Category Archives: produce

Apple Pie With Fresh Ginger

I made this apple pie for Thanksgiving, but it would be good for Christmas too. I just took a standard apple pie recipe and substituted fresh ginger for the dry ground ginger. When you substitute fresh ginger for dry, you need to use more because fresh ginger isn’t as concentrated. This recipe at Allrecipes.com calls for 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger, but I used 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger. Actually, I think I should have only used 1/2 a tablespoon. Continue reading

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Sweet Potato Casserole

I love sweet potatoes. I think I’ve mentioned this before (sweet potato and squash bake, sweet potato pie, bean and sweet potato soup, spiced sweet potato oven fries). We buy them whenever we visit Vientiane in the fall or winter because the sweet potatoes there are fatter and better.

I made this casserole for Thanksgiving. Isn’t it funny how such a sweet dish is considered a side dish? People even put marshmallows on it and still don’t call it a dessert! You can find the recipe here.

When it says “cooked and mashed sweet potatoes” I recommend boiling the sweet potatoes instead of baking them because they’ll be more moist. Of course, bake them when you cook the casserole, but boil the sweet potatoes before mixing everything together. Also, this recipe is very sweet – you could probably reduce the amount of sugar. If you don’t have pecans, you could probably leave them out and it would still taste great.

Monthly Rice Field Photo #2 – December

Now the rice fields are harvested. All that remains in the fields is the dry stems. Cows are free to roam to find any missed pieces of rice and to eat the dry rice hay. Probably the next 6 months of rice field photos will be pretty monotonous. There is only one planting season here, so you’ll have to wait until the spring to see any changes in this field!

The weather today is sunny even though it doesn’t look like it in the photos, which were taken earlier in the morning. It was chilly enough to need a sweater when I started walking to take this photo, but I quickly warmed up in the sun. It’s 68 F outside now. What a beautiful day! It rained briefly about a week ago, but other than that, it hasn’t rained since October.

Here you can see the cows a little better:

Monthly Rice Field Photo #1

Apple Butter

I made an apple pie for Thanksgiving and had some leftover apples, so I made apple butter. It’s so yummy on toast or pancakes. I based my recipe on this one from the National Center for Home Food Preservation. The main differences are the size of the batch, the way the puree is made, and also I didn’t can my apple butter. You definitely could though. Since I made such a small batch, it wasn’t worth it to me. If you do want to can your apple butter, just follow the instructions on the webpage I linked to above. I didn’t have apple cider or apple cider vinegar, but I imagine using them could only make your apple butter more full of apple flavor!

Apple butter should be thick like this when it's finished cooking.

Continue reading

More Rice Harvest Pictures

 

collecting the rice stems into a stack with the rice ends in the center

 

 

another rice stack

 

 

cut rice stems drying before being collected into a stack

 

 

fresh rice

 

Monthly Rice Field Photo #1 – harvest time

I’m planning to take a post a photo of this paddy rice field every month for the next year. I hope this will give you a better idea of how the seasons change in Laos and how rice is grown. Usually people plant rice at the beginning of the rainy season, in May or June. Then the rice grows until October or November when it is dry and ready to be harvested. When the rice is planted, the fields are full of water, maybe 6 inches deep, but by the end of the rice season, the fields are dry. In Laos all of this is done by hand, so it’s a lot of work, although some families do have threshing machines for processing rice after the harvest.

So now we’re at the beginning of the dry season and everyone is harvesting their rice. James co-workers are busy in the fields when they’re not at work. Our house helper has taken the week off to harvest upland rice with her family. A friend invited us to harvest rice with her family this Saturday, but that’s already a busy day for us. I’d like to help sometime though so that I can better understand what harvesting is like. I’ve heard it’s really hard work. I have a feeling I wouldn’t actually be much help having never done it before!

In the picture at the top, you can see that some of the rice has already been cut on the right side of the photo. It’s put in bundles and laid on top of the rice stems. After the field has been cut, the harvesters will collect the rice into a large stack until they thresh the rice to get the grains out (usually with a machine). I hope I can get a picture of a rice stack.

Here you can see people harvesting (you may need to click on the picture to see it bigger):

More Rice Harvest Pictures

Monthly Rice Field Photo #2

Canning Applesauce

Is it still apple season in America? It is here. Well, apple season isn’t as exciting here as it is in Michigan. Usually we only have one variety of apples and they’re expensive compared to the other fruit, but in apple season we have two kinds! All of you who can get honeycrisp apples should – you’re so lucky!

But you don’t really need special apples for apple sauce, just lots of them. I found the recipe at the National Center for Home Food Preservation. I pretty much just followed the recipe, added some cinnamon, and pureed it at the end with a wand blender. It ended up tasting just like the Mott’s Cinnamon Applesauce that my mom always had when I was little 🙂