Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The growing that will happen at the end of the tunnel

Today is day 9 in the hospital, and the walls are definitely starting to cave in on me.

The incessant beeping, fluorescent lighting, doctors and nurses at all times, needles, tubes, endless medications... It all wears a person down. Not to mention I have never been away from the Irish Boxer Husband (who visits everyday), Monkey (who has been brought by once) and Lion Cub (who charms all the nurses) for this long. And the garden, too! Thank goodness for my wonderful friends who do all they can to keep me sane and fighting.

So to try and stay positive, I figured I would start planning out my 2014 growing. In a fit of just-because-I-am-stuck-here-doesn't-mean-I-can't-do-some-damage, I ordered a mess load of fruit trees. I also have all the seeds I ordered and also saved from last year's crops. So in a nutshell, here is what I am setting myself up for, existing and new:


  • Low Chill Apple, 3 on 1 
  • Flavor Grenade Zaiger Pluot
  • Gold Kist Apricot 
  • Burgundy Japanese Plum 
  • Saturn Peach Tree 
  • Black Beauty Fruiting Mulberry 
  • Snow Queen Nectarine 
  • Hachiya Persimmon 
  • Fuyu persimmon
  • Desert Gold Peach
  • Babcock Peach
  • Garden Prince Almond
  • Spice Zee Nectaplum
  • Meyer lemon
  • Mexican lime
  • Nagami kumquat
  • Black Mission fig
  • Hass avocado (he needs a friend!)
  • Raspberries (Heritage, Fall Gold) and Blackberry (Triple Crown)
  • Southern low-chill blueberries, I forget the exact types
  • Sequoia strawberries

  • Tomatillos, green and purple
  • Tomato: Amish Paste, rainbow cherry mix
  • Green Globe artichoke
  • "Summer Melody" squash mix
  • Kabocha squash
  • "Mixed fingers" eggplant mix
  • Bush beans: Contender, Tendergreen
  • Pole beans: yard long, Rattlesnake
  • Buttercrunch lettuce
  • Cucumber: lemon and straight eight
  • Peppers: Chinese Giant and Tam's JalapeƱo
  • Red orach -- very curious about this one!
  • Garlic: Music, Russian Red, Elephant, CA Early have all been planted along with shallots

  • Basil basil basil!
  • Cilantro, slow bolt
  • Garlic chives
  • Chives
  • Thyme
  • Maybe a few others... IBH got me a pack of seeds and many I am not even familiar with


  • Sunflowers
  • Nasturtium
  • Cosmos (no choice here -- they are volunteering all over the place)
  • Calendula
  • Wild flowers

I don't know where I am actually going to *put* all of these... But it should be an exciting summer!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Yellow and green - Korean side dishes

If you've ever had an authentic Korean meal, you know that any entree you order will be accompanied by a variety of side dishes, or "banchan." Having a tiny bit of this, and a bit of that... you're guaranteed a well-rounded meal. I love the way that the dark green and light yellow of these two dishes look together, so often will plate them side by side.

"Spinach" and soybean sprout side dishes (banchan)

The "green" is typically made with spinach, but I had a messload of tatsoi (a type of mustard green) in the garden that needed to be cut and it worked out just fine. You could probably use swiss chard, collard greens, or just about anything in that family. I picked up organic soybean sprouts at the Korean market but you can also sprout your own.

First, wash your greens. You want them clean. :-)

Bring some salted water to a boil, and drop your greens in; spinach wilts very quickly, but tatsoi took just a minute or two longer... you want it all well-wilted but not completely disintegrated so keep a close eye. It shouldn't take long.

Then you drain the greens and squeeze out the water.

In the spirit of efficiency, I used the same salted boiling water to cook my "yellow" -- the soybean sprouts -- for about 5 minutes.You want them to no longer be crunchy but definitely not mushy.

I then drained the sprouts as well.

The same seasoning was used for both. Sorry this isn't very precise, but I totally took a pinch-of-this-and-dusting-of-that approach.
  • Splash of soy sauce
  • Just a few drops of sesame oil
  • Dusting of red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 Two friends, made to be together!