Sunday, June 27, 2010

Green Evangelicals Take on Gov't over Oil Spill

Reposted from NPR: Michael Spooneybarger/AP
Evangelical Christians are turning their focus toward saving the environment!

This is the best news I've heard in years.

Great radio interview about these new "Green Evangelicals" on NPR's Weekend Edition: Sunday; listen below!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Luxurious, healthy lunch in 10 minutes flat

Weekday lunch in 10 minutes flat for this summer solstice Monday -- a few key ingredients make it happen!

Luxurious-Tasting (but gluten-free + vegan!) Chipotle, Black Bean, Carrot + Cilantro Wraps, in a few simple steps:

(Some of this stuff is old news for you regular Yum Diary readers, but there are some new tricks in here too, perhaps.) 

1. Make a pot of black beans for the fridge for the week. They come in handy in all sorts of ways. (See below for hot tips on tasty bean-cooking.) Or just keep some canned in the pantry!

2. When heating/reheating the black beans, add some fresh diced carrot and cook lightly. Adds texture and sweetness!

I scored some fancy lil ivory heirloom carrots at City Roots urban farm's stall at the all-local farmers' market.

My cat is bananas for carrots, btw.

This is an action shot of her feverishly rubbing her face all over those heirloom carrots.

(I washed them before cooking them, of course. My crazy cat lady-ness goes only so far!)

3. Fire up the skillet and toast a Sami's Bakery Millet-Flax Spinach Lavash wrap in some butter. Better, use Earth Balance organic buttery spread.

I swear, it tastes fantastic compared that yucky Smart Balance stuff. Promise.

Or use oil -- whatever. Just do me one favor:


They are totally gross if you don't saute them in a lubricating cooking medium first.

See how yummy that looks? It is a health food miracle. These guys make your whole kitchen smell like pizza when you saute them, thanks to their garlicky, oregano-y nature. Yum.

(Seriously, they're really not good raw. Won't kill you, but will totally kill your buzz.)

4. Spread your bean/carrot/veggie mixture on one half of the wrap, then...

5....Spread that magical condiment, creamy vegan chipotle mayo, liberally on the other half. Big ups to The Shop Tart for turning me on to  @Rosewoodmarket's amazing vegan chipotle mayo!

I do cheat and make my own sometimes (puree one canned chipotle in adobo for each cup of Veganaise), but usually I don't have time so I just buy it from Rosewood Market. I like to vote with my grocery dollar for the small, indie, local business in general, for I am a hippie on the inside!

6.  Throw on some fresh chopped tomato from the garden (luxury!) and tons of chopped cilantro with a squeeze of lime. Throw in some fresh chopped hot peppers if you're feeling it.

And really, you can put whatever the heck you want in there. This is just my lunch today, and I figured, why not blog about my lunch like the food nerd I am?


[And now, for the food nerd extra for the day:]

Magic French-Mexican Black Beans from Scratch

I soak dry beans w/kombu seaweed for 6-8 hrs, rinse, then flavor them with olive oil and sauteed mirepoix before simmering in veggie stock for a few hours.

(Mirepoix! The French cooking trinity: onion, carrot, celery. Note that the veal stock in this recipe photo is separate from the mirepoix, which is a vegetarian thing entirely.)

Like cult foodie favorite cookbook author Richard Olney (Simple French Food, above and right), I add bay leaf to my mirepoix, but mine is, nerdily, fresh picked from my tiny bay laurel bush! (Which, unlike the rest of my garden, is growing verrrrrrry sloooooooooowly.)

Then I throw in some epazote (tasty Mexican anti-tooting herb), coriander, cumin, fresh oregano and thyme.

Gives the beans a deep, rich, bright flavor!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Salsa: garden style!

Garden salsa fresh out the yard, for another sweet, hot Saturday.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

First pic of post-surgery squash plants w/new HTC Hero 5MP camera

First photo from my new Sprint HTC Hero smartphone, to test the 5 megapixel camera image quality: my squash plants seem to have survived surgery after the big squash vine borer attack!

Also testing Blogaway app for Android to post to Blogger.

[Update: Blogaway works! Functionality is fairly basic, but I'm stoked that I can post blogs on the go, now!

Camera picture quality isn't exceptional, but it'll do. What do y'all think?]

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I think my post-surgery squash are going to live.

It's too early to be really, really certain, but I think that my squash plants might just make it post-surgery!

I don't want to jinx them, so I'm going to wait a little while longer before posting photos of their sprightly, springy green stalks (and the big old mounds of richly composted, clay-rich earth I packed around their main stems after slitting them open to remove wormy, white, 1-inch long squash borer larvae).

Anyone else have squash borer success stories to share?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Squash vine borers are jerks. But...

Squash vine borers.


Thanks to my step-bro-in-law Ashton, I now know what is killing my squash from within.

Just now, I used a sharp knife to slit open the affected squash stems, and I found 1-3 squash borer larvae per main stem.

Pulverized those jerks.

Now, I have all these squash plants that are all slit open like surgical patients.

I read today that bT (bacillus Thuringiensis) is an organic pesticide that can be *sortof* effective on these guys, but per this fellow, Tom Clothier, resistance is mostly futile and one should just give it up and prep diligently for a less moth larvae-ridden garden next year.


Thinking I will heap good, fresh soil and mushroom compost/erth food to cover the slit-open squash stems and hope they will heal? I don't want to give up.

Any advice on this would be much appreciated! Meanwhile, I'm gonna make some millet toast with almond butter on it. OMG almond butter. Why have I not loved you til now? Now I may love you a little too much.


This is no ordinary egg.

2 inches in length, it's my first Japanese white eggplant!

My yellow wax beans (technically pencil pod black wax beans) are coming up! I took master gardener Jenks Farmer's advice in one of his recent columns at The Shop Tart, and I did indeed put them everywhere!

Unfortunately, a bunch of revived poison ivy is also coming up.

Any tips on removing poison ivy without resorting to Roundup herbicide?

I don't want to use herbicide near my awesome front yard raised garden -- look at how great it's doing!

This cucumber is going to end up in a pitcher of ice water later this afternoon, I suspect.

Although next year I'm going to pick a different type of cuke, for the seeds in these "Burpless Hybrid Cucumber" fruits are really big and woody.

Natural pest repellents like nasturtiums have been doing their job pretty well, I think! And they are so pretty.

See those petunias? They are totally protecting my parsley. (Or is that cilantro?)

Luffa gourd! I'm growing my own loofah sponges. I'll let you know how it goes!

In the upper right corner, that's borage, a cucumbery, flowering plant that I've planted all over my gardens to deter pests, per the organic gardening books I've been consulting.

Not sure if I will be able to get the salt out of these teensy, tiny seashells, but I collected about 5 gallons of them to use as a calcium-rich, sharp-edged (and therefore slug repellent) mulch.

Any advice?

My lil sideyard patch is kicking out the yellow wax bean jams.

These early jalapenos are indeed early, and will end up in a salsa soon!

 Yay, my first black zucchini!

Getting very stoked for these pimientos de padron.

The catnip is going bonkers! It's also a known natural insect deterrent.

Not sure what's up with the main stem of my white pattypan squash, though...anyone know what this is?

The plant is otherwise producing lots of leaves and flowers, and starting a few fruits, although I found two babies had rotted and fallen off their stems. Hm.

On a cheerier note, these supersweet 100 cherry tomatoes are delicious!

And my green shiso leaf (perilla) is taking off. Tastes bright, green, herbaceous, and I have no idea what to do with it besides put it in a spicy tuna roll. Ideas?

I have extra plants that I grew from seed if anyone wants one -- let me know!

I also have some extra sweet Genovese basil plants as well as extra Brandywine tomato and supersweet 100 cherry tomato plants -- hit me up!

The lemongrass and citronella are doing magnificently.

At the beach last week, I chopped up a frond of lemongrass and added it to a saute/soup of ginger, garlic, local shrimp, coconut milk, lime juice, chilies, etc., which was pretty fab, I gotta say!

The epazote seeds I planted are *finally* coming up. Or at least I *think* they're epazote...

My first cleome (spider flower) blossom! Grown from seed! Woo-hoo!

And check out my hen and chicks! Hi guys. You're succulent. You're cute.

The early summer garden is a total delight!

Can't wait to see what happens next.