Growing up in New Jersey, the “Garden State,” my family always had a garden. We grew the staples: green peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, corn, lettuce, and sometimes pumpkins or watermelons. The foods we prepared from these fresh fruits and vegetables was always pretty standard.
As a mom, I’ve tried to keep up the family tradition of growing a vegetable garden, but I’m also interested in using familiar ingredients in new ways. For instance, reading The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith about a lady detective in Botswana has piqued my interest in preparing pumpkin soup – Mma Ramotswe’s favorite dish. I can’t get her recipe, so I’m thinking of trying this one.
Living in West Africa (and coming from a hot pepper-eating family), I knew I had to plant habanero peppers, thought by many to be one of the hottest peppers on the planet. We usually add one pepper to spice up stews. Seed the pepper first to prevent a habanero overdose. If you’re daring enough to try what is thought to be the HOTTEST hot pepper on the planet, buy some seeds here.
Finally, I’ve been experimenting with growing kitchen herbs like thyme, rosemary, basil, and dill. But my new favorite flavoring has got to be cilantro. In the mood for a tangy recipe for rice, guacamole, or salsa? Learn how to grow cilantro here.