Sunday, December 12, 2010

September 22, 2009 - Scallion Feast

September 22nd, 2009 – Scallion Feast
Vegetable garden for my parents meant a small patch of scallions. We didn’t even have parsley which I loved to cook with.
When I was a child and still lived at another farm, my mother had garlic chives growing among the coffee bushes. These kind of chives has wider leaves than those ones grown in the West. It are also flat-leaved and tastes something between garlic and scallions. The only way we ate it was chopping thin and seasoned as salad with soy sauce and salad oil and pour it over hot steammed rice.
I don’t know how I develped taste for garlic and onions, but pungent raw taste of certain veggies well replace hot pepper sauce. That’s why I love arugula, watercress, and bitter leaves such as chicory, radicchio, endives, mustard. To tell the truth, I enjoy most greens.
The first scallion sets that I brought from a nearby farm looked very frail. They were cramped in a little muddy spot. My father didn’t even believe that they would grow into a decent size plant. So he recommended me to go to the farmer’s market to buy new scallions with roots we could plant after eating the leaves. So did I.
Several weeks later, we started to enjoy scallions regularly. A few months later, we definitely have way above we could use. The plants started to show signs of stress with bent leaves and the jammed stems. It was time to harvest them and replant as new sets. As a consequence, I have royal quantity of scallions for several meals. It was this way that I got into scallion feast.
At the same meal, I lightly steamed whole scallions and seasoned with sugar, misso paste, and vinegar. I also made scallion salad (more like a dressing) with soy sauce, olive oil and rice vinegar to pour over hot rice. This one I have every day, even for breakfast. The taste of it is so addicting.
I had to think about a dish that could take lots of scallions. I then remembered two Chinese snacks: scallion thin pancakes and pan-fried scallion bread. Instead of half-cup suggested by the recipe, I used at least two. The little piece of bread that was left over for the next day, I had it with my infamous scallion dressing. I couldn’t feel thirstier on the desert. I went around the town barely opening my mouth to speak to people, wondering how my breath smelled. Anyway, there is still one more recipe to try: scallion crepes. I am just finding out that Chinese people must love scallions as much as I do.
Remember that I had also sowed white pickling onions and yellow onions? They are soon be ready for harvest. Some of them are two-thirds out of the soil, showing its readiness. A few more days, and under dry weather and hot sun, I will pluck them out. Now, I have to think about lots of dishes that would take bulb onions.

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