June 30, 2011

I cooked a cactus

I love napolitos.

That’s spanish for “little pieces of cactus”. You can find them in the mexican food aisle of your local grocery store. They are pickled little slices of cactus and they are good. I have used them in salads and ante pasto and even on pizza. Sometimes I would just munch on them like a pickle. I love pickled things. Pickled okra, pickled asparagus, baby corns, cauliflower, etc, etc, etc… If its pickled I will try it. Well, not animal parts. I dont eat that crap. But just about any pickled veggie I have seen I have tried it. It’s my weakness.

Then, after  a short stay in Utah I moved back to Arizona.

Lo and behold what is growing in my backyard?

Why, prickly pear cactus of course! Which is nothing really unusual as cacti are abundant here. I had been wanting to try grilling a cactus pad for awhile now. My girlfriend is a pretty adventurous gal. She’s like,”Let’s do it!” So, we did  and it turned out pretty good. This was from our own prickly pear. But you can buy them in the produce sections in some stores. They are specially grown by folks who know about this stuff.

So, I proceeded to pick a few leaves.

I guess that’s what you would call them. Anyway, It turned out pretty good!

I did learn a few things.

1) Use thongs.

The leaves will snap off fairly easily and you stand less chance of getting stuck.

2) You might want to wear gloves.

I got some thorns even though I went to great pains to avoid the spines. Some are obvious and some are so tiny you almost can not see them! So BE CAREFUL!

3) The older the leaf/pad the stringier it is.

So, pick them while they are young and tender!

So I googled around

and after tasting a few of the different marinades that were suggested I finally settled on this one. I dont remember where i got it or else I would give them credit.

1Tbs salt  -3 garlic cloves -1/4 cup oil – 1/4 cup of lime juice!

I let them marinate in the marinade over night

after I first burned of the thorns and spines and then carefully sliced off the outer skin.

I grilled them for about 6 or 7 minutes on both side.

They got a little slimey in the marinade but you could smell them and they smelled good.  I grilled some Smart Dogs, which are certified vegan, to go along with them. I was actually disappointed with the Smart Dogs and I think I will stick with the Yves brand of vegan Good Dogs from now on, until something better comes along.

I am guaranteeing you that this is a tasty side dish if nothing else.

I liked them and I look forward to doing again. Only next time I will definitely either buy them or pick them while they are young!

Bon apetite!


May 23, 2011

Garden update May 22nd 2011

Get all excited and then it snows... sheesh

January 2011

Extreme garden makeover!

The year pretty much started out with snow.

Then it thawed.

Then it snowed. Then it thawed and it was one big tease after another. So we sorted through seeds and fussed over this years new layout for the garden and what was going to go where and who was going to plant what.

We came to the conclusion that the old sprinkler system was definitely out and so I have

Sometime around Easter maybe

Just before spring

removed the old white pipe along the fence you can see in the January photo. We are compiling the necessary materials for a new economical and water saving irrigation system.

Then (fingers crossed) the snow finally went away. It rained and rained and rained. The wind blew and then there was a window of opportunity so I took it.

As you can see the garden was very over grown . I dug most everything up and started from scratch.

I made new boxes for new beds.

We now have, in order from west to east #1) yellow Squash, #2) strawberries,#3) zucchini, #4) tomatoes,#5) Cucumbers,

Taken today just hours before I posted this blog

How it looks from our back door as of this post

kale and eggplant, #6) failed honeydew, #7) a bed ready for bock choy and assorted leafy green things #8) various cooking herbs such as basil and parsley and sage and thyme etc. We have two 3ft x 10ft boxes left.

We have peas on the north wall of the house and another bed with more strawberries and mint, bergamot tea and various daisies and such. The peaches have blossomed and gone and the leaves are on them. The clouds come and go. I don’t trust this weather. It would disappoint me but not surprise me if it snowed once more. But my fingers are crossed.

April 27, 2011

Fried Okra

I was twittering around the other day when someone said they could not get past the sliminess of okra.

This struck me as odd since people eat all sorts of strange things. I love okra. I like it raw, in soups, in beans and rice, in

Okra in my garden

Indian curry, and I especially like it fried up in a little corn flour mixture. Its a great side dish or just a healthy snack from the garden.

But we ate up all the okra we grew last year already,

…and it is time to plant more.

So, I cheated.

I went to the grocery store and bought some frozen cut okra. After all, I couldn’t let the okraphobes spread their propaganda!

0kra (Hibiscus esculentus) is also called “gumbo” in this country, although the latter term is more often applied to soups or other dishes which contain okra. Both of these names are of African origin. “Gumbo” is believed to be a corruption of a Portuguese corruption, quingombo, of the word quillobo, native name for the plant in the Congo and Angola area of Africa.

After I had thawed out the okra I placed it in a separate bowl and gathered up some ingredients.

1/4 inch sclice of a vidalia onion minced up really fine

minced onion

a cup of corn meal flour

about 1/2 cup of flour

soy milk

a tablespoon of red chili powder

some salt and pepper

an egg replacer as a binder

oh yes... you will like these

And I stirred it all up really good into a batter/paste with which to coat the yummy slimy okra pieces and turned on the deep fryer.

I stuck my finger into the batter and tasted it. It was OK.

Then I simply stirred the okra into the mix and dropped a few spoonfuls into the hot oil as if they were dumplings (about 6 at a time; sometimes there were three or four pieces in each ‘puppy’ and sometimes only 1 or 2) and pulled them out after a minute or so and sprinkled a little cajun dust and french fry salt on them and they were yummy.

April 25, 2011

not sure what it is or does but it’s cool…

I think it’s a barometer.

April 16, 2011

Gardening for really lazy people

this is a repost

Tilling the ground can be hard work!

But, with a little ingenuity, you can recycle the box your monitor came in , kill unwanted grass, and grow food or flowers all at the same time! Very easy. Simply lay the cardboard where you want to grow your food or flowers and cover it with soil, compost and mulch! It works!

Update 6/3/2010

This is what it looks like right now. Of course we pulled a few weeds…

Update 6/24/2010

March 19, 2011

Two capacitors I charged just by sticking them in the ground

Continuing with my experiments…

March 17, 2011

My backyard is a giant battery?

I kept running across these videos and articles about free energy sources.

I have always found the ideas of Nikola Tesla to be fascinating. And the story of how Edison et al basically broke him because they wanted a way to capitalize on supplying electricity to consumers.  I’ve been reading about Bedini and Kapanadze and several other scientists who have been experimenting with this idea. So, I decided to perform a little experiment to see for myself.

It’s not all that impressive really.

But, I am convinced that it is true. The readings went up when I added the speaker magnet. It was also starting to rain. I am wondering if the moisture or the increase in ionic activity effected the readings. Either way, the little boy in me was absolutely thrilled at the results and I will now start seeing if I can ramp up the power I am getting.

So,… for the sake of curiousity… check out my little 4 minute video documentary…

(…. if you could call it that)

March 14, 2011

Hunting for vegan food

I was having a bit of fun with my guitar one day and decided to turn it into a vegan song.

I grew up listening to AC/DC. I am pretty sure those cats are not vegan. But I like to think they would appreciate the nod. Sure wish I coulda come up with a better video for it. I did the guitars and Bass. The drums were added via Studio One. (if you’re a musician you would like studio one… blows audacity out of the water…

March 6, 2011

Ensalada Mexicana ala Guedo

Mexican salad by a white guy.

Actually, ‘guedo’ means ‘blondie’. I spent most of my life in Arizona. Hence, I have this intense love of Mexican food. I have had many a taco salad. This is my vegan version.

You will need 1 cup of Carne de Soya; aka, Textured vegetable Protein or ‘TVP’.  Take the TVP and add about two Tablespoons of Balsamic vinegar and a cup of water and let it set for awhile while it reconstitutes. I add some cajun spices for a little zip. The balsamic vinegar adds a little sweetness to it and 

These items get cooked

some color.

While this is happening

Take 1/2 an onion (I like the sweet type, Mayan or vidalia) A few sweet peppers and cilantro and a large white mushroom and chop them all up. I also added an Anaheim chili simply because we had one leftover from another recipe.

Stir fry it for a few minutes. Use your best judgement on the time. It took me maybe 5 -10 minutes until I felt it was ready. The magic ingredient to add while it is cooking is Cumin, red chile powder and some garlic powder. I didn’t use a measured amount. I 

oh this smells so good!

just sort of Graham Kerr’d it. Cumin is that smell that makes all us guedos think of taco smell.

Let it cool for awhile.

While this is happening take the other 1/2 of the onion and a tomato or three and a bit of garlic and lemon/lime juice and a wee jalapeno and make yourself a pico de gallo. 

pico de gallo

I used a seven lettuce salad mix and added the pico de gallo and the Carne de Soya mixture and mix it all together. Mash up an avocado, add it and some vegan cheese. Traditionally this would be chedder. But, I forgot to get some. But, I DID have about 1/3 of a bag of Daiya Mozerella so I used that instead. Make sure to mix it well as the avocado tries to clump up.

The dressing?

I love green sauce. Also known as Salsa Verde. Use as much or little as you like. You can serve it as an appetizer pre-entre salad. Or mauw down on it as it is.

I promise you will like this.

January 28, 2011

St. Hubert, Patron Saint of Hunters

St Hubert’s conversion occurred sometime around 682 CE .

He “beheld a vision of a Cross between the antlers of a stag”. This is during a time when ancient pagan traditions were still in the memories of the recently converted. Local stories of ancient legends 

St Hubert pray for hunters

For sins against animals

were still popular.   Hubert loved to hunt. To him it was a spiritual experience. The ancient traditions held that the animal was willingly giving its life so that the hunter and his family might live. A parallel between Christ and The stag  is still drawn in the mind of many hunters even to this day. It is said that he had a vision of Christ crucified between the antlers of a stag while hunting one day. From this we get the famous ‘Jeagermeister’ liquer/schnapps image.  The popular practice at that time was a Christianized version of a pagan ritual of hunting. The animal was seen as offering itself as a sacrifice.  There was a prayer and

The lord of the beasts

The 'old religion'

blessing before the hunt. If the hunt was successful it was taken as a good omen.  The animal was offered up and feasted upon.  Christ fulfilled the price with his sacrifice putting an end to the need for all forms of sacrifice when he died on the cross as it says in many places.  St Hubert  evangelised  the Kelts, or Gauls.

The popular story today is that he was supposed to be at church one day, but instead was out hunting. While aiming his arrow at the stag he saw a crucifix between the stags antlers, while he heard a voice saying: “Hubert, unless thou turnest to the Lord, and leadest an holy life, thou shalt quickly go down into hell”. Hubert dismounted, prostrated himself. Such began his new religious career. There is also St Eustace. Who repented hunting and was converted with the same vision of the cross between the antlers. There is conjecture as to whether there is any relation to the Robin Hood myth in some of the literature I have come across. I’ll leave that question to your leisure.

Great St. Hubert,

you were passionate about hunting, but when touched by Divine Grace, you put down your bow and took up the collar of Priesthood.  Known for your miracles and the conversion of hundreds, you convinced others to worship and glorify Our Lord.

Moved by your example, I implore your help.  I ask for the Grace to follow in your footsteps and become a passionate disciple of Christ.  Amen.


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