Yesterday, I headed up to McRorie Community Garden and had a look at my patch. There were some radishes ready to pick. Thanks to Zoobird Bob Tuskin and his Survivalist seeds for these! I gathered some mint and collard greens, as well.
Maura, the garden manager, was there on her bike. She brought some organic matter from home to put in our compost box. That's her, wearing a "Recycled Cycles" T shirt. I love the turquoise on brown color combination. By the way, Niles' shop Recycled Cycles is my favorite bike shop in the world. He does it right. I wrote about it here, in case you're interested.
If you're interested in community gardening at McRorie, contact Maura. Her newsletters and contact info are in the McRorie Community Gardeners Group here at Zoobird. There are a few patches available!
Nick was there as well. Nick lives in the neighborhood, which is something I am happy about for him, since he can just walk right across the street and garden. He's also got great neighbors, including Ron Chandler, Chris Suter, Arupa and Bob Freeman, and many more people you'll find here on Zoobird!
When I got home, I decided to make a good old fashioned southern meal of collard greens and lentils, as my wife suggested. She makes me the best lentils you've ever tasted. They freeze well, so there are usually some frozen from larger cooking she does in dinner sized portions to have at whim, without fuss.
I have mentioned in the past the excellent cookbook I found called "Ethnic Vegetarian Cooking", by Angela Shelf Medearis which has a great Kenyan recipe for collard greens. You can take a peek inside the book here (compliments of Google Books). Basically, you boil the greens with some pepper, onion and tomato, and add spices like salt, pepper (I used peppercorns) and I improvised with some delicious Jamaican Yellow Curry powder I got at our local Jamaican shop.
Wow, that turned out well! Meanwhile, believe it or not, the cornbread was a cinch to make. I followed the recipe on the cornmeal box and used stone ground whole wheat flour from our local organic grocer, bought in bulk on the way home from the garden. I used olive oil instead of the veg oil suggested because I didn't have any veg oil. So, the corn bread turned out a little heavier, and delicious! It took about 5 minutes to mix the baking powder, corn meal, egg white, sugar, salt, oil, and stir while the oven heated to 400 F. Then, I popped it in for 30 minutes while the collard greens cooked, Kenyan style. Thanks Angela Medearis and especially the Jamaican Yellow Curry, which made the collard greens taste better than ever before. You know, I have had cravings for corn bread and actually paid $2.50 for a little square, single portion at Whole Foods. The 8"x10" tray I made last night cost about $4.00.
So, I cut up one of the radishes for the Kenyan style collard green dish. It tasted great.
This is what the radishes looked like after our cold weather, here in Florida. The radishes were OK, even though the leaves were wilted.
Arupa sent out the most beautiful, thought provoking holiday card via email this year. I thought of her and all the homeless people especially here in Gainesville as I cooked the collard greens. If you'd like to help out with the homeless here in Gainesville, you can find Arupa's newsletters in Zoobird's Caring Zoobirds group. It's full of good ideas for you to consider even if you're not local.
I lit some incense in honor of our brothers and sisters on the streets.
If you're wondering how to make a delicious green salsa (salsa verde), my friend Bob Hauser, a Culinary Institute of America grad and Austin restaurant owner, recommended this approach, below. That's what I'm talkin' about!
So, meanwhile the garden continues to be a delightful place to spend time. The rewards are many: delicious veg for the table, companionship, fresh air and spirit lifting surroundings, and some sort of contribution in the form of being a part of the life cycle by growing, cultivating, reaping, and enjoying the harvest!
Let me just mention "Possum Living", which you'll read about soon. Stay tuned!