Schug heaven recipe

I love home grown and organic Cilantro. I could eat a plate of it as my salad and be happy. And cilantro is SOOOO good for you!  Usha Lad and Dr Vasant Lad in their book Ayurvedic Cooking for Self  Healing say that “Cilantro balances all doshas ( more on that in another post) and is especially good for kindling gastric fire, for nausea, fever, cough and quenching thirst.” I  do not remember  where I read  that it was a great detoxifier!  ( will get back to you on reference for that ) . In Modern Essentials , A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils  , it says that the aroma of Cilantro leaves  has been used historically for anxiety and insomnia. No wonder I love the smell so much.

But my hubby says he has some genetic propensity where cilantro tastes like soap! Really. He actually researched it and found out he was not alone and there is scientific documentation ! Well there is always a work around. Instead of watching him picking out the cilantro from  salads and dishes I like to serve I have found that Schug , an Israeli sauce loaded with  garlic and  chilies I grow for him is perfect way of him not tasting soap! So as my wonderful winter herb starts going to seed in the heat  and in general dying out I made what is likely my last batch of schug for this season.

Maybe I will get back to  this recipe someday and give you more specifics but honestly each time I make this recipe  it is a little different.  I am totally fine with that ! If you are one of those people who meticulously colored  in the lines as a child and cringe at not following a recipe exactly… do not bother to read farther.

FYI I am always much happier when I am able to make this recipe from my own harvest, but  of course you could use purchased ingredients.

So today here it is , with (variations ) included for your dining pleasure.

This recipe makes approximately 8- 10 ounces of Shug, yeah it really amazes and saddens me when I see sauces that take so much to become so little , especially if they are left uneaten on someone’s plate ;( GRRRR you know who you are.  Please take less and see if you like it 😉  Also note I have written the basic ingredients in BOLD because if you are like me you will likely skim this entire article and recipe , looked at the photos. You likely would really do better with having the bold print jump out at you cause that is all you really need to make this dish sing on your own. And to you I say …. welcome to my world! My husband refers to me as a Harlem Globe Trotter in the kitchen. You figure it out. You may already be on my team.

Schug4789©_2015_Copyright_Linda_Enger_Photography
I find this sauce a magical addition to any meal and am known to including it with any meal I have it in the fridge.

RECIPE 

1) Approximately – 2 VERY large handfuls of home grown  organic Cilantro already washed and big tougher  stems removed . Ideally wrapped in paper towels and stored in ziplock bag for 24 hours ( note could use day of but I like to start  with the greens dry.)

2) Approximately  3 or 4  home grown Organic  Serrano chili peppers both red and green (  How hot do you like it ? Use accordingly.  Of course  you could use other types of chilies but these are what I have growing right now.)  FYI the non organic chilis you see in the store are likely grown in Mexico and  are on the Dirty Dozen list for pesticides. Choose your poison. Just saying .  Anyway, cut off the stems and throw in the entire chili -seeds and all, if you like it hotter… oh, and my chilis are kind of small too, not like with pesticide ridden ones  😉

3) Approximately  5 cloves of  peeled garlic  ( sad to say my anticipated May harvest of organic garlic  is not looking too good this year thanks to the numerous predators in my gardens that have truly enjoyed digging these up this year.

3) Thanks to friendly  neighbor- 1 BIG Meyer Lemon- juiced, seeds removed and flesh reserved  ( or couple drops of Doterra  lemon oil is great too)

4) BIG sprinkling of Celtic Salt or  Himalayan pink  salt

5) Approximately  1/2 cup  Organic  Extra Virgin cold pressed Olive oil . I have been doing really well lately with Kirkland -Costco brand.

Directions are SUPER easy with Food Processor

Put garlic , peppers add cilantro in phases to give processor time to take all your hard work in harvesting and cleaning etc to pulverize.

Add lemon, salt, olive oil. Keep pulverizing till you have cilantro nirvana.

Just a few serving suggestions I love to serve this  with hard boiled eggs  ( my breakfast of champions )  or cod or rice ( yes I still eat this- more on that another time )  of course it is great  with hummus or mixed into hummus. I also  mix it into goat cheese  or cream cheese if I am feeling cow dairy friendly for a bright happy  green  out of the box spread for crackers… and well I am thinking of trying it as a topping on my  home made Vanilla coconut ice cream  ( no I am not pregnant but really do like to play with my food) .

ENJOY  !

 

A ripe peach in the hand is worth more than 2 in the tree (specifically the ones sampled by birds and squirrels!)

I picked  hmm maybe  60 yummy little organic peaches… and then there were those that already had a bite or a peck or half eaten… darn,  almost a 5 gallons bucket worth. This is what I have learned. Pick unripe  ripen them well inside … it really was upsetting to attempt to have them ripen on the  tree and hope we have a chance to enjoy any of them.

After 4 years I am happy to say I  have  finally gotten a harvest. Each year I have gotten a little  tougher love going with the thinning of the small fruit .

SO this is what I have learned…. Do not put in fridge and THEN try to ripen !

Pick them unripe and give them a nap as described in this great video that really helped set me straight.  It worked 🙂

http://tallcloverfarm.com/74/the-best-way-to-ripen-peaches

peaches harvested by the branch!! Prior to giving them a nap inside to ripen.
peaches harvested by the branch,prior to tucking them in for  a nap inside to ripen.

The strategy of the pit

There it was, in plain sight.

An early morning reality check glaring at me

 

It sat there as a bold statement saying

“GOT HERE BEFORE YOU…. HA HA HA HA!”

Yep, the birds and squirrels were in cahoots again .

My precious peaches  had been covered up with bird netting and recycled Trader Joes Sweet potato bags … for what ?

The competition had done what they do so well .

And as a statement of defiance

One single completely  cleaned off pit sat far away from my single peach tree.

It was strategically placed  near the recycling bin so I would be sure to see it.

Of course it lead me to review the tree and wince at the activity they had already done with my peaches even though they were not ripe yet.

And so I was reminded in that “mindful moment ”  that they were  many steps ahead of me .  I had a choice to make . Let it go? Excuse me. Hell no.

The peach pit glared at me reminding me how the birds and squirrels were smarter than me!
The peach pit glared at me reminding me how the birds and squirrels were smarter than me!

The coverings of the peaches just got more intense… to be continued.

 

 

My season of peas on earth is ending, for now

During Passover I choose not to harvest any peas  ( not eating them that week) and no one I offered them to was able to come harvest that week … so I had to be patient…. and loved the bounty once Passover was over.

Harvest of snap peas day after passover ended
Harvest of snap peas day after passover ended

 

and so I ripped out my last snap pea, and snow pea plant on Sunday after harvesting the stragglers due to the 100 degree heat we already have  had . I’ve also been collecting dried pods for planting  in the fall. What a wonderful feeling knowing I am doing my part to help  create peas on earth.

Will you be seeing more photos from my garden than images with recipes ?

what do wasps have to do with food photography anyway ?
what do wasps have to do with food photography anyway ?

I always giggle at all the food blogs that have great styled photos. Even though I may have years on me as a commercial photographer, this blogging thing is so new. All too many of my   yummy dishes are served just in time to be eaten not styled  and photographed beautifully. Working on that 🙂 So considering this entire blogging thing is new to me and I already made it clear that I am attempting to not make this a  “perfect ” photo website , and yet I am a true believer that we all deluged with too many mediocre images and not enough editing in this visual hailstorm we live in these days…. I guess I am going to have to stretch and see about showing more prepared dishes here 😉

But for now.. one of my buddies that hang out with me in the garden buzzed in to say hi!

 

YUK to yummy… and coping with unwanted guests

Aphids_on_Kale__march_harvest©_2015_Copyright_Linda_Enger_Photography

Seems like this winter after srting with varied types and brands of Kale seeds the Lake Valley Organics brand  of Red Russian Kale is the only one that has really taken off . This time only in pots that are strategically placed in various sub climates on the property. As always there tends to be a consistently inconsistent issue I have encountered. In some of the pots , glad to say not all yet 🙂  little buggers  have moved in when they know I am not looking.

When gardening I TRY to spray them off with  the jet setting on my hose but often that is temp fix. I know there is always input I get on how other gardeners deal with this from my friends at http://www.vpaaz.org that has a wonderful permaculture forum and from whom I have learned SOOOO much. I know I can always plug in a search name and find great information to help me. And now  I have been finding more like minded gardening peeps on Desert Gardeners of Maricopa County facebook group as well. I will share more another time on dealing in the garden with these pests but for now I want to talk about eating and food prep .

YUK ! Now some of the die hard , back to the earth type may  these guys are not going to hurt you and very high in protein.  And of course some foodies out there are really tapping into what some other cultures have incorporated for oh so long…..you know the chocolate covered beetles concept…..DOUBLE YUK.

If you are kosher, or other wise NOT interested at all in eating these guys and you want to enjoy your harvest ( which I am one of ) …. here is what I do and recommend.

Disclaimer… this does take some time and focused eyes,  but I really take personal issue with going out and BUYING what I know I have already GROWN!!!

Soak your leaves in bowls of salt water. I use the cheapest kind of sea salt for this ( I get mine at Trader Joes or Costco) . I do MULTIPLE baths. I examine each leaf and make sure I rinse well in clear water after each bath.  Put in my trusty salad spinner ( what did we do before them ). By the way my favorite after trying MANY is the OXObrand which is still going strong after I can not begin to imagine how many hundreds of times it has been spun! Wrap those leaves in paper towels and put in ziplock bags. SO I will not forget about the rotation of my produce I like to mark the date with a Sharpe marker.

Enjoy!

 

 

24 Snow Peas

24_snow_peas©_2015_Copyright_Linda_Enger_Photography

I love snow peas and snap peas.I have tried growing them for several years in the ground and in 24 inch pots. Yeah I got some but never enough at one time to make a really dish! I even let them dry up and saved about 20 or more dried peas to plant . Well I think the thing that worked this year is I started earlier than before .   I am excited to say I have numerous plants in varied pots and in the ground planted at different times . Some were started in styrofoam cups others directly into the soil. I need to look up in my gardening  journal ( yeah it really does help) and get back to you on when I started planting which where. But it is March 4th and I am waiting for more to grow big enough to harvest but this is a batch from the other day 🙂 yummy. Hard to get in a recipe though. Almost hard to get them to the kitchen to wash before eating !

The painting is one of the Chakra series that  I love to use for a back drop for harvest photos. The Painting  is 16″ x 40″ and  the intense green focus energy on the heart Chakra . I keep noticing how Green seems to be a  color  I gravitating to lately . Ironically I used to never like green.

There are numerous sources I have used in my study of Chakra healing but I remember when in 2016  I bought the book “The Healing Tones of Crystal Bowls” by Renee Brodie (when I bought two tone bowls as anniversary gifts for my husband and myself ) I think that was the beginning of my real exploration of Chakra healing. So much to say on that … another time .

Gardening analogy – one of many, lemons and my life.

lemon line up #2 web © 2014 LindaEngerPhoto

 

I keep experimenting to see what REALLY works for me in life. Been doing it as long as I can remember.

When I see what works for someone else I can not help but wonder if it will work for me too.

I plant and see what happens.

I get caught in the process when I am really into it and loose track of time.

I keep working on  growing deep roots

I am so grateful when the results I am working for actually happen

I keep trying

I guess I am too foolish and  obstinate to know when to give up. More on that later.

Despite how much certain aspects of the work seem to be hard on me or/ and for me … I keep trying a way to either ignore it, find a work around, or just keep complaining about the pain and keep doing the work … right and not just find someone  to pay to do it!

I know if I have all these thoughts…. others do as well.

These lemons are just a few of oh so many I have harvested from our neighbor’s tree . Really not the best image for this analogy?

Thanks to our dear neighbors there has been lots  of lemonade, and varied dishes using the lemons….  and art as often as I can think to take the time.

Wondering when the lemon tree we planted last winter will bear fruit. Just covered the ground with more home grown compost and lama dung. ( another post), and free wood chips before the big rain hits.

OK- photographically…. I found that workflow for  this image  in Light Room  to On ONE did not give me the quick and easy results I had hoped for where LR to Photoshop  worked much faster for the clean up .