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Sunday Morning Musings Over Coffee

25 Aug

WHAT STALKING TAUGHT ME THIS SUMMER

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When you think of a mother, what comes to mind?

“Eat your vegetables”

“Waste not, want not”

“Because I made it for you, if you don’t want it, go hungry until the my next meal”

“Make hay while the sun shines!”

When I was in Morocco, I was with some farmers and I was able to observe how much people depended on the seasons to go well so there would be food on the table. Imported food is expensive, and hubz ( bread ) and the local fare was what there was to eat at every meal. Mother nature nurtures that lovely country without fail.

This summer as I learned to forage a bit, I was reminded that when co-operating with mother nature, I had to eat what was laid out on that proverbial table or go hungry.

I learned that stalking what I did not plant takes a lot of energy and time.

As I thought about the time it takes to clean lily bulbs for the table, or cringed about the time it can take to harvest a flour out of the seeds to purslane, I had to admit that choosing to spend my time in such a way forced me back to a bosom that I didn’t know I had missed. I felt taken care of. Sheltered a bit. Nurtured.

It is true that I also felt empowered by the knowledge I gained, and I felt independent of the need for money and a good grocery store. But mostly I was reminded of my time in a developing country and the jealousy I felt as I watched them move about and respond to the very unchanged earth that took care of them.

Here in the United States not many of us cannot choose to live this way full time. We have sophisticated responsibilities and cities to maintain. We have a way of life to protect. I have children I have to raise and train in the way of technology and making a living.

Yet…

Together we took a moment out of our summer and allowed ourselves to remember from who’s womb we were born and return to her bosom for a bit of rest. This summer we were able to decide that we will continue to gather from her and allow ourselves to be nourished, taking lessons from our brothers and sisters across the ocean and give thanks for all that has been provided.

The Mighty Croc Pot

1 Aug

I spent another day cleaning lily tubers. The whole day.

Did I mention that these can be tedious to prepare? All I can say is thank heavens the tubers are great raw and I could amuse myself snacking while washing and cutting off the best parts.

That may be the very reason this endeavor took as long as it did!

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The recipe is very simple, as croc pot recipes always are.

Lay in as many tubers as possible. This will take a while because the cook and people passing by will be tempted to eat them raw.

Add whatever you like. I added fresh sage, carrots and fresh basil, then put the meat on top.

Just as an example of my country bumpkin-ness, I decided to add rabbit. I am sure chicken, beef or pork would be lovely. I am equally as sure that this would work great as a vegetarian or vegan dish also.

Foot note: After all this stalking, I am still living!

How I Failed The Mighty Purslane

29 Jul

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Friday evening I took off for the weekend and left my next successful post marinating in the refrigerator. I was so sure that while I was out visiting friends out of town success would be brewing at home.

I was so proud! I took some advice from Mr. Gibbons and pickled the purslane. I also took some well intended advice and tossed some yucca in for good measure.

Yuck.
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So today I proudly share with the world that it is totally ok to make a really, really, really bad dish.

Go ahead. Toss it out.

There are more goodies to stalk tomorrow.

Excuse Me, Do You Have Potatoes In Your flower Bed?

25 Jul

The lily is awesome! Edible in three forms, and it decorates your yard! Who wouldn’t love that?

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Today I went out and dug up some lily roots that were growing into the hay field. The best part about harvesting the tubers from lilies is that thinning them out and replanting only makes them healthier, so this is not so much harvesting, as it is the lily offering a free dinner for some grooming.

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After digging up some tubers, I put them in a pot of fresh water to soak off some dirt.
The tubers are a bit tedious to clean and prepare, but not any more so than shelling peas for dinner.

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This is what the tubers and the tops will look like when you separate the two.

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The light colored ones at the top will taste a bit like water chestnuts and are awesome as a snack or in a salad.

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The ones on the right are tougher and slice and boil or roast like a potato, and the ones ont he left are a happy marriage of the two.

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So naturally I added onion and had a happy little stir-fry and cooked the pig weed from yesterday to go with it.

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I dined with our residents again today and they gave lily tubers a hearty thumbs up.
Honestly, I am going out to dig up some more and make an awesome pot roast.

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Either way, after all this stalking, I’m still living!

The Lowly Pig Weed

24 Jul

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From Stalking The Wild Asparagus:
“It isn’t called that because it’s only fit for pigs. It is just that pigs, knowing a good thing when they taste it, will eat all of the weed they can get.”

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Step one: Find the pig weed.

I plucked our pig weed from our neglected potato patch. Please don’t judge me by the size of these weeds, the potatoes will be fine.

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Step two: Find a willing partner to pluck the best little leaves off of the plants.

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Step three: Wash it well and chop it up. This step is so boring I decided not to even take a picture of it. (My readers are very sophisticated, that step is a given.)

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Step four: Use it!

I have my mothers explicit permission to post her quiche recipe here. The reason it is impossible, is that it is impossible to ruin it.

Need proof? I ran out of flour and used pancake mix instead. It was still awesome!

Mom’s Impossible Quiche

3 cups of flour
1 cup of milk
3 eggs

Whip the above ingredients in a blender and pour into a baking dish

Add whatever you deem delicious. Today was pig weed, green onion, beet tops and purslane.

Feel free to be boring and just add broccoli.

Top with cheese. I am not sure it is possible to eat quiche without cheese. Please let me know if I am wrong.

(P.S. Still. Living.)

The Mighty Purslane

22 Jul

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I cannot believe we have been pulling this plant out of our gardens my whole life.

I am horrified. Embarrassed.

This little plant is gown commercially in many asian countries and I have also seen it cooked in Morocco. You might be surprised to know that it was once grown in the United States for commercial use as well.

A quick run down of this awesome little plant:

Hight in Omega 3 fatty acids. That is right, don’t go buy fish oil supplements during the summer, go pick purslane.

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Culinary musings has this to say:

“The plant is rich in vitamin E, vitamin C and beta carotene, and quite high in protein. Most noteworthy of all, it is considered a better source of essential omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy plant. These are compounds the body cannot make itself, which are needed to complement the omega-6 fatty acids we get from grains and grain-fed meat. Wild-caught salmon and freshly hulled walnuts also deliver this prize, but for a steady supply what could be handier than a plant that leaps into your own personal food system with the ardor of an overactive puppy?”

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The kids and I heartily agree! We are in love with this “weed!”

You can google Purslane recipes and get a slew of choices, but this is the one I used today:

•Ingredients:
•1 cup cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced.
•⅔ cup halved cherry tomatoes
•½ cup purslane leaves
•2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
•2-3 Tablespoons rice vinegar (start with 2 tablespoons, and add more if needed)
•1-2 teaspoons sugar

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Instructions:
■Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, cover, and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

(This recipe is also from Culinary Musings)

Yucca Lilly Stir Fry

20 Jul

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After making wild food a decadent dessert yesterday, I thought today I had better make it up to mother nature by doing something wonderful and healthy with my gifted produce. Since my sister-in-law’s yucca plant blooms a full two weeks after ours does, I went and asked if I could snag some of her blooms.

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The buds from the day lilies can work just like a green bean, I don’t know about you, but I have been known to throw about anything into a stir fry, so I decided to take Euell Gibbons advice and eat the buds.

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The idea to stir fry the yucca blooms came from Eat The Weeds.com. That website and you tube channel are really informative. I was so excited to find that resource because he is located in Florida.

Yes! I’ll be foraging all over Disney World when I get there! Wooohooo!

(Just another product of making minimum wage)

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Like any worthy Euell Gibbons follower, I stir fried my veggies in butter. Feel free to improve and use an oil free alternative, or a healthier choice. Being a country bumpkin living back home, there is nothing quite like REAL butter.

I also took the liberty of adding some spice mixes from my collection of Pampered Chef and Tastefully Simple parties (My other bad habit) and of course, onion and green bell pepper.

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I ate this over brown rice (my way of apologizing for using butter) and annoyed my dining partners with taking pictures at the dinner table (I am not sure how I am going to make up for that!).

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Everyone tried this dish, ate all of it, and gave it a thumbs up.

I cried tears of happiness.
(And we are all still living.)

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