I recently finished a wonderful book called The Dirty Life, by Kristin Kimball.
A farm is a manipulative creature. There is no such thing as finished. Work comes in a stream and has no end. There are only the things that must be done now and things that can be done later. The threat the farm has got on you, the one that keeps you running from can until can’t; is this: do it now, or some living thing will wilt or suffer or die. It’s blackmail, really. (p. 150, The Dirty Life, K. Kimball)
Beautiful writing, yes? Now imagine soaking in 273 pages worth.
I always been wired to work; always. I get a lot of satisfaction about completing a project and reaping the rewards. So for me, following a story about people who bleed, sweat and cry into the earth they’re working make me want to ruffle some pom-poms and cheer them along. And I absolutely related to the author, whose first year on the farm was glazed with plenty of “what the hell am I doing” moments. Because in the end, it was a conclusion of “I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
Finishing this book made me realize there were plenty of items in my bucket list I need to check off:
- Raise chickens, for eggs and for meat
- Drink raw milk
- Milk a cow
- Make homemade cheese
- Eat a bird (and wrap bacon around the breast)
- Try scrapple (mostly out of curiosity)
Stay tuned; rumor has it we’ve already checked off one of these items.
There’s a scene in the The Dirty Life where Kristin has no idea what to make for dinner. In the end, Mark shoots a dove, and they share a wonderful meal for two.
So… with an entire row of radishes at the RGB, we recently plopped a handful into a soup, and they turned out marvelously. Five down, about 45 to go…
What else could we do with radishes?
Tender shrimp and pork wontons in a homemade chicken broth of radishes, bok choy and mushrooms.
- • ½ pound ground pork
- • ¼ pound peeled shrimp, minced with a chef’s knife
- • ¼ cup finely minced green onions or chives
- • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
- • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- • 1 large egg yolk to add to the wontons (reserve the egg white to add to the broth)
- • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- • 1 ½ teaspoon rice wine vinegar
- • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or crushed red pepper)
- • 1 package wonton wrappers (30 wontons)
- • 6 cups chicken stock
- • 1 dime sized chunk rock sugar
- • 1” section ginger
- • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- • 5 small radishes, peeled and cut into small pieces
- • 2 bunches baby bok choy, cut into small pieces
- • 1 5-ounce package white mushrooms, sliced
- Minute 1: In a 1-quart glass bowl, combine the first 11 ingredients and stir with a fork to combine; set aside.
- Minute 5: In a 6-quart stock pot, bring chicken stock to a boil, then simmer chicken broth with rock sugar, ginger, garlic, radishes and mushrooms.
- Minute 10: Optional: Test a wonton: Boil 1 quart of water in a 2-quart saucepan and drop a one-teaspoon ball of the mixture into the water. Poach until cooked, about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and taste. Adjust seasonings as necessary.
- Minute 12: Make wontons: Set out a small bowl with ¼ cup of water. With a butter knife, place one teaspoon of each wrapper. Dip your finger in the water and spread along two edges of each wrapper. Fold each half on the diagonal to form a triangle and press the seams to seal. Then take the two “sides” of the triangle and fold up to the “top” of the triangle; press and seal with water. Repeat until all the wontons are stuffed. Reserve extra mixture, if there is any.
- Minute 25: Using the same saucepan used to test the wonton, return to a simmer and drop in wontons, about 6 at a time, cooking for 2 minutes each. Then remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to broth. Repeat until all wontons are cooked. Note: If there is extra mixture remaining, slot tablespoon-sized mounds into the broth.
- Minute 35: Add bok choy to the broth; let cook until bright green, about 1 minute. Swirl in egg white and any remaining egg yolk. Turn off heat and serve immediately into 4 warmed bowls. Divide wontons evenly.
Source: Rustic Garden Bistro
Updated photo from April 2013:
RGB Reads is a collection of food-related books we’ve enjoyed. Click on this category to see what we’ve read.