Garden, Plant, Cook!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Another Bean Dish and Around the Garden!

Purple Tree Collard - New Shoots at Root
Dear Folks,

I put together another bean dish, but first news around the garden.

* Note: Please take a minute and take my survey in the upper side bar here on the blog. Thank you. *

Purple Tree Collard Cuttings are taking!!!!

Super excited about this.  I ordered two cuttings of this, hopefully, perennial green to be able to harvest leaves year round.  Each cutting was about 8 inches tall. I received them on December 13th, stuck them in water for 2 days and potted them up on December 15th.

According to the instructions I kept the two pots in a mostly shaded area (about 2 hours of sun a day) when I noticed both were 'drying' from the top. Not a good sign, but the bases were still green.  I took the more challenged one and put it in the greenhouse with the rest of my seedlings starts.

The picture above is the base of the one in the greenhouse. yay!

Next is the picture of the one in the shade.

The stalk has stayed more green and while no growth is showing at the base there are buds coming from the side of the stalk.  This third picture shows the buds just peaking from the side of the shade growing plant.

I will keep you posted on how these do.  So, what is a Purple Tree Collard if you are not familiar with them?

Brassica oleracea var is a type of collard, perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 10.  Unlike their cousins standard collards, these plants can be a "tree" 5-10 feet tall, and can be harvested year round.

The challenge in growing them is they can not be grown from seed but must be grown from a cutting.  Also here in the valley, the summer may be a real challenge.  Because of that I plan on growing one in mostly full sun and one in a partially shaded area where I have a happy Arabian Jasmine and a Gardenia doing well.  It will be interesting to see how both fair in two pretty extreme sun conditions. [This is my typical method of determining where an edible is happiest - trying in 2 or 3 different sun access spots in the garden.]

For more information, a google search will get you a lot of results including many youtube videos of this nutrient powerhouse:  calcium, fiber, anti-oxidants, and vitamins A, C, and K and probably anthoxanthins because of the purple.  FYI I ordered from a seller on eBay.  I was happy with the fast service and the cuttings arrived fine.  More FYI - if you even think you want to try these, order ASAP so the cuttings do not sit in shipper heat as we go forward into spring.

I have been harvesting tasty veggies from the garden.  Those are a sweet pepper ("Lipstick") variety. The plant is about 3 years old now and happy in its spot.  The sugar peas have really been pumping out these great snacks.

Our Moro Blood Orange is ripe early this year.  Like the navels we have been harvesting since mid-December (again early), I think they both benefited from our long warm fall into winter weather.  The Moro fruit continues to get deeper and deeper red in color the longer we leave the fruit on the tree.  Besides fresh eating like these slices. the juice is not only gorgeous but delicious.


I make a "left over" soup that everyone loves.  So, I had homemade broth, leftover frozen turkey, left over potatoes and carrots from holiday cooking.  Lots of protein, taste, different textures and if I remember (I did not this time) I garnish with a fist full of shredded greens from the garden.

Left Over Turkey / Bean /Potato Soup

Ratio of ingredients is whatever you have on hand, I try to equal the components more or less.

Homemade Turkey Broth from holiday cooking
Turkey Meat cooked (I froze then thawed for soup) diced
1 good size potato, diced, peel left on
1 can of Cannellini Beans, drained but not rinsed
4 carrots (I had some left over from holiday cooking), shredded
4 bay leaves and a teaspoon of dried thyme - both from my garden
Optional:  Pasta of choice.  I did not add pasta this time, but usually use an Orzo or Pastini

Bring broth to boil and cook potatoes for 10 minutes covered.  Add carrots and herbs and cook 2 more minutes.  Add turkey and bring to boil and cook for 4-5 more minutes.  Add beans, bring back to a boil and it is ready to serve.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

And now for my new bean recipe *drum roll please*

My Aztec Chili (Chili of the Americas)

My very first more authentic chili recipe I developed more than 10 years ago around the chili powder spice sauce served to me with homemade enchiladas, more like a maize thick pancake, and the sauce was from heaven.  Click here for that recipe

In recreating the sauce, I decided that NO tomatoes would be used and it was a winner (and there were no tomatoes in the amazing sauce years ago).

With this recipe I delved into the true
indigenous food of the Americas, what the Aztec and Mayan peoples would have eaten.

Everything in this recipe except the ground black pepper is a food of the Americas.

I think it turned out great.  The only challenge I had was the chili powder proved too hot for my sweet guy, but the flavor was outstanding.  Looking for very mild chili powder now.

1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
1 15 oz can vegetarian refried beans
1 15 oz can black beans with liquid
1 cup of water
2 tablespoons of oil (I used avocado oil)
1 tablespoon minced dried onion
1/2 teaspoon granular garlic (I used my dried garlic)
1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
about 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon smoky paprika
1 sprig of epazote or 1 tablespoon of dried
Optional:  Add 1 more can of drained whole beans of your choice.  Adjust salt to taste.

Optional:  Add 1 pound plus or minus of cooked meat, ground or shredded

Heat oil in heavy pot and stir in onion and garlic.  Stir 1 minute.  Add 1/2 cup of water and all of the spices except for the epazote and stir 1 minute.  Add pumpkin, stir to combine.  Add refried beans, stir to combine.  Add black beans and liquid and 1/2 cup of water.  Heat to simmer. Add epazote and simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove epazote sprig if you like.

Serve with bread or crackers or over wild rice or a baked potato (wild rice and potatoes are also foods of the Americas).

Like my first Chili recipe this one, these are Pantry Meals, meaning you can make something really delicious and nutritious from shelf-stable foods.  I am going to be working more on that concept.  Fresh is always wonderful and optimal, however having some shelf-stable options is also a good thing.

I hope you took a minute to take my survey in the upper side bar here. Thank you.

Have a best day in the garden and kitchen!

Oh and watch for my next event at Mesa Urban Garden.  TBA when we have all the details worked out.

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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