Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Four Letter Words

I have an alternate collection. Collecting words is a good thing. Putting them in categories aids retrieval. Okra, for some just another four letter word. OKRA! instead of *&%$! Cooked into a southern stew it's good. Let me explain.

Stewed Tomatoes and Okra

One small to medium onion
Two cloves garlic
Three tomatoes
Four banana peppers
Five okra pods

Peel and chop onion, garlic and tomatoes. Seed peppers. Slice okra.
Sautee onions, peppers and garlic until soft.
Add okra, it will immediately develop a mucilaginous goo when sliced. Don't panic. It washes off with water and makes the stew stewy.
Add the tomatoes.
Stew over low heat until tomatoes have released their juices and veggies are soft.
Cooks note: The French would add some white wine to deglaze the pan and loosen the stew. Beer works fine or water. Just a splash.
Serve over rice for a vegetarian dinner for two.

Monday, June 21, 2010

...think shade.

To think Southern is to think shade. It really is all about the heat of the subtropical sun these days. Temps in the mid 90s with high humidity and it feels like a 'saw-nah' out there. I walk in the early morning choosing shady streets, water my garden standing under the shade of a now mature pin oak that I saved 30 years ago and walk the puppy at night. What puppy?!? The puppy that showed up under the shade of the oak tree on my birthday. She comes when I whistle and hasn't dug in my garden yet. I use water therapy as a teaching tool. She isn't a water dog. And I am having to water lots lately. No more on that for now. I get too upset.
Back to the shady garden, darkened and secluded from the world. All are lush green. Many have magnolia, live oaks, pines or pin oaks giving perpetual shade and shelter though my hands-down favorite is shaded by a large Japanese maple. River birches provide natural umbrellas of shade draping around their trunks creating a green garden room. Every yard, church and some businesses in my neighborhood have a spot of shade to ease the heat and please the eye. All give peace and shelter.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


My eyes tear
A small bunch of onions
Pulled and drying on my porch
On an old door screen

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ya win some, ya lose some.

We've had a cool, rainy spring, perfect for planting, harvesting and digging so that's what we've been doing. The peas and broccoli have come and gone, lettuce is no more, garlic is curing on the porch, swiss chard is up and at 'em, squash has been coming off for weeks and our first tomato will be eaten in a day or two! I planted potatoes this year and have been sneaking a few from under the straw for the past few days-way fun. Carrots are the biggest hit this year. I planted lots. It's great fun to pop them out of the ground, it just makes the most wonderful sound. Potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper fresh out of the garden have been on the menu this week and squash casserole is bubbling away in the crockpot for dinner.
True confessions: the beets were a bust, twice. Turnips weren't much better.Tomatoes are wilting daily. Neem oil is good but cool, very wet days are a curse on tomatoes.