Monthly Archives: July 2012


My little vegetable garden produces, “a little of this and a little of that”. Rarely enough of any one vegetable to serve as a main dish. Vegetable Curry turns mixed veggies into an uncommon meal.

I happen to particularly like curried cauliflower and peas, so I always use those in this recipe. Green bean and broccoli are also very good; but I imagine nearly any combination of vegetables would work well in the recipe.

Ingredients for Curry Sauce:
  • 2 Tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • pinch ground red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk (optional)

Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add mustard seeds until you hear the seeds pop.
Add chopped onion, saute’ lightly.
Reduce heat. Add lemon juice and spices. Add tomatoes, stock and salt to taste.
(if you are including coconut milk, you can add it now or after the vegetables have cooked)

Add vegetables to your curry sauce. Consider individual cooking times for each; those that require the longest cooking time are added first.
Simmer 5 to 7 minutes, occasionally testing vegetables. They should be cooked, but not mushy.

Garnish with parsley or cilantro and serve with rice.

I used to own a variety of garden reference books. I’m sure they are still here, somewhere. I just don’t bother to look in them anymore.


Something is attacking my plants; there isn’t a moment to spare! In a situation such as this, I’ve found the quickest way to identify a specific garden pest is:
Google>(plant name) +pest>images; look through the images for one that matches problem you’re seeing in your garden.
Another, more perfect but not as quick, identification method is, “catch them in the act”. Most crawling pest feast when we’re not around, at night or early in the morning. Since their brains are so tiny, I’ll assume that they are not cleverly sneaky, just avoiding the mid-day heat. If you inspect your plants at sunrise or dusk, you’re likely to spot the criminal.

 

Once identified, you could check the home page or site map of my favorite garden doctors. Okay, full disclosure, the site displays ads from pesticide corporations, like Terminex. But the authors of the content offer imaginative solutions along with time-tested methods for eliminated pests and diseases. There is nothing humorous about losing ownership of your garden to pests; but I like how these guys think…and appreciate their sense of humor. Eric D. Ronning wrote about dealing with Yellow Jackets; “Don’t be all that and a bag of chips. If you tart yourself up with brightly patterned clothing and use perfume, cologne, lotion, hairspray, or hair gel, you’re asking yellow jackets to be interested in you.”

Along with helping to lower the stress, the site offers a variety of non-chemical solutions: “Pyrethrin dust. Pyrethrins are an extremely effective natural insecticide made from chrysanthemums.”  Yes, “chrysanthemums”- flowers. That must be environmentally safe, right?

The Doctors suggest, Diatomaceous Earth (DE) may save my spinach. DE made from ground-up, fossilized remains of diatoms (microscopic ocean critters) and kills insects by inflicting little lacerations on their bodies when they crawl over or through it. (I wonder how they harvest this?)

If it turns out to be too late to save the last of my spinach,  it’s important to remember; spinach is a Spring crop, and mine has had a good run.

Serve with corn bread. This is a serious suggestion; something about corn bread compliments this salad better than any other bread.

The recipe is adapted from Mid East Tabouli. The dressing proved to be the key to the success or failure of the recipe. “Too sour” was Stevie’s critique of Tabouli dressing (olive oil and lemon juice). When I reduced the amount of lemon juice I heard, “tastes like plain oil.” Introducing brown mustard gave it the dressing taste again, without becoming “sour.”

Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 pounds green beans, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup bulgar wheat (can substitute couscous for bulgar, cooking method is the same)
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas (optional)
Dressing
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp brown mustard (we like Dijon)
  • salt & pepper

Soak the bulgar wheat in hot water until the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Drain any excess water.
Wash, slice and salt the beans.
Steam or boil the beans.
Stir the prepared bulgar, vegetables, and dressing together in a medium bowl.
Serve at room temperature.

*In August, corn is plentiful and fabulous. I’ll replace the green beans with parboiled sweet corn and diced green pepper. Also try- Tomatoes & Basil: like bruschetta without the bread.

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