Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bi bim bap on the Homestead

Today is our second day work exchanging with Kate and Tom, who live on a suburban homestead outside of Allentown, PA. Homesteading looks a little different for everyone, but its essential definition is producing as much food from your land and doing as much for yourself as you can...being, to a degree, self-reliant and sustainable. For some people, this means sewing their own textiles, canning, preserving, gardening, keeping a milk goat, or any number of things. It's different from farming in that you are generally producing only for yourself and your family, not for profit. 
For Kate and Tom, homesteading means gardening, keeping a store of food, canning, preserving, keeping bees, and keeping a few chickens. Their backyard is only of a moderate size, and they are producing, on average, 600 pounds of food a year. 600 pounds! They are mostly growing herbs and veggies, but also have a few laying hens, and, right now, six meat chicks. 

We spent some time today picking spinach from the hoop house greenhouse, which is covered in plastic and lined with mylar in areas. This is designed to maximize daylight in order to extend the growing season. The spinach was planted last year, continued to grow slightly over the winter, and began producing leaves you could harvest earlier this spring. This method is based on a book called the Four Season Harvest by Elliot Coleman if you're interested in finding out more.

We ended up with several pounds of spinach today. We're planning eggs florentine with bacon for breakfast to use some of it up, and then possibly some spinach hummus...yum! 

The lettuce crop in the hoop house. 

Mojo, part of the family here. He's a great cat. 

Brushing olive oil on some homemade bread stuffed with spinach and spices to accompany dinner tonight. 

Kate went to culinary school and is an amazing chef. We were treated to her bi bim bap, which is a traditional Korean dish. To prepare it, you stir fry lots of veggies---today's were kohlrabi greens, walking onions, and asparagus straight from the backyard garden---with tons of garlic. 

You put the stir fry mixture and a fried egg over a bowl full of sushi rice, then top with shredded carrots, toasted sesame seeds, and Vietnamese or traditional Korean hot sauce. The key is to mix all the ingredients together really well. 

It was an incredibly flavorful delight. Thanks Kate! 


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