Garden, Plant, Cook!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Grow Your Own Food Workshop! Starting SOON!

Dear Folks,

Over 15 Gardening Presentations. . .on how to grow your own organic food.

I am one of the presenters.

Have you started your garden yet?  NOW is the time to start thinking about planting seeds that will produce clean, healthy, nutrient dense food for your family.


When you go shopping for groceries, the price difference between naturally grown, organic, non-GMO foods, and the price of commercialized chemically smothered food is outrageous!

While high demand and low yields have furthered the problems we face at the grocery store, there has been a large movement of people who have taken a stand against big agro and big pharma. Not just for ourselves, but for our children, family, friends, and community.


...even if you just plant one thing to harvest and eat this year you’ll be part of the solution!


...we’re not going to just TALK about it! We’re gonna DO it!

The best part is that the tickets are FREE! But sign-up NOW because you don’t want to miss it!

Grow Your Own Food Workshop


Over 15 Expert Gardeners teach:

Seed Saving
Companion Planting
Vertical Gardening
Growing Herbs
Raised Bed Gardening
Gardening Basics
Basics of Organic Gardening
Growing 3 Medicinal Herbs
Growing A Year's Worth Of Food
Growing Tropical Plants
Which Gardening Method Is Best For You
Getting Started With Hydroponics
Starting Seeds Indoors…and MORE!!!

Registration is FREE! Follow this link to reserve your seat today, and I will see you on the inside.

Grow Your Own Food Workshop/

Catherine, The Herb Lady, Crowley

P.S. Plus you’ll also get a Grow Your Own Food Quick Start Guide and Planning Calculator just for signing up. Hurry, I don’t want you to miss this! It’s totally online and viewable from the comfort of your own home!

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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Friday, March 23, 2018

Asparagus Soup! And More.

Dear Folks,

Our asparagus are coming in and I decided I NEEDED to make an asparagus cheese soup with great tasting things from the garden. 

Asparagus, I'itoi Onions, edible flowers for garnish (Stock, Johnny Jump-Ups and Rosemary) and Limequat).

This recipe (below) is a spin on the broccoli/cheese soup I made back in January 

Do you like Ratatouille?

Close up of the squash in its protection "hat".
I do and so I decided to create a Ratatouille Garden of tomato, squash, eggplant and sweet pepper.  These are young yet, so it will be a while before I can harvest but I'm looking forward to making this dish or variations of it.  I started all the seeds back in December/January in my little greenhouse and it is time to get everything in the ground.  As I usually do, each seedling is protected by a 'chicken wire hat' to keep the critters from lunching on my lunch! See my youtube videos on chicken wire hats here.

When we got a sprinkle of rain last week, I noticed this droplet on one of my Nasturtium leaves. I see this during the season when these great edible and useful (they ward off pest bugs) are growing lushly in the garden.  I am always fascinated by how the leaf holds the drop and the magnification of the center whorl of the leaf.

I ordered some new Sweet Potato ("Pumpkin Yam") slips from Baker Creek and they arrived the other day.  I have been growing the purple "Molokai" and decided I needed another color.  This new one is a very old variety dating from 1868 with a bright orange color.  Looking forward to having a purple and orange feast of delicious tubers in the fall.  "Yam" by the way, is a misnomer - sweet potatoes are not yams which are a very different vegetable.  Commercial producers way-back-when decided the name "yam" helped distinguish their sweet potato from 'others.'

In my last post I showed a picture of a pot filled with growing cilantro, dill and chervil.  I did harvest a bunch of each and set up for drying in both the refrigerator and in the sun.  All the sun dried herbs are nicely stored now in mason jars in the pantry.  This cilantro will take longer in the refrigerator, but will retain more color and flavor due to the constant moisture removal of our modern refrigerators.

Don't worry soup recipe next.

Folks, if you got to this blog post through a link from my facebook page or one of the groups I post in, consider subscribing directly to this blog (box below my name).  With the data leaking now clearly a problem with Facebook, I will be re-considering - over the next month or two - whether to continue to be active on FB.

Asparagus, Potato & Cheese Soup

I love this recipe!  It uses potato for both flavor and thickening.  Recipe makes 2 servings.

2 tablespoons of avocado oil
1 bunch of asparagus
1 potato
4 ounces white cheddar cheese
handful of I'iotoi Onion tops
2 cups of water
salt and cracked black pepper
Garnish:  Stock, Johnny Jump-Ups and Rosemary flowers for garnish

An emersion blender works best for this, or you can use a counter blender working in batches and return to the pot to continue cooking.

Heat oven to 450, prepare a pan with aluminum foil.

Cut asparagus into 1 inch pieces (any tasty vegetable will work too)
Clean and cut potato into about 1 inch chunks - I leave peels on
Snipped onion tops
Shred or cube cheese and set aside
Optional:  Cut up sugar pea for garnish into 1/2 inch pieces, set aside
Edible flowers for garnish

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium size pot.

Spread asparagus in pan, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of oil over, season with some salt and cracked black pepper, stir and roast for 5 minutes.

While the broccoli is roasting add onion to hot oil in pot, stir and reduce heat and cook for about 5 minutes more, stirring as needed.

Add water and potatoes to pot bring to a boil, add a bit of salt, cover and cook at a low boil.

Stir asparagus and roast for 5 minutes more.  When the asparagus is finished add to pot, keep at a low boil, cover and cook until all are tender - about 7 minutes.

Using the emersion blender puree.  I like to leave some chunks in the soup.

Add cheese to melt, stirring into the soup to combine.

Serve with garnish.  Squeeze a bit of lime juice over each bowl.  Enjoy!

You can find links to purchase my calendars and books on the sidebar here.
Have a great day in the garden and kitchen!

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

This and That in Garden and Kitchen.

Dear Folks,

There is so much going on in the garden right now I thought I would give you pictures to inspire you and give you some ideas.

One of my big pots is filled with, L2R, Cilantro, Dill and Chervil. I need to harvest and dry most of these,  The cilantro is starting a flower stalk, so I need to act quickly :-)

The fragrance of the orange blossoms is filling the air all around the garden.  We can pretty much enjoy them anywhere.

On the opposite aroma spectrum is my garlic beds.  The Elephant Garlic is on the left and the regular garlic is on the right.  Hoping our cold weather of a couple of weeks ago is enough to force them in head growth later in April.

Back to fragrance, my wonderful Arizona Wild Rose has a delightful scent and pale pink blossoms.

Speaking of flowers, my Common Sorrel has flower stalks on it!!  First time.  I plan on capturing seed later on for sowing.  Regional adaptation is a "thing" and very important to growing healthier, stronger plants in your garden.  Sow, grow, save seeds.  Each successive generation is stronger and more regionally adapated.

Baby peaches on our tree.  Deane had to prune back severely this year to combat the die-off of some branches and the tree responded with a ton of growth and "some" peaches.  They still need to be thinned so we a few good size.

This little guy - the picture is deceiving -he is about 3 inches or so long - was running along the tie and I was able to get a shot of him beside the dead stalk of the Stevia.

Speaking of Stevia, this wonderful plant is putting out its new growth at the base as usual in the late winter/early spring.  This great "lady" has been going strong in my garden for something like 6-8 years - I have forgotten when I planted her.

One of the more colorful herbs in my garden is Spanish Thyme, aka Cuban Oregano, Indian Borage.  Plectranthus amboinicus variegated, is a relative of the house plant Creeping Charlie.  Edible, fragrant and gorgeous, one of my favorite unique herbs I have been growing for a couple of decades. At my old house the plant was in the ground long enough it flowered - a gorgeous bloom.  I am hoping this one which has been in the ground for about 4 or years will give me blooms soon.

My Black Mulberry Trees have flowers!!! I am hoping I have ones what will give me berries, can't wait!   When you purchase very young plants on line there is no way of knowing if you have fruiting varieties until . . .

My Johnny Jump-Ups are making their annual appearance in the lawn.  Because of the weird weather this year I don't know if we will get the incredible display as in prior years, but we love having this little and edible delicate beauties facing us as we walk around the gardens.

Kitchen "Doings"

I "corn" (brine) beef with spices and herbs of my choosing for St. Patrick's Day, which avoids nitrates.  I have been doing this for about 6 years now and we love the flavor.  I have to explain to friends who have not eaten it before - it is NOT red like commercial products because there are no nitrates and they LOVE the flavor.  For my recipe click here.  Pictured herbs and spices rubbed all over, ready for the sugar/salt brine to marinate for 2 weeks. Then into the crock pot on carrots, potatoes and onions and cook for 5-8 hours depending on the cut of meat you choose.  That is the other nice thing about doing your own "corning" - you get to choose the cut of beef you want.

Finally I made banana pudding with a going to be too ripe soon banana using a recipe I put together last year to use up OUR bananas from the Blue Java / Ice Cream plant we grow.  Not from our garden but so delicious and wholesome for dessert (which Deane enjoyed and I could not as I gave up desserts for Lent :-) But you know, I needed to know the banana would not go to waste and I did not want to making bread.

My Homemade Banana Pudding

2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar (I use organic and you can use less if you like)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of butter
1 cup coarsely chopped banana

Shake cornstarch and 1/2 cup of the milk in a capped jar to mix well (no lumps to deal with).

Mash bananas slightly with about 1/4 cup of the milk. Leave some pieces in for texture.

Bring rest of milk, sugar, and salt to high simmer on the stove, stirring constantly.  Slowly add milk/cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly.  Add milk banana mixture and increase temperature, stirring regularly until the mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and add vanilla and butter, stir to mix in well and pour into pan or individual cups.  Cool and chill in refrigerator.

Don't forget the discount and free mail shipping offer My Publisher is giving - it expires tomorrow night March 19th.  A good opportunity to purchase my calendar, edible landscaping book or either of my cookbooks.  Click here for the information. 

 Have a wonderful day in the garden and kitchen.

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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