Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Stir Fried Greens Picked by the Light of the Moon

Sounds a little like a recipe appropriate for October, doesn't it?  Actually, it was pretty dark - I don't believe the moon was completely available as a light source. 

Somehow during the week and a bit off, it got dark - now when I come home after kids' practices, it is getting dark.  The gloaming, as it were.  Since we had Monday off, yesterday became my shopping day.  I try to do everything - feed, food, gas - all on one long, after work errand.  That means, when I get home, late, it is getting dark and there are bags and bags of feed to unload, and groceries to put away, plants to water in the greenhouse, sometimes animals to feed depending on my husband's schedule. 

I found myself in the very backend of the gloaming - in the dark, as it were, finding vegetables for stir fry by feel - a few different kinds of sweet potato leaves, a few collards, some baby turnip greens, and a couple very young green peppers (one had a slug on it, yuck, yuck, yuck).  I even spied out some brown eggs from my Orpingtons (but only because I know where two of them like to hide their stash). 

I added what I picked (in what felt like some Halloween preparation) to green beans and eggplant harvested previously, some shoyu beans and broccoli from the freezer, and the young one cut up some tofu we bought at the store.  It was quite tasty.  I really love sweet potato leaves and collards stir fried in olive oil with teriyaki sauce!  It is tasty, and I feel so virtuous eating my greens. 

The trick to stir frying eggplant is to get the oil hot and to cook it into submission before adding the teriyaki or shoyu - otherwise it either stays bitter or absorbs far too much of the sauce.  Sweet potato leaves can be added at the end, but collards need a good long time to cook or they stay kind of tough.  I am looking forward to the turnips and their greens in a couple of weeks and the kale a couple weeks after that! 

However, I am feeling anxious about my kabocha - I have indifferent luck with squash - something always seems to happen - the tractor accidentally (I ask you!) runs over the heart of the patch - or my lovely volunteer acron squash on the compost pile gets weed whacked.  Lawn and garden machinery has it in for any winter squash I this year, I planted them next to a bright hot pink trellis.  Maybe that will indicate to the machinery operators that they are not weeds

As for the summer squash - I think my dog has a secret love for immature crookneck - because I will find her little paw prints next to the plant - and the lovely little baby squash gone.  Circumstantial evidence, but convincing to me! 

For some reason, I am absolutely craving pumpking - maybe it is that harvesting by the light of the October moon thing again - and it just seems extra important that those kabocha fluorish - even if it means I need to wait another 113 days for my first pumpkin. 

I find myself obsessing over my garden in a way formerly reserved for horses, sheep, and classroom - especially the darned squash.


Chicago Transplant said...

Hi NancyDe,

Sounds delicious! I always found vegetable gardening magical: To think that you can grow plants and vegetables to eat from tiny seeds amazes me. I wish more people had the time, energy and enthusiasm for gardening. I like to think of gardening as a way of getting in touch with my inner hobbit.... (I'm a big nerd and Tolkien fan.)

My sister recently harvested some Italian eggplant from the garden. I love to add some olive oil, salt and pepper and throw it on the grill over low heat until it the texture becomes so unctuous it almost melts in your mouth. So simple, but so delicious. My friends are amazed by the alchemy of so few ingredients over the right amount of heat.

I discovered a new love for pickled beets last year when I harvested more than I knew what to do with. My mother recently planted more of them in the garden and I can hardly wait to visit Maui so I can pickle more of them.

Best of luck with your kabochas. I've actually harvested them when they're very young and added them to stir fries like zucchini. My sister loved the flowers that I stuffed, battered and fried.

All of this garden talk is making me hungry! Thanks again for your frequent updates. I love to garden vicariously while I'm in Chicago.


NancyDe said...

I may just have your Tolkien habit beat - I have read the trilogy 32 times in my life, which is ridiculous. I read them once a year starting in about sixth grade....used to drive my sister nuts making up melodies for old Tom Bombadil's songs. (I am SUCH a geek!)

I just hope I get some baby kabochas - dying for them. I don't want to even pick the flowers, because I am desperate for little pumpkins.

I like to bake it and serve it with quinoa cooked with shiitake mushrooms and tofu glazed with balsamic vinegar, honey, and rosemary in a reduction - sooooo good. Roasted or grilled eggplants are my favorite - especially with fresh mozzarella and really ripe tomatoes - and balsamic vinegar. Can we tell I am hungry today?

I had some tiny beets and greens last week which I added to black beans for nachos last week - it was so ono, really, even if it was a funny pink color.

Are you going to Maui for Christmas?

Chicago Transplant said...

Hi NancyDe,

Yes, I'll be going to Maui for Christmas. It will be a nice break from teaching, and the Chicago winter.

I've got a couple of garden projects lined up: I'm planning on making some trellises and shade structures out of PVC for the planter boxes I've made on previous trips. If I'm lucky, I'll have time to work on some retaining walls and more planter boxes.

I'll probably be spending most of my time at the family business that my sister runs. I'll be helping with inventory and troubleshooting their accounting and point-of-sale software. It'll be a lot of 10- and 12-hour days, but I'm glad to do it if it means I can spend time with my family.

Your kabocha recipe sounds great. Have you ever considered growing your own quinoa or amaranth? I just looked up some info on the web and it sounds like there is a bit of work involved, but it sounds more reasonable than trying to grow other grains in Hawaii. At any rate the pictures of the seed heads are kind of pretty.

I hope things at the homestead are going well.


NancyDe said...

I bought amaranth seeds, but didn't have much luck - but that was one of those years that it flooded out the old garden site. I should try again - I am not sure about quinoa. I would have to do some more research.

It's been pretty rainy the last few days and gloomy, but at least this new garden site isn't washing away like the one on the other side of the house. Having mixed luck on the germination of what I planted -the mustard cabbage and turnips are growing so fast you can almost see them, but the onions, not so much.

It will be nice for you to get out of the Chicago winter weather and spend some time with your family in December.

I was thinking about making some pvc structures awhile back - but then we made our "big" greenhouse which attaches to our house. I need more in the way of rain cover than shade, though. We made our trellises out of bamboo and fence scraps. Hopefully it is sturdy enough to hold up the kabochas....