Posts tagged ‘pigeon peas’

January 4, 2012

Stinking Bugs

Well, well well.  Just when DH and I thought the pigeon peas did not have any insect problems we spotted these little babies crawling all over the leaves.

Stink bug babies

I don’t remember inviting them over and I sure don’t want them to stay.  It’s time to break out the neem oil and put this bug nursery out of business.

Baby stink bug

Linking to Transformation Thursday and Inspiration Friday.

December 21, 2011

Chicken & Pigeon Pea Stew

Gandules PodsGreat for warming up on the few chilly days we get in Florida.


  • 1 package of 5-6 chicken thighs
  • adobo seasoning
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup of canilla (extra long grain) rice
  • 1 lbs of fresh pigeon peas (or use 1 16oz can)
  • 8 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 2/3 cup chopped onion
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tbs fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tbs fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 tbs alcaparado
  • 1 sazon envelope ( I used the one with coriander & annatto)
  • 1 cup beer
  • 1 avocado

Rinse the chicken thighs.  Season chicken to taste with adobo and set aside.  Place the rice in a bowl, cover with water and set aside.  Place pigeon peas in a saucepan, cover with 2 cups of water, cover the saucepan and heat on medium until it boils and shut it off after 5 minutes (skip this step if using canned).

In a dutch oven pour olive oil and heat over med high heat.  When the oil is hot, place the chicken in the dutch oven.  Heat the chicken until it browns, then turn and brown the other side.  Add the chopped onions, peppers and tomato.  Stir occasionally.  Once the onion is translucent, add the cilantro and oregano and stir again.  When the garlic is fragrant add the alcaparado and sazon.

Dump gandules and water from the saucepan into the dutch oven.  Add 6 cups of water and 1 cup of beer.  Turn up the heat to high until the liquid boils.  Drain the rice and add to the dutch oven.  Lower the heat to medium and cook and additional 20 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Serve hot with diced avocado on top.

Linking to Transformation Thursday, Everybody’s Creative Endeavor and Inspiration Friday.

November 16, 2011

Pigeon Pea Clan

Pigen Pea FlowerWhen DH moved in to the house in 2006, my Dad and his two siblings stopped by for a visit. While I poured steaming coffee into cups and placed them on the dinning room table, Tati walked into the kitchen and stared out the window looking at the back yard.  “You should grow pigeon peas”.  Tati is my oldest Aunt. The oldest of the 12 children my grandmother Delia had during the 1930’s and 40’s. Lots of uncles and aunts; all whom I only know by their nicknames. “Just throw them on the ground. They don’t need any attention and they love dry land.” For someone whom I never saw tend a garden or grow food, she seemed to know a lot.

Years later while browsing on, I found a couple of 1910 census documents that looked like my great grandparents but I wasn’t sure. So I asked my Dad during our weekly phone calls and it turns out it was them. Not only that; I found out they were the only ancestors in that generation to read, write and own land. “That’s nothing” answered Dad confiming the amount of land on the census document. “My grandmother was a ‘hacendada’ (farm owner), but her husband lost most of it gambling. “What did they grow?” I asked. “Pigeon peas” he replied. “Of the many Toro families in Lajas, our family is know as ‘el clan de los gandules'(the pigeon pea clan).”

Sometimes I sit in my back yard and think about Alejandrina and wonder about the details of her life back then. What was her daily routine? How did she mange once the farm was gone? What did she think of grandma Delia when her son Arquimides decided she was the one?
Pigeon Peas
Last Saturday I went out in the yard. The sun was shining but it didn’t burn. An ocasional breeze would go by swaying the pigeon pea branches like dancing arms.  I water and fertilize the bushes with loving care.  I patiently wait until November for the early Christmas gift they bring.  DH and I sit in the back yard and remember growing up in Puerto Rico while we shell the the harvest.  On Christmas Eve, the roasted pork steps aside and gives the place of honor on the table to the rice and pigeon peas.  Of all the things I grow, the pigeon peas have the most meaning to me.

Pigeon Peas behave like perennials and go dormant during the frost, but come back again in the spring.  Like me, they feel right at home here in Central Florida.  I might not have a hacienda, but I can proudly say I’m a landowner.  It is one of the dreams that we all collectively share in this country.  I’m sure Alejandrina would approve.

What do you grow that is part of your family tradition? trees? flowers? heirloom veggies?  What are you doing to pass them to the next generation?

Linking to Transformation Thursday