14.228 Caprese Bagel

Cycle 14 – Item 228

21 (Mon) August 2023

Caprese Bagel


by me

at home

-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-

with the Family

A few weeks back, I became a farmer.

Although I’m not a fan of outdoor farming, even at a hobby level, like my mother does at the cabin (see for example 12.208 The Third Score) – mainly, I hate being in the sun; secondarily, I don’t like smelling/touching manure – a small indoor hydroponic herb garden seems doable.

The supermarket only had seeds for basil and cilantro, so I started with that.

VegeBox, a kit that contains an overhead light source + water tray + cups + single-use soil pods; the seeds and nutrient solution were purchased separately.

The Wikipedia entry for hydroponics includes the following:

Despite inert media, roots can cause changes of the rhizosphere pH and root exudates can affect rhizosphere biology and physiological balance of the nutrient solution when secondary metabolites are produced in plants.  Transgenic plants grown hydroponically allow the release of pharmaceutical proteins as part of the root exudate into the hydroponic medium.

Reminds me of the reading section of the LSAT (law school admission test), which requires takers to answer questions based on extremely obscure/esoteric passages of writing, often from bygone academic journals.

Day 0.

The light operates on an automatic 14-hr cycle, which I initiated at 6pm so that it provides light overnight, shutting off at 8am the following morning, when natural sunlight comes into the room, indirectly, so the babies are never in the dark.

After 1 day – signs of life!
After 1 week – legitimate sprouting.
After 2 weeks – the leaves are differentiating to look like actual cilantro and basil.

Milestones in fatherhood: first DJ (pre-GMTD), second IZ (see 3.092 Udong), third LLP (see 11.070 Chicken Nuggets with Chili Sauce), and now this.

After 3 weeks – fully formed, but not quite enough yield for a full harvest.

Even if premature, I was overflowing with impatience to reap the rewards of my efforts – exchanging the water in the tray every week, spritzing the leaves every night.

So, I pruned a few bottom leaves and made a quasi-Caprese salad on a toasted bagel – in retrospect, I should’ve added salt + pepper + olive oil.

Now available at E-Mart, Kiri is a French cream cheese – much smoother in texture and milder in flavor than, and thus preferable to, the Philadelphia brand.

Frankly, I’ve never been a fan of classic caprese salad, primarily because I don’t really like raw basil, but okay if it can be supplemented (masked) with additional components (see for example 13.248 Caprese Salad with Smoked Salmon).


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