Look at this beauty in the picture below! We are now in December, and this picture was taken just around the end of November. These are some of the seasonally picked vegetables at Los Osos Valley Organic Farm in the Central Coast of California. It’s the last corn harvest of the year, together with broccoli, radish, and dandelion greens. The climate here is quite different from Japan, for example, where corn won’t grow in the autumn season.
To truly appreciate the local and seasonal foods and their deliciousness, I made the following dinner menu to prepare each ingredient as simply as possible.
- Brown Rice with toasted black sesame (recipe here) on top(Click here to learn how to cook delicious brown rice.)
- Miso soup with wakame and spring onion with corn broth (Basic recipe for miso soup here)
- Sautéed dandelion greens with sesame oil, ginger, and soy sauce
- Boiled corn
- Steamed broccoli and tempeh with walnut-miso sauce
- Fermented radish and carrots
Enjoy each ingredient’s deliciousness by simple preparation!
Since this week, I have been introducing some dandelion greens recipes (see here the recipe for pickled dandelion greens as well as dandelion greens pasta), I am excited to share this Japanese style of sautéed dandelion greens.
Although this vegetable is known for its bitter flavor, when sautéed, the bitterness becomes beautifully milder to a perfectly fine level. And as the greens have a nice strength, its consistency is perfect for sautéing.
With light sesame oil and ginger, you can sauté the greens first with the stem part for about a minute, then adding the leafy part. And once all is well heated, pour in 1 tsp of soy sauce and lightly stir. Then it’s done!
The sesame oil, soy sauce, and ginger’s aroma and pungent flavor go perfectly with this dark bitter and earthy greens. I imagine how this dish could also go so well for an easy lunch menu, to have rice in a bowl, then this sautéed dandelion greens, avocado, toasted sesame seeds, and a sprinkle of toasted sesame seed…! I would love to try that one day for myself, too.
Although I have enjoyed various ways to prepare and enjoy corn during the season, such as raw corn soup, corn rice, or vegan corn cream soup, the way how I can truly taste the flavor of the corn so fully is when I boil it. As the yellow color of the corn becomes more vibrant and shiny, the flavor of the corn also gets more illuminated once it’s boiled. When you have a good quality of organically grown corn like I have here, the sweetness, lightness, as well as flavorfulness of this can be enjoyed with a deep sigh of pleasure and joy.
I boil the corn with just enough water that can cover the corn for 1-2 minutes. Then I use the boiling water as a broth for making soup, since the sweet flavor of the corn is infused into the boiling water. (Read here more about the corn broth.)
Even when we categorize the organically grown vegetables under the name of “organic vegetables,” each farm has different soil, environment, the way of growing, as well as intention by the grower. Hence, their tastes and energy are also different. With broccoli, I find simply steaming is the best way to enjoy and savor its uniqueness to the particular broccoli that we get.
As you can see the broccoli I have here is not the big size that you often see in the grocery store, nor is it a broccolini. Likely to its appearance, the flavor of it is also delicate and sensitive. And it was the perfect way to enjoy it with the steamed tempeh, as its flavor has also sensitivity which won’t overpower it to enjoy plain broccoli.
The walnut-miso sauce (recipe here) will give you some beautiful accent to this simple preparation. It is one of my favorite sauces during the autumn-winter season to have richness and depth in the flavor to warm our senses as well as body.
While I prepared a bunch of radishes to make a simple pickle, which I will introduce to you in another article, I took out two lovely radishes to ferment in the rice bran fermentation bed together with the carrot. In Japan, we often ferment turnips in the rice bran. As radish is close to turnip, I felt inspired to try this, and it was indeed lovely and delicious! We could enjoy its delicate crunchiness and mildly spicy flavor.
What a gift to be able to appreciate what is grown in our living environment through all our senses. Deep gratitude to our local dedicated farmers!