I thought it would be fun for me and my two friends, Nikole and Wendy, to sign up for a college class (five-nights + one Saturday field trip) on organic gardening from a woman who sells composting worms and does medicine drumming and 'chakra gardening.' But then I received the syllabus and it freaked me right the hell out. It was like I'd signed up for grad school: oral and written exams, frequent quizzes, homework and research, final exam, garden plan, and class participation a must; no unexcused absences, no tardiness, no plagiarism or cheating....
I think I might be too old for this.
Nonetheless, I told Nikole I was gonna get a better grade than her. But she said, "I think there's math involved, Molly." And I think I detected a note of condescension in her voice. She knows me and my (lack of) math skills all too well.
But it's been going well. We've taken two classes so far. There was a quiz given in our second class, but the instructor didn't collect them or grade them. Instead we discussed the answers in class. Whew.
Seeds have been purchased... Some have been planted indoors... I've got a first draft of my garden plan done...
Here I am, soaking some seeds yesterday morning, to kick-start them and get them to germinate a little faster. I soaked two types of peas, some swiss chard, and two types of beets.
Now all we need is some warm weather so we can do some actual gardening. Alas, here in my part of Alaska, you don't put things in the ground until around Memorial Day weekend at the end of May, so I've got some time on my hands to do some garden planning.
Garden planning and cooking!
Here's a lovely little stew that's made with red lentils and coconut milk and curry. I found it on a blog called Wild Greens and Sardines and it is delicious. This recipe makes quite a bit. I enjoyed the leftovers for days afterwards and I put a couple of small bowls of it in the freezer for later. I did not complain.
Red Lentil Curry Coconut Stew
2 tablespoons of your choice of oil - I used coconut oil.
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons of curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 14-ounce can of tomato sauce
1/2 pound red lentils, rinsed and picked over
2 cups of vegetable broth
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Cayenne to taste
2 large handfuls, Swiss chard leaves, chopped. Spinach would work too.
1 14-ounce can of coconut milk. I used lite coconut milk.
Juice of 1/2 lime
Hot sauce, if desired
Cashews (toasted in a dry skillet until lightly browned), chopped, if desired
Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or so. Add garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, a pinch of salt, ground cumin, coriander, curry powder, and turmeric. Stir and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add tomato sauce. Taste and re-season with salt.
Stir in the lentils and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes or until the lentils are cooked to your desired done-ness. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the Swiss chard, coconut milk, and lime juice, and cook until the chard is wilted and the coconut milk heated through, about 2-3 minutes. Taste and reseason with salt and pepper, if needed.
Ladle into individual bowls. Top as desired with cilantro, cashews, and hot sauce.