Re-Growing Lemongrass

Re-Growing Lemongass by A Little Yumminess.jpg

Re-Grow Lemongrass_A Little Yumminess.jpg

Re growing Lemon Grass_ A Little Yumminess

There’s nothing like the heavenly scent of lemongrass — possibly the greatest smell in the world — not to mention the delicious south Asian curries and soups that await with fresh lemongrass right out of the garden. What’s cool is that it’s a super low-maintenance plant, it’s a lush and bushy addition to a garden bed and it’s a snap to re-grow from stalks you buy from the supermarket or farmers’ market. I’ve also read that lemongrass is a natural mosquito repellent. Yay for that!

So the next time you have a few leftover stalks of lemongrass, you’re halfway there. Just trim back the green tops about half way and set bulb/root ends in a jar of water. In a few weeks the tops will shoot up (way up) and you’ll see thin white roots emerge (my kids thought this was pretty neat). Once the roots come in, transplant your lemongrass in a sunny spot in your garden and give it regular water. For those of us with temperate climates lemon grass will be happy outside year round. If it’s getting cold where you are, plant in a container (at least 16″ across) and keep your lemongrass inside by a sunny window during the colder months. Once your lemongrass gets really big you can divide the plant and keep going….  or better yet, share a garden-ready plant with a friend.

Harvest your lemongrass by cutting off stalks near the root end and then give one of these tasty recipes a try!

Thai Lemongrass, Chicken and Coconut Milk Soup

Nasi Campur_Indonesian Curry - A Little Yumminess

Indonesian Kare Ayam

Fresh Lime & Lemon Grass Soda (Follow the basic recipe and flavor your simple syrup with some lemon grass!)

Garden Sushi

Garden Sushi Handroll

Here’s some artsy “garden sushi” that Luca and I made one afternoon during spring break. Our yard is a complete and absolute wreck at the moment (too many food adventures, not enough gardening!), but I was amazed at how much we managed to scavenge and I was struck as I always am by the creativity that comes so naturally to kids. Continue reading

Fried Green Tomatoes

Last summer we had a bounty of tomatoes in our backyard. I know — seems impossible in the fog, but there they were in all their glory! Almost “Little Shop of Horrors”-like, but in a good way. We made sauce, paste, fresh tomato salads, and tomato soup (which we definitely plan to repeat this year, supplementing with some boxes of “ugly tomatoes” from the farmer’s market as necessary). But most exciting, at least to me, were the fried green tomatoes.

I love all the great produce we have access to in the Bay Area, but I really haven’t found green tomatoes available anywhere… and  I don’t mean the green varietals, I mean mature, but un-ripe tomatoes. It seems the only way to ensure your supply is to make friends with a farmer or grow your own.

I trace my little fried green tomato obsession to my stint last summer at Split Pea Seduction with chef Christian Noto. A particularly carve-able sandwich showed up on the menu one week: fried green tomatoes on a toasty housemade bun, with crisp romaine lettuce, fresh mint, swiss cheese, dab of dijon and a squeeze of lemon. I was hooked. We don’t make too many fried foods at home, but as in the rest of life, you must make exceptions — especially where fried green tomatoes and squash blossoms are concerned.

We made a few variations last year and ever since summer has rolled around again, I’ve been itching to get back to it. Luca and I check the progress of our backyard tomato crop everyday. There’s a good amount of fruit that has set, but nothing even close to being ready to cook with. So when we happened upon some under-ripe, but other-wise decent looking heirlooms at the market today, we decided to get our tomato season officially kicked off. Not exactly real-deal “green tomatoes” but close enough. Luca was very intrigued by the whole breading process and was also pretty excited about trying them, too. (Witness the little fingers sneaking into my photo.) To that I say “hurrah” let the games begin!

Fried Green Tomatoes

Green tomatoes will be full-sized with jelly-like pulp and maybe just a hint of ripeness, but still very firm. Once picked they last for several weeks and will slowly ripen. They usually don’t get too juicy, but still I avoid too much salting of the raw tomatoes, to minimize the amount of water they release.

Shopping List: Green Tomatoes, eggs, fresh mint and chives, lemon, panko (Japanese bread crumbs), flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt & pepper. Plus your favorite dipping sauce!

  • Whisk 2 eggs. Season with pepper and finely chopped mint and chives.
  • Pour flour into a bowl, season flour with salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder and set aside.
  • Pour panko bread crumbs into a bowl and set aside.
  • Cut green, un-ripe tomatoes into 1/4 inch thick slices. Pat dry.
  • Dredge in flour, shake off excess.
  • Coat with sides with egg mixture then into the panko!
  • Fry in very hot oil until crispy and golden on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
  • Salt generously with kosher salt. Serve with lemon wedges.
  • You can hold the fried tomatoes in a 200 degree oven on a rack for about 30 minutes.

You could eat these as is, throw them in a sandwich like Christian, or put together a dipping sauce. A simple balsamic reduction, a remoulade, or yogurt spiced up with fresh mint, chives, and lemon zest would do nicely. Tim votes for some kind of buttermilk dipping sauce and then brought up the possibility of fried green tomatillos. Possibilities, possibilities!

The Great Fort Mason Adventure

We love the idea of taking a vacation in our own city.  With no major spring break trip planned, we decided to have a vacation-like adventure in our own city.

Fort Mason Center and the scenic hill behind it are a San Francisco treasure.  In spite of the warehouse-like feel of the buildings at Fort Mason there are a great many fun activities for both adults and children.  The other day, we took the long staircase at the back of the Center to an expansive park that seems to float over the Marina district.  The glorious spring day meant tremendous views of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay and Marin County.  The kids had fun running around and exploring the meadows between the towering trees.  Simple pleasures that make everyone smile.

Then came the piece de resistance of the whole expedition – The Fort Mason Community Garden which we discovered by chance.  A magical place where we spent almost an hour exploring vegetables, fruits and beautiful flowers in all their spring splendor and playing tag among the beds.  The children were enthralled and I could not figure out why it took us so long to find this inspiring and tranquil little slice of heaven.  It is a great picnic spot, possibly a small celebration place (birthday for a couple of your closest friends) and venue of numerous future play dates.  We will be back for sure now that we have discovered it.

The Gardens are located inside the gates of Fort Mason which is at the intersection of Bay and Franklin Streets in San Francisco’s Marina District.  There are one hundred and twenty-five plots available in the Garden. Organic gardening is encouraged. The use of pesticides is forbidden anywhere in the garden. Plots are assigned by the membership chair as they become vacant and currently the wait is 7 years.  It feels like forever but time does fly, so we may get on the list. I grew up in an urban environment and was not exposed at all to where food came from or any kind of gardening . Ria and I are both enjoying learning together how to grow our own food and what the plants that give us sustenance actually look like before they make it to the stores.

Unwillingly, we left the garden and continued our walk along the edge of the water and discovered a unused canon facing the bay (try explaining to little girls what that is for), saw aquatic park from above and discovered some amazing secret, hidden picnic spots for our next visit.  I couldn’t help but think how fortunate our children are to live in the Bay Area.

All that scampering about made us hungry and we ambled over to Greens To Go.  Mondays are the best day to enjoy the restaurant on the cheap with kids as the main restaurant is closed for lunch. You can buy your takeout lunch and sit anywhere in the restaurant and enjoy your healthy, vegetarian meal and the lovely view from the floor to ceiling windows.  Ria ate her black bean chilli and brown rice with gusto and I loved my vegetable sandwich and white bean tomato soup.  Yummy!

We ended our adventure at the Book Bay at Fort Mason, run by the Friends of the SF Public Library.  They sell donated books for the benefit of the San Francisco Public Libraries.  The children enjoyed some quiet reading time and I ended up buying 3 rather new looking used cookbooks.  So much for curing my cookbook addiction.

Do go on this adventure – it will make a great date, play date or potentially something fun and different to do by yourself.  Though going with the kids is the most fun!

More Reviews for Greens Restaurant:
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Greens, Eggs & Jam

An inspiring event that will be much enjoyed by the little ones.  Blue grass band, delicious food, garden tours and prizes to be won.  Your kids will want to start a garden of their own…which may or may not be a good thing….

Greens, Eggs & Jam Garden Brunch

Come and experience Urban Sprouts – By cultivating school gardens in San Francisco’s under-served neighborhoods, Urban Sprouts partners with youth and their families to build eco-literacy, equity, wellness, and community.

  • Meet folks from Urban Sprouts, including staff and board members
  • Hear from the youth as they share their first-hand experiences about the impact Urban Sprouts has had on their lives.
  • Watch some youth chefs in action as they cook some delicious foods inspired by the garden.
  • Enjoy some live folk music, and get a chance to win some fabulous foodie prizes, including gift certificates for NOPA restaurant, Blue Bottle Coffee, and a 1 year membership at 18 Reasons!

Support Urban Sprouts’ work by bringing friends, co-workers and family (kids are very welcome).  And bring your checkbook!  You will be invited to give – no gift is too small.

Get your free tickets at Eventbrite