Most of us rely on grocery stores or farmers to get our fresh produce, but I always thought it would be an incredible gift to be able to grow your own food. Recently I was lucky enough to meet someone who does just that!
That’s me and Ton Lê, a friend of my dad’s from work. We went and paid him a visit and Ton Lê was kind enough to show us around his incredible garden in the property around his home. I’ve never seen such an impressive home garden in my life!
He’s made a really efficient use of his land and has his property separated into different boxes for various vegetables and fruits. Corn, onions, celery, potatoes, persimmons, herbs and greens galore! I’ve never seen so much beautiful LETTUCE!
And even some blueberry bushes!
I can’t even remember half of the vegetables and fruits because there were so many, but my dad and I had a great time talking to Ton Lê about his garden and snapping photos of all his beautiful plants.
Ton Lê told me about the all-natural approach he takes to growing his food. He refrains from using pesticides and weeds everything by hand. There are three giant rain barrels holding hundreds of gallons each that he uses to water the whole garden. He harvests the seeds from his plants so he can re-use them the following year. Talk about sustainability! It was easy to see how important the garden is to him and how much time he puts in on a daily basis to keep it running perfectly.
I was so inspired to see how much amazing food could be grown in a normal backyard space! One day I would love to be able to cook and eat straight from my garden the way this family can. Ton Lê was generous enough to give me tons of lettuce and bok choy to take with me!
I left with my arms full of freshly picked greens!
I used the beautiful lettuce in my garden salad with Greek Yogurt Green Goddess Dressing that I posted last week:
When I asked Ton Lê how he eats bok choy, he said they make a simple broth and add noodles and the bok choy at the very end, cooking the greens just slightly. I followed his suggestion and came up with this delicious noodle soup that I’ve been enjoying for days!
- 3 c. vegetable broth
- 2 inch knob of ginger root, peeled
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 t. mushroom soy sauce (regular soy sauce will work if you can't find mushroom)
- about 4 oz. asian-style rice noodles
- ½ c. sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 1½ c. sliced bok choy
- ½ c. mung bean sprouts
- Heat a large pot of water for cooking the rice noodles in.
- While the water comes to a boil, bring the vegetable broth, ginger know, and whole garlic cloves to a simmer in a medium saucepan.
- Let the broth mixture simmer for 10-15 minutes, then pour the liquid through a strainer and discard the ginger and garlic. Return the broth to the stove over medium-low heat.
- Add mushroom soy sauce to the broth, taste, and add more soy sauce to taste.
- Add the mushroom slices to the broth and let cook until they have completely softened, about 5 minutes.
- While the mushrooms are cooking, cook the rice noodles according to package directions, rinse in cold water, and add to the broth mixture.
- Add the bok choy and let the whole soup simmer until the bok choy turns bright green in color, about 1 minute.
- Serve hot with bean sprouts on top.
This noodle soup is so comforting and hearty but also really clean and simple in its flavors. I’ve been really into having this for lunch, and it actually reheats very nicely if you want to make a large batch.
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of cooking with ingredients that you just picked! Huge thanks to Ton Lê for opening up his garden to me and sharing his wealth of amazing vegetables!
(I PASSED THE BAR EXAM!!!!!!!! 😉 )