Goboroot recently turned 2 years old, however, I did not necessarily feel like celebrating; rather, I opted to keep quiet here in my little nest.
When a few people asked me why I haven’t posted as often, I came to realize that many people don´t understand that growing food, especially here in BC, is a seasonal thing. Whatever food I post here involves products that are actually growing in real time in my garden. I harvest, then create, try, test and modify a recipe, and finally photograph it all. My partner and I then eat the hard earned food right then and there, or later during the same day. I truly feel liberated working with nature and living the lifestyle that we have. There is something so satisfying about it. Since we chose to embark on this journey, there has been no turning back. I sometimes don’t bother taking photos because I just want to be in the moment and appreciate what’s most important.
Goboroot was initially intended to showcase my garden journal as well as the seasonal food that I grow in my west coast garden. No less and no more. I like simplicity in life. I still enjoy posting occasional new experiences related to food matters, or something that speaks to me outside of my own immediate environment, but in general I would like to stick to the original plan.
Thus, I have recently spent some time hibernating, as my prepped garden beds do, in an ever-changing blogging world, rejuvenating and resting, simply admiring winter’s splendor, anticipating the abundance of fruitful seasons to come.
In the meantime, I would like to introduce what we’ve been eating over the past nearly 3 months as a source of raw food. I feel extremely lucky to be able to dig in the soil through the winter and assemble salad along with stored root vegetables.
Jerusalem Artichoke Winter Slaw with Ponzu Dressing
If you have a hard time finding organically grown gobo, it can be omitted and you will still obtain a satisfying salad.
1 large gobo (about 2 cups), scrubbed and julienned
5 to 6 large Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and julienned
2 large carrots, peeled and julienned
A few baby leeks or scallions, julienned
1 cup or so sprouts of your choice (I had alfalfa ready today)
2 tablespoons or more, toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (lemon works too)
1 teaspoon agave syrup
1 teaspoon organic cane sugar
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil (or other vegetable oil)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
A pinch of sea salt
(Dressing adapted from www.sirogohan.com)
Place gobo in a bowl with cold water and let sit for 10 minutes. Change water and repeat until water becomes clear. Drain and boil in a small pan for about 5 to 7 minutes or until soft. Drain well and let cool.
While waiting, combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a small jar. Seal with a lid, and shake well to emulsify. Set aside.
Place gobo, Jerusalem artichoke, carrot, leek, sprouts and sesame seeds in a large bowl, and mix well.
If necessary, transfer the vegetables to a serving dish or platter. Give a final shake to the dressing and drizzle over the salad. Serve immediately or, alternately, mix well and refrigerate until serving for a slightly tender texture.
There are a few essential things that I never want to run out of in my kitchen, one of the most important of which is a big lump of ginger. I use it almost every day in so many forms; minced for stir-fry; grated for a noodle dish garnish; candied for scones or biscotti; pickled as a sushi accompaniment; and sometimes as a natural remedy, juiced into honey and lemon flavored hot water to help cure a sore throat.
Lately, I’ve been eating my way through lots of cheeses, pasta dishes and pizzas, and finally felt that I had to cook something nourishing and get a Japanese fix this week. That is my all-time go-to-dish: ginger pork donburi, AKA shouga-yaki, with rice. It’s an ultimate, one frying pan, easy meal that I have been enjoying ever since I was a child. For varied textures, I add some veggies to my grandma’s standard shouga-yaki (ginger and pork), but I remember her absolute favourite accompaniment for this dish at dinnertime was a chilled Japanese potato salad! Oh, no matter how old I have become, I can still devour this dish because the greasy soy ginger sauce elevates the simple protein and vegetable meal to a whole new level!
Ginger Pork Donburi
The key to successfully create this dish is to make sure the pan is smoking hot before cooking the pork, so that the pork’s moisture is sealed inside rather than letting the juice out of pork and creating a watery finish.
Serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons ginger, grated
4 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1.5 lbs boneless pork loin chops, sliced into ¼ inch pieces
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 small yellow onions (about 3 cups) cut into ½ inch thickness
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into ¼ inch wedges
3 cups baby spinach leaves
Cooked rice for serving
Combine the ginger, soy sauce and cornstarch well in a large bowl, and marinate the pork, covered and refrigerated for about 20 minutes.
In the meantime, prepare the vegetables.
Heat a large, well-seasoned frying pan with half of the oil over high heat. Sautee the onion until slightly transparent, and then add the peppers. Continue until onions turn transparent. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add the rest of the oil, and then add the pork when the pan is smoking hot. Do not stir until pork turns nicely brown. Repeat this to cook the other sides. When the pork is no longer pink in the centre, return the vegetables and stir to combine. Add the spinach leaves, combine well, and then immediately remove from the heat. Let the spinach wilt.
Serve hot on a bed of rice in individual bowls.