Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Artscape 2011

The Artscape market was a success! Thanks to everyone who stopped by for a vegetarian banh mi sandwich, zucchini bread, pickles, or mint-basil tea.

The banh mi turned out really well, especially considering I had never seen a Vietnamese vegetarian pate before and kind of winged the recipe.

I really wanted to make rice vinegar and honey pickles with the eight pounds of cucumbers and pound of carrots we harvested from the garden a few weeks ago, and thought these Vietnamese sandwiches would be an interesting way to highlight the pickles, and a good portable food as well.

The veggies were pickled in a mixture of two parts rice vinegar to one part apple cider vinegar and one part honey, with some sea salt. Of course, I always recommend tasting your pickles and adjusting to see if you like it more sweet or sour.

One pickle tip: it helps to soak your veggies in a brine the night before you make your pickles.

The saltwater soak will remove excess water from watery vegetables like cucumbers and leave you with crunchier pickles. The next day, rinse off the saltwater and mix your pickles with the vinegar and honey. I actually left off this step by accident and the pickling liquid got really watery after the veggies had been sitting in it for a few days because all of the water was being taken out by the salt in the pickling liquid. 

If you're curious about how to make the vegetarian pate for the sandwich spread, here's how I made the recipe:

Remember the pho I cooked in January 2010? Well, I basically used a similar method to make a broth for lentils by toasting onion, coriander, cinnamon, star anise, and black pepper in a dry frying pan, then simmering the spices in water. Strain out the spices, and cook one cup of dry lentils per two cups of the spicy broth.

The cooked lentils were then blended in a cuisinart (Thanks Rachel!) with some fish sauce and sesame oil. Don't worry, I warned people there was fish sauce in the recipe so it wasn't totally veggie.

Spread good french bread with mayo and pate, then top with cilantro, pickles, sliced onion, and sriracha. Yum!

And extra special double thanks to everyone who helped us out (check out that awesome sign lettering by my brother! And homemade mayo from my friend Kara!)

All of the proceeds are going back into the garden for seeds, tools, and other needed equipment so we don't have to be totally reliant on grant money in the future.

It definitely takes more time to make a value-added produce with your food (like selling pickles instead of cucumbers), but it makes your produce more available to people who might not necessarily want to buy whole, raw veggies to eat, and it's fun to turn something you grew into an exciting new food!

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