Millet Polenta/Porridge

Millet is considered the most easily digested grain, the one least likely to cause allergy issues, and is inexpensive when bought in bulk, so it's a great one to add to your kitchen repertoire.

Polenta is usually made with corn, and while it tastes great, corn can be an allergen for some and if it isn't for you, well, this is another flavor option - good too for those who are gluten-free.

Also, most corn (if not organic or certified non-GMO) is genetically modified in this country -
and who wants THAT

Usually when cooking millet, you use about 2 - 21/4 c. of water per cup of grain and about a tablespoon of fat (like ghee or olive oil) so it doesn't stick together, but for making polenta with millet, you use about 
3 1/3 cups of water and no fat.

Usually you don't stir it, but cook it with a lid like rice, but for polenta you want to stir every few minutes,  just like you would with regular polenta or a creamy grain porridge.

Optional:  before beginning to cook the polenta, you can toast it in a dry skillet to bring out the nutty flavor.

Be careful not to burn it like I did here.  I have multi-tasker's dis-ease.

I like to use a large cast-iron skillet for this.  I doubled the recipe, using 2 cups of millet and a 12" skillet. 

Add the polenta and water together with salt to taste (a large pinch), bring to a boil, and simmer for about 20-30 minutes, basically until the water is mostly cooked out.

I find that this does not stick together in slabs when you slice it like corn polenta, so I just let it fall apart.

Here I have mixed it with some of the summer garden's bounty, avocado, and hemp seeds.
Love the texture of the Millet Polenta; it's soft but still has substance.

Voila!  This can be served with anything, sweet or savory, such as ghee and maple syrup or a mix of nuts, seeds, and grilled onions, etc.  Or add a sauce or use as a simple side dish.


The Beauty of Brown

Mantis on Zinnia, an annual that attracts Butterflies.

These are some pictures I took in early October in a landscape client's garden.  When you garden/landscape organically you support so much life, even in the brown of Fall.  I was collecting seeds in her annual cutting garden for sowing the following year and spotted these beauties, little did I know at the time I would still see butterflies for another month.  We had a late frost here in northern Virginia.

You talkin' to me?

Even though it was Fall, both of these creatures seem like they may be pregnant to me, ready to give birth.  We may be going into the dark of Winter, but the eggs and seeds of Spring are already upon us.

Skipper Butterfly on Cosmos, an annual that attracts Butterflies

Perennial Butterfly Plants for Sun

Armeria, Sea Pink
Asclepias, Milkweed*
Baptisia, Indigo
Borago, Borage
Centranthus, Red Valerian
Centaurea, Bachelor's Button
Dianthus, Pinks
Echinops, Globe Thistle
Eupatorium, hardy Ageratum
Gaillardia, Blanket flower
hardy Geraniums
Iberis, Candytuft
Salvias, ornamental, hardy Sages
Symphytum, Comfrey

*Milkweeds are of utmost importance to support the Monarchs


Heroes - Wendell Berry

I am going to start blogging my heroes:  people who inspire me, people who give me faith in the human race, people who do the right thing no matter, people we should all be acquainted with...

To begin, Wendell Berry, a spectacular man whose words are inimitable, rich and masterful,
yet humble and simple at the same time, words that can be a grace to our days, our life.

Here are some of those wonderful words...and a great interview with Bill Moyers.

'The Peace of Wild Things'

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

If you aren't familiar with Wendell Berry, please become so, and if you already are,
refresh yourself again with the magic touch of his words...

To the Unseeable Animal

My Daughter: "I hope there's an animal
Somewhere that nobody has ever seen.
And I hope nobody ever sees it."
Being, whose flesh dissolves
at our glance, knower
of the secret sums and measures,
you are always here,
dwelling in the oldest sycamores,
visiting the faithful springs
when they are dark and the foxes
have crept to their edges.
I have come upon pools
in streams, places overgrown
with the woods' shadow,
where I knew you had rested,
watching the little fish
hang still in the flow;
as I approached they seemed
particles of your clear mind
disappearing among the rocks.
I have waked deep in the woods
in the early morning, sure
that while I slept
your gaze passed over me.
That we do not know you
is your perfection
and our hope. The darkness
keeps us near you.

Are you free?