Much as we love all the wild animals that come to our yard, they can be a pest when they help themselves to tomatoes in the garden or nearly ripe fruit in our mini-orchard. Our long, hot, dry summers make things worse. The coyotes look for moisture everywhere. They not only drink out of the bucket of water we put out for them but also sometimes chew on the irrigation heads, knock over the birdbath, and bite open vegetables merely to suck the juice out.
|The cactus before its fruits were stolen|
I had started a cactus garden on the hill visible from my husband's office window, but the cost of large cacti has kept the garden growing slowly. After I got over my distress at what the coyotes had done, I realized that I could jumpstart my cactus garden by planting all those large leaves in it...and those leaves wouldn't cost a cent. So I did.
But I saved two out to experiment cooking with. The first thing I made was a vegetarian Cajun gumbo. I put the recipe up yesterday at "Meal Times: Ancient Foods for Modern Cooks."
|One broken leaf went into a pot of gumbo.|
If you like meat in your gumbo, I suggest adding diced tasso and/or chopped chicken in step 5 (that is, let the meat simmer with the rest).
I hope you try my recipe out and let me know what you think!