Curiosity

When you’re shopping and you see veggies or fruits that you don’t recognize do they peak your curiosity? Have you ever bought something at the Farmers Market just because you wondered what it would taste like or you were just intrigued by the way it looked? Well I am curious and really love finding things that I don’t know about.

The other day while shopping at the Davis Farmers Market I noticed something that looked like a pointed cabbage and inquired about it. The conversation went something like this: What is this? It’s a cabbage. OK, why is it pointed and not round? It’s pointed so that there is more to use. The core isn’t as large as in the round cabbages. Made sense so I bought one to try.  The other thing that sold me was that the head wasn’t too large. Most cabbage are big enough to feed a football team. These weren’t.

It had good cabbage flavor that wasn’t overpowering, the leaves were crisp and the sliced pieces came apart easily. And he was right there is more to use, the core was very small compared to conventional round cabbage heads.. I sliced mine in half and made a slaw with  with one half. Very nice on an evening where the temperature is hovering just below 100. The other half I’m saving to use in fish tacos  later this week.

Poking around on the internet I found that this cabbage is quite easy to grow from seed and that the heads can be stored for up to 10 weeks. Maybe I’ll try to plant some this fall. The plant itself is quite pretty and might look great in the flower bed. Caraflex will definitely be added to my list of veggies to keep an eye out for.

Cole Slaw

A recipe from Omega Nu’s Recipes in Review 1948 – 1976, a compilation of recipes from the Alpha Gamma Chapter of Omega Nu, Woodland, CA.

I received this cookbook from someone I used to work for as a gift many years ago. It’s quite a hoot to read some recipes that were in vogue at that time, like Mandarin Orange Salad with Topping, which uses canned mandarin oranges, mayo, crushed pineapple and Cool Whip. Cool Whip was a very “in” ingredient during the ’70s.  I’m sure this book could fetch a nice price in an antique store but I could never part with it. The person who gave it to me used a red pen to note her favorite recipes and put little tips like, Our favorite!, Outstanding!, Excellent!, and my favorite at the bottom of the Hot Crabmeat Dip recipe,  P.S. Use the cheapest crab you can find. The best entry though was a note she wrote on the inside cover:

Dear Ann,
I thought about getting you a “gold watch”—but decided, since you’ll now have plenty of time, this would help you fill those empty hours ( and tummies!) Many, many thanks — how I will miss you!
 
Fondly,
Jan & the rest of the family

She was a very gracious lady, generous and kind,  a very good employer.

Cole Slaw
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 T vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 T + 1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp pepper
2 carrots
6 cups cabbage, finely sliced
1/2 cup snap peas, finely sliced*
1/2 to 1 cup salad shrimp*
2 T roasted sunflower seeds*
2 T chopped chives*
(additions to the original recipe)
 
Mix together and chill. Serves 6
 
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What a difference a month makes.

Koralik Russian Heirloom Cherry tomato

Well it’s warming up here in the Central Valley and the garden is growing quite nicely so thought I’d give you an update. Tomatoes are ripening and I have enjoyed several of the little jewels as I wander through the garden early in the morning. My favorite time in the garden is around 6 or 6:30am. It’s perfect then, not too hot or cold and it’s quiet with only the songs of the birds to break the stillness.

The first fruit from the Ichiban Japanese eggplant is ready to pick, which I’ll do in the morning and the Astia zucchini has been producing just fast enough that I don’t have to eat one a day. They are nice little (I pick em small) squash and are a really good dipper for the edamame hummus that I have been buying at Trader Joe’s. I haven’t tried any cooked yet. They taste too yummy raw.

 Here’s the difference a month can make. On the left is how they looked on May 9 and on the right June 10.

Here’s a look at the rest of my little plot.

On the left is my bean tepee which is growing green, yellow and purple pole beans, the squash is a zucchini called Zephyr. I’ve grown this one for a couple of years and really like it. Two thirds of it is yellow and the blossom end is light green. Quite pretty. If you look closely you can see one just to the right of the chives.  Squished just past the squash are Persian Baby cucumbers (Green Fingers), an Ambrosia melon and a Romanian Sweet Pepper, that isn’t really taking off like everything else. Think it needs more heat, which is forecast for this week. The little green berry basket is protecting some parsley seedlings from the snails. Herbs are thyme by the beans, chives by the squash and tarragon by the cukes and melon. Tarragon is supposed to be a good companion plant for just about everything so we’ll see how happy the melon is when I taste it later this summer. There are already several 1″ melons growing so that’s a good sign of things to come. The beans have only recently started blooming and I’m looking forward to seeing some sets in the next week or so. The other plants in the foreground are; Sweet Alyssum, Snow in Summer and Santa Barbara Daisy, which was recently clipped to encourage a second bloom and also give the melon and cukes room to spread. Later in the season the squash will flow out over the Snow in Summer which it did last year. That arrangement didn’t seem to hurt either plant.

The beans, cucumbers, container zucchini and parsley were all grown from seed from Renee’s Garden, local seed company. The other plants were from starts I picked up at various local Farmers Markets. The size of the plot is 4′ x 10′ and this is it’s second season as a veggie garden. Last year I had beans, squash peppers, melon and cukes too but this year I rotated the positions of the plants putting the squash where. A mini crop rotation if you please. I also added organic manure before the rains last winter and let it soak into the ground not mixing it into the soil until this spring. Think I’ll try to plant a cover crop of legumes or clover this fall and see what that’s like. Must be why I love gardening so much, there’s always something to learn and it’s always an adventure.

How’s your  garden doin?