Oh man, can you believe it’s been a whole year since my last gardening post? Last year’s garden was basically left to its own devices due to our busy summer schedule, and what’s worse, our even busier fall schedule prevented us from properly preparing our garden for winter! So this past weekend I did my best to get everything back in order.
Takuan is a Japanese dish of fermented daikon radish. It is a form of Tsukemono (Japanese pickled veggies), which are served as side dishes or snacks, and are even part of the Japanese tea ceremony. Takuan in particular is often served at the end of meal to help digestion. The name “Takuan” is often attributed to Takuan Soho, a 17th century Zen Buddhist figure and the creative basis for the character Dakuan from the anime film Ninja Scroll. Korean cuisine has a similar pickled daikon radish dish, called Danmuji (단무지).
The daikon radish itself made its way to Japan from China about 2,000 years ago. Today, more land in Japan is used to grow daikon than any other vegetable. Takuan sold in many stores today is dyed yellow with food coloring; I was able to get a similar color by using a tiny bit of turmeric while pickling the radishes.
NOTE: An updated version of this recipe appears in my cookbook, The Ancestral Table.
Kabees El Lift is a popular Lebanese dish, often served as a lighter side to heavy meat dishes. The dish sports a vibrant pink color, which is made by adding beets to the turnips as they ferment. Fermented foods are great for adding natural probiotics into your diet. And, as Paul Jaminet points out, there is evidence of fermented foods like kimchi helping against autoimmune diseases and allergies. Plus they’re tasty.
I’m not sure how long this dish has been around, but I do know that turnips have been around for a long, long time; the Romans talked about them, and some of their original names were in Greek, which suggests they were eaten in Ancient Greece. Beets have been around just as long, although early forms were only the beet greens, and the bulbous root was developed/cultivated later.
It’s been a while since we talked about my various gardening adventures, so I thought I’d bring everyone up to speed.
We had a ton of tomatoes from our backyard garden during our most recent harvest. Last year I canned tomatoes, but this year I decided to take it one step further and make and can my own sauce. When deciding on the consistency of my sauce, I decided to make a sauce that’s smooth and chunk-free; that way I could easily use it as a pizza sauce, and could then use fresh tomatoes (or a can of diced tomatoes) to add chunks to a spaghetti sauce.
Because the amount of tomatoes you have may vary, I decided to keep this recipe fluid; you could make this sauce with as many or little of those red, savory fruits as you’d like.
Spring officially sprung last night thanks to my one hour less sleep due to Daylight Savings Time, so I guess it’s time for a garden update. For reference, here’s how everything looked last fall.
Above you see what’s left of our herb box, with our lone perennial, rosemary, still standing strong. I plan on adding some more perennial herbs like thyme, oregano, and sage this year and to grow my annual plants indoors or in a separate box.
The two potted plants are a new top hat blueberry plant on the left (only grows about 24 inches, according to what I’ve read) and last year’s raspberry plant on the right. I have plans to start a raspberry patch on the side of my house, with about six plants, if I get enough free time to dig out an area for them.