by Elizabeth Newcomer, Innkeeper
“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” – Audrey Hepburn
The garden at Brewster by the Sea has been flourishing for 10+ years since Donna and Byron opened the inn. Cared for and nurtured by Donna’s mother for many years, it takes a lot of work to keep up the extensive herbs and vegetables we grow here on property; sowing the seeds at the right time, staying on top of the weeding and watering and harvesting all require a lot of time and guess what…it is going to be so worth it!
Donna was hard at work today weeding to get us ready to sow seeds for the early spring planting. We love spinach and use it in several of our favorite breakfasts – it is great to plant early in the spring (some varieties really like the cool growing temps and then mid summer we can replant a variety that is more heat tolerant for a late summer/fall harvest).
Rhubarb comes back every spring, a garden legacy from Nanna and we love it! Rhubarb is a perfect pairing to strawberries and we use those ingredients in our Strawberry Rhubarb Galettes which are a definite crowd pleaser!
We harvested our first asparagus today! They are so cute popping up out of the ground but I’ve learned it is important to keep an eye on them and to make sure to harvest when they are not too tall because they shoot up fast and become very woody.
As an innkeeper, a lot of the cooking I do is for breakfast and our afternoon tea snacks but I also really enjoy savory cooking. Dinner tonight is a recipe courtesy of Blue Apron, a food delivery/recipe service: Pork Tteokbokki with Asparagus & Spicy Black Bean Sauce (don’t ask me how to pronounce it)! Some of the asparagus I received in my box of ingredients wasn’t quite up to snuff so I decided to use some of the asparagus harvested from the garden this afternoon. How much more farm to table can you get? The meal was delicious and definitely unique – recipe below for anyone with a culinary sense of adventure!
- 10 ounces ground pork
- ½ pound Korean rice cakes
- 2 scallions
- ½ bunch asparagus
- 2 tablespoons black bean sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy glaze
- 1 tablespoon Gochujang
- 1 1-inch piece ginger
- Boil medium pot of salted water. Snap off and discard the tough, woody ends of the asparagus; cut the asparagus into 2-inch pieces on an angle.
- Peel and mince the ginger.
- Cut off and discard the root ends of the scallions; thinly slice the white bottoms on an angle and cut the green tops into ½ inch pieces.
- Add the asparagus to the pot of boiling water and cook 2-3 minutes, or until bright green and slightly softened. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked asparagus to a strainer, leaving the pot of water boiling. Rinse the asparagus under cold water for 30 seconds to 1 minute to stop the cooking process and drain thoroughly.
- In a medium pan (nonstick), heat 2 teaspoons olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the ginger and white bottoms of the scallions; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant.
- Add the ground pork to the pan of aromatics; season with salt and pepper. Cook, frequently breaking the meat apart with a spoon, 4 to 6 minutes or until browned and cooked through.
- While the pork cooks, add the rice cakes to the pot of boiling water used to cook the asparagus; cook 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Reserving ¼ cup of the rice cake cooking water, drain thoroughly.
- To the pan of pork, add the blanched asparagus, cooked rice cakes, black bean sauce, soy glaze, half the reserved rice cake cooking water and as much of the gochujang as you like, depending on how spicy you'd like the dish to be; season with salt and pepper.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes or until thoroughly combined and heated through. (If the sauce seems dry, gradually add the remaining rice cake cooking water to achieve your desired consistency.)
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide between 2 dishes. Garnish with the green tops of the scallions & enjoy!