Bzzzz June 29th, 2007

Do you sprout?It’s not just for hippies anymore.

I have been sprouting for years. Radish sprouts. Broccoli sprouts. Onion sprouts. These are mung bean sprouts.

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There are many beauties to sprouting:

– No weeds.

– You can sprout any time of the year, even in a snowstorm.

– It takes up very little space.

– It’s WAY fast. You can get a harvest in as little as two days.

– The sprouts taste yummy and can be used in a wide variety of cooking.

– It’s very inexpensive.

– They are really good for you.

As you can see, I don’t have one of those fancy sprouters advertised in the magazines. This is just a mayonnaise jar that is fitted with a lid that I found about a hundred years ago at a health food store. You can accomplish the same thing with a bit of screen or even cheesecloth and a rubber band.

Here’s what you do.

1) Find the sprout seeds. This, I’m afraid, is the hard part. You can look in health food stores but even they, I’m afraid, are often deficient on this score. Surfing the web helps. I recently got two FIVE POUND BAGS of mung beans from the wife of the fellow who owns the wine shop (did you follow that) because they shop at an Indian grocery store near their home about an hour from here.

2) Measure out a modest portion of the seeds into your sprouter. They will expand like mad, so don’t fill it very much. For this mayo jar you see here, I only had about 1/2 cup of mung beans.

3) Soak the seeds in tepid water overnight in a dark location. I put them in the cabinet where we keep our glasses. This way, I always am reminded of it because that’s the cabinet I visit most frequently.

4) Each day, rinse the seeds in tepid water. I rinse in the morning and in the evening. Allow to drain upside down, giving the jar a little air space. I prop my jar sideways in the aforementioned cabinet, still allowing the drops of water to run out on a paper towel.

5) Eat when ready or save in the refrigerator. Sprouts will keep up to 1-2 weeks refrigerated.

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Mung bean sprout, tomato, cucumber and goat cheese salad. Oh, and Ben’s grilled filets with lemon butter topping. (Ben says thanks for the book, Vennie!)

Each seed type has its own unique flavor. I particularly like mung beans for their earthy and nutty flavor. I use them in salads of all types. They can also be mixed with tuna, chicken or other meats.

Onion and radish sprouts have a zesty flavor that I adore. Broccoli sprouts taste a bit like broccoli. You can, of course, mix sprouts too for a mix of flavors.

So there you go! A very easy way to garden in your kitchen cabinet. No experience required!

Ciao!

Posted In: Food and Recipes

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Bzzzz June 27th, 2007

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I was (more or less) tagged by Carol over at May Dream Gardens to post seven random things about me. Carol was tagged by Colleen at In the Garden Online. It’s a meme.

The original idea is steeped in science. You can read about memes on Wikipedia. In the context of the blogosphere, a meme is about propagation of an idea–in this case seven random things about me (or whoever). You state seven random things and then “tag” seven other people to do the same. In this meme, the responses are supposed to be related to your blog.

I hope it’s not like a chain letter when you drop dead if you don’t fulfill your end of the bargain. I’m not sure that I even KNOW seven people with blogs who will do this. So if you’re reading this and are willing to post seven things about yourself, will you please let me know in the comments area and include your URL so we can visit?

Okay…seven random things.

1) I have always loved plants. When I was a kid my mom would take my brothers and me to the Great Big Greenhouse in Norfolk, Virginia. It was one of my favorite places in the world. It felt magical to walk in and be surrounded by such an astounding variety of plants. And the smell! It was so fresh! So moist! So earthy!

Mom allowed me to drag home any number of plants, which I set up all over my room. At one point she threatened to evict me if I brought home another plant.

I continued this love affair through college and into adulthood. In college I was the only girl living in the dorm with DOZENS of plants. And a rocking chair. And a coffee pot. Moving days were hell.

2) I cannot STAND to listen to music when I garden. And I LOVE music. In fact, from the time I was thirteen until after I graduated from college, I wanted to be an opera singer. I kid you not. I studied voice, piano–even organ–for YEARS. My parents spent an absolute FORTUNE on music lessons. Sadly, the reality is that I do not have the DRIVE that it takes to compete in the world of music. Also, the neighbors pounding on the wall from the apartment next door when I moved to Monterey and tried to practice singing didn’t help.

Anyway, about the garden…The birds are my music. When I am outside in the garden, I listen to the sounds of the birds. Every day is different. I have come to recognize some, although not nearly as many as I would like. I always know the crows, of course. And the “plunk plunk” of the cow birds. I also recognize the Pur-DEE Pur-DEE of the cardinals. I bought a software program with bird songs a while back but have not had time to indulge. That will be winter time activity.

3) I went through our county’s Master Gardener classes, but didn’t take the final test. Similarly, I went to graduate school, wrote my thesis and NEVER TURNED IT IN.

The reason for the thesis-incompletus is that I landed a very lucrative two-year writing project with a big-named pharmaceutical company that swallowed me up. The reason for the Master Gardener-incompletus was a bit more complicated. And since I have a positive policy with Bumblebee Blog, I will refrain from outlining my reasons. But I do I plan to become involved at some point in the future.

4) I suffer from serious garden envy. I try really hard not to compare my yard and garden to those of other people, but I still do. I often feel inadequate. Or competitive. I am working hard to just BE.

5) My manicure looks like crap 90% of the time because I have the habit of digging into the dirt with my fingernails. In fact, when I travel on business, I will often realize on the airplane that my hands look like those of a farm hand. As a result, I have DRAWERS full of nail care products that I have purchased in panic mode at airports across the country.

6) When I’m not gardening (or working), I am reading or cooking. I LOVE to cook, although I perhaps don’t LOVE it every single night. I do insist on a family dinner. I am a HUGE advocate of the family dinner. Our little family of three sits down together six nights a week. Benjamin, my teenager, orders pizza on Friday nights.

Although the experts quoted in the newspapers extol the importance of the family dinner in family communication, happiness, keeping kids off drugs, kids getting better grades, kids not getting obese…the list goes on…we do it because we just ENJOY our family dinners. We talk about what is happening in the news, why we believe what we believe, history, what is happening in the garden, things we hope to someday do–you name it. In the summer our dinner are most often al fresco.

Managing a family dinner has meant that we eat at 8:30 p.m. because my husband doesn’t get home until 8. Some of the people who come to visit and have dinner suffer mightily, even though I offer tiny treats to tide them over.

7) When I die, I want to go like my Grandpa M. An avid gardener from the time he had to quit coal mining because of black lung, he grew flowers. As many flowers as he could possibly manage to squeeze into his tiny lawns. My most vivid memories were of him escaping family get-togethers to hand water his garden–always wearing his little-old-man-hat.

When he died, he was outside hand watering his garden. Grandma M. said that it looked like he just got tired, stretched out in the grass and pulled his little-old-man-hat over his eyes for the shade. That is how he died.

And that’s seven random things about me.

Posted In: Lifestyle

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