Blue / Butterfly Pea Flower

Annie’s extended family on her father’s side is from George Town, Penang, and every time we’ve gone to visit, we stayed with family. Usually, that meant staying with Annie’s godparents, her uncle and aunt. They are such hospitable and kind folks, and we always loved spending time with them.

Staying at their place is pretty cool because it’s in a relatively quiet neighborhood, but with quick access to some main roads if we want to go somewhere. We could be sitting at home, chatting (usually about where we want to go eat) and the next minute be on our way out for some assam laksa, char kway teow, or nasi kandar.

The neighborhood itself is very walkable. Many times I just take my camera and go wandering off in one direction, looking for neat stuff to snap. It was on one of these jaunts that I came upon a fence that was completely covered in this dense vine, bearing these incredibly blue flowers:

Blue Pea / Butterfly Pea Flower

Butterfly Blue Pea Flower

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Common Lime Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio demoleus)

Meet “Limey”, the lime-eating caterpillar:

Common Lime Swallowtail Butterfly Papilio demoleus 5th instar

We have a kaffir lime tree in a large clay pot in our carport. Kaffir lime is a wonderful ingredient in Southeast Asian cooking, particularly Thai dishes. We’ve used kaffir lime leaf in many recipes, including Stir fried Pork with Long Beans, Thai Green Curry, and Wild Salmon Cakes with Kaffir Lime and Ginger.

One day, I spotted what at first appeared to be some bird poop on one of the leaves. It actually turned out to be a caterpillar, as evidenced by the obvious circular-shaped cuts showing up on some of the leaves that this “poop” was on. Every morning, I took a look at the plant to observe the progress of the “poop”.

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Love (Apple) At First Bite

JD Special C-Tex – my first tomato of the season!

I have a confession to make. I’m obsessed with tomatoes. Every winter, I get all the tomato seed catalogs together and just drool over every variety, dreaming about how good they would taste. I’m also a member of Tomatoville, an online community of like-minded, tomato-mad folks who talk, share seeds, and even get together to celebrate their obsession. I don’t buy tomato seedlings from nurseries or hardware stores (they never have any interesting varieties anyway!) I get all my seeds from fellow Tomatovillians and start them at home.

My tomato madness was so bad that, a few years back, I tried to grow over 50 tomato varieties in my very small urban backyard! I want to say though that the obsession has “matured” and I am not as crazy as I used to be; this year, I am growing only 32 varieties. Yes, it is a really great sacrifice on my part, I know.

Back in April, Nate took us to the Spring at Guadalupe Gardens event, where Cynthia from Love Apple Farm was giving a talk on tomato growing. At that event, she had a booth where she was selling some tomato starts. That’s where I saw JD. (more…)

Annie’s Top Five Tomato Growing Tips

First of all, let me say, “hello” to all of you whom Annie and I met at the Kumar garden on the Going Native Garden Tour! It was a real pleasure talking with you about one of my other passions, California native plants. I hope the experience was as educational and enjoyable for you as it was for me!

Spring is a wonderful time of year for gardeners. The weather begins to warm up, the sun stays up later, and new life springs forth. All over, the stores are starting to sell vegetable starts to people who have been dreaming of garden-fresh summer vegetables all winter long. And what is the top selling plant? It has got to be the tomato.

So, you’ve come home with one or two (or ten!) small tomato plants. Now what? How do you ensure you will have a bumper crop of tasty tomatoes? (more…)

About Us

My Photo Annie is mistress of the kitchen while Nate is the master of the grill and smoker. We cook the homestyle Asian and Hawaiian foods of our younger days while also exploring the wider worlds of Western foods.

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