Friday, September 10, 2010
We were walking down Main Street on our usual trek through the Saturday Farmers' Market when Chuck said "Let's go back to the booth where we bought the peppers and carrots. She had lemongrass. I want to try it."
I've described our family in Food Network terms: Chuck is more Iron Chef, while I'm more 30 Minute Meals. I'm all about finding a way to create a healthy meal quickly and easily, using local and/or fresh ingredients if possible. The Pantry Raid (Amigo would call it the Garbage Can Recipe) is my specialty. Look through the refrigerator and pantry, pull out a combination of good ingredients, and cook them. I make my way through the Farmers' Market almost like a grocery store trip: list in hand or in head, picking up basic staples or seasonal specialties I can cook, bake, freeze or can.
Chuck, on the other hand, looks for adventure. He spots the freezer truck parked by the coffeehouse (I spot the coffeehouse, of course). The vendor has trucked in farm-raised alligator, shrimp, mahi-mahi, scallops, and a whole collection of meats and seafood (Amigo asks: is alligator surf or turf?). While I'm heading to the next truck for Wisconsin-grown bison meat, he'll pick up the alligator.
Last Saturday he bought lemongrass, a traditional Asian ingredient. He'd overheard another shopper asking about it, mulled it over in his head, and decided to stop by on our way back to the car and buy a bunch of the long, green plant. The seller explained how to use it, and Chuck searched the Internet for more detail. He worked it into a soup and a stir-fry that night.
Most of the 18-24 inch stalk is edible. The end bulb gets cut off (I believe it tastes bitter, but I didn't try it), and the blade operates like a bay leaf - add it to the liquid for flavor and pull it out before serving. There's a fibrous section near the bulb that can be peeled and pounded with a meat tenderizer for use in stir fries or soups or vegetable mixes. It was good, but we're not sure if it was worth the effort.
I saw the term "very pungent" in several posts on this grassy herb. We learned that the bunch we bought downtown could last several months. We only needed one or two stalks per recipe. With that in mind, Chuck washed and cut the lemongrass to a size that would fit in a Ziploc freezer bag. We'll pull it out now and then for a deliciously exotic Pantry Raid or Garbage Can Recipe.Stumble It!