For all the fabulous mothers who work hard and do more than is expected of them. Happy Mothers' Day.
After almost 11 years of marriage, you sort of change your expectations of how to do things. Husband is what I call a "worried" gift-giver, often second guessing himself as to what to give me. We've pretty much figured out after 11 years of marriage, that if I want a present, I pretty much have to declare what I want and Husband will happily fork out the cash for me to have it. More often than not I can't figure out what I want for various occasions so there is a back log of presents that still haven't been given. (10th anniversary and 40th birthday presents are still outstanding, only because I can't decide.)
Normally we don't do much for Mother's or Father's day either. I like to present him with a cute photo of the kids on Father's day and for Mother's day, I usually don't expect anything from him; after all, I'm not HIS mother. Now that Children are in school, they make a variety of presents for me to keep and then eventually throw away. I'm just not that sentimental. (Children, if you read this when you are grown up, don't be hurt. I love it when I get the present. When it starts collecting dust, mommy kisses it goodbye.) This year, I decided that I really wanted a new vegetable garden for Mother's Day. There was an old patch of vegetable garden in the back, and I decided I wanted to tear it down and make a new one and plant something in it. This is, of course, in light of the fact that I am normally a plant murderer. But Mother-in-law planted a patch of Korean red leaf lettuce for me (sangchoo - 상추) and it has grown so well with a bit of care of weeding and watering from me. Since I successfully managed that, I started getting curious about all the things that I could plant in my garden and watch grow. Children have also gone crazy for the experience, loving watching things sprout out, form and create, and I thought it would be the perfect Mother's Day present for me.
I had someone tear down the old box, break down the old junk that was in there, and I in turn bought a bunch of dirt and filled the box with stinky organic composted earth, (to which Daughters and I keep commenting, "What stinks") and today planted a variety of things. Because I have no idea how things will grow, and since a good chunk of the vegetable box is in the shade, I'm only doing small experiments of things just to see what ends up coming out. I'm not sure if I'm going to be successful with everything that grows, but we're going to give it a try. Daughters in particular were extremely excited with all the planting that they've been able to do, and hopefully my cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes will have a fun time growing this summer.
With all that green, and with all that good vegetable sense in my garden, I took it upon myself to try some new treatment of vegetables. I wanted simple treatment of vegetables that really highlighted delicious flavors, and came up with this dish. The vegetables are blanched, and then thrown in ice water to shock bright green. Then they can be stuck in the fridge and right before serving, tossed with sesame oil, sesame seeds, salt and pepper. The result is a light beautiful vegetable dish that just tastes like that - vegetables.
Cold Sesame Asparagus and Snow Peas
Serves 4 to 6
8 oz asparagus, cut on the diagonal into 1 inch pieces
8 oz snow peas, cut in half on the diagonal
1 ½ tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon crushed sesame seeds
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add asparagus and snow peas all at once. Blanch for about 90 seconds. Drain and immediately immerse vegetables into ice cold water. Allow vegetables to shock green and remove from water. Drain and chill until needed.
Right before serving, toss asparagus and snow peas with sesame oil, sesame seeds, salt and pepper. Serve.