Kites

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The kids up on the heights keep noisy homemade kites up in the winds all night. It’s at times lyrical, at others eerie. A friends says they’re noisy by design, and that there are several different accepted methods for making kites as noisy as possible. The one above us now sounds like someone’s running a lathe up the hill.

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Rain

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A rainy week in the dry season. So far I haven’t seen a day that hasn’t been potentially highly productive in terms either of photovoltaic or wind-generated power or water catchment. The prevalence (and apparently sufficiency) of solar hot water systems in residential and industrial applications indicates a preexisting national acceptance and acknowledgment of the sun as a source of energy yes, but more importantly as an obvious source of savings. The wisdom of eliminating an unnecessary expense (heating your hot water with an electric water heater) of diesel-generated power (or cooking gas in the case of a gas-only water heater) is either unquestionable, or at least unquestioned in Grenada. Aside from conversation-killing reasons like lack of funds and lack of clear governmental consensus on renewables, why not solar electricity as well? A dispersed energy production system, buttressed by  strategically-sited industrial-scale wind power installations and always backed-up by the island’s expensive-but-reliable diesel electric production plant, could, with the adoption of a sane dispersed producer compensation scheme (the grid purchasing power from independent producers instead of relying on carbon-heavy foreign sources of energy), represent another way for ordinary Grenadians to both realize a savings on their own energy consumption and in some cases find themselves cash beneficiaries of their frugality and the energy-hungry habits of the island’s tourist trade.

You can’t go outside anywhere in this country, even on a cloudy day, without reckoning with the power of the sun. For those in windy quarters like St. Patrick’s the straight-line strength of a breeze which has seen no obstruction since the African coast is every bit the constant companion that the sun is. That Grenada is abundantly blessed with the resources which current technology favors for ‘alternative’ energy production isn’t in question. No solution repatriates and democratizes the value of this country’s hunger for energy better than a dispersed renewable energy production system. No solution offers Grenadians equity in potentially immensely-profitable carbon credit-producing ventures better than renewable energy. No solution contributes more to the security, health and international reputation of this island Eden than renewable energy. Grenlec would continue to realize a tidy profit on their transactional economy as owner/maintainer of the island’s electric grid. What other than capitalization remains?

agriculture everywhere

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agriculture everywhere

Originally uploaded by wesh

A garden behind the bus stop across from the post office on the Grand Anse road. Visitors to Grenada will marvel at the omnipresence of gardens such as these. The fertility of the land and the perfection of the conditions allows tremendous amounts of food to be grown in limited spaces. You find gardens such as this one in yards, vacant lots, common places, in margins…anywhere sun shines and rain falls.

Christmas

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You’d never know Christmas 2008 was in the books from all the lights still up.

kosheri

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My first stab at kosheri: an Egyptian adaptation of an Indian dish called kichri. Alternating layers of a tomato-lentil sauce, white rice, and french fried onions make this dish a (fairly) healthy, tasty vegan meal.

Adapted from a recipe found on pp. 200-1 of Angela Shelf Medearis’ excellent examination of African, Southern & Caribbean cooking: The Ethnic Vegetarian.

The cookbook suggests a significant time savings can be realized if one uses commercially-available French’s french fried onions (the ones that usually go on top of the repulsive green bean & cream of ________ soup casserole at holiday time) and leftover white rice.

Our onions, tomatoes, and some spices were local. As usual, our rice is Guyanese. Other ingredients (lentils, other spices) are of unknown provenance.

Here’s the recipe:

Kosheri

  • 1.5 c. uncooked long-grain white rice
  • .5 c vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1 c. whole wheat or all-purpose flour (I used the latter).
  • 3 t. salt
  • 2 t. black pepper
  • .25 t. cayenne pepper
  • 2 large yellow onions, peeled and cut into rings
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 hot green chile, seeded & chopped (I used local scotch bonnet peppers)
  • 2 cans (2o oz.) peeled whole tomatoes, crushed (I used eight medium-sized tomatoes from Annette, peeled & crushed)
  • 1 can lentils, drained & rinsed (or make your own: bring 1 c. of lentils to boil in 3 c. water, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, drain)
  • 1 c. vegetable broth (one salty Maggi cube)
  • .25 c. white wine vinegar
  • .5 t. ground cumin (I used ground roasted geera).

“Prepare the rice according to package directions [or custom].

“Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking.

“Combine the flour, 1 t. of the salt, 1 t. of the black pepper, and 1/8 t. of the cayenne pepper in a shallow bowl. Dredge the onion rings in the seasoned flour. Plae the onions in the hot oil and fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the onions over and fry untilgolden brown on both sides. Remove from the oil to a paper towel-covered plate to drain (do not discard the oil in the pan). Sprinkle the onions with 1t. of the remaining salt. Set aside.

“Place the garlic and the chile pepper in the remaining vegetable oil in the skillet. Saute for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes (with juice), lentils, vegetable broth, vinegar, cumin, and the remaining 1 t. salt, 1 t. black pepper, and 1/8 t. cayenne pepper to the skillet.Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.

“Place a thin layer of the sauce on the bottom of a large serving dish. Place the rice on top of the sauce. Top with a layer of onions. Place another payer of the sauce on top of the onions. Continue layering until all the ingredients have been used. Top with any remaining sauce and fried onions.”

bandhgobhi moong tarkari

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Curried sauteed cabbage with mung beans in a honey-lime glaze. Local cabbage, honey & limes.

This is an adaptation of a recipe found on pp. 200-1 of Yamuna Devi’s “Lord Krishna’s Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking.”

Aloo Baigan Sabji

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Aloo Baigan Sabji

  • 1/3 c. plain yogurt
  • 1/2″ piece of ginver, scraped & coarsely chopped
  • 2 seeded hot green chiles, broken into bits
  • 1/4 c. shredded fresh or dried coconut
  • 1/2 t. garam masala
  • 4 T. ghee or mixture of olive oil & unsalted butter
  • 1 t. black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 T. cumin seeds
  • 8-10 curry leaves (preferably fresh)
  • 1/4 t. yellow asafetida powder
  • 6 medium boiling potatoes, steamed until tender, peeled and cut into 3/4″ cubes
  • 1 t. turmeric
  • 1 T. ground coriander
  • 1 small eggplant, cut into 1″ cubes and steamed until tender
  • 1 1/4 t. salt
  • 3 T. chopped frsh parsley or coriander
  • 1 T. fresh lemon juice

1. Combine the, ginger, green chiles and coconut in a food processor or blender, cover and process until smooth. Add the garam masala and pulse for a few seconds. Set aside.

2. Heat the ghee or oil-butter mixture in a heavy 4-5 quart/liter saucepan or 12 inch nonstick frying pan over moderately high heat. When it is hot but not smoking, drop in the mustard and cumin seeds and fry until the mustard seeds sputter and the cumin seeds turn golden brown. Stir in the curry leaves and asafetida, and immediately follow with the potatoes. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, then pour in the seasoned yogurt, turmeric, ground coriander, eggplant, salt and half of the fresh remaining herb. Gently toss to mix.

3. Reduce the heat to moderate, then fry, turning the vegetables very gently until they are dry. Before serving, mix in the lemon juice and remaining fresh herbs.

Serves 5-6.