Friday, July 3, 2015

A Crazy Tropical Vegetable Cookbook: Share Your Ideas!

Happy Independence Day Weekend!

My wife has started a cool project: she is writing a cookbook for Florida gardeners growing the crazy crops I recommend on this blog and in my books.

One of the downsides of growing and selling relatively unknown edible plants (at least unknown inside this country) is that people often will grow the plants and then at some point realize they have no idea what to do with them... and they go shopping at the grocery for something familiar to eat instead.

How do you use malanga? Cassava? Chaya? Katuk? We're going to give folks a nice place to start. It's no use growing these incredible tropical crops if one don't know how to use them!

We're gathering and sharing our own homestead recipes right now.

If you have a plant or recipe you think should be included, send it our way. Let's get this project rolling!

Support this site: shop on Amazon using this link. It doesn't cost you a penny and it helps pay for my hosting!


At July 3, 2015 at 9:31 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have an AMAZING recipe for Calabaza I found online and tweeked with chayote and more...interested?

At July 3, 2015 at 9:34 AM , Anonymous David The Good said...

Oh yes. We may actually get some chayote this year... we've certainly got a LOT of calabaza at the moment.

At July 3, 2015 at 10:35 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

1 whole backyard chicken
3/4 to whole calabaza
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
3 chayote
1 tomato
1 large onion
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp salt
3 tsp black pepper
3 tsp garlic powder
3 tsp cumin
1 (15 oz) can drained kernel corn
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes with juice
3 datil peppers (or more OR whatever heat you like!!)

*Cook chicken (boil, slow cooker) - I skin when butcher my chickens - cook until done and debone and set aside SAVING the broth
*Wash and cut/cube ALL squash ( calabaza, zucchini, yellow, chayote..) , tomato, and onion
*Mix spices together in a bowl
*In a LARGE pan/dutch oven, add oil, and all vegetables - saute on med/med-high heat for about 10 mins until tender
*Add drained corn, canned tomato (with juice), and then dry spice mix
*Add chicken AND 2 cups chicken broth and MIX WELL
*Cover and simmer for 20-30 mins.

Serves about 8... but can be easily modified for serving size.

At July 3, 2015 at 11:04 AM , Blogger David The Good said...

LOOKS GREAT! "Backyard chicken" - love it.

At July 3, 2015 at 11:07 AM , Blogger David The Good said...

Oh - and let me know your name in case we include it. Gotta give credit! If you don't want to post here, drop me an e-mail.

At July 3, 2015 at 11:58 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mash Malanga
Peel, wash, and cut to a size that can cook quick.
Place in pot add enough water that covers your Malanga and boil add a little salt.
When you can pierce through with a fork it's ready.
Place desired amount on plate.
The secret to Malanga is the water.
Alway add a couple of spoonful of Malanga water for desired consistency.
Add 1 to 2 spoonful of Mayonnaise and a table spoon of butter(We use Kerry's garlic and spices).
Salt and pepper to your tastes.
Then mash away.

We pair this recipe with fried eggs or steak with caramelized onions.

Always refrigerate unmashed Malanga covered in its own water to keep it from browning.

-Lourdes Rodriguez

At July 3, 2015 at 1:21 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

Thank you, Lourdes! That sounds delicious.

At July 3, 2015 at 6:08 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this cookbook idea is GREAT! So many delicious and nutritious fruits and veggies right at our doorstep, but it is so difficult to find recipes using them. Maybe there are some out there on the web, but just not in English?? since many of these plants are not commonly known here in the U.S.??? Sounds like a great selling book! I am so excited to see what you come up with. :o)


At July 3, 2015 at 9:57 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seminole Pumpkin Pancakes:
I cup roasted pumpkin
4 eggs
1 Tbs Maple Syrup
1 Tsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 Tbs coconut flour

Mix pumpkin and eggs in food processor. Add spices, baking powder and sweeteners. Then slowly sift and mix in coconut flour. Make small pancakes in a pan greased with coconut oil. Serve with fresh berries, bananas etc. I got this recipe from a food blog but substituted pumpkin for squash and just love them.
Lyda in South Florida

At July 4, 2015 at 10:37 AM , Anonymous Andi | said...

I have so many recipes! Is there anything specific she's looking for? Email me.

At July 5, 2015 at 5:17 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


You might find purple tree collards at a farmers market, but they’re more likely to be found at a community gar- den. They are sweeter than the standard green varieties and combine well with sweet onions and feta or other mild cheese. Regular collard greens may be substituted for tree collards.

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 sweet yellow onions, chopped

4–5 cups purple tree collard leaves and stems, coarsely chopped

1 pound bowtie or other short pasta

1⁄2 pound feta cheese Salt, pepper

Sauté the onions in a skillet over medium heat for 10 minutes until transparent. Add chopped collards and a pinch of salt; stir. Cover and cook for approximately 10 minutes over medium-low heat.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil, add the pasta and cook until done (according to package direc- tions). As the pasta is boil- ing, crumble the feta and add it to the onion and col- lards, allowing the mixture to continue cooking over very low heat.

Drain pasta and place it in a serving bowl. Add the onion and collard mixture along with salt and pepper to taste.

At July 5, 2015 at 11:24 PM , Blogger Petra said...

Fabulous idea!

At July 6, 2015 at 7:35 PM , Anonymous Sarah said...

I don't have a recipe idea for you at this time, but I think it would be a great feature if you had pictures of the various crops, especially those that may grow wild.

For example, elderberries. Here in North Florida, I have mentally marked some locations where I noticed some blooming. If I didn't know what elderberries looked like, having a picture of the leaves, flowers, fruit would help me feel confident to harvest some and then try making your elderberry recipe.

It may not be a foraging guide, but having some foraging aspects where applicable could add to its appeal.

Also, it would be helpful to know what parts of the plants are edible: leaves only, roots only, all of it, etc.

Perhaps you will include a simple recipe featuring a specific crop, but if you let the readers know that it is used similarly to spinach, that gives them a reference point for it.

David, you're smart and witty and all that, but this cookbook of your wife's sounds like it will be an AMAZING resource. If you're nice to her, she might cite this site as a reference for growing some of the ingredients. :)

I'm looking forward to seeing how it progresses!

At July 6, 2015 at 8:40 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

Thank you.

At July 6, 2015 at 8:41 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

NICE! Thank you, Lyda.

At July 6, 2015 at 8:41 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

Awesome. I love the purple tree collards - thank you. Who is this, so we can give credit?

At July 6, 2015 at 8:42 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

Thank you, Sarah.

"If you're nice to her"

Hey, I let her marry me. That's pretty danged nice.

At July 6, 2015 at 11:34 PM , Anonymous Sarah said...

I'm sure she is overwhelmed by your benevolence.( eye roll)

Anyway, I'm really excited about this book. Will it be arranged by course or by plant? Or have you decided? There are so many great possibilities with this book.

At July 7, 2015 at 12:09 AM , Blogger David The Good said...


Rachel seems to be organizing it philosophically at the moment, giving an overarching view of how you can integrate a wide variety of produce interchangeably into recipes... then she's getting down into details.

At July 7, 2015 at 3:48 PM , Anonymous Sarah said...

Sounds like a great plan!


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