Friday, August 9, 2013

Free Range Friday ~ Culebra

You know how, when you are walking through your local farmer's market displays, the shiny apples, the glowing peppers, the fragrant melons, the beautiful colors of so much goodness almost knocking your brain senseless as endorphins kick in and drooling is only held back by self-consciousness (and health concerns, naturally)?

Veggie stand 2010
Ok, that happens here sometimes too, though, I'm sorry to say, not as much as it used to. I think I'd go back to the once a week if it meant we we getting all five senses tweaked again, instead of hunting for whatever is still fresh and still out there.

The lady running market is wonderful; always smiling, always helpful. From posts past, readers' know I think Luis is the best. But sometimes, more is less and that seems to be the case these days. However!

If you don't know what to do with all of the available goodness in front of you that makes a purchase impossible to resist, this fun little tool might be just what you were looking for without even knowing it. See what you think; it kept me entertained for awhile and came up with recipes I'd never have thought to put together.

Below is a screen shot, it's much more fun to play with the actual generator!

Just in case, like me, you have never heard of asafetida and wouldn't know where to get it if you wanted to anyway, here's a little info on that subject.

Bonus round - When I lived on St. Croix one of my favorite women friends was called Alex. She is from Dominica and cooks like an angel. A tough angel, but an angel nonetheless. One of the things she taught me about was bush tea. She grew up beside a river and learned the bush ways of gathering, herbs for this and that for a tea that would wake you up, one that would soothe an upset belly, one that would help you sleep. If bush tea and her recommended sea bath didn't cure whatever ailed me, I should get to a doctor. That never happened. 

I didn't learn close to all I should have from Alex, who could walk along the street and have a bundle in her hand of I wasn't ever quite sure what, but I've been making variations of her tea ever since, from herbs and the few safe leafy bits I did learn. In summer, I make it as iced tea. Here's what was in the last batch.

Lemongrass in a bundle, mint, rosemary and Thai basil. Let it steep as long as you like; as long as your water doesn't boil, it won't go bitter. You can also use hibiscus blossoms, ginger (one of my favorite additions), passion flowers - some sources say they can have a bit of a narcotic effect, but I never experienced that - and much, much more. Of course, you want to be sure none of these have been sprayed with pesticides!

A few of my favorite things, even though they are at the house where I'm keeping an eye on things. Photo by Hank Golet, a man with an extraordinary eye for birds.
A refreshing buen provecho to you!


  1. nice to hear that you learned from alex about bush tea...i have known many people from st lucia/dominica but never have been there .... i grew up regularly seeing women "pickin bush" alongside the road ... when i used to run the st john/west end ferry boat in the mid 80's , one of my regular passengers, told me to come up by her house for some bush tea which helped my flu like symtoms, and some home made chicken soup which was "healing" too..!!! i will always remember "ms. ovilda" as fondly and gratefully as possible... she always treated me like one of her own sons....... like many west indian "oldtimers" , she understood life, as few seem to, these days........

    1. Good story, John, thank you. And yes, there's a gravitus in the older West Indians and Culebrense that seems to be like a missing gene farther down the line. Too much of the world stepped or was invited in is all I can guess.