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Tag Archives: Herbs to Grow and Use in Dallas

Grazing Thru The Edible Landscape

The July Master Gardener meeting was a tasty success – a wonderful, informative speaker on our favorite topic – food!   …Well, to be more precise, the topic was about how to incorporate food plants into our landscapes.  Cheryl Beesley, a master gardener, horticulturalist, and landscape designer with an emphasis on edible landscapes was gracious, entertaining and educational.
Before the meeting and her talk, we gathered to graze in Raincatcher’s own edible landscape. Culinary creations from our own fruits, vegetables and herbs were offered and gobbled up.

Our culinary team showing off our tasty treats!

Through the garden gate – a glimpse of the landscape.

Starla with a photo-retrospective of our journey from old playground to new edible landscape.

Our guests enjoying the tasting; that’s the hugelkultur in the foreground.

Three of our planting scenes: our southern border lined with okra, our ‘rock garden’ with herbs, and the transformed swingset, now home to peppers and cucumbers.

Abbe sharing the chilled tomato-basil soup served in mini-tomato cups. Recipes coming!

Lisa with glazed lemon zucchini bread.

Lavender shortbread cookies – yum!

Passion fruit and tarragon truffles by Ana made with plants from our edible landscape.

Annette and Starla’s friend, Marsha Adams, enjoying a seat in the shade.

Cynthia Jones with our speaker, Cheryl Beesley and her husband, James.

Written by: The Edible Garden Team and Lisa Centala

Pictures by Starla Willis

Bye-bye Parsley, Thanks for the Greens!

We pulled up our beautiful, gorgeous, healthy, vibrant parsley today.  Why would we do this to our stunning, laugh-at-freeze-and-drought plant?  Because we are creating a landscape, not just a garden, and one of the tenants of landscape design is repetition.  A standard front-yard landscape may have only three different types of plants, but they may be used over and over in different areas of the yard.  With an edible landscape, we usually want to eat more than three different types of plants, so we find ways to modify the rules of landscape design.

 In this case, our parsley was living in a low wooden bed underneath the old swingset. Along the length of the swingset are four other low wooden beds, and for this season, they’ve been planted with peppers – five peppers per bed.  Four beds of peppers with one bed half full of parsley looks, well, odd. So we removed the parsley, added five more peppers, and created repetition – and cohesion – under the swingset.

Don’t cry too much for the parsley, though.  Big, green, vibrant and fragrant, it went home with our volunteers to be made into tasty morsels.  Do you have some parsley in your yard or garden? (Or local grocery?) Consider using some to make:

  • pesto – substitute it for the basil
  • tabbouleh – a wonderful summertime salad made with bulgur
  • chimichurri with it – an  Argentinian sauce for grilled foods
  • fry up sprigs – your choice if you want to dip them in a light batter first
  • ravioli – chop it up, mix with some ricotta and egg, salt and pepper, and fill ravioli with it
  • toss it into your next omelet or frittata
  • vinaigrette (or make a green goddess dressing)
  • how about a cream of parsley soup?  or in a falafel?
  • add it in to your regular salad, potato salad, meatballs, you can stick some practically anywhere you want a little – or a lot – of green

One last note:  There are three cultivars of parsley – curly, flat-leaf, and root.  All are biennials in our temperate climate, and this was the second year for this parsley plant.  The cultivar we were growing was the curly variety. The root variety will create a nice, edible taproot you can eat raw like a carrot, or cook like a turnip.  Look to central and eastern European dishes to see it featured. Flat-leaf is more commonly listed in today’s Western recipes, but curly and flat leaf can be used interchangeably.  Middle Eastern recipes are more likely to use the curly variety. Most people think flat-leaf is more flavorful, but if you grow your own, you’ll see that there’s plenty of flavor in the curly variety as well.

So, bye-bye parsley, and bon appetit stomach!

Lisa Centala and Edible Landscape team

Save these dates June 26 and 28th. 

The Peach Fever lunch on June 26 is sold out but class is open!

 

April Box Lunches

Hungering for the what was in the box lunches at the April Master Gardener meeting?

April Box Lunches Prepared by Master Gardeners

Here’s our menu:

Three finger sandwiches made with jalapeno pimento cheese, salad burnet spread  and almond chicken salad,* marinated vegetables and *snicker doodle cookies and *apricot bars.

 

Marinated Vegetables

Trio of garnished finger sandwiches!

Almond Chicken Salad

6 cups cooked chicken breast, cut into ½ inch cubes

2 cups celery, thinly sliced, about ¼ inch

1 cup red onions, finely chopped

3 green onions, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup mayonnaise (good quality prepared)

¾ cup sour cream

Mexican Mint Marigold, garden view!

1 tablespoon fresh Mexican Mint Marigold, finely chopped

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground

¾ cup golden raisins

1½ cups sliced almonds, toasted

Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Toss lightly until combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

Yield: Makes 12 cups

Linda Alexander

*Marinated vegetables, Grandmother’s favorite snicker doodle cookies, and apricot bar recipes are available by asking Linda or leaving a comment and she will contact you.

 

Have you ever seen a butterfly laying an egg?

Thanks to our own intrepid photographer, Starla, for capturing a rare picture of a butterfly laying an egg.

Black swallowtail butterfly laying an egg on fennel

And here’s the egg-

Look for the creamy yellow egg located on the lower right of the picture

*Eggs are laid singly on the host plants—usually on new foliage and occasionally on flowers. Development time is variable depending on temperature and host plant species, but generally the egg stage lasts four to nine days, the larval stage 10–30 days, and the pupal stage nine to 18 days.

Fascinating!

Ann Lamb

Picture by Starla Willis

*http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/bfly/bfly2/eastern_black_swallowtail.htm

Study up on our butterfly garden by looking at the right hand side of the front page of Dallas Garden Buzz under Raincatcher’s Resources for a list of hummingbird and butterfly plants or type butterfly in our search box for a host of articles on butterflies.

 

Flavorful News from the Dallas County Master Gardener Cookbook Committee

A new Dallas County Master Gardener Cookbook is on the way.  Our members have submitted a wheelbarrow full of recipes and gardening tips that the cookbook committee has been dutifully busy tasting and testing.

cookbook collage

We jumped into July with forks in hand. Tomato recipes were tasteful and tempting.  Corn, in abundance, brought comfort to our tummies.  Blackberries had us beaming with their beauty.  And, peaches just pushed us over the edge with their juicy goodness.  What could be better?  Well…

Cookbook August cropped overhead shot

In August we anguished over the okra. Which do we like best?  Fried, roasted, simmered, stewed or even finessed into little muffins?   And, oh how the squash recipes raised our spirits.  Shaved into salads, grated for quiche, pureed into soup, carpaccio and casseroles to consider.  How will we decide?

September, October and November we celebrated the harvest bounty. Sweet potatoes to savor, pumpkin recipes to ponder, an over-the-top apple recipe, a unique and very elegant pear presentation that left us swooning while Meyer lemon pie made us pucker with pride.

Creamy Southwestern Pumpkin Soup

Creamy Southwestern Pumpkin Soup

Our journey has been filled with flavor, fun and friendly evaluations. We’ve tasted, tested, eliminated some and accepted over 140 recipes.  Profound thanks to our faithful volunteers who have traveled with us.   The adventure continues to grow more exciting and we can’t wait to share our discoveries.

Until then, stay posted for more “flavorful news” from the cookbook committee and a special 2016 unveiling.

Take a peek at some “behind the scenes pics” courtesy of Ann and Starla!

Linda Alexander, Cookbook Chair

Peach Jalapeño Salsa Dog

Just in Time for Labor Day Weekend!

hot dog and peach jalapeno salsa

Ingredients:

2 large ripe peaches, quartered

1 jalapeño pepper, cut in half and seeded

1 lime, juiced

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1 pinch kosher salt

1 package Hebrew National hot dogs

1 package potato hot dog buns

Directions:

  1. In a high speed blender or a food processor add peach quarters, jalapeño pepper, lime juice, cilantro and salt.
  2. Puree quickly (less than 30 seconds) to create a chunky salsa puree. Set aside while hot dogs cook.
  3. Grill or boil hot dogs, add to a bun and top with salsa.

Linda

 

Goodbye Summer and Recipes

We’ve tested and tasted, savored and enjoyed but now it’s time to say farewell.  Our memories have been sweetened with the most delightful flavors of summer; juicy, plump blackberries, tantalizing tomatoes and the star of the show – those luscious, versatile peaches (many would agree, perhaps, summer’s finest fruit).  Yes, we would take them through every season if nature allowed.  But, we must let go and only dream about the spring and summer yet to come.

From the Raincatcher’s Garden: We wish you and your family a restful, and pleasure filled Labor Day weekend.  Join us on our seasonal garden journey by subscribing to Dallas Garden Buzz.

blackberries in carton

 

Blackberry Brie Bites

Ingredients:

1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls (Pillsbury 8 oz.)

1 round Brie Cheese (8 oz.)

¼ cup blackberry jelly (Smuckers Spreadable Fruit)

24 fresh blackberries

24 large toothpicks, optional

Directions:

  1. Separate the crescent rolls into 4 rectangles. Press the seams together and cut into

6 even squares. Press into 24 mini muffin tins.

  1. Cut the rind off the Brie cheese. Cut into 24 small squares. Place on square into each crescent lined tin. Spoon a small amount of blackberry jelly on top of each cheese square. Fold the tips of the crescent rolls over, if desired. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with a fresh blackberry on a toothpick. Serve immediately.

Yield: Makes 24 crescent cups.

 

Tomatoes for recipe

Gorgonzola-Tomato Salad

Ingredients:

Gorgonzola Tomatoes4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese

¼ cup minced fresh parsley

3 tablespoon minced shallot

2 tablespoons minced fresh basil

6 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced

⅓ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Freeze cheese 30 minutes or until firm. Grate cheese into a small bowl; add parsley shallot, and basil, stirring gently to combine. Arrange tomato slices on a large serving platter. Sprinkle cheese mixture over tomato slices.
  2. Combine olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste, beating well with a wire whisk. Drizzle dressing mixture over salad.

Yield: 6 servings

Linda

Peach recipe tomorrow!

 

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