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Everything posted by djyee100

  1. Hmm...I'm just guessing. I know you're an experienced gardener, so you may already know all this. Have you considered this: in very hot weather, pots dry out on the sides, inside the pot. Then when you water, the liquid all goes out down the sides and the plants never have a chance to absorb any water. You can tell this is happening by lifting the pot after you've watered. If the pot still feels light, then the water ran out down the sides. This happens to me a few times every summer. The solution is to stick the pots in a pan or bucket of water (I use a clean, shallow dishpan) and let the pots absorb water from the bottom by osmosis. Then remove them from the pan or bucket, and water them as normal. You will see air bubbles coming up the sides of the rim, and after you water, the pots will feel heavy. The plants are hydrated again. Because of the terrible drought last year, everybody here has become a plant-watering expert to make the best use of water. My landscaping guy taught me a system of "give it a drink, then give it a soak." First I water the plant moderately, shut off the water and walk away for 5-10 mins, then I come back and give it a thorough watering. This technique allows for deep watering, and the plant should be able to withstand 2-3 days without watering, even in hot weather. But the real test is to stick your finger about 1/2" in the soil. The soil should feel dryish, but not bone-dry, when it's ready to be watered again. Plants do need to dry out a bit between waterings, because roots need air, not only water. Sometimes gardeners do a little watering every day. This kind of watering is less effective because the plant may not be thoroughly watered, and roots stay shallow to the surface. At the same time, the roots may never dry out for that needed bit of air. That's when the roots are wet all the time, and the plant eventually collapses with root rot. The best kind of watering is deep watering, with a little drying-out period in between waterings, which will encourage plant roots to grow deeply in soil or in a pot. I prefer clay pots to plastic pots because clay pots dry out evenly. I've noticed that plastic pots, especially large ones, can feel dry on the top yet still have plenty of water at the bottom for the roots. So I do view my plants in plastic pots with that in mind. If the plant feels dryish on top, but seems to be OK, I'll might delay watering a day or two to make sure the roots dry out a little before I water again. BTW, plastic pots are prone to drying out on the sides and letting all the water run out. The size of the pot matters in keeping plants hydrated. If your watering is fine, but plants are still drying out, consider moving to a slightly bigger pot to hold more water in the soil. Not too big a pot. A small young plant, with an immature root system, may be overwhelmed by a big pot of wet soil and root rot can set in. Your weather shouldn't be too hot for the herbs you list, except maybe cilantro or parsley, which can be tender. Basil, tarragon, chives, rosemary, sage, lemon verbena should love the long sunshine. Lavender, oregano, marjoram also, which I grow. I've known these herbs to thrive in hot temperatures, 90-100, for the summer months, but maybe not everyday. Your summer sounds more like conditions in Southern California or the Central Valley California, with which I'm unfamiliar. The Bay Area (outside SF) does have some very hot weather, but also cool spells from the blessed fog. My garden goes through high heat spells during the summer, full afternoon sun in the high 90s to 100 degree temps for 4-6 hrs, and the plants do fine as long as they're properly watered. I actually wish I could give them more sun. They would grow faster. But--If the edges of your leaves turn brown and crispy even if you're watering properly, then it's time to move the plants to a place with more morning and less afternoon sun. The root system isn't able to hydrate the plant properly, maybe because the plant is still young, or the pot is too small. But do allow at least 4 hours of strong sun, minimum. Don't give up! Try again next year.
  2. My herb garden on the front deck at the beginning of fall. We've had some unseasonably warm weather in the past week, so this garden is good to go for awhile.   On the left side of the pic, purple-flowering Thai Siam Queen basil and alpine strawberry (Fragaria vesca 'Mignonette'). I grew this variety of alpine strawberry for the first time this year, and I was very pleased with it. It's a no-fuss plant with a steady supply of berries through the summer, and it's still bearing now. The berries are intensely flavored, like the essence of strawberry. Also visible in the pic, Marseilles basil, Spicy Globe basil, Genovese basil, French and English thyme, tarragon, marjoram, creeping winter savory, and Italian parsley. On the right side of the pic, spiky purple flowers from Herbalea Wild Magic basil. It has grown large and taken over its corner of the garden.   Of the basils I tried this year (my post 7/17/16), I'll definitely grow Spicy Globe basil again. It tastes fantastic in spaghetti sauce. Genovese basil is a perennial favorite; it will show up next year. Marseilles basil has a mild flavor that's fine for salads, but I don't use it for cooking. I probably won't grow Marseilles again. (But a friend who tried this basil really liked it.) Of the two purple basils I grew, Thai Siam Queen and Herbalea Wild Magic, I prefer the flavor of Siam Queen. Wild Magic tastes OK, though, and it is...wild. A prolific grower, no-fuss, with a tolerance for cooler weather. It's still going strong into the fall. A nursery person told me that I didn't have to clip the flowers off Wild Magic. This basil is sterile and doesn't grow seeds, so the flowers don't use up too much energy from the plant. The flowers have a strong fruity scent, very pleasant, and bees love them. I may grow Wild Magic next year as an ornamental.
  3. I bet it tastes good. I've tried an Italian tart filled with green tomato jam, which is sweet-tart in flavor. (Link to recipe upthread, my post 8/21/16). A similar idea for using up green tomatoes, and it was popular in the cooking class. But in general people seem resistant to the idea. I'm envious of your banana tree for its leaves. Someone once offered me her banana tree when she was discarding it and redesigning her garden. I was tempted but the tree was very large and not really suited for my microclimate.   Do you cook with your banana leaves at all? I use banana leaves for Thai cooking: fish with curry paste wrapped in banana leaves, cooked on the grill; or coconut custard steamed in banana leaf cups. When I make any of these dishes though, it means extra shopping somewhere to find the leaves. I've also tried a Mexican tamal wrapped in banana leaves and cooked on the grill, very good.   A friend and I were passing a local restaurant that had banana plants outside for decoration. No fruit, only big leafy plants. We considered coming back late at night and whacking off some leaves for our cooking needs. But we didn't do it, our innate respect for private property and the law won out. That time.
  4. Purslane was trendy here for awhile. I remember eating a purslane salad with grilled salmon at a local restaurant. The citrus flavor in purslane matches seafood well. But I didn't like the texture of purslane, and I haven't cooked with it. This blogger says purslane is common in central Mexican cooking. Her spareribs & purslane stew sure looks good. I bet there are other Mexican dishes where adding purslane would be tasty. https://hungrysofia.com/2014/08/06/verdolagas-con-costillas-de-puerco/
  5. Consider Green Tomato Jam. I tasted this jam at one of Rosetta Costantino's cooking classes. I thought it was delicious, but I haven't cooked it because I don't grow tomatoes.   Rosetta served the jam in a tart. She spread the jam in an unbaked tart shell and covered it with a lattice crust, then baked it.   Recipe for the jam online. In the version I have, the recipe calls for 2.5 lbs of green tomatoes, 2 cups sugar, grated peel of one lemon, 1/3 cup lemon juice. http://www.food.com/recipe/green-tomato-jam-marmellata-di-pomodori-verdi-493663
  6. The restaurant also hired an apparently incompetent employee, and failed to supervise him. I think this is where the action is when it comes to the law. Bizarre situation with tragic consequences. Remember it's Canadian law, not American law. No doubt there's a civil suit for damages here against the restaurant, which is responsible for the hiring and supervision of its employees. But criminal negligence against the waiter? From Wikipedia (and take this with a grain of salt), criminal negligence in Canadian law means "wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons." https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Canadian_Criminal_Law/Offences/Criminal_Negligence The classic example is somebody who drives his/her car onto a crowded sidewalk. The driver intends his/her actions, i.e., driving on the sidewalk, but is totally reckless about the consequences. I don't know if the waiter's actions rise to this level of culpability for a crime. Realistically, I think the restaurant will take the hit for this one in the civil lawsuit.
  7. djyee100

    Candle Nuts

    The one time I tracked around ethnic groceries to find candlenuts for a recipe, I thought the trek wasn't worth it. I couldn't tell that the candlenuts, also used in a small quantity, did anything special for the dish. The candlenuts are supposed to impart flavor and also thickening. I use macadamia nuts now. I've been told Brazil nuts are also a suitable substitute. Below, a link to a pic of candlenuts so you can judge their size and the proper amount of substitution. good luck! http://www.gbif.org/species/113626788
  8. I've tasted this herb and liked it a lot, but I haven't tried to grow it. Years ago I attended a cooking class with Andrea Nguyen (Into the Vietnamese Kitchen), and she mentioned this herb. IIRC, she said she's seen it for sale in aquarium stores because it's grown in fish tanks for decoration. Really. Also info about this herb on Nguyen's website. How to grow it: http://vietworldkitchen.typepad.com/blog/2007/06/growing-rice-pa.html How to cook with it: http://www.vietworldkitchen.com/blog/2007/07/uses-for-rice-p.html
  9. I grew "Pesto Perpetuo" basil last year, and decided not to grow it again. I thought the taste was OK, though not to compare with regular Italian basil. I didn't like the texture of the leaves so much--they seemed a little tough to me. My favorite basil still remains Genovese; I really like the flavor.
  10. Tere, Such a beautiful garden. Thanks for the pix. What do you cook with salsify? I've only eaten it once that I recall, in a risotto with mushrooms and leeks at a restaurant. Not a typical use of this veg, I suspect.
  11. LOL. I can relate. The Genovese basil plants I bought in May weren't doing that well, so I've acquired some new basil plants in the past couple weeks. Gotta be ready for tomatoes in August. I'm also reading Susan Herrmann Loomis' In A French Kitchen, which has a number of recipes I want to cook, and they require tarragon. So I bought a tarragon plant too. Any excuse to buy a new plant. Left to right: tarragon, then a bunch of basils: Marseilles, Spicy Globe, Herbalea 'Wild Magic', Thai Siam Queen (2 of 'em), Genovese (also 2 of 'em). The flashy purple basil with the pink flowers, 'Wild Magic', is a new hybrid for growing in cooler climates. That seems to be true, because my microclimate is fine for basil, and this basil is struggling a bit from the heat. A friend lives in a cool microclimate in the Bay Area, always has trouble growing basil, and I've recommended this variety to him.   Now that I've taken the pic, I plan to trim the flowers off the basils. I prefer that the plants put their energy into edible leaves, not blooms.   Other herbs got clipped for lunch yesterday. I tried a recipe for chicken salad that appeared in the NY Times last week. My streamlined version: leftover roast chicken, mayonnaise, a dab of dijon mustard, scallions, celery, toasted walnuts; from the garden, tarragon, chives, and parsley. It was a tasty change from my usual chicken salad. Original recipe here: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1018211-best-chicken-salad
  12. This EG thread covered the zucchini topic, with many good suggestions. https://forums.egullet.org/topic/26733-zucchini-bumper-crop/?page=1   I wrote a post with 3 recipes dated 8/3/2010.   Since then I've learned to sun-dry zucchini from Rosetta Costantino (My Calabria). You have to use those big unpopular zucchini for sun-drying. The young tender ones fall apart. The sun-dried zucchini taste very good, with a firm texture. I cook Rosetta's recipe: reconstitute the dried zucchini, then sauté in olive oil with garlic, salt, Spanish paprika, and hot pepper flakes.   https://books.google.com/books?id=86R77RdzTj8C&pg=PA248&lpg=PA248&dq=costantino+my+calabria+zucchini+seccati+al+sole&source=bl&ots=vY2mLINxd7&sig=6DHobIr2FQRWdKpvVExfWVUqSY4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj5yveX6PPNAhVW_mMKHQj7C8kQ6AEIHDAA#v=onepage&q=costantino%20my%20calabria%20zucchini%20seccati%20al%20sole&f=false   Also here:   http://ediblenutmegmagazine.com/zucchine-seccati-al-sole/
  13. I've been to restaurants that use Heath Ceramics. Only my opinion, but I think the tableware is rather dull. It doesn't add drama to the food, but gently stays in the background.   An herb store on Valencia St in SF (Scarlet Sage) shows some handmade ceramics in its window made by Laura Zindel. These ceramics always catch my eye. Link: http://www.laurazindel.com/plates/   I did a search for "handmade ceramic tasting plates" on Google Images. That brought up some leads. https://www.google.com/search?q=handmade+ceramic+tasting+plates&biw=1280&bih=909&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiwjcb6wunNAhUJ5WMKHad4BkAQsAQIGw   Also I suggest doing a similar search on Etsy and Pinterest. Pinterest looked very promising.
  14. That was all I knew of carob before my last foray on the web. It was too bad. I tasted carob back when it was a sub for chocolate, and because nothing can sub well for chocolate, I didn't appreciate carob on its own merits and dismissed it as an ingredient. Gotta go hunting for some carob around here.
  15. Thanks. I didn't know much about carob until you posted about it, and I went poking around the web. Carob is a Mediterranean plant, known to be cultivated for over 4,000 years. I don't recall seeing carob trees around here, but it wouldn't surprise me if they're grown in people's backyards, and fresh carob must be in the markets somewhere. The trees are supposed to be more common in southern California. I will look for carob the next time I'm at the market.
  16. Shain, could you tell us generally where you're living, with carob groves nearby?
  17. What a mystery. I'm intrigued. Pls keep us posted. I hate to admit to extensive experience with rodents--really, I have lived in decent housing all my life--but the mice and rats and squirrels I've known do not like their green veggies. They go for the luscious stuff like tomatoes, nuts, and fruit.
  18. No pawprints, I assume. Birds? They would first chew on the tops of the plants and leave triangular marks with their beaks. Netting or scare tape is supposed to be the solution.
  19. I've cooked this recipe for Plum Chutney from Carrie Brown's Jimtown Store Cookbook. It's very good. The recipe is here: http://www.sunsetparkcsa.org/?p=191
  20. Aha, sometimes one more search on Google does the trick. https://books.google.com/books?id=T-Hh-ezDkVwC&pg=PA45&lpg=PA45&dq=when+was+sawtooth+coriander+introduced+to+se+asia&source=bl&ots=G3MIs5arTv&sig=xbRnVmhFJ5KAXECWKK8U633mOiA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwip76SD5MPNAhUByGMKHWn7ApUQ6AEIKTAC#v=onepage&q=when%20was%20sawtooth%20coriander%20introduced%20to%20se%20asia&f=false This writer says sawtooth coriander has been grown in Europe since the 17th century and was brought to SE Asia by the Chinese. It must have been introduced to Europe during the Age of Discovery by Spanish colonizers. But this herb never took in Europe. Or at least, I haven't encountered it in European cooking. It then must have traveled east to China and SE Asia by trade on the Silk Road. The herb is also popular in Assam, the northeastern province of India that was also part of the Silk Road. These food peregrinations can be fascinating.
  21. Interesting. Sawtooth coriander is native to Central America. It's so widely grown and used in SE Asia, I thought it was native to that part of the world. I googled a bit to find out when this herb was introduced to SE Asia, but couldn't come up with anything, not even the right century.
  22. What are you planning to cook with the sawtooth coriander? I thought about growing it this year. I've used it in Thai cooking.
  23. I think it's correct. Sugar is not only there for taste, but as a preservative. This is a simple canning recipe, without a waterbath or pressure canning step. The sugar, acidity from vinegar (6 cups!), and acidity from fruit are intended to prevent botulism.
  24. I vote for the dehydrator also. I bought some dried Santa Rosa plums at the market a few weeks ago, and they sure are good. Dried fruit is versatile to cook with and you'll have it long after plum season is over. I'm thinking of things like dried plum compote over vanilla ice cream and poundcake, or roast pork loin stuffed with dried plums. Richard Sax had a recipe for plum crisp in his Classic Home Desserts cookbook. It was a variation of his rhubarb-strawberry crisp. See the "Variation" note at the end of the recipe. I haven't tried this one but I like Sax's recipes in general. Here: http://www.worldcat.org/wcpa/servlet/DCARead?standardNo=0618003916&standardNoType=1&excerpt=true I was going to recommend Plum Chutney and Vieux Garçon, a preserve of fruit made with brandy and sugar. But if you still have plum jam from last year, perhaps these preserves are not your thing. If you want links to the recipes, let me know and I'll post them.
  25. That's ironic since the okra plant is African in origin, probably West African. It can be grown in a Mediterranean climate like yours and mine. Okra is readily found in markets here. Do you have a garden? You could try growing some.
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