Thursday, May 19, 2005


We are finally getting some rain. I knew if I waited long enough to water the garden, Mother Nature would bail me out! To be fair, I have watered twice this week, but it wasn't enough. We've had an awfully dry May, and things were beginning to look a little crispy. Also, the dry weather has favored the little black hard-shelled bugs that are eating holes in the turnip greens. Not too pleased about that, but then again they don't appear to like kale or chard, so I guess we'll survive.

Meanwhile, the dry weather has probably helped the pear tree. It suffers from fireblight, which only stops spreading when the hot summer drought sets in. I think the only serious damage is cosmetic, though. It has set tons of fruit this year. If we are still around at harvest time, there will be some big batches of pear-citrus marmalade.

Apropos of nothing, the other day the s.o. and I made sort-of-homemade flour tortillas to go with our fish tacos. I say "sort-of-homemade" because we used Quaker masa. So in other words, they were still full of trans fats and chemicals, but at least they didn't have that horrible sickly-sweet preservative taste that storebought flour tortillas always have. (I can't stand those things.) Anyhow, I was rolling them out and the s.o. was searing them in a cast-iron pan. At some point I realized that he was purposely wrinkling my nice flat tortillas in an attempt to create an image of the Virgin Mary to sell on eBay. He didn't get anything worth photographing, but some of the results were amusing at the time. And they still tasted really good.

Oh, and the fish tacos: In a half-cup of fish broth spiked with cumin, oregano, ancho chile powder, and minced fresh garlic, bring a pound of catfish pieces to a nice bubbly simmer, then turn them and simmer for another minute or two until they are just barely done, or not even quite cooked through. Remove the fish pieces with a slotted spoon to a plate (reserving the broth in the pan) and squeeze a liberal amount of lime juice over them. Let them sit while you prepare all the condiments (refried beans, cilantro, sour cream or yogurt, avocado, raw onion, salsa, lettuce, tomato, etc.) and make up the tortillas. When you're just about ready to serve dinner, return the catfish pieces to the broth, season to taste with salt and pepper, and bring just to a simmer again. This is surprisingly good despite its simple and low-fat preparation.