Saturday, January 14, 2012

Down On The Farm.....

Yesterday I scored two 5 gallon buckets of scraps from the new Wimauma restaurant several blocks north of Gandy on the west side of MacDill Avenue, and half of a 7 gallon bucket from Artifacts a couple blocks south of Gandy on the east side of MacDill Avenue. So my ducks and chickens were well fed yesterday and today. In turn I give both chefs cool fresh herbs and veggies to help them fashion unique meals based on their needs. Win win for all.

I am enjoying vigorous growth of a new-to-me Chinese brassica, a mustard called 'San Ho Giant' in a large, restricted-drainage tree pot, with a mild sweet crisp center rib to each mild, tender leaf. Unfortunately, today some chickens got over the fence and nibbled all around the edges of it and a nearby, similarly grown pot of  Daikon radish. I will thin the San Ho Giant and sell them in 1 gallons cheaply so that that remaining ones stands a better chance of making a "Chinese Cabbage" head.

Delayed freeze damage showing up more and more on yams. But, oddly, so far the Jamaican Cherry and Katuk and Chaya seem barely effected. Of course the Cassava plants are defoliating  although the stems seem intact. The Paper Mulberry runners from my neighbor's yard that I've fighting for a decade are defoliating, a reminder to me to cut them down and put a few pounds of animal feed grade urea to the stumps to kill then digest them. I TRIED to see this FAST growing tree as a source of biomass but I still want to eradicate it. And I will.

A few days ago I dug up a few BIG chunks of a HUGE yam growing just outside my bedroom (in summer the vines consume a re-bar structure to shade an outdoor room that cool the air that the box fan in my bedroom window draws in all winter the vines die, signalling harvest). I'd thought it was an African Yellow Yam (Dioscorea cayenensis) but once I saw the white flesh I realized it was a Caribbean White Yam (Dioscorea rotunda). I gave the top half to my friend Mary Jo to eat the lower portion of and plant the top) and cut off two big "steaks" from the large, crispy, slimy tuber and cut off the skins quickly. Into the wok went some coconut oil, roasted sesame oil, and African palm oil (SUPER rich in beta-carotenes so adds a lovely yellow color to foods).

I fried the two yam slabs, slowly, and covered, to trap the steam heat to insure deep cooking as the outsides browned slowly. Next I added sea salt and garlic powder and red peppers, then flipped them to brown again. I spaced out taking them to Roosevelt 2.0 to share with friends...bummer! So they instead helped to feed me the next day.  The texture is like a very good baked Idado potato but denser and, to me, more satisfying. That okra-like slime when raw is very nutritious, but slow deep cooking transforms it into a savory delight that one friend says is like an excellent French Fry. No wonder the true yams (Dioscorea species) have been staples in the tropics and sub-tropics for many centuries.

38 tonight so the $5 mattress warmer is on for a delicious entry into bed later after I "alter" and enjoy music and videos and Facebook a while to celebrate my extreme good fortune.

Happy Gardening.

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