Blog posts from June 2014

Cocktail Gardening: Blackberry Mint Margarita

Jun 26, 2014

Today's garden cocktail: The blackberry margarita. Or whatever you want to call this concoction!

So I'm overloaded with fresh blackberries. My friend Sarah keeps telling me I need to muddle them into cocktails. So I did.

Fresh picks from the garden: Blackberries, mint

From the store: limes (mine aren't ripe yet!), a nice tequila, cointreau, soda water, agave nectar

I wasn't too scientific about this, but in a shaker, muddle 4 blackberries and 4 mint leaves. Add 1/2 cup of ice, juice of one lime, a shot or two (depending on how strong you like it) of tequila, spash of cointeau and about a teaspoon of agave nectar. Shake well and strain into a glass with ice. Top off with club soda and garnish with more fresh mint.

Fabulous on the patio at the end of the work day. Thanks Sarah!

Tomato Time: What to do with all your tomatoes?

Jun 23, 2014

If you're like me, you might just be up to your ears in tomatoes right now! Here in Texas, we're pulling in our harvest from spring planted tomatoes. In a week or so, it will be time to start planting our fall crop of tomatoes (yes, we have TWO tomato seasons here!) The last thing you want is for any of your homegrown produce to go to waste, so be sure to have a plan for what you'll be making or how you'll preserve the harvest.

What do you do with all your tomatoes? Here are just a few things I've made lately with my abundant harvest:

Marinated tomatoes - a great way to use up the millions of cherry tomatoes you might find yourself with. I like to use rice vinegar flavored with a bit of ginger, garlic, thyme, basil, salt and pepper.

Simple tomato salad - slice up a bunch of fresh tomatoes and arrange with fresh basil from the garden. Mix up a simple dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. DIVINE!

If you feel like turning the oven on, how about a simple tomato tart? I didn't feel like making actual tart dough, so I just substituted Filo this time around. Olive oil brushed between the layers, sprinkle with some fresh mozarella, basil leaves, cover with sliced tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. In the oven for about 25 minutes at 400F.  Sprinkle on a bit more fresh basil. DELISH!

I think that next up on the tomato menu will be green tomato pickles...enjoy!

Veggie Garden: The Summer Solstice Harvest is ON!

Jun 21, 2014

I have to say, I've seriously enjoyed the mild spring we had here in Dallas this year. And yes, temperatures have turned hot with the onset of summer, but we've also enjoyed some unexpected and much needed rain. The veggie garden has been delivering big this year and it's all I can do to keep up with the produce!

I'm picking veggies and fruits daily: Pictured is my Saturday morning harvest. The scallop squash are getting away from me (just put up quarts and quarts of it in the freezer!). Blackberries are comming out of our ears and we'lre covered in tomatoes. But hey, I'm not complaining! It's great to be able to feed myself from the backyard.

Happy Summer Solstice everyone!

Fresh Blackberries: It’s PIE season!

Jun 17, 2014

Pop quiz: What do you do when you're swimming in backyard blackberries?

DUH: Make pie!

Now, I'm not a big sweets fan, but I love fresh fruit and it seemed a crime not to do at least a bit of baking with these fantastic fresh blackberries. My bees worked so hard pollenating the heck out of the bushes this year...so I bake in honor of them! 

I prefer simple pies...no thickeners or any other junk added. Just  a simple homemade butter crust, berries, sugar.

It turned out so good that I think I may just have to make another one. Happy Summer!

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