Monthly Archives: June 2013

Plants in the yard.

This is some of what I am growing in my yard. Lots of these were given to me by Thuy! Many Thanks.

  • Wild Hot PeppersIMG_0001
  • มะกรูด-Kaffir lime.  looks like a cross between ugly fruit and a lime. The leaf is used in many classic Thai dishes. The fruit is more fragrant than regular limes, but less juicy.

    Kaffir Lime

    Kaffir Lime

  • น้อยหน่า- Custard Apple aka soursop This is a SE Asian relative of the cherimoya and North American pawpaw.

    Custard Apple

    Custard Apple

  • ละมุดเม็กซิโก 1 ต้น ละมุดไทย 1ต้น Sapote aka Mamey 2 trees.  This one and its frontyard cousin both did not make it through the winter. Time to try again.

    Sapote

    Sapote

  • Amaranth. I am holding back on eating until I identify this as actual amaranth. (gone already)
  • มะม่วง ปลูกจากเมล็ดแบบลอตเตอรี่ .Mango Trees, multiple. These were planted from seed. I will be luck to see mangos from them. 7 come 11.

    Mango, Dragon fruit, Kale

    Mango, Dragon fruit, Kale

  • แก้วมังกร Dragon Fruit plants, multiple. I have two different starts. This is a succulent and seems easy to grow but hard to keep the squirrels away from.
    Dragon Fruit

    Dragon Fruit

    Mango, Dragon fruit, Kale

    Mango, Dragon fruit, Kale…Third year transplanted kale is dead.

  • ใบกระวาน Bay tree. I am told that this is a genuine Bay and not the Texas Bay tree. Its doing well. Galangal is doing well. Turmeric looks GREAT.

    Bay, Turmeric, Galangal, Rosemary,etc.

    Bay, Turmeric, Galangal, Rosemary,etc.

  • มะละกอ Papaya has seen better days.

    Papaya

    Papaya

  • Rosemary (in the Bay Tree photo above)
  • Sweet Basil.
  • โหระพา Thai Basil.(gone)
  • กะเพรา Holy Basil.Hybrid basil is everywhere.

    Holy Basil

    Holy Basil

  • มะเดื่อ-Fig  This needs more light. Probably have to trim back the prickly pear.
  • เงาะ-Rambutan seedlings. This would be great if they work. They are like big hairy lychee

    Rambutan, Tomato, and Butterfly bush

    Rambutan, Tomato, and Butterfly bush

  • สะระแหน่ Mint.Having trouble with the mint.(brown thumb syndrome)new plants
  • ตะไคร้ Lemon Grass.Planted from routed stock from the grocery. Needs bigger planting

    Lemongrass

    Lemongrass

  • ขมิ้น-Turmeric planted from roots from the grocery. This is doing GREAT this year and is crowding out my galanga. (bay tree photo above)
  • ข่า-Galangal. A relative of ginger like the turmeric above. Galangal AKA ka and laos is not doing that well. It will get its own pot. (bay tree photo above)
  • ส้ม-Orange. This tree came with the house and produces large oranges that taste a bit like navel oranges.

    Orange

    Orange

  • ส้มอื่น  Kumquat

    Kumquat

    Kumquat

  • Small sour oranges. These are useful. I threw one at Tegarden today. They replace limes sometimes. They also make great orangeaid. I try to get at least one into very batch of som tom.
  • ส้มโอ (คล้ายๆ) – Grapefruit This is a recent transplant and came with little root. It appears to have died. Since it was originally planted from seed we may have some luck if it comes up again from the root. Gone,, bad transplant.
  • Prickly pear cactus fruit and leaves. I have stopped eating these because of concerns over oxalic acid and kidney stones กระบองเพชร
  • มะขาม- Tamarind seedlings  in the ground. The seed pods are sour tasting and can be used in a variety of cooking or eaten a few at a time raw. Too much and จุดจุด.
  • Lychee seeds in soil. Did not make it.
  • Acorn (Live Oak) ลูกโอ๊ก Our live out seems to produce about 200# a year. I am told that Live Oak produce little tannin in the acorns. This year I hope to harvest and make something; soup?bread?pancakes?
  • celery . This may just be a replanted heart. It is developing a big root. I will have to read up and make sure celery root is actually celery root. died.
  • Loquat are small ละมุด sized fruit, but probably not related. They are very juicey and sweet but do not store. They require almost nothing to grow down here.

    Loquat

    Loquat

  • Texas Ebony. I am told that the seeds can be roasted to make a coffee substitute. It has no caffeine. I would verify this before trying it. It is a relative of the tamarind, mesquite and locust trees. It is a beautiful and very hard. Like other members of the family it is hard on saw blades. Benny is cultivating a Texas Ebony Bonzai.
  • ขนุน Jackfruit, I was given some seed by Sebastian. August 25, one  sprouted. I have two in the ground now and have given a few away. Jackfruit Carnitas (have not tried hem) .These jackfruit did not winter. I have one left in a pot.
  • Jackfruit

    Jackfruit

 

Som Tam ส้มตำ Recipe, aka Green Papaya Salad

There are lots of region variations of this dish. I prefer making it with dead green papaya, but any combination of carrots and diakon (use a shreader and don’t pound them) is also fine. I have used cabbage and nopalitos but without much success.
The key to success  is a balance of flavors. As the ingredients vary in intensity, taste and adjust the recipe as needed.

In a stoneware mortar from Dankwean, with a wooden pestle or by other means, pound 3 or four black pepper corns, 8 small cloves of garlic, 5- chilli pequins (also known as bird pepper or mouse shit pepper) until well mashed or fine. You can use 3 serrano peppers, or if you want no heat, a mild poblano. Standard US sweet green peppers are better than nothing but not quite right.
If available toast in a dry skillet 1/8 cup dried shrimp (you want to just start to toast and for them all to get hot). Add the shrimp to the mortar and pound some more. You can do the same with fresh toasted peanuts. Add 2 tablespoons of lime juice (you can use some sour orange juice or mashed kumquat as well), and 2 tablespons of fish sauce. You may substitute a teaspoon of shrimp paste or fish paste for 1 tablespoon of fish sauce.

Julliene 3-4 cups of peeled dead green papaya (1/16- 1/8″ strips) (probably not available in a regular grocery store). To do this the Thai way, peel the whole papaya. Hold the whole papaya in one hand with the stem end facing towards you. Take a straight bladed knife and quickly chop parallel cuts into the papaya as you turn it. When you have chopped it sufficiently take a coarse vegetable peeler and peel off the no julliened strips. A coarse shredder is not really sufficiently thin, but “any som tam ส้มตำ is better than no som tam” no?

Picture of Julliened strips

In batches take the papaya and pound them medium gently in the mortar until slightly translucent. Place them in a serving dish. When all the papaya is pounded make sure it is well mixed. Taste it. It should be peppery, garlicy, and a bit fishy. Usually I have to add some more fish sauce  and sometimes lime juice. The traditional recipe calls for a bit of raw cane sugar (jaggery). I generally leave it out.

Chopped tomato’s and a bit of parsley or celery leaves make good garni . T

Green papaya can be hard on the digestive track due to enzymes. You should probably hold back on this and limit yourself to less than a cup a day. It can cause sores just like pineapple and green mango.

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