Sunday, December 12, 2010
January 07, 2010 - January Again
January 07, 2010 - January Again
In nothing this January resembles last year’s. It is hot and humid again. It rains very often. Some parts of the country is under the water. Not here. No rivers nearby to flood us. Thank God! But due to the copious rain and Sun since October, my garden is not as bountiful. The wild cucumbers became yellowish before giving fruit. The squash vines also got rotten. No acerolas to harvest.
I have been harvesting okra almost everyday for weeks now. This one I sowed and grew vigorously, after several failed attempts. I can’t really explain, except that the season I sowed were inadequate until I hit the right one.
Like every year, my father harvest green coconuts from his patch and haul them with a tractor. After that, he uses an exceptionally big knife to cut through the tough skin and husks to take the water out. I asked my father to leave some fruits on the tree. I want to have them ripe. This way, I can chew on the coconut and also make desserts from shredded coconut or even extract coconut milk.
On my vegetable garden, wild loofah grows over everything they can climb. Yet, I don’t want to cut down. I may harvest new loofah for the year. The good surprise is to see that the other variety I sowed is also growing. This may even be good enough for sale. It is big and rectangular shape, rather than a v-shaped ones. I am also going to have lots of hibiscus petals for compotes, jams and juices. Just because I am not very fond of its smell. But it may be very rich in anti-oxidants. Deep reddish purple that leach onto our hands.
The best gift from Nature so far is the freshest and youngest taro roots I get to dig a few minutes before cooking. With some white onions, strips of beef and kelp, seasoned with sugar and soy sauce, this Japanese country dish is a delicacy tasted by few people living in cities. My aunt told me that her best memory of this root was of her mother who used to make a lunch box with steamed rice and taro root and bring it to the coffee plantation where they worked in 1950’s.
I planted dozens of fruit trees about six months ago. For the first months, I had lots of work, specially for need of watering. Some fertilizers and sporadic and irregular spray with Bordeaux mixture, I have all forgotten about them even when it needs taller stakes. But I watch a fig tree already bearing lots of fruit. It was a nice surprise. I can see the purple meat inside. But what is on my mind the last few days is a green papaya compote with fig leaves. It is simply cooking washed and peeled pieces of green papaya with sugar and fig leaves, which gives it a delicious yet delicate aroma. The final product should resemble a traditional peach compote with thick syrup. Tomorrow maybe...
I have also to make more soap as I am running out of them. I have give them away as a gift to so many people that the bars I have left may last only for few more weeks.
This month also I think I learned how a sweet corn puree like dessert should look like. Dona Rosa gave me a tray of thick, creamy and deep yellow cake. The last one I made turned out watery. Too much water, of course, and too short time a cooking. I learned.
I usually talk about good food. Besides my failed sweet corn dessert, for some reason, my zucchini bread made with green squash and chopped macadamia didn’t come out good. I also threw away palid watermelon.
My daughter is in the Central part of the country where pequi fruit grows wildly. I learned to love it. It’ s smell, so particular, gets caught in our brains and it is one of the foods that we miss terribly when living far from there. I never lived there. But I learned to love it. I asked my 8-year old girl to tell her grandma to make sure to send me some fresh pequi fruits and homemade ground turmeric.
I never learned to really appreciate free-range chicken my neighbor raises around her house. One of the reasons is that chickens roams everywhere and eat things without any discrimination. They even pick on top of used diapers...Yuk. The last chicken she gave me as a Christmas gift, I recycled it: I gave it to my aunt who happily took home to the big city. Big city people: so naive...