Tag Archives: garden

Honeycomb and Bee Larvae

Last week, our house helper was clearing some brush in front of our house when she found a beehive! Since eating larvae of ants, wasps, and bees is common in Laos, she brought this in for us to eat. I asked her how to cook it, but didn’t really understand her answer. I thought that you fried larvae, but she said no, these are too small and soft for that. She said that Lao people often steam them, but I don’t have a steamer. She also said you can bake them, so that’s what I ended up doing. She mentioned something about washing something, but I didn’t quite catch it. Maybe she was describing how to get the larvae out of the comb. Continue reading

Good Everything – restaurant review

cute silverware holder

Since Udon Thani is the biggest Thai city close to Vientiane, we find ourselves there pretty often. Sometimes we go to Udon for its airport and sometimes for it’s hospital. Whenever we’re there, we love to eat at Good Everything. It’s a cute little restaurant across the street from Nong Prajak Park where everything really is good (everything we’ve tried at least). The atmosphere is airy, fresh, quiet, and quaint. It reminds me of an old flower shop and it’s surrounded by a small, carefully maintained garden.

The menu includes both Thai and foreign dishes. It can be hard to find good western food in Southeast Asia. Sometimes it’s too bland, too ketchup-y, or not very healthy. I don’t know how, but Good Everything has figured out what western food should actually taste like!

The last time we ate there, I got the corn cream soup and a mango shake:

corn cream soup with garlic bread

Mango Shake - so pretty!

James ordered a Vietnamese style wrap set (sorry for the out of focus lettuce):

In the past we’ve had the salad nicoise, bread basket with spreads (one of our favorites), Thai latna, and many of the fruit drinks. All the fruit drinks are presently beautifully and made of real fruit. They also have a good selection of teas and desserts.

Black Beans From Our Garden!

I didn’t know how easy it was to grow black beans. I just thought they were the sort of thing that you have to buy. Well, it is easier to buy them because then you don’t have to spend time shelling them. Plus, it would take a lot of land to grow the amount of beans we eat. Still though, growing our own is kind of fun and it’s amazing to pop open the pod and see dried black beans, looking just like beans from a bag. Actually these beans are better quality than the beans we usually get because they’re so fresh. Also, growing beans improves the quality of soil in your garden. Continue reading

Passion Fruit and Its Flower

James is trying to grow a different variety of passion fruit in the garden. Up here in the mountains, we have a small variety that tastes great, but doesn’t make a lot of juice. This is the larger variety of passion fruit, which grows in Vientiane.

So far, our vine has produced less than 10 fruits and some flowers that might turn into fruit. Aren’t the flowers crazy beautiful?! We hope our passion fruit vines will give us lots of passion fruit juice!

Old Newspaper Clipping – Pickled Okra Recipe

When we were visiting my parents, we went to lunch one day with them and some of their friends. One of the friends remembered that we grow okra in our garden, so she saved this clipping for us. I think she said she found it one of her mom’s cookbooks from the 50’s. I said something like, “Thank you! I’ll write it down as soon as I can so you can have the clipping back,” and she said, “No! You can keep it! I have no interest in eating okra.”

Well, sad for her that she doesn’t like okra, but I’m glad to have this little momento. I haven’t tried this recipe, but I do have another recipe for pickled okra that’s pretty good.

If you try this recipe, please let me know how it goes!

Canned Tomatoes

Canning tomatoes reminds me of a small dark room in my grandparents’ basement. It had 2 walls lined with shelves that were full of canned things. I think I remember pickled okra, sweet pickles, dill pickles, tomatoes, and peppers (there was probably more too). My Grandma also had a deep freezer in that room. She grew lots of tomatoes and probably had to can them to deal with the quantity. We’ve tried twice to grow tomatoes here, but it hasn’t worked, so I canned some tomatoes from the market. In the dry season, it’s too dry and cold for tomatoes and in the rainy season, it’s too wet and buggy! This time I only canned 2 kilos, but next time I would can more to be more efficient with the water and energy used in processing the jars.

Once again, I went to the National Center for Home Food Preservation website for directions on canning. I used this recipe: Whole or Halved Tomatoes. I don’t know why the recipe specifies that the lemon juice should be bottled. Maybe it has something to do with regulating acidity. I don’t have bottled lemon juice, only juice from lemons, so I used vinegar instead to be on the safe side.

Spicy Pickled Okra

IMG_3523

I love the blog Homesick Texan because I am also a homesick Texan. Maybe I’m not as homesick as the author of the blog though because the last time I lived in Texas was when I was 8 years old. Still, I love a lot of Texas foods, so I enjoy reading that blog.

My grandmother used to grow okra in her garden in Kansas and I can remember helping her pick them. The plants were so tall! Now they’re still tall in my own garden, but not as tall as I remember them. They’re supposed to reach  6 feet! Continue reading