What to do with the cabbage I received in my CSA share this week? I decided on making a healthy soup; and I also used some of the other vegetables I received from the local farms in the recipe. The soup is very easy to make, with nothing fancy—just fresh veggies, chopped up and thrown into a big pot, covered with water and simmered. I used an 8 quart (7.6 liter) pot.
6 carrots, chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 or 4 celery stalks, chopped
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
half a head of cabbage, ripped or cut into small pieces
bunch of scallions, diced
2 to 3 cups of chopped tomatoes
preferred seasoning, to taste
Put the carrots, onion, green pepper, celery and mushrooms into the pot. Add enough water to cover the veggies. Put the lid on the pot and simmer. Then add the cabbage, green beans and scallions. Keep adding water as needed to keep veggies covered. Lastly, add the tomatoes. Keep pot covered and simmer until the veggies are tender, approximately 45 minutes. This soup is flavorful and doesn’t need any extra seasoning. You can serve it as it is, or enhance further. I added an organic no-salt seasoning, made by Kirkland, which contains a whole bunch of herbs including garlic and pepper. It added a little “kick” to the recipe. Expect 10 – 14 servings.
My newest papaya plant is full of fruit. This tree is only 7’ tall so the fruit will be easy to pick once they are ripe. Papaya is also called lechosa and fruta bomba in Spanish. In Australia and some countries of the Caribbean, it is called papawor pawpaw. The mature fruit can weigh up to 20 pounds!
I only discovered persimmon when I was visiting my brother Carlos, in Sacramento, California, 13 months ago. He had a basket of it on his kitchen counter that his neighbor who was growing it had given him. Carlos had never tasted the fruit either. So we sliced one open and ate it. I was astonished at how good it tasted. So Carlos gave me a few of the precious bounty and I’ve been a huge fan ever since.
When I saw persimmon trees on sale at my local nursery this past May, I took one home, even though persimmons don’t usually fruit well in south Florida. The variety I purchased– Fuyu Persimmon– is bred for our hot climate and is supposed to need less cold days to develop fruit. The little tree had three tiny persimmon growing on its’ limbs, which the saleslady told me would fall off because the tree was still too small to fully develop the fruit. But I held out hope that they would grow large enough to eat.
I placed the new tree along the side of the house until I could figure out where I wanted to plant it in my yard. Then I sort of forgot about it. By the time I began to pay attention to it again, it had dried out. All the leaves had fallen off, but the three tiny persimmons still clung to the tree. I promptly planted the tree and began to faithfully water it. Leaves grew back. Then one immature fruit fell off. Then the second immature fruit fell off. But the last remaining fruit (pictured) tenaciously hung on and did eventually grow large enough to eat. Can’t wait till next year’s crop!
I am so thankful to my gardener for helping me cut down these large papayas from my very tall papaya tree. I just couldn’t maneuver the fruit-picking pole between the high hedges and the electrical wires to get at these beauties. He got them easy…although a fourth papaya was accidentally knocked into the yard of my NeighborWithCameras. We weren’t able to retrieve it because there is a wall protecting their side yard from mine, not to mention the security cameras trained on us. I hope they are grateful for the tasty treat that fell out of the heavens onto their grass!
I wasn’t fond of collard greens so when I saw a big bunch of them in my CSA box, I thought I’d incorporate them in a pasta dish. I started with the recipe in the newsletter and modified it a bit. First of all, I added more garlic. My motto is that if you add enough fresh garlic to any greens, they will taste better. So here are the ingredients:
12 large collard green leaves (stemmed & ripped-up)
1 red onion (chopped)
4 garlic cloves (chopped)
half of a fresh cayenne pepper (chopped finely)
ground black pepper (optional)
pasta of your choice (I used whole wheat rotini noodles)
parmesan cheese (optional, omit if vegan)
Sauté the onion and garlic in a little olive oil in a deep skillet. When the onion has just turned tender and translucent (in about 5 minutes), add the collard greens and cayenne pepper to the skillet. Add a little water to the pan and simmer until the greens are tender (about 10 minutes), stirring frequently. Add fresh ground black pepper, if you wish. Cook the pasta in a separate pot. When the pasta is done, you can serve it on plates and add the collard greens mixture on the top, as I did, or blend it with the noodles before serving. If you eat cheese, sprinkle shaved or shredded parmesan on the dish. Serves 2-4 people.
For someone who had never liked collard greens, this dish was a tasty revelation! I also loved the extra zest the cayenne pepper provided.
I wasn’t sure what to do with the giant fennel bulb that came in my CSA box yesterday, so I started with the soup recipe that came in the newsletter and modified it a bit. Here are the ingredients:
1 fennel bulb
2 medium thin-skinned potatoes
2 ½ cups water or stock
½ cup mushrooms
ground black pepper
Chop-up the fennel bulb and onion and cook in a little water, until soft. Add cubed potatoes and rest of water. Simmer until potato is soft. Use a hand-blender (or other method) to cream the soup. In a separate skillet, sauté the mushrooms in oil or use the mushrooms raw if you prefer. Pour soup into bowls, add mushrooms and a feathery fennel garnish to each. Serves 4.
The soup tastes similar to potato/leak but with a hint of anise from the fennel.
The Day 2 Dinner recipe I made from The22DayRevolution is Artichoke, Tomato and Avocado Salad. The ingredients listed in the book are:
1 box grape tomatoes
1 BPA-free can artichoke hearts
2 tbsp Kalamata olives
I used chopped-up plum tomatoes because that is what I had at the time I made the salad. Instead of the olives I used olive oil and mixed it with lemon from my tree. If you have fresh artichokes, use them rather than the canned ones. Lastly, I garnished the dish with fresh basil from my herb garden. This was an easy, basic recipe that makes 2-3 servings. Thumb up on this one!
“Curiosity is the truth and the way of creative living.” – E. Gilbert
I saw Elizabeth Gilbert when she came to Miami, a few weeks ago, to promote her new book, Big Magic. I had read a couple of her other books: Eat, Pray, Love and Committed— both of which I enjoyed. I just finished Big Magic and loved it! This book is about the creative process, how you get ideas, living a creative life and inspiration. In a nutshell, Gilbert’s point of view is that EVERYONE is creative. What we humans do is create. We make things. Some of us nurture this aspect of ourselves, while others don’t. I also appreciate Gilbert’s thoughts on IDEAS. If you have an idea you’re exploring—whether for a story, song, painting or other invention—and you don’t work on it, it will go to someone else who will. The IDEA is a life-force itself.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is creative, wants to be creative, seeks inspiration, struggles with their craft, or is just plain curious.
Since I’ve been blogging primarily about plants and people– especially in relation to edible plants and tropical fruits, I thought I’d pay homage to Gilbert’s book by dressing “her” up as The Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat. (Bonus points for anyone who knows who I’m talking about)!
The Day 1 Lunch recipe I made from The 22-Day Revolution is Quinoa Salad with Lentils. The ingredients are:
1 cup quinoa
1 cup lentils
1 large carrot
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
½ teaspoon salt
Dash ground pepper
I didn’t actually know what Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”) was before reading the book and doing a little research, though I had eaten it previously. Quinoa is the edible seeds of an ancient grain that originated in the Andean region of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Columbia. It is high in protein—containing more protein per calorie than brown rice, potatoes, barley and millet. It has a low gluten content and is said to be well tolerated by people with celiac disease. The seeds are generally cooked like rice, and used in a wide variety of dishes.
I purchased both White Quinoa, grown in Bolivia, and a Tri-Color Blend, grown in the U.S. and containing white, brown, red and black seeds. I used the Tri-Color Blend in this salad. The recipe is enough for four and was very tasty.
I read The 22-Day Revolution, by exercise physiologist Marco Borges, while on vacation. I had been given the book a few months ago at an event where the author was speaking. The book contains the fundamentals for starting a plant-based diet & maintaining healthy habits; and a detailed 22-day meal plan. The book’s Forward, written by Beyonce, is about how and why she converted to a plant-based diet; and the Introduction, by Dean Ornish, M.D., touches on the benefits of eating whole plant foods for your health and the environment.
Borges’ program is based on the principle that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit, so his regimen is 22 days, just long-enough to kick some bad habits and adopt new, good ones. The first 100 pages are about the why and how to change your diet from animal-centered food to a completely plant-based, non-processed, whole-food regimen. It has lots of nutritional information and tips for how to set-up your kitchen, how to shop, etc. The next 100 pages are the actual regimen, broken down into Day 1 through Day 22. For each day, he provides an inspirational message and/or power-talk and a recipe for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The last section of the book contains more information on lifestyle, exercises and additional recipes.
What I like about the book is that the diet is for a defined and reasonable amount of time—less than a month–so it seems do-able. It makes sense that if you feel good at the end of the 22 days you will want to continue eating that way. That is what the point of the book is—it’s not only about losing weight (although you can use it for this) but about eating healthy to have a vibrant life. I also liked the beautiful color pictures of many of the recipes in the center of the book. Honestly, this is what first enticed me to delve into the book. I know I had to try some of them! So for the next few weeks, I’ll be making many of the recipes and sharing a corresponding picture and thoughts with you. Hope you let me know if you try any of them!