Thursday, June 23, 2016

Basic Hawaiian Poke Recipe

For those who may not be familiar Poke it is a dish that is mainly known to come to us from Hawaii, but there are actually many versions of it found throughout Polynesia and Asia. It is basically a type of pickled fish salad that is simply out of this world and for those that prefer their fish cooked, the
By CityMama from "Silicon Valley", USA (Ahi poke hawaiian-style)
recipe works as a marinade for grilled or seared fish that will leave your mouth watering and family begging for more.

The more traditional Poke is made from raw fish, sea-salt, inamona, and seaweed. This is a more modern take on this delicacy, normally made with Ahi Tuna but I have used this same recipe successfully with Dory and other milder fish for those who prefer a more subtle flavor.

What you will need:

  • Large glass, Pyrex, porcelain or wooden bowl
  • 4          Salad Bowls
  • 2 lbs     Fresh Tuna Steaks, cubed
  • 1 cup   Soy Sauce
  • ¾ cup Spring Onions, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbs   Sesame Oil
  • 1 Tbs   Sesame Seeds, toasted
  • 1 Tbs   Crushed Red Pepper

Lettuce, Kale or Salad Greens of your choice (optional)
Tofu    Cubed and fried (optional)


Prep Time: 15 minutes            Serving Time: 2 hrs. 15 min.               Serves: 4
In a large, no reactive bowl, mix all your ingredients except for the greens and Tofu. Place in refrigerator and chill for 2 or more hours. Serve.

Serving Suggestions:

You can simply place Poke in salad bowls and serve, but my favorite way to serve it is to line bowls or halved coconut shells with salad greens, spoon in the Poke and then top with fried Tofu cups.

The greens and tofu provide a color and textural contrast that I like without altering the flavor profile. Some people like to add crushed nuts for the same effect, but, in my opinion this alters the flavor, of the dish, to the point of it becoming a new dish and not a true Poke, even by modern standards.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Chemical Free Organic Pest Control: Smoke Your Garden

This is going to be the shortest post in this organic pest control series and very likely one of the most controversial. When I have mentioned it to friends, they either fall in love with the idea or tell me it is pure BS. To me, it is just another way of re-purposing garden waste

Since I haven’t been able to find much either way in my research but have used this method of pest control successfully, in my own gardens, for several years now, all I can say is “I” recommend it and encourage you to give it a try. What I’m talking about is smoking your garden.

Blowing Smoke

First, let’s be clear, When I say smoke your garden, I’m not talking about growing tobacco or ganja. I’m talking about applying smoke to your garden as a way to control the pest.
The process is very simple and best used on days with very little to no breeze blowing and the weather is not too dry. It takes moister for the scent of the smoke to cling to plants and if they or the air is too dry it won’t hold.

1.      Take an old pan, shovel, banana leaf, or anything that won’t burn easily and pile moist but not wet grass, leaves and other combustible waste in it and start a small smoldering fire. If you have been cooking out with charcoal, the left over coals from your pit work great as a base fire.

2.      Place the smoking fire in your garden, allowing the smoke to flow over your plants and trees for 10-15 minutes and then move it to treat another area.

3.      Repeat a couple times a week.

4.      That is pretty much it.

What Pest Smoke Helps With

Based on my personal experience, smoking your plants helps on all fronts, with the exception of ants. All animals from insects to the larger foragers instinctively avoid fire and the smell of smoke is abhorrent to them.

The smoke itself drives the vermin out and the lingering smell acts as a preventive measure.

I would like to add as a note of caution here that if you have a beneficial insectary in your garden to try and avoid these areas as best you can. Predator insects and pollinators will return faster than foraging insects, but they will still be affected.

Mosquito Control

An added bonus to this method of pest control is that beyond common garden pest it seems to be especially effective and controlling mosquitoes. With all of the news we have been seeing about mosquito borne illnesses, this is a benefit that I feel is worth mentioning.

Zero Waste

This method is very simple, though it can be time-consuming. It is zero waste process, as it takes lawn and garden waste and converts it to ash that is a very healthy aid in maintaining your soil quality. Just throw it on your garden when finished burning.

Give this method of natural pest control a try and let me know what you think. As always I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Why Should You Compost?

Composting is one the best ways that I know of to improve your garden, your pocketbook and the environment all at the same time. Contrary to what many people believe it is also very easy to do and, for me at least, a great way to introduce youngsters to the beauty of how Mother Nature works to keep everything in balance and eliminate all waste.

My original outline for this article had me breaking down the reasons you should compost into the three categories mentioned above, but then I realized that most of the benefits derived from composting could not be limited to a single area of benefit. That, just like in nature all things are interrelated and that what benefits one area literally benefits them all.

Composted Soil is Great Natural Fertilizer

As a prime example of this, look at the final product, we derive from the composting process, compost itself.

Compost is one of the greatest organic fertilizing agents that you can put on your plants. Properly used, it will give you stronger, healthier, more disease resistant plants. This, of course, means less need for you to use fertilizers and other chemicals. The less you use, the less you buy so you save money and the less you use, the less there is to leach into the environment.

Even processed organic based fertilizers and other plant treatments can have adverse effects when over or incorrectly used. With compost, this isn’t an issue, the more the better on every front. See what I mean by everything is codependent and intertwined.

Compost Retains Moisture and Promotes a Healthy garden

By virtue of its high bio-content, compost acts like a natural sponge and helps the soil retain water better that even the much-vaunted peat moss. This has several effects along with the obvious benefit of lowering the need for you to water your garden.

By retaining more moisture, in the soil, compost promotes microbial growth, which intern helps to release more nutrients further enriching the soil, making your plants healthier and the crops they produce more nutritious.

It also makes the soil a more suitable home for beneficial insects, earthworms, which have their own benefits along with supplying attracting higher predators which will further reduce your need for pest control.

As you can see, when you really start to delve into the benefits of composting and how it is one of the cornerstones of how our entire biosphere tries to maintain itself, things can get very complicated very quickly.

The truth is, when you start looking at how any natural process works and all of the benefits and savings that come from doing things in a natural way, it really makes you wonder what makes us believe we can find a better way.

In this article, I didn’t even touch on how composting saves on garbage bills and could help keep at least some of the 36,000,000 tons of food waste, which the U.S. alone generates each year, out of landfills, where it produces an estimated 12 million tons of the potent greenhouse gas methane.

Nature is elegant in its designs and processes. The closer we can stay to it, the better off we will be financially, physically, environmentally. Composting is a wonderful place to start exploring how it all works and to gain an understanding of just how wonderful it is.
As always your questions and comments are welcome. You can leave them below or contact me directly via the contact form in the upper right corner or the contact page. I answer all my messages personally and love hearing from you.
Give composting a try and let us know what you think or if you are an experienced composter share your tips and tricks.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Asian Wok Baked Garlic Butter Chicken

It may or may not come as a big surprise to some that both my wife ad I are big fans of Chef Gordon Ramsey. No, it isn’t his winning personality that has made us fans. It is they idea that we have heard him stress over and over that the keys to good food are fresh ingredients, treated with respect. Good food doesn’t have to be complicated; it just has to be good.

This recipe is a prime example of this idea. It is simple to make, takes very little time, creates minimal mess and will simply blow people’s minds with its delectable flavor. So, if you like the idea of making people think you spent hours creating a restaurant quality meal when it took mere minutes, keep reading.

Easy Garlic Butter Chicken Recipe

What you will need:

·         Whole chicken breast on the bone, with skin
·         2 Tbs.   Oil, Coconut preferred but your choice        
·         1/8 lb.  Butter
·         4          Cloves of garlic, crushed and peeled
·         ¼ tsp.   Paprika
o   Salt
o   Pepper, cracked
o   Fresh Parsley, finely chopped

Cooking Procedure

1)      Take your whole breast and sprinkle with paprika, salt and pepper. Be sure to coat both the skin and the meat under the skin.

2)      Allow chicken to rest 15-20 minutes

3)      Place your wok over a high flame and add oil, allowing it to come up to high temp.

4)      Drop your chicken into oil, skin side down, allowing the skin to start browning but not becoming crisp.

5)      Turn chicken, bone side down, cover with a lid and reduce heat to a low flame.

6)      Allow to cook covered for 10-15 minutes.

7)      Add butter and garlic and cook, covered basting every few minutes until skin turns golden brown and becomes crisp.

8)      Sprinkle with fresh Parsley and serve.

Total cooking time, including prep: less than 1 hour.

Serves: 2

Monday, June 13, 2016

Moringa Oleifera Nutritional Breakdown for Leaves and Seeds

One of the things you hear most touted about Moringa is its great nutritional value. You will often hear statements like this much more vitamin C than oranges and this many times more calcium than milk and the majority of the time the numbers quoted are fairly close. This is just the tip of the iceberg, though.

Why Not Tell It All?

I’m sure these numbers are quoted with the best of intentions in mind, but I can’t help but wonder why they stop there. Malunggay has so much more to offer that I am amazed that we only see the same high points, like the fact that Moringa leaves  are completely fat free, quoted time and again.

As an example Bodybuilders are always in search of better sources of Amino Acids. That is one of the most popular supplements, used by them and a major component of virtually all protein powders. Why does no one preach the benefits that Moringa can bring them by supplying a full regiment of all natural Amino Acids?

Seeds, Pods, Roots and Bark

The other question I ask myself is, why, when the entire tree has value do we only see information about the leaves?

I can tell you from personal experience that the Moringa Seed is delicious. We regularly pan roasts them with garlic as a healthy snack to have around the house. They have a slightly nutty flavor and are a much healthier than the traditional peanuts with a cold beer at the end of a hard day.

The root of the Moringa Tree is a close, but more nourishing substitute for horseradish and the very reason that most Brits call it the “Horseradish Tree” and the bark has been used as an herbal medicine for thousands of years and makes a very nice tea in its own right.

Well, let it never be said that we didn’t supply you with as complete information as was possible. Below you will find a nutritional breakdown of Moringa Leaves and Seeds. The information on the barks and roots will have to follow in another article because, to be honest, putting these charts together wore out my typing fingers and gave me a slight headache. So just remember you owe me one and share this post.  :)

Moringa Leaves Nutrition

Carbohydrate Factor: 3.57   Fat Factor: 8.37   Protein Factor: 2.44   Nitrogen to Protein Conversion Factor: 6.25 

Nutrient                                 Unit     Value per 100 g chopped


·         Water                                      g          78.66 
·         Energy                                     kcal      64       
·         Energy                                     kJ         268     
·         Protein                                    g          9.40    
·         Total lipid (fat)                        g          1.40
·         Ash                                          g          2.26    
·         Carbohydrate, by difference g          8.28    
·         Fiber, total dietary                  g          2.0      


·         Calcium, Ca                             mg       185     
·         Iron, Fe                                    mg       4.00    
·         Magnesium, Mg                     mg       42       
·         Phosphorus, P             mg       112     
·         Potassium, K                            mg       337       
·         Sodium, Na                              mg       9         
·         Zinc, Zn                                   mg       0.60    
·         Copper, Cu                              mg       0.105  
·         Manganese, Mn                      mg       1.063  
·         Selenium, Se                           µg        0.9      


·         Vitamin C                                mg       51.7    
·         Thiamin                                   mg       0.257  
·         Riboflavin                                mg       0.660  
·         Niacin                                     mg       2.220  
·         Pantothenic acid                     mg       0.125  
·         Vitamin B-6                             mg       1.200  
·         Folate, total                             µg        40       
·         Folic acid                                 µg        0         
·         Folate, food                             µg        40       
·         Folate, DFE                              µg        40       
·         Vitamin B-12                           µg        0.00    
·         Vitamin A, RAE                        µg        378
·         Retinol                                     µg        0         
·         Vitamin A, IU                           IU         7564   
·         Vitamin D (D2 + D3)               µg        0.0
·         Vitamin D                                IU         0         


Nutrient                                         Unit     Value per 100 g
·         Fatty acids, total trans            g          0.000  
·         Cholesterol                              mg       0         

Amino Acids

Nutrient                 Unit     Value per 100 g         
·         Tryptophan      g          0.144              
·         Threonine        g          0.411              
·         Isoleucine        g          0.451              
·         Leucine            g          0.791              
·         Lysine             g          0.537              
·         Methionine     g          0.123              
·         Cystine            g          0.140              
·         Phenylalanine             g          0.487              
·         Tyrosine          g          0.347              
·         Valine             g          0.611              
·         Arginine          g          0.532              
·         Histidine          g          0.196              
·         Alanine            g          0.705              
·         Aspartic acid   g          0.920              
·         Glutamic acid g          1.035              
·         Glycine            g          0.517              
·         Proline             g          0.451              
·         Serine             g          0.414              


Nutrient                     Unit     Value per 100 g
·         Isorhamnetin 1            mg       0.4      
·         Kaempferol 1             mg       6.0      
·         Myricetin 1                 mg       0.0      
·         Quercetin 1                 mg       16.6    

Moringa Seed Pods Nutrition


Nutrient                                       Unit     Value per 100 g         
·         Water                                     g          88.20  
·         Energy                                     kcal      37       
·         Protein                                    g          2.10    
·         Total lipid (fat)                        g          0.20    
·         Carbohydrate, by difference g          8.53    
·         Fiber, total dietary                  g          3.2      


·         Calcium, Ca                             mg       30       
·         Iron, Fe                                    mg       0.36    
·         Magnesium, Mg                     mg       45       
·         Phosphorus, P             mg       50       
·         Potassium, K                            mg       461     
·         Sodium, Na                              mg       42       
·         Zinc, Zn                                   mg       0.45    


·         Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid            mg       141.0  
·         Thiamin                                   mg       0.053  
·         Riboflavin                                mg       0.074  
·         Niacin                                     mg       0.620  
·         Vitamin B-6                             mg       0.120  
·         Folate, DFE                              µg        44       
·         Vitamin B-12                           µg        0.00    
·         Vitamin A, RAE                        µg        4         
·         Vitamin A, IU                           IU         74       
·         Vitamin D (D2 + D3)               µg        0.0      
·         Vitamin D                                IU         0         


Nutrient                                                   Unit     Value per 100 g
·         Fatty acids, total saturated                 g          0.033  
·         Fatty acids, total monounsaturated    g          0.102  
·         Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated      g          0.003  
·         Fatty acids, total trans                        g          0.000  
·         Cholesterol                                          mg       0         

All information collected from the National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference sources,

If you are interested in growing your own Moringa Oleifera trees or have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below or contact me directly with the form a the top of the page.