GARDEN GOURMET-- January 2009
The year is changing to 2009, but the calendar says we have just entered
January. Donít be fooled by these mild or warm days. There still is plenty
of winter in the offing . . . maybe even a few Alberta clippers.
Boil that set of facts down to its common denominator and you are smack-dab
in the middle of all sorts of gardening projects . . . each of which can
offer scads of fun (even hard work) that leads to bumper crops in the summer.
Just as we reveled at near 70-degree temperatures at Christmastime,
there will be plenty of time for garden preparation before that first seed
enters the earth. Cold, dark days of late winter still will dominate our
Suffice it to say January was meant for garden planning -- even breaking
of the soil and other chores, some very exercising.
Although I may have touched on this before, there are certain dried-up
plants that need to be removed from a potential garden plot if a roto-tiller
is to be used later for turning under last yearís residues.
There is nothing tougher that dried-up plants of tomatoes, egg plant
and corn stalks. Tomatoes and eggplant, at least, are relatives of hemp.
That says much for their durability. They are not to be simply pulled up
and discarded as it may seem. Wet weather is an exception to this unwritten
rule. Still, if this route is taken, muddy shoes may outweigh deep-rooted
Incidentally, this wet treatment -- even man-made watering -- will go
a long way toward eliminating other plants. When most weeds are wetted
down, they pull up easier . . . roots and all. This eliminates the entire
weed, not just the stem. Cutting weeds or hoeing is like waving a red hanky
at a mean bull.
Best method I have found for removing unwanted garden plants is to completely
encircle the dead plant by pushing a garden spade deep into the earth,
then grasp the stalk (gloves on) and pull straight up. Some plants bear
Plowing will bury them and enrich the soil. A disc may obliterate the
unwanted residue, and may not.
SANDWICH SHOP -- The much maligned
Navy bean . . . dried beans in general . . . turns into a delicious sandwich
when combined with mayonnaise, a smattering of mustard, and chopped onion.
There are, of course many other variations of this cold delight. My version
is fairly common in Indiana.
To fashion a cold-bean sandwich, cook dried beans in customary procedure,
but when beans are almost tender to taste, allow most of the moisture to
cook away. Refrigeration will eliminate most of remaining moisture in a
Spread mayo and a bit of mustard on both inside surfaces of bread (rye
is great, so is sourdough, or any homespun bread). Make a solid surface
of cooked beans atop mayo/mustard on one piece of bread. Put on liberal
cover of chopped onion.
Cooked beans can be fried to a crisp in bacon fryings to add zip to
the sandwich. Crisp bacon chips can be spread over onion.
TRIAL COOKING -- As accidental as
it may have been, I ran intosomething new recently for turning cold leftovers
into a delightful dish.
In the refrigerator, I had a container of vegetables (carrot, onion
and apple slices combined with the meat they were baked with). Not wanting
these bland leftovers to slip into the garbage can, I armed a small skillet
with a spoon of butter and a spoon of olive oil and put the leftovers in
the skillet with a few raisins. I added salt and pepper with a spoon of
shredded cheddar and had myself a snack of fried leftovers alone.
While we are discussing stuffing, it may be well to point out that when
I make stuffing I make enough that there will be leftovers aplenty.
Leftovers are squeezed into patties, dipped in egg, dredged in flour
or cornmeal, and fried to golden brown.