Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lemongrass and other random nonsense

Can you believe it’s almost June?! Time is just flying by. I wish it would take the rainy weather with it though. Portland is weird in the late spring/early summer. It’s not really cold, but it’s not warm either, and definitely not dry. It’s been raining for what seems like days and it’s supposed to rain all next week. Poor Sonny has had his last 4 baseball games canceled and they will probably have to cancel the games this week if it really does rain. Last game of the season is this week, so let’s hope he’ll get to play at least that one. So disappointing for him.

One good thing about all this rain is I don’t have to water my garden. This year I’m growing hot peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, cilantro, basil, mint, kohlrabi and lemongrass. Mom sent me the lemongrass from her own garden. She said to just stick it in the dirt and it will take care of itself. I was a little skeptical because she sent me about 20 short, dried out looking stalks, but they appear to be doing okay. Green shoots are growing out of them and they’ve only been in the ground for 3 weeks. Of course she didn’t tell me how far apart to space them, so I just stuck them about 4 or 5 inches apart. Now she tells me I should have stuck them 1 to 2 feet apart because they can grow into large bushes. I’m wondering why she sent me 20 stalks when she knows my 2 beds are only 8’x2’ each. Don't get me wrong, I am grateful. I use a lot of this aromatic herb, so the thought of bushes of lemongrass right in my backyard is making me giddy.

Since I haven’t posted in a while, I’m going to get all up in yo’ face with the pictures. Some have nothing to do with food, but I know the grandparents will enjoy them. Others are of my garden. And at the very end, is a nice little recipe for a lemongrass-y grilled pork tenderloin. Enjoy!

That white sweatshirt stayed white for all of 3 minutes. Note to Hubby: don't buy him anymore white clothing!

I think those green things mean they're going to live. I'm giddy with excitement!

Speckled lettuce.

More lettuce. Truly, it's so easy to grow and can tolerate chilly weather.

My first lettuce harvest. I harvest about twice a week.

I love urban gardening!

And now for the lemongrass-y pork tenderloin! This is really easy and delicious. Here's what you'll need:

1 pork tenderloin
about 1/3 cup coconut milk
1 to 2 tbs Thai curry paste (any flavor will do)
2 to 3 stalks lemongrass, white part only, ends crushed
2 to 3 cloves garlic crushed
2 tbs sugar
2 tbs fish sauce or soy sauce

For the dipping sauce:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 to 1/3 cup rice vinegar
fish sauce to taste (about 1 to 2 tbs)
1 clove garlic, finely minced
fresh Thai chillies, to taste, finely minced

Throw everything into a plastic Ziploc bag and let it marinate in the fridge overnight. About 30 minutes before grilling, take out the pork to take the chill off. Grill over medium heat until it's done to your liking. We like it ever so pink, so about 143F at the thickest part. Remember to let it rest for about 10 minutes before slicing into it.

To make the dipping sauce, I just put the sugar, water and rice vinegar in a microwaveable glass bowl or mixing cup and nuke on high for about 2 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture becomes a little thick. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, then throw in the garlic and chillies. Lastly, stir in the fish sauce.

Serve pork and dipping sauce with rice.

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