I usually save my trips home to Texas for the major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, but this year I have a wedding to plan so an extra trip was required. My family and I spent a day in Austin shopping for dresses for my mom and sister and a suit for my dad. He was raring to leave the minute he set foot in the first store, so we were fortunate to find the perfect suit in record time.
After all our shopping was done, we drove back to Killeen and my dad was eager to show me his flourishing garden. I usually don’t get to see it since I typically visit in the winter, so I was quite impressed with the variety, health, and size of all the vegetables he was growing. I decided to make a dish that only had veggies that came from his garden. I wasn’t planning on doing a blog entry over my vacation, so all the photos were taken on my iPhone.
I get a lot of things from my dad. My love of cartoons, my sarcastic sense of humor, my taste for spicy/flavorful foods, and just a hint of stubbornness (Dustin says it can be more than a hint). One thing I did not get, however, was his green thumb. My poor money tree at home has about three leaves left which could also say something about my shopping habits at this time. I found out on this visit that my dad made a compost to create natural and healthy fertilizer and places buckets in multiple locations to catch rain water for his plants and a family of birds that live in his nearby bird house. That probably helps to explain how his garden is so healthy, even with temperatures already in the high 90’s and strict Texas water restrictions in force.
With my family’s help, we picked radishes, carrots, onions, tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, peppers, and beets. It was the middle of the hot afternoon so we worked quickly. It was pleasant work though, as everything was so brightly colored and ready for the picking.
I washed all the veggies, while my sister finely chopped. I secretly watched her chopping technique to see what I could learn since she is a culinary school grad.
I had an idea to use the stems of the onions as a tie for the wraps and the cucumber flowers as edible decorations. The ties kept everything together and looked like a little bow on top of a gift. We finished off with a very easy peanut sauce by mixing 2 tbsp rice vinegar, 3 tsp sugar, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 3 tbsp warm water and 5 tbsp peanut butter. It was a perfect match to the wraps.
My mom and sister left the peppers and radish out of their wraps, but I like most vegetables so used a bit of everything. It’s all about what tickles your fancy.
After lunch, my sister and I were feeling a bit silly, so we took the old wagon out for a joy ride. My mom even let us take her for a spin, but she would surely kill me if I showed the photo evidence. It was a good weekend and it isn’t ending just yet. As I write this on my plane back to Chicago, I am smuggling veggies in my suitcase.