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Whew, sometimes life takes over and blogging ends up slipping down the priority list faster than a sprint finish at the Tour de France.

To make a long story short, I’ve been a bit overwhelmed lately (I’ll spare you the details), the last straw being the perfect storm that hit my area the night before last. I can’t imagine being a farmer and watching the wind and hail annihilate my crops; months of hard work reduced to shreds in a matter of minutes. My little garden was destroyed, large tree limbs broken, flower pots ruined and my car damaged by golf-ball sized hail. With each season that I’m a Grant Farms CSA shareholder, my respect for farmers and my appreciation for fresh, organic produce increases. The photo above is a small sampling of what I received in my CSA box on Monday. The photo below is of my garden Tuesday morning after the storm. I had about twenty vegetable plants, plus an assortment of herbs and flowers.

Everything is gone.

Such is life for a small-time, recreational gardener. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a big deal. But, if my lively-hood hinged on extreme weather fluctuations and fragile plants, it would be devistating.

On another note, I can’t complain about my chard and cabbage when it could have been my house that was ruined (this one’s nearby). Check out the size of this tree; completely uprooted, crushing the house.

veggieshouse

Spicy veggie curry with brown rice
(make rice according to directions and time it so both dishes are finished at the same time)

what you need
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup water or broth
1 and 1/2 tablespoon peanut butter (I used fresh-ground)
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium sized carrot, juilienned
1/2 cup zucchini, juilienned
1/2 cup peas
kohlrabi, peeled and juilienned (I used 1 small bulb)
1 cup cauliflower, washed and cut in small florets
1 cup broccoli, washed and trimmed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 and 1/2 tablespoons curry powder (I used Hot Curry Powder from Penzeys Spices)
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
coconut oil for sautéing
cilantro (if you have it)

These ingredients were what I had available from my CSA delivery, mix and match your veggies according to what you have on hand. Skip the peanut butter if you don’t want a “peanutty” taste and add whole roasted cashews instead (blend in at the end of cooking). This is a launching pad recipe, adjust to your liking.

what you do
Using a small amount of oil in a medium pot, sauté onions and garlic until tender. Add coconut milk and stir in curry powder and salt until all lumps dissolve. Add water or broth and peanut butter and continue stirring until well blended. Simmer and stir until you have the consistency you like. Add vegetables, cover and simmer until veggies are lightly cooked (just a few minutes). I added the peas at the end so they would remain crisp. Taste and adjust the seasonings (add more curry or salt). Serve over brown rice and top with a touch of cilantro.

For a detailed post on rice, check here.

I’m back — and thankful for fresh veggies and an intact roof over my head.
Melissa

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23 Responses to “life, blogging, hail, veggies & curry”

  1. Cid says:

    Melissa,

    I’m so sorry to hear of the storm…. they can do so much damage as you say. We sometimes have them when the bones of my old house rattle and sway, not to speak of the giant tree I have which regularly drops large branches. Anyway, at least you are safe and returned to us. Did you enjoy your trip to Idaho? We don’t mind you going out occasionally but we miss you so don’t make too much of a habit of it :)

    That curry sounds delicious and I could just do with a bowl of it right now. It’s late and I haven’t eaten yet so must head down to the kitchen and see what’s lurking in the fridge.

    Cid

    p.s. last year my few vegetable plants were virtually drowned in a flood and the year before as well. It’s high time we both designed our new underground mushroom growing bunker, although mine might have to be on stilts :)

  2. Melissa says:

    Cid,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I don’t like whining on my blog (not too much, anyway) and I don’t like rambling on about personal issues, but sometimes the roller coaster ride of life gets to be a bit much. I just walked in from cleaning up the mess that is my yard and picking up pieces of the red tile roof that were cracked and broken, thinking I must call the insurance company and see which way to go from here. Also, the camping trip was called off at the last minute (literally while driving away from the house) because of a death in the family. Very sad, very stressful, very difficult.

    So, to make a long and convoluted story short, it’s been a tough couple of weeks. Your comments brought tears to my eyes (honestly) and a smile to my face. Although we’ve never met, I consider you a friend and kindred spirit. Your good energy was well appreciated and quite timely! Thank you, Cid.

  3. Melissa says:

    Oh, Cid, I almost forgot. A mushroom growing bunker? You are full of wild and creative ideas, aren’t you?

    I’d say there’s no stopping us now (our offbeat business ventures). Well, other than that wide space of water between us and the money thing.

    :-)

  4. Mary says:

    Melissa, I only had some herbs and tomatoes growing on my deck and I lost them all to the hail. I can only begin to know how you feel since I only lost herbs and tomatoes. This was my first year to try this, and I think it will probably be my last.

    On another note, does anyone know what happened to Grant Family Farms? This storm was a heartbreaker.

    Glad you’re back safe.

    Mary

  5. Melissa says:

    Mary,

    I agree. If you’re a shareholder in a CSA as good as Grant Family Farms, there’s not much reason to bother with growing your own produce. It’s expensive, a lot of work and although I enjoy working in the garden, I really don’t have the time.

    I think the hail missed the farm. Whew — talk about heart-breakers!

    I’m in the process of baking a loaf of zucchini cherry bread. It smells amazing, but since I pretty much made up the recipe, I won’t know until I taste it. We’ll see, but I’m trying to find new ways to use zucchini. I think zucchini will be the next kale.

    :-)

    Tomorrow I’m going to make a zucchini and onion casserole. I’ll post both recipes soon.

    Thanks, Mary. I appreciate your comments.

  6. Melissa says:

    One more thing, Mary (and other CSA-ers). I’m also in the midst of drying some dill since I’ve gotten so much of it lately and I really don’t use that much dill. I like it, but other than in a few recipes, I’m not a big dill user. I’ll do a “drying herbs” post.

  7. Suzanne says:

    So sorry to hear about your garden. I’ve been enjoying your posts for the past few weeks. Let me know how the zuc-cherry bread turns out. So many cherries – and oh so good. I’d love info about drying the dill. Thank you so much!

  8. Melissa says:

    Suzanne — thank you, but in the big picture, my small garden’s demise isn’t a big deal. And thanks for your kind sentiments about my blog. I appreciate it!

    And by the way, I’m having a piece of warm, fresh-from-the-oven, gluten-free (although I’ll list how you can adjust back to wheat flour) cherry zucchini bread and I have to admit, it’s wonderful! Yum, wish I could share it with everyone. I even put a touch of pastured butter on it. Oh my gosh, it is so good. It should probably be a dessert with vanilla ice cream on it.

    Snicker, snicker — do I sound like a nutritionist (which I am)??! Overall, this is pretty healthy bread and we all need a treat now and then.

    Right? Right!

  9. Cid says:

    Melissa,

    It sounds like you’re experiencing a very tough time… don’t we all sometimes… but don’t ever leave us or we’ll be forced to do a ‘Tom Hanks’ and paint a basket ball with Melissa-like features and chat to you while we go about our household duties :)

    In the back waters of my little town in the UK, I will be thinking of you and hoping for some good stuff to land your way to redress the balance. Here’s a start…. pop into Falkiners.com and click on Japanese decorative papers… just gorgeous!

    Cid

  10. Melissa says:

    Cid,

    Yes, life is an ongoing series of ups and downs, isn’t it? We all have our “down” times on occasion. I actually have nothing to complain about, but sometimes a little whining seems to help.

    :-)

    Now what are the back waters of your little town? Where is this little town? Just in case there’s ever an airline special from Denver to the back waters of the UK! I might have to come over for lunch.

    Okay, on to the Japanese decorative papers. I’ll go check that out.

  11. lo says:

    Wow! That was some storm. So glad that you’re safe. We missed you, of course, but I’m always happy to wait for my little dose of “Melissa” :)

    The curry looks great. I really ought to do more with coconut milk and Indian style curry powders… I always seem to gravitate toward the Thai style curries.

  12. greedydave says:

    Melissa,

    My goodness, I’m so sorry about the storm damage. What a time of the year to lose your crops. I do hope everyone gets back on their feet quickly. Smashing looking curry recipe, Melissa. You really know the short route to a Briton’s heart.

    GDave

  13. Melissa says:

    Lo,

    Yes, it was an epic storm, that’s for sure! Ohh, and thank you — I appreciate your good energy and nice comments.

  14. Melissa says:

    GDave,

    Thanks, other than the fact that my car has dimples in it, my trees and garden are pretty trashed and my roof is damaged — all is well. It could have been much worse, I’m not complaining. People had windows broken and trees down.

    Curry is one of my favorites, too. I loved all the Indian restaurants in Glasgow. One in particular. Can’t remember the name. I’ll have to ask Tevis. She ate there all the time.

  15. Sheila says:

    Melissa,
    Hail is so unforgiving – sorry to hear about all the damage. And my sympathy to you for your family loss. Hang in there. It’s great to have you back online.

    All is well with the crops at Grant Family Farms. Whew!

  16. Melissa says:

    Sheila,

    Thank you so much for your kind words! When this golf-ball sized hail started hammering my house, my thoughts immediately went to Grant Farms. Yikes, what a nightmare a hail storm is for a farmer. Glad you missed it! It’s the worst one I’ve ever seen and I was born in Colorado.

    Off to pick up my share this afternoon! What is in store for us this week? Can’t wait to see — I’ll have more recipes this week. Stay tuned.

    :-)

  17. Sheila says:

    When I went down to the packing area yesterday, I saw bins of broccoli, onions, cabbage, English peas, radishes, collards and kale… and even a few tomatoes for the family shares (peaches in the fruit shares!). By now you have your week’s bounty. Enjoy!

  18. Sheila says:

    …and zucchini, of course!!!

  19. Melissa says:

    Sheila,

    I love the English peas. They hardly ever make it into the pot as I eat them as I go. Peaches? I’m still getting cherries. No complaints here, those cherries are amazing!

    Thanks — I love you guys!

  20. Melissa says:

    >>From Peter< <

    Quick question for you. We have some Kohlrabi in our garden. Beautiful purple bulbs but I've never grown it and wondering when it should be harvested. It's about the size of a baseball right now which seems right to me but I want to make sure it's harvested at the right time. Any tips you can offer?

    Cheers,
    Peter

    >>Hey Peter, I’m dropping your email here as it’s such a good question. I want others to benefit by it. The kohlrabi pictured above is about the size of a baseball (from my CSA). That’s perfect. Sounds like yours is probably ready to harvest. It’s beautiful, isn’t it?! And terribly underrated. I use it raw, cut in a matchstick salad. Or cut the stems off, peel it and cut in slices to make an cheese au gratin. It’s also good lightly steamed with a touch of olive oil and sea salt.

    I’ve never grown it, but it likes cool temps and takes about 3 months from seed. I may try some this fall. Actually, I could start the seeds now. Hmmmm?<<

  21. Melissa says:

    Peter,

    Here’s a simple raw matchstick salad recipe in which I used kohlrabi.

    http://www.glutenfreeforgood.com/blog/?p=2138

  22. Anne says:

    Melissa,
    Oh my word – this distruction :( . So sorry about all your damage and that I have only just been able to read your blog.
    We got hail yesterday but not anywhere as bad as yours.
    Whilst in Germany recently a Vintner told me about a huge hailstorm last year that ruined half of his grape harvest. He also had to replace many grape vines that take 3 years before the first harvest.
    I agree with you about these farmers and their determination to cope with all manner of things they cannot control.
    Hope you are o.k. again now. As Cid says, you are much needed :)
    Anne

  23. Melissa says:

    Anne,

    So nice to “see” you! Yes, the damage has been extensive and we’re in the process of finding new destruction daily. I had no idea all my rain gutters up on the roof were damaged. I can’t imagine being a farmer or vintner and holding your breath while huge storms hammer your crops. There’s nothing you can do but hope and pray.

    And thank you for your kind comments! I enjoy all of you (Miles and his UK gang) so much. You all are a bright and cheerful addition to my blog (not to mention clever and entertaining). I do appreciate it!

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