Sunday, December 29, 2013

San Agustinillo. Oaxaca

Wow this has been an off the charts adventure. Were started in Oaxaca City and now via a very Small plane have journeyed to the pacific coast. I will be blogging more about Oaxaca city, the radish festival, the Christmas Eve celebrations later on. I just now have secured internet.

Below is the view from our cabana. Then a view inside the cabana. We are staying at the cabanas Bamboo. They are Eco cabanas. Our is very comfortable and very lovely.





Yesterday Kalee and will took a surfing lesson and we took a boat tour of the white mangroves . We spied many crocodiles and iguanas . Plus a variety of birds.

Stayed tuned. More adventures to come.



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Best Sweet Potatoes

I have a love/ hate relationship with Sweet Potatoes. My husband loves them. I am very marginally in like with them. For years I have been slammed with this wonderful sweet potato Casserole his mom made.

So when I was asked to bring sweet potatoes to a"his family gathering " I was a little concerned. So what the heck... I went for it. everyone loved this recipe and every time I make it it gets great reviews. Try it... It is wonderful

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs beaten
1 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Topping(recipe to follow)

Mix sweet potatoes,sugar, eggs, milk, butter, and vanilla together. Pour into a well greased casserole Cover with topping and bake at 375degrees for about 30 minutes

Topping

1 cup,light brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 cup coconut
1 cup pecans

combine above and mix well to form crumbs. Sprinkle over casserole.

Enjoy. This is great.





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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Just a few updates.....,

Please go to www. Statebystategardening.com And then go the blogs. I just did a post on Sage. Who doesn't need Sage for the Holidays. I put a great recipe for Sage crackers from the Disney institute on it.

Also check out this book:




Just started reading it. I love the idea ! I am going throughout ornaments and Christmas decorations. Much love. Have a great snowy day !!!!
Friday morning before the winter mix came in I made a last harvest trip to my garden. The temperatures were going to drop down to below 20 degrees so that may officially halt my growing season.

I cut some collards, Kale and some nice red lettuce.





I made my favorite Collard recipe Friday night. it is adapted from a recipe from Southern Living

Ingredients
12 Hickory-smoked bacon slices, finely chopped
2 medium slice onions
3/4 pound smoked ham
6 garlic cloves chopped
3 (32 ounce) containers of chicken broth
Approximately 3 lbs fresh collards, washed and trimmed
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Cook bacon in a 10 qt stockpot over medium heat sautéed until almost crisp. Add onion and sauté approx 8 minutes and ham and garlic and sauté a minute longer. Stir in the broth and remaining ingredients. Cook 2 hours or to desired level of tenderness.

Now on to decorating for Christmas We are traveling some during the holidays so I am not going 100%. I am just having fun looking through all the hugh collection of mismatched Christmas decorations. Stayed tuned !!!

Location:Last Harvest

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Tall way into Fall


Some of the best plants I have in my garden are what I would term "Old-fashion plants"   These plants are ones that have been around and passed around thru the generations!!   I love these hardy, free growing plants, full of wonderful blooms and memories!!

By far, one of favorite fall blooming is the Tatarian Aster. This beauty stands tall and in charge, while most other bloomers have faded away. This aster is different than most asters as it just is too proud to flop and instead prefers to grow over 4 to 6 feet tall.

A neighbor came over during one of my yard sales and told me that his mother had given the original owners of my house a start of this plant, which was his grandmother's favorite flower. Since my house was built over 100 years ago, this is definitely and old-fashion flower.

This plant is not invasive but loves to spread its roots! So there will be plenty to pass forward. I love them and they grace many areas in my yard.  They look best in masses and love the sunshine!! 

So, look for this variety...no pinching, and  no staking just great blooms for the fall.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Appletime

Ok ......I learned as a young child not to judge a book by its cover also to apply this same theory to apples .


My apples this year have been prolific! The deer out in the field have been over joyed by the gator load full of half rotten apples dumped for their pleasure and my yard clean up.

As a young child in a family of six siblings, my father would use us all in his favorite activity making applesauce. We had to pick up every apple even the ones similar to my deer treats. If they was one spot on the apple that somewhat eatable we had to pick it up. That was the yucky part. However I loved smelling the cooking apples and cinnamon and helping him with the food mill.

He made many many quarts from the two large apple trees in our backyard, but by far my favorite were the batches he put red hot cinnamon drops into the hot sauce.

I recently found an apple peeler that has changed my apple phobia of cutting myself while peeling. So I am spending this rainy Sunday making applesauce, apple-butter, and who knows what. I have even purchased some red hots.





I am going to try several recipes, so I will give you the winners tomorrow.

But now, it has stopped raining and I need to go pick up apples.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Wonderful Gift

This is one of the best gifts I have ever been given. Our Sales Specialist in Indiana is always talking to me about gardening. His father is a great gardener so we are always exchanging stories. Dave told me about this couple that made these trowels and I was very interested. So he bought me one and I love it. It is by far one of the best tools I have ever had. So sturdy and sharp, perfect for transplanting, weeding and digging. It is amazing. Please contact these people, they call this a Deep Digger.

Brewer Design Ser. Inc.
1-317-392-1751
www.flags-poles.com

THIS TOOL IS THE BEST!!!!!!!







- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Working Hard

So I am working on a major Strawberry Project but at the same time getting so much done as far as harvesting and preserving. Wow I have made enough tomato juice for a year and fresh barbecue sauce for dinner.

Anyway, just a pause in the action. What about frog legs? I have been seeing so many baby frogs and toads in the garden.



He was sitting on the grill... Asking for it?????

I love doing mini blogs. Maybe I need to learn how to tweet.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

More tomatoes.

So I thought I was done with the masses of tomatoes. No way. So I have made two special recipes.


Zucchini Provençal and Fresh Tomato Juice.


Both were excellent and provided great food for my healing husband.
Zucchini Provençal

1 to 2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 to 3 green onions chopped
1 clove garlic finely chopped
4 to 5 smallish zucchini sliced
2 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 TBLS chopped fresh parsley
1 TBLS chopped fresh oregano
1 TBLS chopped fresh basil

1 to 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil, but do not brown. Add sliced zucchini and stir fry with a wooden spoon only under tender crisp. DO NOT OVERCOOK. Add chopped tomatoes and stir a minute or so. Turn off the heat. Sprinkle cheese over the top and let sit until it melts. Serve from the skillet. Messy, gooey goodness. Secret: Do not over cook.

I need to work on tomato juice recipe. Randy said it is too spicy.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Check it out

I just finished a blog about yesterdays project of dividing my iris!!   Check it out on my State by State Gardening Blog. Don't you like my helper? He would have been happier if I had been dividing catnip!

http://statebystategardening.com/state.php/ky/blog_01/past_time_to_divide_my_iris/


Saturday, September 7, 2013

What a Month

This has been a wild month. I have been in and out of hospitals caring for a sick husband( He is now on the mend). Writing articles and giving speeches, plus trying to maintain the gardens and harvest the prizes of my labors. I am afraid my blog has suffered.




I took in several bunches of flowers for the great nurses at Jewish Hospital downtown Louisville.


Today I am trying to again plant kale and other fall crops. I did this once and lost them all to MR Rabbit. So I have found a safe product that is suppose to keep the critters at bay. The marigolds have just been eaten. So we will see.


I hardly ever use any Chemicals even environmentally safe ones such as this one. But it is not going on any plants just a barrier on the ground around the garden. So I will know tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Next step

So next I used the cut rosemary as a rack for my roast. It is now cooking in the oven and I smell the heavenly rosemary.


It is cooking for four hours. Then will be used tomorrow. Now I have moved on to using some of the basil. So I am making Roasted Tomato Soup. I have cut a variety of Tomatoes into quarters and added 6 smashed garlic cloves, a large shallot sliced and then sea salt and pepper and then some olive oil. I am roasting all of this for about 30 minutes.


Flash forward to Sunday. The soup is ready !!! It is great.

21/2 pounds fresh tomatoes
6 clove garlics, peeled
2 small yellow onions sliced
1/2 cup Extra-Virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper freshly ground.
1 quart chicken stock
2 bay leaves
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
3/4 cup heavy cream.

Wash and core the tomatoes into halves. Spread the tomatoes, garlic, and onions onto the baking sheet . Drizzle with 1/2 cup olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes.

Transfer the tomatoes and opinions to a stock pot.Add 3/4 of the chicken stock, bay leaves, and butter. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by a third

Wash and dry basil leaves and add to the pot. Use an immersion blender to purée until smooth. return to low heat and add cream and chicken broth until desired consistency.Garnish with salt and pepper.

This soup is delicious. And best thing I used a bunch of tomatoes.




Saturday, August 24, 2013

Saturday

So I have a long list of things to accomplish to today. I have to take a deep breathe and accomplish things one by one.

So I have unloads the jeep from last nights talk. I have taken the spent herbs to the compost pile. Then actually looked at what I had and journeyed to the store.

Last year I did not make enough Opal Basil Vinegar. So task number 1. I used all the dark basil I had taken to the talk and I am making Opal Basil Vinegar. I brought a jug of white vinegar up to a boil, but not to boiling. Then I stuffed the plastic container full of opal basil and then add the hot vinegar. I capped it and will let it sit for about 6 weeks. Then I will strain and put into decorative bottles with a beautiful seed head in the bottle

This makes an amazing vinegar.


This is a great recipe I use this vinegar in.

Broccoli and cauliflower salad

1 head cauliflower
1 bunch broccoli
2 stalks celery cut into small pieces
1 cup sugar
2 TBLS poppy seeds
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dried mustard
1 onion finely chopped
1/2 cup opal basil vinegar
1 1/4 cup oil

Break vegetables into bites size pieces. Add celery. mix together all the rest of the ingredients and add to the veggies. refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Then ENJOY.

AFTERMATH

Last night I gave a speech on herbs to 300 ladies. It was great fun but it has been a long week. I had a very important article due wed. Then this talk. So today I am dealing with the aftermath of all the herbs I picked to take to the speech.









I have some good ideas. But I never know what I will end up doing. Thanks to all who came to this neat event.

Limestone, the John Deere dealership puts this on every year. They had rides and drive on tractors and gators, free food, prizes, vendors, and me. Kentucky Gardener had sent me magazines to hand out and I had lots of handouts as well. It was great fun. Thanks to all who came to hear me talk about my passion. Herbs.

Stay tuned to hear what happens to all these harvests herbs.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tomatoes tomatoes.










Wow. We picked tomatoes just last Saturday. So look at today. I have just finished writing an article for Kentucky Gardener that will be in 7 states. It is on Potager Gardens. My favorite garden it is a wonderful mix of herbs, veggies, flowers and fruits. I am exhausted but I need to gear up for my talk on Friday. Thanks to my husband for helping me with his article. I have taken time to make him a low carb blackberry cobbler. I used Coconut flour. I will let you know. Now I need to deal with the tomatoes. Any suggestions.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Salsa from the Great Tomatoes.

I have had several people ask me for my recipe for the salsa I have been preserving.
So here it is but beware.....when I was working on this the water boiled over and I have ended up with bad burns on my tummy.

The salsa is great. So I guess I have to say no pain no gain.

Chunky Homemade Salsa

8 lbs ripe tomatoes
2 cups seeded and chopped fresh Anaheim chile peppers
1/2 cup seeded and chopped fresh jalapeño or Serrano peppers(2 large)
2 cups chopped onions (2 large)
1/2 cup snipped fresh cilantro or parsley
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup tomato paste
5 clove garlics, minced
1 t salt
1 t cumin seeds toasted and crushed
1 t ground black pepper

Wash and peel tomatoes. Then coarsely chop the tomatoes, let them sit in a colander for 30 minutes then transfer to a good pan and let it simmer for for about 90 minutes.

Add Chile peppers, onions, cilantro, lime juice, vinegar, tomato paste, garlic salt, cumin seeds, and black pepper. return mixture to boiling , reduce heat Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.

Ladle hot salsa into hot, sterilized pint canning jars leaving a 1/2 inch headspace

Process filled jars Ina boiling water canner for 15 minutes

Any remaining salsa can be saved in an airtight container for a week.

ENJOY.



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Wedgewood Dr,Shelbyville,United States

Monday, August 12, 2013

My tomatoes

I love my tomatoes. I have Heirloom, many varieties. Great to walk out and add these to the menu for tonight. A little salt, some vingerete, some fresh mozzarella cheese and we are good to go.




Yummy. More yummy with cheese.


It was delicious.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Rose Care

Today is a muggy drippy sort of day. So I am going to work as I can on my roses in the Potager Garden. They hate this rainy damp weather so it is a good day to give them some love.
These poor guys have to say the least been completely ignored. Since the majority of them "David Austin Roses" They have been able to hang in there.





They have Lots of black spot. so I maybe cutting them down to the barebones. I love Roses, my mom always gave me Rose Bushes for my birthday. So in spite of the lack of time I have to properly care for them, I will always have them in my garden.

I have noticed some disease, so I clipped that away and then promptly cleaned my clippers.

I also plant companion plants near these guys to hopefully help them as well, marigolds are ones that seem to be beneficial.


I believe doing this now will give me some great blooms and healthier plants in the fall. Stay tuned!!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Chinese Long Beans, Yard Long Beans, Asparagus Beans or Snake Beans

This is the second year I have grown these interesting Beans.  They are easy and very prolific in my Potager Garden. I originally started growing them just for the interest factor, but after seeing them for sell in the Athens GA Farmers Market, I decided that I needed to do some culinary experimentation with them. I really hate not using any produce that I grow so I am now on a mission to find some good recipes for this bean!

Here are such a few facts about this fun veggie:

*It can measure from 1 to 3 feet long but is best eaten when they are 12 to 20 inches long

*This bean has a soft texture that is flexible not as crisp as the western green bean

*Focus on the young beans, the older yellowing beans are not really tasty

This is a way I used them that was very successful.

Beef and Asparagus  Bundles

16 asparagus spears
2 heads Bibb lettuce leaves separated
1 (4-oz) packaged garlic and herb spreadable cheese
8 thin slices deli roast beef, halved
1 red bell pepper, cut into 16 strips
8 yard long green beans

Snap off and discard tough ends of the asparagus and cut into 4 inch pieces. Cook in boiling water until crisp and then plunge into cold water and stop the cooking process.  Drain and pat dry

On each lettuce leaf spread a strip of the herb cheese. Then put one piece of the roast beef, the a couple of the asparagus spears,  and the green pepper strip. Wrap each bundle up and tie with a steamed long bean.

They were delicious...as an appetizer or salad or main dish...this is delicious!!!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Nothing better than Family










Family is the most important thing to us. We were so lucky to have my 94 year old Mom, my sister with her new beloved son and our son with his two wonderful kids. Life does not get much better than this.....

All the food was fresh from the garden. But the love was fresh from the heart. Recipes to come.....

Thursday, July 18, 2013

More Rhubard Love

So it has been so funny. I told my sister I made a Rhubarb Pie for my Mom and she said please make one for my husband. There seems to be love for this fruit/vegetable. I think this plant is beautiful in the garden, plus my Dad loved it, so it is a must in my garden.


I decided to do a different recipe for Randy to take to his mom and Dad tomorrow. Rhubarb Bread Pudding



Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups half and half
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
8 ounces whole wheat bread, cut into pieces
3 cups chopped fresh rhubarb
Zest of orange
2 Tbsp brown sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees . Spray an 8x8 baking dish worth cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk half amend half, eggs, vanilla and sugar together. Add bread pieces and submerge them into the liquid. Add chopped Rhubarb, and orange

Empty into baking dish and press down. Cover with foil and bake for,40 minutes. Uncover and add brown sugar and bake for 15 minutes until it sets

Reports are coming in that is is wonderful. So for all the Rhubard lovers ....have at it.




Sunday, July 14, 2013


So it has just been too crazy of a couple months. I have decided that I will come sit every night for about 15 minutes or more and listen to the birds and feel the love of my land. The dogs enjoy it. And the cats come around as well. It is as if everyone is saying look what we have it is beautiful ; even if all the weeds are not pulled and the gardens are not perfect.
Life is good
So here is the view from my chair tonight. I am blessed.





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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Why I grow Rhubarb

Rhubarb was one of my fathers and fathers-in-laws favorite vegetables. Therefore we have always had it my garden. I think it is beautiful In the garden. But not overly fond of its taste.



This a perennial vegetable, that is usually used as a fruit in desserts and jams. You only eat the stalks, they have a rich, tart, sour flavor. The beautiful leaves of this plant are poisonous, but are very beneficial to the compost pile.

I harvested a large amount yesterday. So I need to do something with them.


I made a pie for my father-in- law. They loved it. (Recipe below) My mom wants a pie as well. Plus now my oldest sister wants me to send her something made with rhubarb for her husband.

A couple weeks ago, I made a rhubarb pound coffee cake, so I may make that again for my mom and my sister's husband. Then what do I do with the rest??? Stay tuned I will let you know.




Fresh Rhubarb Pie

Ingredients:
4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 1/3 cups white sugar
6 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon butter
1 recipe for a 9 inch double crust pie

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2. Combine sugar and flour. Sprinkle 1/4 of it over pastry in pie plate Heap rhubarb over this mixture sprinkle with the remaining sugar and flour. for with small pieces of butter and cover with the top crust
3. Place pie on the lowest rack in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 40 minutes


I will blog the Rhubarb Pound Cake soon. Enjoy. I would love to hear your recipes for Rhubarb.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Don't Ditch The "Ditch Lilies"




My Father had a love of these Lilies!!  They have been called everything form "Ditch Lilies" to "Road Lilies" to "Tiger Lilies" to the common "Orange Lilies". I have even heard some people call them "_____ Lilies".

There Latin name is hemerocallis fulva, they are technically a form of daylily, but a different species and a breed of their own!  These guys will grow anywhere and give new meaning to the word hardy.

These late spring bloomers are resistant to anything including "Round Up". They will grow in most any soil, sun or shade, and can live through any drought! They are the survivors of the flower world.

I love driving out in the country this time of year and seeing all the "Ditch Lilies" along the roadsides. It seems to me they exist where houses once may have stood or gardens may have once existed but only the "Ditch Lilies" have weathered the storm of the years!

My father loved them because we had a home in Brown County Indiana that had horrific clay soil and hordes of deer.  Much to my Dad's delight they not only grew and bloomed ...they also spread everywhere; they were not discouraged or slowed by the obstacles put before them.

When I moved here over 30 years ago, I of course brought a few. Now I have tons....but I have put them to great use. I have them along fence rows, on the perimeter of the woods, and in the fields, but they keep spreading. I have even just dug up clumps and dumped them along the fence row and voila they survived!

My latest adventure was to move them from my vegetable garden. Although some parts of daylilies are edible, these tigers were taking over valuable space. I had the perfect spot for them over by the orchard where some stone and rock had been dumped. I am certain that this pile of rocks will be like candy to the tubers that these plants spread from and they will flourish. They will be lovely this time of year as I pick the raspberries and now I have more room for vegetables in the Potager Garden.

Moral of this long story.....Don't Ditch the "Ditch Lilies".......every plant has beauty and worth, in the right spot!



Friday, June 7, 2013

Volunteers Help Us Bloom

Come one come all. This Saturday we are having a work session the Tim McClure Botanical Gardens. We need anyone and everyone. The gardens are looking better than ever and is will be our final push to mulch and prepare for the summer.

No prior experience needed. This is a great chance to learn about maintaining a garden, plants, herbs, and much more.

I have even heard a rumor that there might be some "Freebies"



I hope you will come help us. Volunteers help us bloom. If you need any additional information just email me:

Beckykirts@gmail.com

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Ramps

Athens Georgia has introduced me to so many great eats. But Ramps have by far been the best find. "Allium tricoccum " ( commonly known as Ramps) is a spring vegetable, a perennial wild onion with a twist It has a strong garlic -like odor but with an onion taste.

These babies are only available for about a month and only in certain mountains. This happens to be the month when we have been traveling back and forth to Athens to visit our daughter and son-in-law. I love the food scene in Athens. Many restaurants always have ramps on the menu during this time. We love them.

I have never been able to find them but last weekend BINGO. What a great Mothers Day gift.



On our way home we found a stand that was selling these treasures. It was close to Crosby TN, close to where a Ramp Festival has been hosted on the first weekend in May since 1954. Our vendor told me that the ramps were near the end and that many chefs from Athens had been up last weekend to buy them and that the festival was great. So next year it is on my calendar.

We have enjoyed our ramps all week but a friend from WV told me that if we ate too many we would smell bad and lose our friends.

I think it is worth the threat.

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