PGM In Season | le jus d'orange
This is a time of year that celebrates family, food, and traditions. On her blog, le jus d'orange, photographer and PGM In Season community leader superbly combines all three by sharing her mother's traditional Chinese recipes for the modern audience. Reading her blog is like reading a celebration of heritage and family history, along with a visual feast for the eyes — an experience that perfectly suits the holiday season and makes us yearn a little more deeply for a connection to our own roots.
With Thanksgiving under our belts (and a notch or two looser) we happily slip into Christmastime, but not without some healthy meals to get us back on track. For the transition, Betty has provided us with a nutritious recipe of Asian Pear and Kimchi Farro with White Miso Vinagrette that will inspire you to experiment with Chinese ingredients before our diets consist solely of holiday cookies.
5 Questions with Betty
WHAT 3 WORDS DESCRIBE YOU BEST?
Nerdy, optimistic, and eager. Nerdy, because I can’t resist learning about the reasons or science behind phenomena such as the biochemical basis behind fermentation or why kneading is important for bread and detrimental to pie dough. Optimistic, because that’s generally how I try to approach life. Eager, well, because I want to try everything. I’m that girl who tries pig feet, clam sashimi that still curls menacingly when I pick it up, or fried ants that supposedly yield forever youth. I’m always up for trying and learning about new foods, customs, or techniques.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE INGREDIENT?
Mushrooms! I love all the varieties, but I think my favorites to cook with are shiitake and king oyster mushrooms.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST KITCHEN ACHIEVEMENT OR FAILURE? OR BOTH!
Cakes were my biggest failure – they were actually the first baking project I attempted back when I was in high school, and I failed miserably because I didn’t understand not to over-fold, or not to repeatedly open the oven door… My biggest kitchen achievement was making baechoo kimchi at home, which isn’t the most complicated dish but is one of my favorites! I’ll eat kimchi with anything. Plus, I’m obsessed with fermentation so it was another step in my fermentation-learning journey.
HOW DO YOU INCORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY INTO YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE?
For my husband and me, it’s the simple things we incorporate into our daily routines – avoid personal waste, recycle, use re-usable grocery bags, walk as often as possible (plus, we have a big dog who loves tagging along), and most of all, support the local producers. We love going to farmer’s market, the newly opened Boston’s Public Market, or going directly to farms to buy our produce. The farming community is strong in Boston and we love to support them in any way we can.
WHAT DOES EATING LOCAL, ORGANIC, AND SEASONAL FOOD MEAN TO YOU?
Personally, it means respecting the earth and following its natural path. What’s in season, produced by local farms? Why force berries or strawberries in the dead of winter? Plus, the most local and seasonal produce often have the best flavors – nothing beats biting into a plump apple picked fresh from the tree, or picking up the fattest blueberries I’d ever seen and letting it explode in my mouth over the summer. The markets inspire my cooking at home. When I’m in a cooking runt, I simply walk over to the market and take in all the produce in season, and let the potential flavors form in my mind. Nothing is more inspiring than knowing that the produce I’m taking home was naturally grown maybe one town over and cared for by people in the community.
ASIAN PEAR AND KIMCHI FARRO SALAD WITH WHITE MISO VINAIGRETTE
Thanksgiving is full of decadent meals and comfort food. It’s a time for indulgence, family, merry laughter, and good food. After Thanksgiving, though, I like to eat something healthy. But not a light, only arugula with no dressing salad – I’m actually not much of a salad girl. Instead, I like salads with substance – more of a bowl than a salad.
This is inspired by a salad from Flour Bakery, one of my favorite haunts in Boston. Over the summer they have a salad on their menu with kimchi, tofu, and edamame, and it’s the perfect balance of hearty without being too decadent. And kimchi in salad? Kimchi is a lacto fermented dish originating in Korea. I have a recipe for homemade kimchi on my blog, but you can also just buy a jar from the store. I lightly tossed it with sliced Asian pears to add a bit of sweetness to the dish. Asian pears and kimchi go extremely well together. In fact, Asian pears are often used in kimchi as part of the fermentation process, to add some sweetness to the dish. I find that having Asian pears in this dish balanced the tang and spiciness of kimchi, but you can also substitute apple or other pears instead.
White miso vinaigrette is first tossed with farro for a light coating, then the farro is topped with the Asian pear and kimchi mixture. The result is a wonderful, hearty meal packed with nutrients – exactly my kind of meal! I added arugula and avocado to my dish, but you can change it up in whatever way you want. Add some edamame, substitute kale instead of arugula, add some sautéed tofu, throw in some walnuts or pistachios – this salad is meant to be customized to one’s preference.
yields: 2 servings
- 1 tbsp white miso
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ tsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp honey
- ½ cup sliced kimchi
- handful baby arugula
- 1 cup cooked farro
- 1 asian pear, cored and sliced thinly
- 1/3 cup toasted sunflower seeds
- 2 stalks scallions, white parts only, finely chopped
*optional: edamame, avocado, pomegranate seeds
To make miso vinaigrette, whisk miso paste and sesame oil together until smooth. Slowly, steadily, stream in rice vinegar, olive oil, honey and whisk vigorously to completely emulsify the vinaigrette. Alternatively, process in a food processor until emulsified!
Mix kimchi, Asian pear slices, avocado and edamame if using, together. Toss vinaigrette with farro. Divide farro into bowls. Top with kimchi-asian pear mixture and serve garnished with sunflower seeds and finely chopped scallions.