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.

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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.

Strange Consumables #4

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Stone’s Original Green Ginger Wine. You really need not bother. It’s alcoholic ginger syrup.

Stone's Original Green Ginger Wine
Stone's Original Green Ginger Wine

Everyone is everyone’s cousin

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A businessman and real estate investor told me yesterday that the reason he can’t get good workers in Grenada is because nobody ever starves here. He rationalized that “there’s so much food here and everyone is everyone’s cousin and they can always just go home.”

From a post-carbon perspective, this is a great example of how Grenada might perhaps be better suited to survive post-carbon interruptions in the imported food supply. When we lived in Missouri the example we always used of the pitifully carbon-dependent nature of American food supply was the presence in our grocery stores of old, often half-spoiled vegetables that had been grown on factory farms in the central valley of California and trucked 1800 miles to another American national agricultural treasure of fertility: the farm belt.

On an island 22 miles long and 12 miles wide, there are no long distances for food to travel. Various delicious tree fruits grow in all quarters of the island in all seasons and are often there for the picking, as God intended. Grenada is a miracle of fertility. The businessman had inadvertently suggested a premise that may bear examination: that Grenadians may be able to feed themselves in a literal sense as well.