Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today to show you what we’ve been doing lately. You may remember me from such posts as “Up In The Air”, among so many, many others.
Here I am in a characteristic pose.
The snow has been on the ground for two weeks now. Some of it evaporated when it was windy the other day, and it’s warm enough now for the snow to melt, but it isn’t melting all that much.
I’d rather be out in the garden doing stuff, but, according to the guy I live with, there isn’t all that much to do except fill the bird feeders, and that doesn’t take very long.
So he’s been cooking.
Yes, more dumplings. Don’t ask me why all the dumplings. I think it’s just weird. I sure hope we aren’t going to go stand on the street and sell dumplings.
And he made some Sichuan-style chili sauce. The recipe called for something called tsao ko, and, believe it or not, the guy I live with knew exactly what this was, since it’s in the pantry.
It’s black cardamom, kali elaichi in Hindi; the guy I live with cooks a lot of Indian food and this is sometimes called for. It smells like smoky cardamom.
Speaking of food, the guy I live with also cooks a lot of Thai food, and one of his very favorite things is drunken noodles, pad kee mao. It’s too hot for most people he knows.
The recipe, like a lot of other Thai dishes, calls for gaprao basil, which is also called holy basil. (Not the anise-scented “Thai basil”, which is horapah basil.)
He sometimes gets holy basil at the Asian market; the last time he went, he couldn’t find it, so looked it up on his phone and showed the Vietnamese name for it to the person stocking the fresh herb section. He was pointed to a bunch of basil-looking greens, so he took these home, but they turned out to be lemon basil.
He said the lemon basil was good, but not what he wanted.
Well, it turns out that he’s been growing the real thing, holy basil, upstairs. The plants were moved from the patio when it got cold, and transplanted into plastic pots.
The leaves look yellow under the lights, but they’re green.
He used these the last time he made drunken noodles, and said they had the aroma of bubblegum, with a fruity flavor. No wonder Thai people love holy basil.
He stripped off the leaves, and threw away the stems, but then thought that maybe some of those stems would root in water, and they did, really quickly. (You can see the rooted cuttings in the pot behind the two pots.)
It was the first time he’d ever rooted cuttings of anything. Believe it or not.
The seeds came from Adaptive Seeds.
And speaking of seeds, the first seeds of the year were sown. I guess if you can call this sowing seeds.
The guy I live with decided to take “the easy way out” and stratify a bunch of the seeds he got in damp (actually, wet) coffee filters. This method works really well.
Mostly erythronium seeds, and some fritillarias, too. (He told me there are fritillaria seeds which were put in the refrigerator last January and they’ve just begin to form embryos, which is how they do this.)
The information on the seed packets said sixteen weeks of cold treatment. (That means cold at 39F, 4C, not freezing.)
You can see the sweet aromatic soy sauce in the little hermetic jar, too. He made that this morning. (It goes with the chili oil on Sichuan-style wontons.)
The freezer bags, which can be reused over and over again for this process, went into a plastic box, and that went in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
The towel is extra protection against freezing, if the refrigerator decided to get colder than it ought to.
It was a pile of seed packets, but took less than fifteen minutes to fill all the bags.
The bags need to be checked every two weeks or so, just to make sure nothing is drying out.
Sometimes seeds will germinate in the refrigerator, but that’s okay.
And that’s it for today’s post.
I notice this post is a whole lot less about me than I’m sure my readers would liked, but the guy I live with said maybe we could have a post that’s all about me and nothing else, for balance, you know.
Until next time, then.