Since I spend some time on the countryside at the moment, working at a holidayplace with a little farm, I get lots of fresh, local foods. I have some chicken here, that lay an egg for me from time to time, which I really appreciate a lot. There is a chestnut tree in the garden and although I feed most of the chestnuts to the horses, there are still a few also for me.
Unfortunatly Akebi season is over, but at least I had some of this strange but healthy and sweet fruits when I first came here.
In the last days I cooked a different dish every day with the huge squash/pumpkin (whatever it was exactly.. I don't know! It was dark green outside, whitish light green inside with lots of seeds and it was bigger than a basketball) that we got for free from farmers around and I still have some of the fantastic home-pickeled umeboshi some ladies gave us as a present...
And today I thought about doing something with the forest of Yomogi (mugwort) that is growing all over the yard. Since I don't have an oven here, I can't bake Yomogi Pan, I have no idea how to make Yomogi Mochi and Yomogi Udon were a little too much work for me today. So I made something simple and quick yet delicious: Yomogi Pesto!
I took a handful of Yomogi leaves, washed and chopped them finely. Then I mixed them with 2 big cloves of garlic that I had mashed and added a fair amount of seasalt, sesame oil, a few spoons of kinako
(which came quite handy as a subsitude for ground nuts, that I didn't have here) and a little black pepper.
I tried some of this with the squash risotto I had for lunch, just about half an hour after I made it and it tasted pretty good already. However it became even better after a few hours in the fridge, when it was really soaked and the oil is full of the fragance of the herbs. The next day I had it with pasta and it was fantastic! Such a fresh and intensive taste! Wonderful!
Another favourite of mine are the combined flavours of Yomogi Pesto and potatoes... mmmh, just a little bit of the Pesto with roast potatoes makes such a simple dish so delicate.
Don't hesitate, eat the weed and be happy ;)