Saturday, November 15, 2008

Weekend Rambles

After the rain over the last few days(not a lot but some) it is too wet to do yard work though the leaves need attention in the worst way. Not only is it wet but a cold front is coming in and it is very windy...suboptimal for leaf raking.

Got my first seed catalog yesterday and it is the best one. It is from Seed Savers Exchange and it only has heirloom varieties. It is the hardest thing in the world to just choose a few things to plant when there are so many interesting things available. It is also fascinating to read the history of each seed. Where it was discovered and who originally cultivated it and the names are wonderful. Jacob's Cattle beans originally cultivated by the Passamaquoddy Indians in Maine. Hidasta Red beans from the Native Americans of the Dakotas. Trail of Tears beans brought by the Cherokee to Oklahoma on the infamous march from the Smoky Mountains in 1838. Bloody Butcher corn first grown in 1845 and Country Gentleman corn a gorgeous 'shoe peg' corn first introduced in 1890. Boothby's Blonde cucumbers from the Boothby family of Livermore, Maine that makes bread and butter pickles that are fabulous. Hundreds and hundreds of vegetable seeds that have been kept year after year by our ancestors and all tested by mother nature. No, many of them don't grow vegetables as large as the new hybrids but you can save the seeds and they will grow true. Plant the seeds from the new hybrids and if they are even fertile you will get something totally unpredictable. These heirloom seeds have been selected by time and mother nature to produce a dependable crop. I always plant at least one variety of heirloom and multiple varieties of tomato and beans. I will also plant some hybrids but I will know that I can save back some seeds from the traditional plants and no matter what happens I can grow a garden. You are beginning to see some heirloom tomatoes in places like Whole Foods and once you taste them you will understand their appeal. They are grown for food and not because you can pick them mechanically and ship them around the world or because the have a shelf life of weeks. Besides its fun as I can spend hours looking at the catalogs and figuring out which to plant.

Something else that's interesting is that Slow Food USA has teamed with the Seeds Savers Exchange and identified some of the varieties for their ARK of taste program. We're talking real food here.

Tonight I am going to do 'trailer park' cooking. I got some broccoli in the CSA box and I am really tired of just steaming it or sauteing it. I mentioned I was cooking broccoli to my mother while chatting today and she said she had a new recipe from a church supper for broccoli cheese cornbread. I looked it up on Google and their are hundreds of recipes, all very similar. Basically, a box of cornbread mix(I'll just mix my regular cornbread and leave out the eggs and buttermilk), 1 cup of cottage cheese,1 box of frozen broccoli(I'll sub fresh but blanched), a chopped onion, 4 eggs, salt...mix and bake. It actually sounds pretty good! I'll let you know.

UPDATE: Don't bother. Definitely not worth repeating. I could probably work with it a little and make it better but it is too much like a casserole for my taste and I am not a fan of casseroles.

Even though Madam will whine I've decided tomorrow is chili day. I bought a nice little grass fed piece of London Broil today that I will cut up and we'll do a slow cooked chili for dinner. There will also be leftovers which I can take with me to work next week(yes I will be testing software again next week). I made the mistake of going to the cafeteria in the building once for lunch last week and that won't happen again.

Madam is home from shopping now so it is time to spring the broccoli cheese cornbread on her and the chili.

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