Hello Garden Friends!
Hope November is treating you well thus far. I have two things to share with you this month a wonderful Armenian dish called Ghapama and the wonderful herb pineapple sage.
Let’s do food first 😊 So I made this dish for a Family Fall Dinner and it was a hit so flavorful and quite a beauty when it was presented for all to dig in. I also did it in honor of our Armenian friends. It’s pretty easy and very forgiving considering I purchased dried fruits for the recipe and to this day we do not know where they are we believe lost at the store we think LOL funny thing is I got out of the grocery line to run and get them last minute and still ended up with no dried fruit so I used my favorite dried mango strips on hand, golden raisins and some dried diced dates and it was delish! It also travels very well.
So what is Ghapama, it is a very beautiful Armenian stuffed pumpkin rice dish usually served for special occasions in their culture like a wedding or such. I doubled the recipe because I fed a little crowd but that’s my family on a regular basis with some extra people we love to have around and love breaking bread with us, LOL.
This time of year; is still good to find a small pumpkin I really wanted a medium size one but ended up with two sugar pumpkins which was even better. Our youngest son the ultimate sous chef carved and hollowed out the pumpkins. So you can prepare to do that or get your personal sous chef to help you 😊 And my favorite rice is basmati or jasmine but I used basmati in this dish. The smell is just over the top and the rice is fluffy, sweet and buttery. The pumpkin flesh I did not think would be enough, but it was more than enough and really tender; soooo good people. Please try and then tell me what you think. Bon Appetite or in Armenian they would say լավ ուտել or lav utel.
Ingredients: 7 lbs (3.1 kg) Pumpkin
1 Cup Rice 2.5 oz (70g)
Almonds 1.5 oz (34g)
Dried Apricots 3 oz (85g)
Prunes 1.5 oz (34g)
4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon Powder
2 Tbsp Honey
1- Cut off the top of the pumpkin and Scoop out the guts.
2- Dice the almonds.
3- Slice the prunes and dried apricots.
1- Transfer the rice onto a small pot.
2- Add salt and 1.5 cup water.
3- Simmer the rice for 5 to 7 minutes or until tender.
4- Combine the cooked rice with almonds, dried apricots, prunes, and raisins.
5- Stir in cinnamon powder and honey.
6- Melt the unsalted butter and add to the mixture. Stir thoroughly.
7- Grease the inside of the pumpkin with butter and coat with honey.
8- Transfer the mixture into the pumpkin.
9- Cover the pumpkin with the top.
10- Preheat oven to 350º F (177º C), cook the pumpkin for about 75 minutes.
Slice in wedges, Enjoy!
Ok on now to a new garden favorite. Last year I noticed a frequent visitor to my deck a fast and beautiful small visitor; a gorgeous hummingbird just fluttering from colorful flower to colorful flower. Of course in my excitement and delight since they are just amazing birds; I decided this year I would plant especially for them a hummingbird garden in a HUGE container filled with all things a hummingbird would love and one of the main plants was a pineapple sage the flowers are bright red and the nectar I later found out is quite pleasing to humans too. 😊
Pineapple Sage is in the salvia family and a cousin to mint so when it grows it gets happy but not out of control like mint plus I had it contained. But it did reach almost 6 feet in this massive container. Salvia elegans is also a medicinal plant for humans it helps with depression, anxiety, digestion and memory loss. It makes a great tea and is nice to put in salads. It is a native of Mexico and thrives as a perennial in zones 5-8 reaching up to 6 feet tall and attracts pollinators such as butterflies and hummingbirds. Showy deep vibrant red flowers with a deeply veined citrine foliage. The flowers can be plucked, and nectar sucked out of the end and it does taste like pineapples! The flowers and leaves are both edible. It is a lovely herb which I hope will overwinter and return in the Spring, I will let you know how that goes. Currently it is still growing strong and the flower color quite intense. Oh and did I tell you I NEVER did see a hummingbird this year after all that special attention to welcome them and if they did come they flew in when I was not around which is just classic since it is 2020 and bizarre and strange things are happening all the time. Praying next year there will be so many hummingbirds that every time I look out to that space in the garden I will be constantly filled with joy. Tis the joys of gardening- patience and more patience.
Remember the October puzzle. Here is the solution.
The first part of my word is a verb (BE), add to me one letter and I become a insect (BEE), add another and I become a kind of vegetable,(BEET) add two more letters and I become another name of an insect.(BEETLE) Clever huh?
Enjoy the rest of your November and Happy Thanksgiving. Go and be blessed and be thankful for all that we have and for more to come.