Sunday, August 19, 2012

Oil Change, Sweet Potato, Bearnaise

Sweet potato vines, Bearnaise, steak

It has been a quiet weekend, with several trips up and down the mountain on the Ruckus to the garden. I finally got around to changing the oil in my new used Ruckus. I had to borrow the Co-Gardeners 17 mm socket and finally his biceps to get the drain plug out, but eventually got the job done. Wow, so far You Tube has been my guide for Honda care. Let me just thank all you gifted video mechanics out there. You make the world a better place for many of us, blessings on you!

Tonight's featured supper was steak with Bearnaise sauce, baked potato, fresh corn on the cob, and sweet potato vine tips. I have eaten the sautéed tips of the sweet potato vines before, but tonight I decided to try them as if they were leafy asparagus. Since I knew I was making the Bearnaise sauce, it seemed like a good time to fix other things that could benefit from the sauce. I chose to boil them and only used about the last six to eight inches of new growth. The purple color of the new growth boiled out.

New purple growth of sweet potato vine
They are pretty bland and the stems toughen after about three or four inches, but they aren't bad, especially with Bearnaise sauce. In my opinion, most anything is pretty good with Bearnaise! This sauce had an additional snipped up fresh branch of tarragon from our garden French Tarragon. If you remember I bought two from the Farmer's Market (see previous blog post). I planted one and held one in reserve. The planted one flourished but the other one eventually expired when I finally got around to planting it in the garden next to one of the figs.

If you have ever seriously worked at growing sweet potatoes, then you know how easy they are to grow. They make take a while but eventually you will have vigorous, green vines all over the place. After searching around on line a while I finally found some figures about sweet potato vine nutritional value. They have lots of protein and contain all the essential amino acids. The leaves also have Vitamin A and quite a few other useful things in varying amounts. It turns out that chicks can be fed dried sweet potato vines instead of their regular feed and will do as well as all but the most intensively fed broiler houses chicks. Good for your backyard/free range types of chickens. There is even a recipe for making sweet potato soap. I will need to look into that one.

I think George Washington Carver did some work with sweet potatoes too, not just peanuts. That might be fun to look into too. Anyway, I am full and have a new appreciation for one of my garden plants. In the second grade, my teacher, Mrs. Applegate, had a sweet potato growing in a vase. I was fascinated with the green lush vines and loved it when it was my turn to add water to the container. Now I start my own plants from a parent potato, and grow and harvest them. I don't think I have ever had a total failure with sweet potatoes. They are tough customers. Growing up, we oiled the skins and put them in the oven until they were soft. Then we split them and added butter. It is still my favorite way to eat them. If you watch, sooner or later they will go on sale for around thirty or forty cents a pound, sometime in the winter. They store really well in a box somewhere, where it isn't too hot or cold. Lots of really healthy, tasty eating on the cheap. One more way to trim the grocery bill in these expensive times.
New growth on older pruned tomato vines

I have also tried something else I have read about but never attempted. I pruned a couple of my big tomato plants that had gotten really straggly and beaten down by the weather. I cut them back to the lushest of the new growth and stuck cages around them. They are sturdy and have blooms and look good. We will see how they do compared to the ones left to recover as is, and the new plants I put out. They new plants are growing, but don't look like they will catch up to the pruned ones, but we will see.

Trying new things, why is it so hard? If God's mercies are new every morning, why are we so reluctant to try new things?

1 comment:

  1. you had a teacher named mrs applegate?! why am i now just hearing about it? if i had a teacher named terwilliger you betcha i would've told you by now...