This is the 2nd part of a minor saga put to sci-fi of what happens when a zealous rookie gardener is let loose with seeds and planter boxes. Lettuce taller than your waist, radishes besieged by monsters, petrified carrots, kale and sorrel pocked with tiny holes like they were victims of a ray gun battle.
The featured image above is a movie poster from the 1962 British Sci-fi film “Day of the Triffids”. Taken from the 1951 novel by David Wyndam, it depicts a post- apocolyptic world the day after a meteor shower blinds humanity and plants go on a killing rampage. I’m of an age that I saw it many years ago when I would while away hours in front of the television watching “B” level horror films. I only saw this once and it was a while back but it left an indelible memory. It was a creepy concept. If only they’d had “Round Up”…
This member of mankind hopes to learn his lesson in growing seasons to come but like those before him, it may never come to pass…
Here are a few weapons you can use in the kitchen to take back your garden.
Spicy Ground Meat Lettuce Cups
This comes from Barney Desmazery on BBC Good Food. You may have had something like this in a Thai Restaurant. A great way to make the most of starship size leaves.
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- large piece fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
- 500g ground chicken, turkey or pork
- 85g light brown sugar
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- juice 1 lime
- 2 lime leaves, finely shredded (if you can’t find these on the Coast, sub in lime zest)
- Lettuce leaves
- large handful mint and coriander leaves, very roughly chopped
- handful toasted peanuts, roughly chopped
- 2 shallots, finely sliced into rings
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Fry the ginger, garlic and chillies for 1 min. Add the mince, then cook on a high heat until golden brown, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as you go. Sprinkle over the brown sugar, fish sauce, lime juice and shredded lime leaves, then cook everything down until sticky.
- Tip the mince into a serving bowl, then serve with a bowl of lettuce leaves for wrapping the mince in; the herbs, shallots and peanuts for scattering over; and the lime wedges for squeezing.
This one is a Gordon Ramsay recipe. Somehow very appropriate in a scary tale. Also taken from BBC Good Food.
Break off the outside leaves of the lettuces. Lay them on a plate and season with salt. Leave for about 15 mins to ‘bleed’ and soften. Heat a large frying pan or wok until very hot. Toss the leaves with the olive oil and stir-fry for just a min until they begin to wilt. Mix in the rice wine vinegar and drain on paper towel.
My French Breakfast radishes were savaged by space shrimp (Pill Bugs are actually crustaceans) and look like the surface of the moon. Won’t look as pretty as you might like for the salad but still taste great.
Radish, Goat Cheese and Cilantro Salad
The cilantro in my garden has also gone “Triffid”. This comes from Nancy Singleton Hachisu for Saveur.
- 1 bunch French breakfast radishes (about 1 lb.)
- 2 tbsp. minced shallots
- 1 tsp. Kosher salt
- 1 tbsp. brown rice vinegar
- 1 tsp. soy sauce
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 2⁄3 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
- 2 oz. fresh goat cheese, crumbled
- Wash and dry the radishes and keep the greens intact or trim them within 1 inch, then thinly slice the radishes. Transfer the radishes to a medium bowl along with the shallots and salt, toss to combine, and let stand for 5 minutes.
- In a bowl, whisk the rice vinegar with the soy sauce and drizzle in the olive oil, whisking until emulsified. Add the cilantro and half the dressing to the radishes and toss gently to combine. Transfer to a platter, top with the goat cheese, and serve the remaining dressing on the side.
How to make the most of that semi-devoured Kale & Sorrel
Sorrel & Kale Pesto
No one will know they’re eating the leftovers from a space invader banquet. This comes from joyfullfoods.com
3 cup sorrel roughly chopped
1 1/2 cup kale stems removed & roughly chopped
1 garlic clove
1/2 ts anchovy paste
1 lemon zested and juiced
1 ts kosher salt or more to taste
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese microplaned or grated
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil or shallot oil
2 T pistachios toasted
2 T pepitas toasted
- Combine sorrel, kale, garlic, anchovy, lemon zest & juice, salt and cheese in the bowl of a food processor and blend until as smooth as possible.
- With the motor running, stream the olive oil into the processor, allowing the pesto to emulsify and smooth out.
- Add the pistachios and pepitas and blend to desired consistency. Taste, and add more salt if needed.