Miracles in the Garden

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summary: mid-summer garden report; Swiss chard is great, especially when stir-fried with other vegetables; miracles do happen; red okra;

Look!! It’s a miracle!

Garden Miracles 2020

This cayenne chili plant is from last year. I thought I had murdered it in the basement this past winter; when I brought it out to the balcony, there were zero leaves on it. (I only brought it out to plant other things in the pot.) Just before I was about to uproot it, I noticed tiny leaf buds on the bare stems. And look at it now! Not only is it covered in leaves, it’s fruiting!!

Chilli (Hot Hot Hot)

Secondary miracle: the zillions of Swiss chard seeds (thank you for sending them, P and J!!) that I planted at the end of June in various spots on the balcony, behind the garage, and in the back garden, this is the lone seedling that came up! (I think it might be one that dropped out of the package by mistake….)

Renegade Swiss Chard Seedling

Tertiary miracle: the oregano in the lower left corner of the top image also survived the winter outside – in a 6 inch wide window box pot!

Because I adore Swiss chard for dinner, instead of (as I’ve done for at least a couple of years now) skipping out to our sunny section of garden behind the garage to cut several leaves, I was compelled to buy some at the vegetable market. The bunch contained at least 10 leaves – several different colours. Because we are still in the mode of shopping once a week, instead of each day, the chard got a little limp in the fridge. (Ha! A little limp? It was so wilted that T decreed it should go into the compost bin.) But after washing it and standing it in water for about 5 minutes (really!!), it was completely rejuvenated.

Isn’t turgor pressure amazing?

Ingredients for Stir-frying Swiss Chard
Stir-fried Swiss Chard

It takes only about 10 minutes to stir-fry Swiss chard – and at least half of that time is spent doing other things. I stir-fried the chard with mustard seeds, onions, garlic, dried cranberries, yellow zucchini, dried hot hot hot chili from last year’s garden, and a red okra pod from our garden. Whoooohoooooooooo!

Stunningly Beautiful Swiss Chard
It takes almost no time at all to prepare

  • 7:03pm: Wash Swiss chard and cut onions and zucchini into half moons. Cut the okra into coins.
  • 7:05pm: In a large stainless steel frying pan, heat oil and mustard seeds until the seeds pop.
  • 7:07pm: Add onions and fry until beginning to show colour.
  • 7:08pm: Chop the Swiss Chard into bite-size pieces, making sure to keep the stems separate for easy retrieval.
  • 7:09pm: Add chopped dried chilli (seeds removed), okra, dried cranberries, and garlic
  • 7:11pm: Add yellow zucchini cut into half moons.
  • 7:12pm: Add chopped Swiss Chard stems.
  • 7:13pm: Sprinkle on a little salt and pepper (pepper grinder not shown….)
  • 7:15pm: Throw in a splash of dry sherry.
  • 7:16pm: Et voila! It’s done.

Serve immediately to retain the lovely colours. If you are planning to reheat it before serving, present the dish in candlelight.

(The yellow zucchini were also from the vegetable market – all our garden zucchini plants were producing male flowers only for most of July, but have suffered greatly in the past few weeks of overly hot, humid, and/or wildly rainy days; alas, they are now refusing to produce any flowers at all and are about to keel over.)

Cayenne Peppers
Last year’s dried chilis are almost too pretty to use… almost….

Red Okra Pod and Dime
This year’s red okra is almost too scary to use… almost….

The stir-fried Swiss chard looked gorgeous in the pan. Alas, re-heating it (the hazards of pre-cooking the vegetable half an hour or so before dinner), it ended up looking a bit like dog’s breakfast…. :stomp: :stomp: But it was delicious!

Stir-fried Swisschard/Okra/Zucchini

I know I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: I LOVE dinner!!

This Year, Miracles Abound

Okra Two years ago, in late June, I planted red okra seeds in a pot on the balcony. They sprouted….

Last year, in early June, I planted the seeds behind the garage – because they obviously need more sun. Only two plants survived. One of them produced fruit: one single spindly little pod. We did not harvest it. We did not record its existence for posterity.

Being a glutton for punishment, I planted red okra seeds again this June. And look!!!

Red Okra
Red Okra

The stunning red colour is not retained when the okra is cooked. Indeed, it takes almost no time at all for the red to turn green.

Red Okra

We were a little afraid that the okra was already too large and would be woody. But no. It was beautifully fresh, sweet, and crunchy. What a difference from store-bought okra!

Now excuse me while I go to harvest more red okra pods before they take over the back lane entirely.


Red Okra Flower
Red Okra Flower
The lovely red okra flower appears very briefly,
only lasting for one day before curling up into pod shape.

This entry was posted in food & drink, posts with recipes, spicy, vegetarian on by .

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