast pancake, make sure to squish down the second side with a spatula.
Cut into squares of wedges and eat with a dipping sauce. Sorry, no photos, you need to eat them while they’re hot. Here’s a collection of Korean pancake recipes (with photos and videos). They lose crispiness as they cool, but you can reheat them. You have made a crispy pan fried vehicle for dipping sauce. If you must, this is a great way to hide vegetables.
A combination of some or all of the following: soy sauce, lemon juice or vinegar, sesame seeds, garlic, sliced green onions, sugar, sesame oil, sriracha sauce, a bit of water if it needs it.