The unseasonably warm weather last week was a welcome reprieve from our usual cold, snowy days. Saturday was an absolutely beautiful day that I enjoyed to the fullest.
Saturday morning, I was invited to the Nature’s Thyme Herb Group Annual Herbal Tea in Garrard County. These ladies went all out to make this event an outstanding success.
Each table was decorated by theme. The table where I was seated was decorated with chocolate as the theme. There were chocolate-scented geraniums and chocolate-mint tea. Chocolate candies were scattered among fresh plants and flowers as the centerpiece. Our place settings were marked with a small floral card, which included seeds to grow the featured flower. Tea was served in vintage tea cups.
There was such an array of herbal foods that there was no way to sample everything. One side of the display area was labeled “savory” and included goodies such as curried chicken salad, herb spreads and dips, baked carrots with horseradish and more. The opposite side had spiced cakes, cookies and every type of dessert you can imagine.
Once everyone had enjoyed their meal, Linda Porter gave a wonderful presentation on growing and using native plants, herbs and flowers. At the conclusion, everyone received a folder filled with information and contacts related to her subject.
Thank you, ladies, for such a warm welcome and a very enjoyable morning.
Saturday afternoon was spent outside helping Barrie and Jon set posts for the greenhouse. We managed to get them all in and formed up with concrete before the rain showers came in. If the weather holds, we finally will be able to get the supports up and cover on.
Like most farmers and gardeners, we are beginning to gear up for this year’s farmers market. Seeds are ordered and beginning to arrive. Some seeds are started and beginning to fill out. It will soon be time to turn the soil and lay out this year’s garden plots.
The optimism of farmers, watermen and others whose livelihood is dependent on nature is amazing. Each new season is viewed as a new beginning, with thoughts that “this year will be as good or better than last year.”
We hope for sunshine or rain, as needed, controllable weeds and garden pests as well as perfectly formed fruits and vegetables. Yes, we are definitely optimistic every year — that our gardens and fields will produce the optimum yield and quality crops.
As we move closer to the 2011 season, we look forward to the first tastes of fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables. It is time to begin digging out those favorite recipes or clippings from magazines and the newspaper that you want to try this year. Also, don’t forget that the Boyle County Farmers Market is going to have a cookbook. We have been busily combining our favorite recipes to include in our first collection.
I have always been an avid recipe and cookbook collector. I read them like most people read magazines. I love trying new recipes and tweaking them to suit my tastes as well as creating my own.
There is something about Southern cooking that always says “comfort food” and Southern Living cookbooks have some of the best “comfort food” recipes I have ever tried.
We have sweet potatoes from this year’s crop stored in our basement. I like them prepared in a variety of ways. While searching for some new ideas, I came across this recipe in the “Southern Living 40 years of Our Best Recipes” cookbook. Although it is touted as a great fall recipe, I think this dessert tastes great now as well.
4 medium size sweet potatoes
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced
11⁄2 cups orange juice
1⁄2 cup granulated sugars
1⁄2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup butter or margarine, divided
1 cup chopped pecans
1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Pierce sweet potatoes several times with a fork and place on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour or until done; cool slightly. Peel and cut crosswise into 1⁄2-inch thick slices.
Place apple slices in an even layer in a lightly greased 13- by 9-inch baking dish; top with sweet potato slices.
Stir together 11⁄2 cups orange juice and next 6 ingredients. Pour over sweet potato mixture. Dot with 6 tablespoons butter.
Sprinkle 1⁄2 cup chopped pecans on cutting board. Unfold 1 pie crust and place on pecans; gently roll pie crust dough into pecans.
Cut with a leaf-shaped cookie cutter; place leaves over sweet potato mixture. Repeat procedure with remaining 1⁄2 cup chopped pecans and pie crust.
Microwave remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a 1-cup glass measuring cup at HIGH 20-30 seconds or until melted. Brush butter over crust, and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons granulated sugar.
Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with Bourbon Whipped Cream (optional).
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon
Beat whipping cream and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Stir in bourbon. Serve over cobbler.
The Boyle County Farmers Market is located at the Boyle County Fairgrounds. The market manager is Gary Taylor of Knobview Farms. He can be reached at (859) 332-2539. Applications currently are being accepted for the 2011 market; contact Taylor for more information.