Saturday, August 6, 2011

Korean pancakes and thoughts on the CSA



Lunch today was my second attempt at Korean pancakes (known as pa jeon in Korean). I made them from this recipe two weeks ago and though it said not to grate the vegetables, I should have, because the matchstick-sized carrots and zucchini made the pancakes incredibly hard to cook evenly. So this time I shredded two yellow zucchini and three short fat carrots on the grating disc of the food processor, and the batter was much easier to spread. It's true that I couldn't really SEE the bits of carrot and zucchini once the pancakes were cooked, but I could taste them, so I don't care.

In addition to the zucchini and carrots I added a bunch of green onion stalks and about 3/4 cup of chopped cooked baby shrimp (thawed from frozen). The batter is eggs, flour, rice flour (super cheap in the Asian aisle of my local Loblaws) and soda water. Could not be easier. We made the gingery vinegary soy dipping sauce from the link above, as well, and in lieu of kimchi in the batter I added a generous squeeze of sambal oelek, which is a hot Asian chili-garlic paste that I'm just getting into in a big way.

These make a terrific lunch or light supper, and they use up a ton of green onion stalks, which is important to me because this is our first summer as members of a CSA (community supported agriculture, a fancy term for farm share) and though we are loving it, it comes with a lot of green onion stalks.

We joined up with Roots and Shoots Farm because I heard about them through a local food blogger last summer and mentioned to Chris how nice all the produce looked. We eat most vegetables and we eat a lot of them, so it seemed like a good plan for us. Local, fresh and seasonal - eating this way is certainly a privilege, and we know it, but we could afford it so we decided to take the plunge.

The first few weeks were slow, and mainly greens like kale, bok choy and lettuce, as well as radishes and tiny white Hakurei turnips, which are delicious raw in salads. As we've moved into high summer, we've gotten garlic, onions, cucumber, zucchini, carrots, beets and beans. (Oh, and fennel. Which I hate. But Chris will eat it.) This week we even got our first pints of new potatoes and tomatoes.

It's a pile of veggies, no doubt about it, and what I love about not being able to choose them is that it requires me to get creative with my meal planning. Tonight, for example, we're having a roasted beet, beet green and goat cheese salad, and chicken souvlaki made with fresh oregano and local garlic.

I'm also making some zucchini refrigerator pickles. Tomorrow we'll foil-packet the potatoes and some carrots and onions on the grill, lightly cook some multicoloured beans, and grill turkey burgers packed with minced green onions. It goes on and on.

I can't wait to see what the rest of the summer's bounty looks like, and to blog about the creative ways I'm using it all up.

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