Wednesday, June 22, 2011
And, so I have returned to my love and my nemesis – the garden and the insects that keep me on alert. Life moves along even when you don’t obsessively baby-sit, prune, coddle, and stare. In the week since I left them I was occupied with other life needs and pleasures:
Now, back in my own yard my ritual has started up anew – so many sneaking weeds to seek out and pull. Flowering herb heads to be nipped in the bud and added to the evening salad. I anxiously await the arrival of the corn and watermelon. I left the corn was no higher than my waist, and after a few drenching storms in the past week they have responded by exhibiting an adolescent growth spurt. They are now, proudly shoulder height with long tassels popping out. I know they need to cross-pollinate, and there are about nineteen stalks ready to get-down. Though I don’t think I will be harvesting any for the Fourth of July weekend but anytime there after I am sure. My itsy-bitsy orbs have swollen into quite recognizable future seed-spitting contestants, and they have spawned many new orbs.
I did get some good advise from the farmers I know up north regarding some of my trouble spots, and fingers crossed they might start to flourish. The one reassuring bit of information I got was that the habanero grows slower than the jalapeno and I should stop worrying that they are feeling neglected. I was most grateful to learn that for I am, in my mind at least, to making my chili sauce this year from my own backyard. I will wait the thirty days they want, and in the meantime the
okra requires cooking; tomatoes are bursting on almost every plant, and cucumbers and zucchinis mysteriously mature overnight.
Summer Bean Stew – yields 6 servings
7-ounces Swedish brown or kidney beans
1-large onion – chopped
4-garlic cloves – chopped
1-jalapeno - minced
1/4-pound okra – sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
3-cups chopped tomato
1/4-cup chopped fresh sage leaves
2-ears of corn – kernels only
2-small zucchini – cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2-tablespoons – roughly chopped Italian parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Soak the beans for about 8 hours in 6-cups of water. Drain the beans, and place in a 4-quart pot. Cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reducer to a simmer, and cook for an hour. After an hour drain the beans again, and return to the pot. Add the onion, garlic and jalapeno plus 3-cups of water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for another 1-hour.
Then add into the beans the tomato, okra, and sage leaves. Simmer for 30-minutes. Stir in the corn, zucchini and parsley. Cook for another additional 10-minutes, and then season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.