All of our gardens this year seem, at this point, to be more lush and productive than they were at this time last year. Maybe it's the weather. Maybe it's the super awesome compost we put down. Maybe my husband's green thumb grew THREE SIZES that day. I don't know. But we've got a lot of green stuff out there.
We've been picking asparagus for several weeks now, and here and there a leaf of something, but yesterday, we actually harvested some things. In a collander (so you know we mean business).
Here's the take:
Four pak choi, two more asparagus, and about 6 broccoli rabe plants. Part of the reason we pulled these (except the asparagus) was because they had grown so tall they were blocking light from some smaller plants behind them. The broccoli rabe can really go a bit longer, but, again, they were blocking light, and I was hungry.
My initial plan was to cook all the greens together, probably in some kind of pasta dish. But something in me resisted that plan and so I figured, okay, I'll make two dishes. I thought it would be fun to make these two dishes kind of similar, but with different ethnic influences.
No real recipe – I didn't measure things – but here's what I did:
Spaghetti with Broccoli Rabe and Asparagus
I poured some olive oil in a pan, added two crushed, sliced cloves of garlic, and about two tablespoons of tomato paste.
To that I added a good slug of Blueberry Wine (yes, blueberry) from Cellardoor Vineyard in Lincolnville, ME (not far from Camden). Why Blueberry Wine? The bottle was already uncorked. And it's red.
I whisked all that together and let it simmer for a bit, and sprinkled some oregano in there, too. While all that was going on, I also had a big pot of water on the stove, coming to a boil, for the spaghetti.
I rinsed the rabe (and trimmed off the roots) and the asparagus…
I also thawed some shrimp and sliced them in half, lengthwise.
Once the spaghetti was cooking, I sliced the rabe, broke the asparagus into pieces, and added them to the tomato paste and garlic mixture. When that had cooked down, I added the shrimp pieces, and then, when the spaghetti was cooked, I combined the spaghetti with the sauce/shrimp/greens mixture and served.
A little freshly grated parmesan on top, and my kids were both quite happy to eat this for dinner.
While I was doing all that, I was also concocting this:
Thai Style Rice Noodles with Baby Pac Choi
First up, I trimmed the roots from the pak choi leaves.
And then I rinsed the dirt off…
And sliced the leaves cross-wise, about an inch wide, and set them aside while I assembled some other ingredients…
And they are: ban pho (rice noodles about half an ince wide), zest and eventually juice of one lime, 3 dried thai chilis (sliced later), sliced fresh ginger, two cloves of garlic, and some shrimp.
I also had on hand some fish sauce (nuoc mam) and soy sauce. I think that was everything.
I immersed the noodles in a large bowl of boiling water to soak for about ten minutes.
Once the spaghetti had been added to the sauce in the first recipe, I had my power burner free and set the wok above that. I poured some vegetable oil in the wok and heated it until it started to smoke.
To that I added the garlic and ginger, sauteed them briefly, then added the chopped chilis, and the lime zest, and the fish and soy sauces. I'd say to taste, but it was more to see and to smell.
Next in went the shrimp, and on top of that, the sliced pak choi, and the lime juice.
After the pak choi was wilted, I drained the rice noodles and added them into the wok and tossed the mixture together.
Because of the heat from the thai chilis, Bill and I ate this and didn't give any to the kids.
Both dishes were good, though there is certainly room for improvement. But for a quick, impromptu pair of noodle and fresh greens dishes, they were pretty tasty.
I love spring.