Thursday, October 11, 2012

Digital Organic Man

OK... Is this man going off his rocker? What is this title he is using? Digital Organic Man? What's that? Let me explain.

I am going digital (will start with some of my digital photos here in my blog) and organic at the same time: Today's blog is my first photo from a digital camera and not from my iPhone; and I will try to grow my own organic veggies. This photo that does not look very good is in fact a truly great digital photo that has been resampled heavily for web display. It shows three things: in focus in the foreground are some organic winged beans that will join with my other veggies in my wok soon.

The Winged bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus), also known as the Goa bean and Asparagus pea, Four-angled bean and Winged pea, is a tropical legume plant native to New Guinea. It grows abundantly in hot, humid equatorial countries, from the Philippines and Indonesia to India, Burma, Thailand and Sri Lanka. It does well in humid tropics with high rainfall. There are also varieties that can be grown in most areas of the U.S. The plant is one of the best nitrogen fixers with nodulation accomplished by the soil bacterium Rhizobium. Because of its ability to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere, the plant requires very little or no fertilizers.

I had this growing on a fence but let it die. Now I will try to start again...

The pot that is out of focus in the middle of the photo is the start of a veggie that is essential for some dishes the taste of which I am trying to acquire. Would you believe that this herb tastes fishy when you chew it? It is Houttuynia cordata (in simplified and traditional Chinese, resspectively: pinyin and yúxīng cǎo; literally "fishy-smell herb"; Vietnamese: giấp cá or diếp cá; pak kao tong in Lao; Korean: English lizard tail and chameleon plant.) In English, it is known as lizard tail, chameleon plant, heartleaf, fishwort and bishop's weed. It is one of two species in the genus Houttuynia and is a flowering plant native to Japan, Korea, southern China and Southeast Asia, where it grows in moist, shady places.

This herb is not very well liked, and I understand why that is so. I tasted it once and did not particularly want more, but now, I am not quite sure why I want to grow it? Ask me why! This Heartleaf or Lizard Tail is an alien invasive species in many areas in the United States and Australia so it will grow like wild fire here in my yard.

The next also out of focus pot is another herb: Persicaria odorata, the Vietnamese coriander is an herb whose leaves are used in Southeast Asian cooking. Other English names for the herb include Vietnamese mint, Vietnamese cilantro, Cambodian mint and hot mint. The Vietnamese name is rau răm, while in Malaysia and Singapore it is called daun kesom or daun laksa (laksa leaf). In Thailand, it is called phak phai and the Hmong word for it is Luam Laws. In Laos, it is called phak phaew.

It is not related to the mints, nor is it in the mint family Lamiaceae but the general appearance and odor are reminiscent. Persicaria is in the family Polygonaceae, collectively known as smartweeds or pinkweeds.

This herb is more easily liked and it is used fresh in salad and in spring/summer rolls. The last time I made the summer rolls was in August of 2011 and it's time I try again.

Finally, you may ask why my photo that is supposed to be "digitally great looking" looks so shabby? That has to do with the bokeh that I am testing. What's that? Come back for more...
Organic Man

1 comment:

mobin said...

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