Friday, January 11, 2008

growing a garden..

M & V and I are starting to work seriously on plants and soil. 18 free trees have been delivered by Parkway Partners and 7 more are still coming for all of the property owners who asked for one on the front of their property. Marilyn at NOFFN has offered volunteers to put the trees in the ground; that should happen next Tuesday.
We are about to plant some rye grass on the farm site and on the front of my property (see picture below) to reduce the run off of water off the front onto St. Peter. I am researching bamboo for the front of the wooden yurt and will be picking out a type that does not take over the front of the property.
Trying to find soil in the city is problematic; the person at the place that Macon recommended was incredibly hostile and told them they were closing next week. Went to Grant's place (Laughing Buddha on Cleary), and he was gracious and helpful.
All of the AgCenter literature is out, as we read and puzzle about which type of fig trees and citrus trees we want to have on the farm and in our yards.

Next, is the vetiver for soil erosion; stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

West African Peanut Soup

Recipe from Jennifer, who makes it in cold months, whch is a bunch in Cincinnati!

This peanut soup is rich and spicy. The chopped scallions or chives are an integral element, not just a garnish.


2 cups chopped onions

1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon cayenne or other dried ground chiles (or to taste -- I used 1-1/2 teaspoons, I wouldn't use more than that but it was just about right)

1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger root

1 cup chopped carrots

2 cups chopped sweet potatoes (up to 1 cup white potatoes may be substituted)

4 cups vegetable stock or water

2 cups tomato juice

1 cup smooth peanut butter

1 tablespoon sugar (optional)

1 cup chopped scallions or chives

Saute the onions in the oil until just translucent. Stir in the cayenne and fresh ginger. Add the carrots and saute a couple more minutes. Mix in the potatoes and stock or water, bring the soup to a boil, and then simmer for about 15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

In a blender or food processor, puree the vegetables with the cooking liquid and the tomato juice. Return the puree to a soup pot. Stir in the peanut butter until smooth. Taste the soup. Its sweetness willl depend upon the sweetness of the carrots and sweet potatoes. If it's not there naturally, add just a little sugar to enhance the other flavors.

Reheat the soup gently, using a heat diffuser if needed to prevent scorching. Add more water, stock, or tomato juice for a thinner soup.

Serve topped with plenty of chopped scallions or chives.