Posts Tagged ‘recipes’

Genius

Robert Krulwich of Radiolab was recently awarded the Macarthur Genius grant.  Bravo!

His most recent post on Krulich Wonders, an NPR blog, presents a beautiful and delicious meal.  Complementary dishes for vegetarians and meat eaters, what Studiofeast calls their Doppleganger Dinner.  Looks like something I could really get behind… Duck breast with celery and sweet potato vs. grilled watermelon with fennel and carrots.

Image courtesy of NPR

 

Not only does this seem like a fun culinary exercise, it makes a statement about vegetarian diets.  That doesn’t seem so bad in light of our expanding agricultural environmental footprint (more on that later).

Leek Moth

The best part about an online magazine, is that they send you emails only if you want them.  And in the case of Saveur, I get tasty recipes to try on a regular basis.  Last week, a number of recipes for a Summer Vegetarian Feast filled my email inbox.  One was a delicious leek and zucchini galette, combining great flavor and seasonality.

There are leeks growing alongside my onions in some fields.  Some of the growers I work with have a few different Allium species growing including garlic and leek.  These crops could be subject to leek moth infestation, but leek moth is currently only known in certain areas of New York and Canada (in North America).  An invasive species from Europe, leek moth,  Acrolepiopsis assectella, is a small, brown to black moth with yellow-green caterpillars.  The pupae are small cocoons with a distinct lacy casing.

Adult Leek Moth courtesy of AgroAtlas

Leek moth pupal casing

Leek moth damage include mining and perforations in the leaf, with window-paning damage where the caterpillar has not eaten all the way through all layers of the leaf tissue.

Leek moth damage

While there are no chemical treatments yet in New York, cultural treatments such as crop rotation, row covers, and removing vegetative debris at the end of the season are recommended.  In Canada, a parasitoid wasp  Diadromus pulchellus was released as a biological control agent as part of an integrated pest management approach to control leek moth.  Perhaps that may be an option for leek moth control here as well.

 

Who’s Who #2

That cute little critter from Wednesday is a pest of the plant below!

If you’ve never seen asparagus growing in a field, this is what it looks like (picture was taken about a week ago in western New York).  It’s asparagus season, and in fact I had some deliciously prepared asparagus at a tapas restaurant in town last night.  My favorite preparation of asparagus is quite simple.  I arrange the stalks on a baking sheet, drizzle with some olive oil, squeeze some lemon juice over them, sprinkle a bit of garlic powder and pepper, then bake for about 30 minutes at 375º until tender but crisp.

Wednesday’s bug is the spotted asparagus beetle, Criocercis duodecimpunctata.  Here’s our spotlight pest on the crop itself.

Photo courtesy of Insect Images

The beetles are quite small, about 6-8mm in length.  Spotted asparagus beetles are in the family Chrysomelidae and may resemble ladybugs to the untrained eye.  It is distinguished from ladybugs by the six spots on each wing with longer antennae and an almost rectangular shape.  (Ladybugs tend to be more oval or almost totally round with similar but varying coloration.)  This particular species of asparagus beetle is often considered a secondary pest of asparagus, with the asparagus beetle Criocercis asparagi the most common pest (below).

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Both these pests directly damage the asparagus crop by feeding on tips and spears.  Furthermore, C. duodecimpunctata feed on the asparagus berries of the male plant.  Cutting stalks close to the ground is a good way to manage for asparagus beetle, not allowing larvae to establish in the crop.  Removing dead stalks over winter can also help reduce success of overwintering populations.  Particularly for the spotted asparagus beetle, removing asparagus berries can help reduce pest populations in home gardens.

Now that the weather has finally warmed up, it’s time to get working on the summer garden.  As soon as these thunderstorms let the soil dry up.  Happy gardening!

Potato potata

It seems an auspicious time when I come across extremely similar recipes on two different food blogs that I follow…especially when they’re crispy potato roasts from The Bitten Word and Smitten Kitchen. And my office mate was just talking about home made potato chips. Good thing I’m making dinner for the house tomorrow.

With all this talk about potatoes, how could I not mention the devastatingly cute Colorado Potato Beetle and all the havoc it’s wrecked over the years.

Leptinotarsa decemlineata is a beetle native to North America that originally fed on other Solanaceous plants.  It’s primary host is the cultivated potato, but also does damage to tomato and eggplant crops.  The potato beetle is multivoltine, having several generations per growing season.  Because of this, early management of the pest is key to minimizing loss.  While chemical control is perhaps the most common management strategy, the development of resistance to insecticides is increasing in many populations.  Other non-chemical controls are equally important in managing this pest, which might include changing crop planting times, applying mulches, or lining trenches in the periphery of the field to reduce early season colonization of the pest.  At home, physically removing adults or egg masses can be an effective way of managing the problem.

Until next time, I leave you with delicious preparations of potatoes, so versatile!

Potato au gratin

Twice baked potatoes

Potato salad

And if that weren’t enough, there’s always potato-origin beverages….  Happy Slope Day 2011!

Stink bug invasion

They’re coming. In fact, in places south of Ithaca they’re already here.  Yep.  They’re stink bugs.

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (Halyomorpha halys, family Pentatomidae) is an introduced pest from Asia and has become a major pest of fruit and vegetable crops.  In Pennsylvania, where the pest is believed to have been introduced, the apple and peach crops have suffered major losses.  It’s really too bad if you want to make peach jam scones.

Appropriately named, stink bugs stink when you squish them.  This is due to a chemical defense against predation.  Imagine how that smell would taste…  These bugs feed directly on fruit causing a type of damage known as catfacing.  It’s spotty damage that renders fruit unmarketable.  If these apples were growing on my tree, I’d probably just cut out the damaged parts and make applesauce or apple galette.

While stink bugs cause economic loss in the agricultural sector, most people encounter them in their homes.  They often get in through cracks or open patio doors on a sunny day.  I was in Pittsburgh last week, and stink bugs flew around the living room like nobody’s business.  Not so fun when you’re Wii bowling and one flies into the side of your head at an alarming speed.

The brown marmorated stink bug is particularly pesky, and some other stink bugs in the family Pentatomidae are pests as well.  But not all!  There are, in fact, some beneficial species that are predators of caterpillar pests.  Like this guy!

Spined soldier bug