Wild Foods Weekend, Episode 5

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Rose

Monday, May 25, 2009

These gorgeous roses are blooming all over the rose bush in my backyard... In spite of my poor care! Thanks to Robin and Malachi for this one...

"When the night has been too lonely,
and the road has been too long,
and you think that love is only
for the lucky, and the strong...
Just remember, in the winter, far beneath the bitter snows
lies the seed
that with the sun's love
in the spring
becomes the rose."

Meatless Monday - More Curry!

OK, so I promise that curry is not all that I make. I do love it; it is easy!! I'll come up with something completely different for next week. This recipe is vegan, based on my best look at the ingredients lists. Of course, I threw in a bit of fish sauce that I had, which made it not even vegetarian, but that's optional!!

Red Curry Tofu with Rice Noodles


This is rough-ish. The great news is, you can adjust to taste, or what you have on hand!

  • 1 can Maesri Red Curry Paste
  • 2 cans Coconut milk (enough for 2 cups, which is just more than one can)*
  • Rice noodles of your preferred thickness, or Basmati rice (my fave!!)
  • Extra firm tofu
  • Marinade sauce of your preference (I used a combo of Mr. Spice Indian Curry sauce which has nothing bad in it whatsoever [not even salt!!] + House of Tsang Korean Teriyaki Stir-Fry sauce which probably has some bad stuff)
  • The usual suspects - garlic & ginger. About 1.5 tsp garlic and 1/2 tsp ginger; both can be either fresh or from a jar
  • 1-2 tsp. Chili Garlic Sauce. The one with the Rooster. If you've had it, you know what I mean, if not, see the picture, please.
  • Vegetables of your choice (I had some baby bok choy, green pepper and onion)
  • Sesame or walnut oil**
  • Fresh basil (this part is actually super important for giving the dish a fresh taste... it will still be edible without it, if you must)

* use the light one if you want (I did), but be aware it dilutes the red curry flavor a bit.
** yes, you can use olive or canola oil, but the taste will simply not be the same. Dark sesame oil is the best, followed by walnut oil.

The tofu:
If you buy the lame Kroger or Publix-bought kind, be sure to try to smoosh all the water out of it as best you can before you marinate it. I am in LOVE with the Twin Oaks Community Foods tofu you can get at Annie Kay's and maybe at Eats if you are in Blacksburg. I got the seasoned kind this time, because that was what they had, but I strongly prefer the plain version for this, since you marinate it. If you have the store bought and are smooshing it, it is better that the tofu be broken into crumbles than it wind up being that nasty watery white chewy stuff you might wind up with if you don't smoosh / cook it correctly. Don't kill yourself over it, just do what you can. Yes, tofu is not always the white mushy stuff. If that's all you've ever had, you haven't had good tofu. Smoosh. I just like to say it.

Marinate the tofu in the teriyaki sauce and curry sauce, plus throw in the garlic & ginger. I usually throw in a bit of whatever several saucy seasonings I have open at the time, including some tamari or soy sauce. This is also where the Chili Garlic Sauce comes in.

At any time, cook up your rice noodles. They cook quickly; if you're more talented than I am you can multitask and cook them when cooking up the tofu or (as I prefer), you can cook them up front and set them aside.

Chop up all your veggies while you're waiting on the marinade to be marinated. Mince the fresh basil. If you feel super OCD, go ahead and open the red curry can and mix it with the 2 cups of coconut milk and set it aside.

After your marinade time is up, heat the oil in the pan. Once it's sizzling, dump in your marinated tofu and begin cooking. It will almost certainly take a hella long time. If you haven't cooked tofu, expect more time than you would think you'd expect. You want the tofu to wind up crispy and golden around the edges, which means all the water has to cook off. If you have the Kroger/Publix variety, this takes a very, very long time. It should be to the point where you are asking yourself "is it burnt?" If you are here, please stop and congratulate yourself. It's done!! If you are lucky enough to get handmade tofu like the Twin Oaks version, it will take slightly less time. See before / after pics:

Tofu before: / Tofu after:

Once the tofu is done, throw in your veggies. These can be whatever you have. In my ideal world it would probably be chopped baby bok choy, red bell peppers, and onions. In this day's world it was baby bok choy, green bell pepper and onion. You'll want to cook these down (greens until thoroughly wilted, onions to opaque).

At the end of the cooking time, throw in your Red Curry Paste mix, which is the can of Red Curry + the coconut milk.

Once this has heated, as the very last step throw in some minced fresh basil. Immediately remove from the heat and serve the red curry mix over the noodles.

Friday, May 22, 2009

This is where I spent a good deal of time yesterday afternoon. On perfect days, I like to lay in the grass, looking up and just listening and absorbing the goodness... This was my view:

Grace was a bit confused, but definitely wanted to be part of the action... and I would never deny her.

Wild Foods Weekend, Episode 4

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Meatless Monday

Monday, May 18, 2009

I'm going to start a new series called Meatless Monday, in honor of the campaign, and also because I am a semi-vegetarian. I say semi, because I now eat fish, and I also enjoy cheese and dairy products. Here we go...!

Chickpea Curry
This is a super easy vegan recipe that you can whip up with pantry food on a moment's notice. John & I will often just eat this served over some Basmati rice (the world's best). Many thanks to Uncle Bob, who shared the original recipe!


  • 1 small onion
  • 1 bell pepper (any color)
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh grated ginger (or ginger paste from a jar), if you have it
  • 1 tsp diced garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can Del Monte Diced Tomatoes with Garlic and Olive Oil
  • 1 can Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
  • 1/4 tsp. Curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. Garam Masala
  • 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
  1. If you want rice with it (I generally do), start that first.
  2. Dice the onion and bell pepper.
  3. Drain and rinse the chickpeas.
  4. If you're OCD like me, measure the spices into a ramekin so they'll be ready when you need them, and get the ginger and garlic ready. Open the can of tomatoes.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan.
  6. Cook up the onion and bell pepper in the saucepan, until the onion is translucent.
  7. Add the ginger, garlic, curry, turmeric, garam masala, and cinnamon. If you don't have the ginger or garam masala, that's ok. If you don't have the turmeric or curry... well, all right then. If you don't have cinnamon you probably shouldn't even be in your kitchen right now. Turn off the stove. Step away.
  8. Stir thoroughly to blend in all the spices.
  9. Add the rinsed chickpeas and the (undrained) can of tomatoes, cook together for another 5 minutes or so, until the chickpeas are heated through.
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste, serve with rice if desired.

So good, and very quick and easy!! It's delicious.

Wild Foods Weekend, Post 3

Sunday, May 17, 2009

This has been a bit of a long time coming. I'll keep these coming more regularly going forward... I promise!

Misc. & Garden updates

Saturday was a perfect weekend day for me. We started out our morning at the farmer's market and then headed out to Floyd. I bought the awesome hand crafted coffee mug shown below, we looked around a bit and hit my favorite store on the way back toward Blacksburg. We stopped in Christiansburg and picked up some gorgeous flowers for the front porch and mailbox and headed for home. I spent the afternoon putting the flowers out, and John and I followed it up with a fantastic dinner on our front porch. Great shot of John & Gracie, pre-dinner, below.

On Sunday we did some work in the garden. I planted out a bunch of the tomatoes I'd started many months before indoors, as well as some cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, white bush scallop squash, table queen bush squash, bell peppers, okra and eggplant. Now all I need is a bit warmer weather so that everything will start to grow faster!! The beans I put out direct seed a week or so ago are starting to come up, as you can see in the 2nd pic below.

Come on, warm weather!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." -Friederich Nietzsche

Monday, May 11, 2009

Murphy Baute
01/04/2002 - 05/05/2009

I am sorry for my silence; it is not without cause. Last week, my seven year old little boy died in my arms. There are some who will mock, diminish or disdain the love I have for Murphy. I ask those to please keep any such thoughts to yourself. I have no children. Murphy is my son.

John took Murphy to the vet on Monday, one week ago today. Murphy had been having diarrhea since Saturday morning, which hadn't gotten better, and by Monday afternoon he seemed to be in clear discomfort. The vet discovered he had extremely enlarged lymph nodes and made an initial diagnosis of lymphoma. They aspirated the lymph node, and told us to return in the morning so that they could run blood tests and complete the testing on the aspiration.

Late Monday evening it was clear that Murphy was in a severe state of distress. We found an emergency clinic in Christiansburg that is open 24 hours and took him in. They were able to do blood work and x-rays while we waited, and diagnosed him with Stage 4 Lymphoma that had extended to his liver and all lymph nodes. All information indicates that treatment against this type of cancer provides, at best, a very brief respite (via intense chemotherapy) before the cancer returns. The vet gave us some pain medication and steroids, and recommended an oncology consult ASAP if we decided to follow through with the chemo.

We administered the medications, but Murphy continued to steadily decline overnight. We were able to arrange for in-home veterinary care, and a very kind vet came and helped us let Murphy go, at home, in our bed, in my arms, at about noon on Tuesday, May 5, 2009.

I have no words to describe the depth of my pain. All I have are questions that will never be answered. Was he in pain? Did he feel safe? Could I have done more? Should I have fought harder? How could I let him go? Will I ever stop feeling the unbearable clenched pressure in my chest? Why didn't I spend more time at home in the weeks before he died? Why can't I dream about him? Did he know that I loved him? Was he afraid? How can I be here, acting normal and even laughing?

I am so afraid. I am afraid of losing him. I am afraid of forgetting him. I am afraid of not honoring him. I have been afraid to share my sorrow and thoughts and memories... Because I could not bear it if any one disrespected his memory. I have been afraid that if I share the pain of his loss with those who didn't know him, who couldn't suffer it to the same extent, who couldn't possibly understand, that it will diminish it somehow.

I cannot be silent. He deserves so much more. This is the last thing that I can give to him. My continued and neverending honor, respect, and sorrow.

Wild Foods Weekend, Post 2

Friday, May 1, 2009

Here is my second update with another of my videos documenting my trip for the Wild Foods Weekend in North Carolina. I've uploaded the pics and you can take a look at them here.

PS... I LOVE the still that the video elected to use for the opening screen. Awesome horse face I've got going on there. :)

Fungus Amongus, or "BRAAAAINS..."

Interesting / gross development I found yesterday...

I was out watering my gardens and noticed that along the side of one of the beds, the interior dirt was pulling back from the board. As I looked closer, I discovered that there was some of this nasty thing lovely gem growing down under the dirt, against the board, between the board and the main part of the bed.

The pulled out version looks like somebody's old macaroni that was cooked too long and got stuck together, then buried in the dirt. Trust me, this is no macaroni. It was actually not just along the edges, but ALL THROUGHOUT the beds. In the beds, it looked sort of like a whitish brain form sticking up through the surface of the dirt, once I started watering the beds and washed the top layer of dirt off. Yuck!! John and I tried to dig it all out, but I'm sure it will grow back in some places, and is probably still in there in others that we didn't find.

The spores must have come in with the dirt for those first two beds, which was sourced from a different place than the second set of two beds (the last two beds still sit empty, looking exactly like they did in my recent post showing all six... no time!).

Does anybody know what this disgusting thing could be? Anybody know how to get rid of it without killing off all my veggies? Are my veggies even going to be safe to eat after they've been growing next to this stuff?

At this point I'm a bit horrified and grossed out.

I think this is what it is, but John doesn't (because it supposedly only grows out west): http://www.mushroomexpert.com/sarcosphaera_coronaria.html

Here is what he thinks it is:

What do you think? Do you have any suggestions? Help!

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