I was looking at the arugula tonight and came across a tiny insect I hadn’t encountered before – a candy-striped leafhopper. It was only about a quarter of an inch long. There were several.
A quick Google search said it feeds on plant sap by piercing the leaf tissue. It is thought to be a mechanism for spread of plant disease from one plant to the next. It expels excess sap from its body, and the sweetness may attract other insects. From my search I didn’t get the impression that it was a catastrophic pest. I haven’t noticed any spotting, wilting or curling on the arugula so far so let’s hope for the best and for the moment just marvel at their brilliant psychedelic coloring!
There is a conception out there that modern, processed, grocery-freezer-aisle food is the way to go for busy lives. Open the box and pop it in the microwave. That, or picking up drive-through fast food, has become the defacto level-of-effort benchmark for cooking. Who has time to cook, even to open a can of overcooked bland-tasting soup? And just forget about cooking from scratch using whole ingredients! We don’t have the luxury to devote hours to prepping and combining dozens of ingredients, are you crazy?
I am in fact crazy, but let’s not change the subject. To test the notion that from-scratch cooking takes WAY to much time and is out of the question, try this: put a couple of ham hocks from your favorite local farmer into a slow cooker frozen (yes, frozen), add a cup of dry beans, maybe navy or pinto (unsoaked, no overnight soaking here!), 2-3 cups of water or broth, don’t measure too carefully (I used a jar sitting on the counter). Turn on high and go do yard work or something. A few hours later add a cup of uncooked brown rice and another 2-3 cups water and continue cooking. When everything is soft and the ham *falls* off the bone (yum!) stuff in a handful of sage from your garden – no you don’t have to remove the stems or mince it and dirty up a knife and cutting board.
Here’s what five minutes of time and ZERO prep gets you:
Grab a glass of red or a cold one and you’re set! Beats Burger King every time!
Done and done. Now that I’ve proven the naysayer’s wrong, you may thank me.