Wednesday, October 30, 2013

kimch-/meat pancakes

Excellent new way to enjoy firm tofu steaks.....brown in very hot coconut oil flavored with roasted sesame oil, serve with a thin film of Indian mango chutney.

Andy Firk shared this on FaceBook for those of us who rely heavily on the true yams (Dioscorea species and cultivars) as staple crops. HOPEFULLY this released NON-native insect won't decimate our yams along with the invasive, nasty tasting Air Potato (D. bulbifera).

Autumn ritual at Starnesland.....boiling, draining and freezing Velvet Beans (Mucuna pruriens).

Here in central Florida people are beginning to harvest their sweet potatoes....I like to wait until the vines die back some for best flavor and sweetness. I'll be trying these recipes for sure!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

About eight years ago I bought seeds of food grade Velvet Beans (Mucuna pruriens) from ECHO in Ft. Meyers, and have been selling/sharing them ever since. For folks growing them for the first time, I want to be sure they know this type lacks the stinging orange spines they may have read about on-line...instead there is a purplish-brown soft velvet on the pods as they mature. They have a very long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine, and a few pods worth of the cooked seeds inside the pods eaten daily in three week cycles can in men delay the graying of hair while adding muscle mass (clearly the latter never happened but I do have brown hair at 60 and so wonder if that is why). I learned of them eight years ago from two guys at my gym who had visibly packed on the muscles by taking the pricey gel caps in those same three week cycles. Being a tightwad, I bought the seeds instead. I've served them often as finger food at parties, eaten like edamame soybeans after simmering them about half an hour in a dipping sauce I make using soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, onions, hot pepper, roasted sesame oil, brown sugar and water run through the blender then thickened with cassava flour...the cooked seeds' taste and texture is like a mix of boiled peanut and lima bean. Bummer I never got the pecs I wanted so I'll settle for brown hair at 60.

Now I understand why the 70% rain chance vs. 40% two days ago!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Paul, Emily and I are enjoying making kimchi more and more as a staple then a treat, and I am getting EXCELLENT results using sliced/chopped raw green papaya as the bulk of mine. Later this winter I'll use more traditional kimchi crop plants like brassicas, especially Asian brassicas plus I'll try Morris Heading collards. Some years ago I made kimchi soup that came out wonderful, and at a meeting of the Tampa Rare Fruit Council some years back I feasted on kimchi many folks that day said "sounds gross" but these small, hand-held crepes were scarfed up in no time. This recipe looks especially good!

Many thanks to Andy Firk for his having dreamed up today's YamFest about perennial food crops for Florida, and to Josh Jamison and H.E.AR.T. in Lake Wales for hosting the event. Both guys gave concisely delivered yet info-packed presentations, and I enjoyed the free flow of questions and answers between them and attendees, and between attendees. I loved the potluck, got my first ever taste of wild boar, loved Emily Jamison's kimchee fermented three weeks OUTSIDE of the fridge (this inspires me to make my next batch room temp too) plus I was proud of Cracker for doing well with the other dogs, even the ones not on leashes as he is not around other dogs very often except at the beach. The plant swap near the end was fun too. Thanks to Marabou Thomas for my first ever cutting of Redonda (sp?) chaya. And thanks to Haroun Aaron Moffatt for those nigella seeds and nigella oil and that root for tooth and gum health. A very nice day all around. Our donations of cash vital to survival in this culture went to very good causes. Nice to see favorite folks and meet new ones. I got home soon enough to have to have done very little of the night driving I dislike.

Monday, October 14, 2013

One more reason to love my Publix at Gandy and Himes.....about a month ago I told a young guy in the produce section of my obsessive quest for potato onions to grow here as a possible perennial onion and explained to him what they are. I asked if he'd ever seen such a thing...he'd never heard of them, wrote it down plus my name and phone number. About 2 weeks ago he spotted me, even remembered my name, told me no luck so far but was trying a few more angles. A few days ago he called and said he'd exhausted every option he could think of. I thanked him copiously for all that effort. Talk about above and beyond the call of duty! A few days ago I planted in a Water Wise Container Garden the heavily divided "Indian Shallot" that I got in July at the Tampa Rare Fruit Council that I suspect is the same/similar to my "White Potato Onions" from Texas. In other areas of the yard I am trialing one that Jon and Debbie Butts grow at EcoFarm that also goes dormant in summer. I've got a few plants of "Eliska's Bunching Onion" that I feel is very likely the same as/close to my Allium fistulosum. I recently bought from Sweetbay white "boiling onions" but me and a few folks suspect that they are just ordinary white onions (Allium cepa) harvested early and sold under a fancy name at a premium price. My years old colony of Allium canadense in a baby pool Water Wise Container Garden has broken dormancy right on schedule. The perennial sweet leek I got from Josh Jamison is doing okay but I suspect is resenting shade from a nearby Queen Palm and I will likely move it. Chris moved to Live Oak, Florida and up there is trialing red and yellow potato onions plus a species Allium from colder states....A. amperosum (sp?)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Tanja Vidovic is a delight, and a wonderfully experimental, generous gardener. The ONLY thing I don't like about going to events at her place is seeing her orderly, tidy, 99% weed-free gardens, then returning home to my weedy squalor! Dang, she has a job, a child, a husband AND a house yet keeps her gardens immaculate, and I'm a self absorbed single DOES she do it?! I had a great time as always. On the way there I stopped at Mary Jo's because she could not attend after all but wanted to share the plant signs she made for Tanja plus HUGE moringa cuttings for folks at the event today. She tasted my green papaya salad and said "Whoa, that is spicy, be SURE to let people know". But I guess the way I said it made people think that SHE made it and they now want the recipe. So here it is, inspired last week by a friend of Alex Barcia giving on FaceBook the recipe of a dressing they make for raw green papaya salad that struck me as QUITE different from the usual sweet/sour type. I was hesitant, as while I like peanuts out of hand, and make a few peanut butter and honey sandwiches annually, I'm not usually fond of them in a main dish. I modified their recipe by dropping the tahini and using just smooth natural peanut butter, by adding the juice of one ripe lime, and a piece of ginger root maybe the size of a large cherry tomato, all buzzed in my Bullet Blender. I never measure when cooking, but here is the recipe basics: 1 cup smooth peanut butter, 4 tablespoons roasted sesame oil, a few dashes of a VERY hot sauce, 1 tablespoon each of honey, soy sauce and brown cider vinegar, juice of one lime, bit of raw ginger root. I folded it into the chopped peeled raw green papaya (my dumpster dived food processor does not have the shredding blade) and chopped yellow onions and let it sit in the fridge for two days.