Bodacious Young Ginger Root

It was a beautiful day at the farmers’ market. The stalls were brimming with the bounty of fresh seasonal produce. There were baskets of pomegranates. Tender young greens were next to the last of the summer tomatoes. Interesting peppers could be found. I walked into one and what did I see, fresh young ginger. Fresh young ginger is very hard to find and the purveyor said she was only selling it this week. I could not let the opportunity to taste fresh young ginger root pass me by.

This was beautiful fresh ginger root. The ginger root still had the tender shoots and fresh leaves attached to it. I asked the purveyor about it. She said, she loves to grate it fresh over rice, put the leaves and shoots into soup. She even said she nibbles on it.

Fresh ginger root can be stored for up to 2 weeks in the refrigeration in a paper bag or sealed container. If you have not used it within 2 weeks you can put it in the freezer and keep it for many months.

To use the fresh ginger, clean it by running it under water and gently remove any soil. It does not have to be peeled as it is that tender and fresh. If you freeze it, you can take it out of the freezer and grate it frozen. Do not unthaw it.

Today I added it to a Japanese marinade. I just grated it with my microplane. It did not require peeling at all. It was really lovely, fresh, a tad peppery. Just delightful. I was licking my fingers after wiping the microplane clean as I did not want to waste any of the ginger yumminess.

I was really excited about the ginger leaves and shoots. They had a wonderful ginger essence. I’m going to add them to season a soup or perhaps when I poach some fish. I know that I am going to use them very soon to take advantage of the freshness.

As for freezing this ginger root…. I don’t think that is going to happen as I doubt that it will last two weeks in my house.

Last Call of Summer – Sweet Corn Chowder – Bodacious Grub Style

A Visit to the Market

So I visited the Santa Clara Farmers Market last weekend and one purveyor was selling sweet corn, end of summer sweet corn, so I jumped on it.  But what to do with sweet corn and how to make it bodacious.  Well I put my thinking cap on and thought Sweet Corn Chowder.  Well you may be thinking, yeah so what, sweet corn chowder, nothing that unusual about that.   Here is where it gets perhaps a bit bodacious.  I added an unusual spice.  Aji Panca.

What is Aji Panca you may ask?

Aji Panca is a type of chile pepper that is commonly grown in Peru, and frequently used in Peruvian cuisine.  It is dark red, mild pepper with a smokey, fruity taste. I used the powder as I have it in my pantry.  It is awesome, my favorite spice of late it adds a wonderful smokey taste to the food without blowing out your taste buds (unless of course you dump a cup of it into the dish, which I didn’t).

I also added some Spanish paprika to the chowder.  So now we have a bit of fusion going, Peru meets Spain meets good old American corn.  Hope you enjoy it.


4 slices of bacon – diced

1 large carrot – small dice

2 red onions – small dice

1 leek – diced

2 stalks celery diced

2 sweet Italian peppers – diced

7 cobs of corn – kernels cut off 5 cobs and the milk from 2 cobs. Reserve the corn cobs to add to the soup when cooking

1/2 bunch fresh thyme

1/2 tbl Spanish paprika

1/2 tbl aji panca

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

6 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup half and half


Add bacon to soup pan and cook to render the fat.

Remove bacon and set aside.

Add onions and leeks to bacon fat and saute until softened.

Add carrots, celery and red pepper to pot and continue sauteing until softened.

Add corn kernels to soup pot, mix thoroughly.

Add chicken stock to pot and bring soup to a simmer.

Add aji panca, paprika, thyme and garlic salt.

Add reserved corn cobs.

After 1/2 hour remove the corn cobs and continue simmering for another 20 minutes.

Add the corn milk and kernels from the 2 cobs that were milked, reserved bacon, salt and pepper.

Mix in half and half.

Serve and Enjoy! I garnished the chowder with a teaspoon of Red Pepper Tapenade that I picked up at the market on Saturday.  Nice finishing touch.

Luscious Lentil Soup with Young Ginger Shoots

I love shopping at farmers’ markets as one always finds unusual fresh produce. Today proved to be one of those days. I scored lots of great produce. The big find was fresh young ginger complete with tender shoots and leaves. Given I hate wasting I thought it might be kind of cool to cook the shoots and leaves, well at least add them as a seasoning to soup.

It was cloudy outside so a perfect time to have a body warming soup. I love red lentils so it seemed like a perfect thing to eat on a fall evening. This recipe was put together on the fly. Given I had no yellow onions, I used leeks and red onions. I thought some orange bell peppers would be nice and sweet so I put some of those into the soup. I did have some hot Ethiopian Berbere peppers so I added one small green one to the soup. But the star of the soup were the ginger leaves and shoot. They proved to be delicate and sweet. The soup itself was very delicate and yet flavorful. A perfect dish for a cool evening.

The soup was garnished with some Indian Micro Greens from Baia Nicchia Farm and Nursery.

Luscious Lentil Soup with Fresh Ginger Leaves and Shoots

1 cup red lentils
2 cups chopped leeks
3/4 cup diced red onion
1 large clove garlic – finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
2 cup vegetable stock
2 cups water
2 ginger root leaves
1 tender young ginger root shoot
1/4 tsp ginger root – grated on microplane
1 cup diced orange bell pepper
1 small berbere pepper – finely diced
2 tsp canola oil

garnish: Indian Micro Greens

1. Heat canola oil in heavy bottom pan.
2. Add the leek to pan along with salt and saute for 5 minutes until softened.
3. Add the red onion to pan and continue sauteing until softened – another 8 minutes.
4. Add the bell pepper to pan, saute 5 minutes.
5. Add the berbere pepper to pan along with grated ginger root and saute 5 minutes.
6. Add the garlic to pan and saute 2 minutes.
7. Add the red lentils to pan and briefly saute.
8. Add the vegetable stock, water, ginger leaves, ginger shoot and cardamom.
9. Simmer for about 40 minutes until lentils are cooked.

Serve piping hot garnished with Indian Micro Greens… Delicious.

Bodacious Black Rice

Today I was in the mood to make something with Black Japonica Rice and so I fixed a Bodacious Rice Bowl with this unusual variety of rice.

I had picked it up at Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco and thought today was the day to try it out.

Black Japonica Rice is a mix of Asian black short-grain rice and medium-grain mahogany rice that were grown together in the same field. When cooked it has a nutty mushroom flavor coupled with a subtle, sweet spiciness and crunchy, chewy texture that goes well as a side dish, in rice salads or in stir-fried foods or simply on it’s own.

It turns the cooking water a purplish brown. Black Japonica rice is full in natural vitamins, minerals and fiber and is very healthy ingredient.

I thought it would be a perfect thing to use as a take on Rice Bowl. And it was a success.

Bodacious Black Japonica Rice Bowl with Tofu (2-3 servings)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 pound organic firm tofu, 1/2 inch dice, dried to remove excess moisture
1/2 medium white onion, chopped
1/2 leek, chopped
1 small stalk celery, chopped
1 small clove garlic, smashed
1 tsp of salt
1 tbl tabasco sauce
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups pre-cooked black japonica rice (cooking instructions below)
1 tsp sesame oil to finish

1. Heat both oils and add diced tofu cooking slowly until browned. It is important to dry the tofu or it will splatter when it hits the oil. Do not move the tofu until it is browned or it will stick to the pan (I used a regular pan not non-stick).

2. Remove tofu from pan once browned and put on plate lined with a paper towel to absorb the oil.

3. Add onions and leeks to the pan and saute until golden (adding oil if necessary). Tofu tends to absorb a lot of oil.
4. Add celery to pan and saute a few more minutes. Add garlic and saute a few minutes.
5. Add cooked japonica rice to pan and tabasco and mix through. Add salt and pepper to taste.

6 Add the tofu back into the pan and mix through the rice. Continue stirring the rice so that it does not stick until tofu is warmed through.
7. Remove rice from pan and serve with sesame oil to finish.

Cooking Black Japonica RIce
1 cup black japonica rice
2 1/4 cups water or broth

Combine in rice-cooker; takes about 50 minutes to cook. Let stand for 10 minutes before fluffing.