Homage to Thomas Jefferson’s vegetables, and bok choy salad

One thing this blog has demonstrated is that when a week or so goes by and I haven’t produced many exciting, blog-worthy meals, I get antsy.  Even before Eating the Rind was born, if I cooked simple, no-brainer meals a few nights in a row, I would then pour through my favorite blogs and cookbooks, and consult my always expanding list of “recipes I intend to try” in order to come up with an exciting, more challenging meal than scrambled eggs. 

Blaming the fact that the hubby has worked many late nights and not been around for dinner much lately, the last few weeks have been witness to many repetitive solo meals for me: pasta, quinoa and veggies.  Don’t get me wrong, there is something to be said for whipping up a quick favorite for yourself just in time for Modern Family, leaving almost nothing to clean up afterwards.  And just because you are cooking for one doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare something hot and satisfying.  An egg, in its each and every form, happens to be one of my favorite foods on the planet.  However, I’m ready for something that requires a little more brainpower than simply flipping a spatula.  

Another reason I haven’t cooked much lately is due to travel.  Over Halloween weekend, I hightailed it to the University of Virginia to be with my nearest and dearest college buds (but don’t be mistaken, we hail from Bowdoin!).  Charlottesville, Virginia is home of the Blue Ridge Mountains, those cute bugs on the lettuce leaf, and until she has an MBA in hand, Sadie.  In between Halloween parties and exploring local wineries and breweries with the girls, Sadie and I managed to squeeze in a trip to Thomas Jefferson’s beloved Monticello. 

First official Eating the Rind model

Previously unbeknownst to me, Jefferson was actually quite the experimental gardener, and Monticello remains home to a 1,000 foot vegetable garden!  Besides the beautiful layout and location of the garden, one outstanding feature is the variety of unusual veggies and herbs.  Jefferson paid painstaking attention to the detail of his 19th century garden, experimenting with new crops and noting everything from bug infestations to soil quality.  Much of his observations are still applied to the present-day garden and certain 19th century gardening techniques are still employed.

Southernwood

Okra

Green Nutmeg Melon

Eggplant

Texas Bird Pepper

Tennis Ball Lettuce

 

Not even the height of growing season!

In honor of this plethora of vegetables, I give you Bok Choy Salad, shared with some other great friends last Friday.   

Bok Choy Salad

1 medium head bok choy, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

2-3 scallions, thinly sliced

2 (3 oz.) packages of uncooked Ramen noodles (yes, you read correctly), crushed

1/4 c. slivered raw almonds

1/4 c. raw sesame seeds

1/4 c. butter

Vinaigrette:

1/2 c. red wine vinegar

1/2 c. olive oil

1/2 c. sugar

1 tbsp. soy sauce

Melt butter in large saute pan, adding Ramen noodles, almonds, and sesame seeds.  Brown mixture in butter until golden.  Remove from heat.  After cooling for a few minutes, combine noodles, almonds, and sesame seeds with bok choy and scallions in salad bowl.  Combine red wine vinegar, olive oil, sugar, and soy sauce in empty jam jar and shake until sugar dissolves.  Pour over salad and serve immediately.

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This entry was posted in bok choy, gardens, travel, Virginia. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Homage to Thomas Jefferson’s vegetables, and bok choy salad

  1. Clara says:

    The next time you’re in C-Ville, you should go to the Tapas Bar BANG http://bangrestaurant.net/
    I went there with my friend from Wheaton (whose mother is the curator of the Monticello by the by) and it was lovely.

    Hope you are well.
    Cornelius.

  2. LarivInTheHouse says:

    The salad is as infamous as the one you pay tribute! This is amazing…thanks for sharing

  3. Sheila Murawski says:

    Made the bok choy salad last night (11/14) — with a few differences. Bob doesn’t like cold accompaniments to dinner, especially now that it’s cold. So after I browned the noodles, etc., I added the bok choy and dressing to the large frying pan, off-heat. I quickly tossed it together and served it at room temp (with a chicken main dish). I couldn’t stop eating it! I can see this dressing with any number of sauteed or stir-fried veggies. It’s a great addition to the repertoire!

    When I saw Monticello, it was during the first week of April. The gardens and the hills beyond were the most tender shade of green, just leafing out, and the earth was moist and dark, still unbaked by the relentless summer sun. It was inspiring! No wonder that Jefferson envisioned a nation of yoeman-farmers plowing and sowing in the New World while importing the best of French wine!

    Sheila

  4. Lexi says:

    Hi Jess,

    I saw your blog on your fb page and thought I’d say hi! I’ve been to Monticello a few times, and it is so gorgeous. Hope you were able to visit some wineries too!

  5. Lexi says:

    PS. Just reread, and you did visit wineries 🙂 Which ones? There are so many in VA, and I had no idea until I moved to DC. Luckily, many of them are within two hours or so, so make an easy day trip!

    • We visited Veritas–gorgeous! The wine was better than I expected, having heard not such great things, but the scenery was beautiful. So glad you checked out the blog! Hope you are doing well and maybe we can rendez-vous next time I’m in DC!

  6. Pingback: Farnum Hill Cider and apple chutney | Eating the Rind

  7. Pingback: Another cider, another cheese, another trip to Virginia | Eating the Rind

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