Friday, October 26, 2007

Vegetables and other necessities

Autumn is the season of bounty and harvest and around here I am reaping the benefits of people's gardens, fields and trees. Look what I was given just these past couple of days.

Two days ago when walking Choco one of the farmers called me over and handed me this huge bundle of nira. I guess we would call them leeks in the States. I love leeks but this is surely too much for two people! That night I made some delicious egg flower soup with them and last night I fried up some leeks and tofu but I still have half a bag left! Hmm. Wonder what I can make tonight with them... Leek pancakes? Cream of leek soup?

Next to those are a vegetable called hayato uri. Who knows what these are called in English. (I checked. It's called a Chayote. Do you know what that is? I don't.) They are from the cucumber family but certainly don't taste like cucumbers. The neighbor who gave them to me said she makes pickles so last night I made some overnight pickles and then another type of pickle that I'll serve tonight with dinner. I tried the one batch this morning and they weren't what I'd called a delicacy. I hope tonight's are better. I have eaten delicious hayato uri pickles so I know I'm just not doing something right, it is not the vegetable's fault...

And finally, in the wire basket those are persimmons. Persimmons abound in northern Japan and there are many different kinds. These are quite sweet and juicy. Some persimmons have to be dried before they are edible and some are flat and eaten crisp. When my kitchen starts to get an overabundance of persimmons (like chestnuts, all farmers seem to have one or two persimmon trees and my students bring them to me) then I make persimmon cake which my Japanese friends seem to really like. Tetsu may get these eaten before I can turn them into a cake.

And the other day the pastor's wife gave us some spinach and a Japanese radish. The radish is a favorite vegetable in Japanese cooking and great for soups and stews or even grated and served with fish. Hopefully tonight I'll be able to cook it up in a pork stew. It certainly looks like I don't need to go to the vegetable section of the supermarket for a while doesn't it?

While I may not be buying fruit and vegetables, I certainly bought a lot today in the way of ingredients for Halloween cookies that I have on my to do list for this weekend. You may recall that my oven bakes 9 to 12 cookies at a time and since I've got 40 kids in the pre-school to give cookies to (for Halloween) on Monday and 120 kids at the kindergarten on Wednesday, you can see I've got my work cut out for me! Nothing fancy (I don't have the time or energy to make cute Halloween cookies this year!) but hopefully they will be tasty.

14 comments:

The Calico Cat said...

A. your leeks are different from my leeks. But Potato leek soup is nice. Seems to use a lot of both vegetables.

B. Japanese Riddish = daicon? I love that stuff! I had it first as salad with carrots - both were julinned.

Lynda said...

We call that green vegetable - choko. Because we grew them I used to eat them for about nine months of the year when I was a child. They are a fairly bland sort of vegetable. You may find recipes if you do a search for choko. I remember having them baked and stuffed too. I remember too there was a story going around that tinned pears were really chokos. I don't know if they ever were. I do think they could be interesting made into pickle - but maybe they would just be a good filler for other pickles.And certianly they are better if young and small rather than when they have started shooting. It is interesting I have never thought that they would be a part of a Japanese diet but they are extremely easy to grow so maybe that is why the farmers had them. Make sure you wash your hands well after peeling - I can remember the sap being fairly yuk.

bettsy said...

Oops somehow my comment didn't end up coming from the account I wanted it too. I hope this time is is linked to my blog. sorry. Lynda

keslyn said...

Happy cooking, I am sure the kids will love your cookies
Kerry

anne bebbington said...

Sounds like you're going to be busy in the kitchen - not much time for stitching at present then :o)

Quilt Pixie said...

with so many kids to bake cookies for I'd be going for boiled cookies really fast rather then taking all day to get them through the oven! You're very dedicated :-)

harts4Him said...

Please check out my friend's blog entry http://quilt-nut.blogspot.com/. She wrote yesterday about Mirlitons---which is what we call them. It looks like the same vegetable you were given and she talks about how we cook them here. Hope this gives you some ideas.

Shelina said...

Looks like a lot of pretty vegetables - I'm not much for trying new things, especially of the vegetable variety, but they do look good. And your other necessities would be cookies? LOL I would also be taking shortcuts, maybe making bar cookies, or no bake ones.

Laurie Ann said...

I wonder if you could cut up and freeze your leftover leeks? If you used them in soups then the consistency probably wouldn't matter. I love reading about/seeing all the interesting foods you are eating!

Luna said...

Oh thats a lot of vegetable.You are lucky to get so much. Our leek here looks different as your leek. I love persimmons too, but here in Germany they are not always so fresh.We call them here khaki fruit.
I think your cookies will be great !
Hope you are well from your cold.

Colleen Eskridge said...

Looks like baking is on your agenda. Please send me your mail details...as I have the graph of the quilt you liked on the blog. Colleen

Anonymous said...

Tanya, what you call leeks I find in the International Market in Tucson. It comes in from the japanese truck gardens in california. Here we call them garlic chives. Sometimes we can get them that have been tied up and mulched so that they grow bleached almost white instead of green.

Sometimes I stir fry them into pasta or rice with some chicken broth. They shrink down quite a lot. thelma

Bellydancingknitter said...

In Costa Rica we use the chayote as a basic cooking staple!

It tends to pick up flavors from whatever it is mixed up with, so either savory or sweet, it makes a great add in.

in very thin slices with salt and lime, or diced and stir fried with some meat and corn, or green beans, it is really good!

meggie said...

We have all those vegies here in Australia, & New Zealand. The Chokos we had lots of, & they were mostly served in a white sauce or cheese sauce. They are nice thinly sliced, & grilled with cheese on top.
Persimmons were my mother's favourite fruit. Very expensive in N.Z.