Category Archives: Recipes

traditional and original culinary and crafts

Green Beans, bugs and bunnies

Garden Report 2012

Green Beans are a summer favorite I seldom eat in winter. Because as you know, everything tastes better home grown and garden fresh.

This recipe is made from last summers dried tomatoes and pesto. This summers green beans and onions. photo: PBH

Green Beans

Green beans are grown from Renee’s Garden seed. I pulled the onions from my garden the last week of June. At first the beans were being eaten up by bugs and bunnies.

The bunnies came and went. Bigger gardens next door or a neighborhood full of cats and dogs sent the bunnies on their way. Repeated Safer’s Soap sprays slowed down the bugs.

I’m growing “Tricolor Bush” and “Tricolor Pole”. Why bush and pole? because the pole beans are ready about a week after the bush beans. I’ll keep replanting beans and hopefully get another crop or two here in Missouri.

We love pickled green beans. These long straight beans are meant to be stuffed into tall skinny jars and pickled. They are refrigerator pickles, meant to be eaten fresh out of the jar. My crisp pickled beans are not cooked by the long process of canning.

Maybe we will have enough to freeze a few of these three colors of long straight green beans. The multi colored beans are beautiful in winter time vegetable soup.

Earlier this summer I grew a great crop of French, “Rolande” bush beans. Extra-slim,

“Roland” is a “haricot vert” of filet bean. Pick them and cook them. These straight, skinny beans are tender and need very little cooking.

long and deep green filet or “haricot vert” snap beans. These are a long, skinny French bean that does very well in my zone 6A home garden.

They grew in a square 4′ x 4′ garden. Every week for four weeks I planted another quarter of the garden. It kept us in fresh beans and a bit more to share with Neighbor Patty.

They are extra-crispy, making it possible for Jules and I to come to a middle ground in the kitchen. One of us likes Southern style “cooked to death” green beans and the other likes the California style “crispy and full of vitamins” version.

Green Beans are meant for sucession planting. Planting one patch and a little later planting a few more beans will stretch out fresh green bean season spring to fall. The best way is to plant a few beans, or part of a row every week.

When the first plants are finished producing beans, cut them down, mow them or, snip off the plants. Replant that spot again with more green beans.  If you want to freeze or can a lot of beans at once, this method is not for you.

If I have a few too many green beans, I can share them with the neighbor. Or, it is quick to blanch and freeze a quart size plastic zipper lock bag of green beans. Next, I’ll plant cow peas.


Had to do a little research on how to harvest and store onions because I’ve never had much luck growing them before. It was not a great crop. But the variety of onions were so much more successful than ever before.

Red onions are still in the ground. As are the leeks and shallots. Garlic was lifted mid June.

My Mom’s German Chocolate Cake recipe

Betty Ward in her beautiful back yard.

I love German Chocolate Cake. But it can never taste a good as a memory. I remember my mom’s was the best.

My Mom’s German Chocolate Cake recipe.

Germans Chocolate Cake photo by Kraft.

Original BAKER’S GERMAN’S Sweet Chocolate Cake

1pkg. (4 oz.) BAKER’S GERMAN’S Sweet Chocolate
1/2cup water
4eggs, separated
2cups flour
1tsp. baking soda
1/4tsp. salt
1cup butter, softened
2cups sugar
1tsp. vanilla
1cup buttermilk
Coconut-Pecan Filling and Frosting

HEAT oven to 350°F.

COVER bottoms of 3 (9-inch) round pans with waxed paper; spray sides with cooking spray. Microwave chocolate and water in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1-1/2 to 2 min. or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring after 1 min. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.

BEAT egg whites in small bowl with mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form; set aside. Mix flour, baking soda and salt. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each. Blend in melted chocolate and vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating until well blended after each addition.

ADD egg whites; stir gently until well blended. Pour into prepared pans.

BAKE 30 min. or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Immediately run small spatula around cakes in pans. Cool cakes in pans 15 min.; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Spread Coconut-Pecan Filling and Frosting between cake layers and onto top of cake.

Let’s admit it, this cake is really all about the frosting.

Coconut-Pecan Filling and Frosting

4 egg yolks

1can (12 oz.) evaporated milk

1-1/2 tsp. vanilla

1-1/2 cups sugar

¾ cup butter or margarine

1 pkg. (7 oz.) BAKER’S ANGEL FLAKE Coconut (2-2/3 cups)

1-1/2 cups chopped PLANTERS Pecans

BEAT egg yolks, milk and vanilla in large saucepan with whisk until well blended. Add sugar and butter; cook on medium heat 12 min. or until thickened and golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

ADD coconut and nuts; mix well. Cool to desired spreading consistency.

This cake and frosting are on Kraft foods recipe site. Why mess with perfection? It is one of the very few recipes I do nottweek, add a little something or change in some small way.

When I was a kid, my Mom was famous for her German Chocolate cake and her pecan pie. When I wanted to know her secret, she showed me the recipe on the Original BAKER’S GERMAN’S Sweet Chocolate package.

pecan pie. photo by Karo

Her secret pecan pie recipe – the one every body wanted her to make on Thanksgiving – was the recipe on the Karo Syrup bottle. click Classic Pecan Pie

Oh, yeah, she said. “They’ve got big test kitchens. Why would I want to try and make up something else?”

Grandma’s Chocolate Sheet Cake

Grandma’s Chocolate Sheet Cake
aka Texas Sheet Cake

Sheet Cake

Quick to fix. Grandma’s Chocolate Sheet Cake. What a surpise to find out that it was also called Texas Sheet Cake. photo PBH

There are dozens of variations on this rich chocolate sheet cake. I think it is so enduring because it is simple, makes a big, affordable, sheet cake that is quick to fix and, uses common kitchen ingredients.

Pre heat oven 350 degrees, set the oven rack to mid level. Toast and chop ½ cup pecans. Watch carefully or they will quickly burm. Let cool.

Coat a 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan with cooking spray, and dust with 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder or flour.

To Make Cake:

Sift together first 5 ingredients. Set aside in large mixing bowl.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Add water, margarine and cocoa to a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Pour into flour mixture. Beat until well mixed and smooth.
3/4 cup water
1 stick margarine
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

Add final three ingredients. Beat until well mixed.
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs beaten

Pour into prepared pan. Tap pan on counter to release big air bubbles. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes. (It’s exactly 33 minutes in my oven.) Toothpick test to check if it is done.

While cake is baking, make icing.

1 stick margarine
1/3 cup milk or buttermilk
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
While you bring to boil in medium sauce pan while you combine next three ingredients.

Pour hot boiling margarine, buttermilk and, unsweetened cocoa over next three ingredients.

3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Mix together, add

1 teaspoons vanilla extract
Mix until smooth. Pour warm icing over warm cake. Allow cake to cool before cutting. Otherwise, half of this cake will disapear before before dinner. Strange, I know. But it happened to me.

Great for picnics or covered dish suppers. photo PBH

Cake Ingredient List

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
1 stick margarine
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs beaten

Icing Ingredient List

1 stick margarine
1/3 cup milk or buttermilk
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ cup chopped toasted pecans

350° oven until a tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean.
About 20 to 25 minutes for the 15X10-inch pan. (Happens to be 22minutes in my oven.) Or bake in a 13X9 cake pan for about 30 to 35 minutes.

Bread and Soup: Using Herbs in Winter

My favorite fast food during the hectic holidays? Bread and soup.

BBQ Rosemary

BBQ Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis 'Barbeque' has especially good flavor and aroma, great choice for cooking. photo PBH

Throw the soup or stew ingredients in the crockpot. When you come home from work or Christmas shopping, a hot, healthy meal can be mere minutes away. Now add biscuits, because hot fresh biscuits are fast and easy to make. In the time it would take to get drive-thru on the way home, you’ll be sitting down to a bowl of bliss that will warm your heart and soul.

Before the holidays, replace your old herbs. Saving dried herbs for special occasions is a bad idea. Begin using dried herbs as soon as you buy them so you will get a taste of the herb at its best. Then, you will be able to judge when herbs should be replaced because of age, light or heat exposure. Rub a little dried herb on to the palm of your hand and if can not smell or taste the flavor, empty the jar and replace it with new. If your jar of dried herbs tastes like paper dust or a dried front lawn, it’s time to replace the herbs.

Refresh spices. If your spices are not fragrant, don’t waste the time and ingredients of a recipe by using flavorless herbs and spices. Before baking season, buy a new box of baking powder and baking soda. Hot from the oven herb biscuits are the perfect accompaniment to winter stews and soups.

tomato soup and grilled cheese

Creamy tomato soup with mini grilled cheese toast. photo: PBH

My favorite cheese biscuit recipe comes from Simply Recipes: Cheese Biscuits recipe. I use 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped chives instead of scallions and sharp cheddar cheese. Best thing is, you can double the recipe and freeze the cut biscuits before baking. Later, retrieve the frozen dough and bake while the stew is simmering. They are so good and so easy, you will always want to keep a few in the freezer.

Though buying herbs in bulk is economical, it may not be the cook’s choice. Herbs tend to lose their flavor when exposed to air and light. Buy small amounts of herbs and refresh your supply regularly for the best flavor. The economy comes from using less of the dried herb when it is fresher and more flavorful.

Do not store your herbs above the stove. Heat will quickly deteriorate their flavor. Store dried herbs in a cool, dark, dry, air-tight container. If you keep them out on the counter, use a dark tinted glass container or a tin.

Guaranteed Herbal Magic

1/2 teaspoon of rosemary. I’m not kidding. Add rosemary to your favorite biscuit recipe. Or add a bit of rosemary to beef stew, vegetable soup, chicken and dumplings. It’s magic.

Everyone will love your cooking and you will become an herbal goddess of the kitchen. (Tiara not included.)

cheese soup

Make a double batch of soup, freeze half. A good quick meal will always be on hand.

Fried Green Tomatoes (or not)

This Paul Robeson tomato could have stayed on the vine another day or two if the vine hadn't broken off.

A friend, clearly not a gardener, asked for this recipe in the summer.

“Are you nuts?” I said.

“No self respecting gardener sacrifices a good tomato to make fried green tomatoes in the summer!”

Fried green tomatoes are fall food. They are what you do with tomatoes that haven’t ripened by the first killer frost of the season.

This friend was an Eastern Transplant, not familiar with Midwest or Southern culture and cuisine. I also had to introduce him to tomato sandwiches this year. “You mean without bacon?,” he said with trepidation.

When vines are too heavy with multiple tomatoes, it is better to pick a few while still green, rather than risk a broken vine and losing all the tomatoes.

Prepare fried green tomatoes like you do fried Okra. Slice, dip in a milk and egg wash and then in cornmeal or flour.

Uncle Ed says, “Well you know how to fry catfish, don’t cha? Well it’s the same thing, dip the tomato slices in milk and eggs. Then pat fish fry mix (four, cornmeal, salt, pepper) on both sides”. Then deep fry, pan fry, or, oven “fry”

A heavy tomato vine, loaded with tomatoes, broke off in a storm.

The cafe in Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café is modeled after Irondale Cafe in Birmingham, AL. Novelist Fannie Flagg said her great-aunt operated Irondale Cafe for almost 40 years.

If it weren’t for the book Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, I believe this recipe would have remained a Southern delicacy. Just like fried pie.

There are two reasons a home cook prepares Fried Green Tomatoes.

  1. At the height of summer tomato production, some tomatoes are removed from the plant to keep the weight of the tomatoes from breaking the vine. (Not that I am bragging, but I had to do this twice this summer.)
  2. At the end of the tomato season, just before the first frosts hit the garden, all tomatoes are picked. Any tomatoes with a hint of color will be left to ripen slowly on the counter. Then, “waste not want not” happens. The most popular way of using up green tomatoes are fried green tomatoes, and green tomato relish.
sliced tomatoes

Insalata caprese (literally, the salad from Capri)

If I can have this: garden temperature juicy ripe tomatoes in a Tomato and Mozzarella Salad,

I’ll choose it everytime over fried green tomatoes.

These are heirloom tomatoes, Red: Paul Robeson and Yellow: Gold Medal


Gardeners in the Kitchen

I always order several lettuces and spring greens

A good place to start your garden seed order is by leafing through your favorite cookbooks. Renee Shepherd’s cookbooks showcase the best of garden fresh cuisine. Who better to write a cookbook than the person who grows a bountiful vegetable garden?

Renee’s Garden has two cookbooks, “Recipes From A Kitchen Garden” and “More Recipes From A Kitchen Garden.” My cookbooks are tabbed, with penciled notes in the margins and dog-eared. These two very affordable cookbooks ($12.95) have a few food splashes and the occasional sticky fingerprint.

Horseradish is the herb of the year 2011. I’ve ordered ”

Both Cookbooks will inspire you to grow more veggies from seed.

Tricolor Bush” beans and the skinny French “haricot vert,” that are bright green beans “Rolande. I am predicting that Chilled Green Beans with Creamy Horseradish Dressing and Green beans with Basil-Walnut Vinaigrette are going to be garden party and alfresco dining hits.

Best of all, these two dishes are make-ahead recipes that will develop flavor while chilling in the fridge. These two recipes are in the first cookbook, Recipes from a Kitchen Garden.

As an herb gardener, I love that Renee’s cookbooks incorporate edible flowers and fresh herbs in many of the recipes. With these cookbooks, you will enjoy fresh recipe ideas all season.

baby romaines

The Garden Bistro – a review

The best of fresh food, dinner and lunch

The Garden Bistro in Eureka Springs, Arkansas

I get to Eureka Springs, Arkansas once or twice a year, it seems as though new restaurants come and go as quickly as I do. Or, as Dorthy said, “My! People come and go so quickly here!”

My point is, there was a decent restaurant in this location the last time I was in Eureka Springs­, but now there is a different great restaurant at 119 North Main. The good news: everything I had at the Garden Bistro was good. Bad news, I only “discovered” The Garden Bistro on my last day in Eureka Springs.

Chef Lana Campbell brings garden-fresh dining to Eureka Springs via the local farmers markets. The menu is seasonal. Meaning the menu in spring is different than the menu in fall, all based on what is fresh and local. The Garden Bistro serves the best of locally grown and produced fruits, vegetables, herbs, eggs and meats.
Diners at the next table allowed me to share their opinions and photograph their food. They were pleased with their entrees, none of us had dessert. Portions are very generous.

Strawberry Lavender Soup

My fellow diners started with a fried green tomato appetiser followed by a dinner salad. I started my meal with a fabulous strawberry lavender soup*. Campbell also makes the bread. The heavy yeasty rolls are rich enough that I did not not even want butter.

My entre choice was a pecan encrusted salmon. It was a generous portion of perfectly cooked and beautifully served salmon. Side dishes are served family style, and include a vegetable and starch.

Herb & pecan encrusted salmon, hot bread, green beans, baked potato

There is a new restaurant in town every time I come to Eureka Springs. I hope The Garden Bistro makes it. It will become a favorite, like Ermilios and Mud Street Cafe.

Getting there:
119 North Main, Eureka Springs, AR 72632 Contact:Phone:(479) 253-1281.Website: not yet
Hours:Tea Room style lunches from 11 am – 2 pm Thursday through Monday.
Casual fine dining dinners from 5 pm – 9 pm every Thursday through Monday.
Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays

The recipe for Strawberry Lavender Soup from The Garden Bistro in Eureka Springs Arkansas is on my Herb Companion Garden Blog

The restaurant review for The Garden Bistro in Eureka Springs Arkansas is on my Blog, Oh Grow Up!

Happy Halloween

Bargain seed for next year.

This is an FYI. I’m just passing this information along.

Renee's Giant Pumpkin, "Wyatt's Wonder"

Happy Holloween! Plan ahead for next year’s garden – order your pumpkin seeds now at a 20% discount at Renee’s Garden at

Time: October 15, 2010 at 6pm to October 31, 2010 at 7pm

Location: Renee’s Garden Seed Event

All Pumpkins 20% off at Renee’s Garden

Great pumpkins come in all sizes

Order pumpkin seed now. It will keep till next planting season. Store in dry dark area. I put seed in a plastic zipper bag and then put the  plastic bag in the desk drawer.

Toasty Pumpkins Seeds

Save some seed for planting and use some for healthy snacks.

Photo by Brook Ashley

Saving seed from pumpkins and squashes

An easy seed to save, and you’ve got time. Most winter squashes will keep for months. When you do get around to eating these hardy winters wariors, save some seed before you cook the squash. Rinse the seed, let then dry, flat and in a single layer between a paper towels.

If you do have bumper crops of pumpkins and squash, save seed from your brightest and firmest of your collection.  Save the rest for of the seeds for toasting. You might just discover an inexpensive, homegrown and homemade treat to use for garnishing winter soups and breads. Stir Pumpkin seed and sunflower seeds into holday party mix,

Small sweet pumpkins selected for punkin soup. The seeds make a great garnish,


One pumpkin
Vegitable oil

Toasty pumpkin seeds

Scoop the pulp and seeds from inside the pumpkin. Seperate the stringy pulp from the seeds. Compost the pulpy core. Rinse the seeds.

To make salted pumkin seeds:

Bring 4 cups of water with a Tablespoon of salt to boil. Add seeds. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Strain seeds and spread out in a single layer to dry on cotton towels or paper towels. Skip this step if you do not want salted seeds.

To make seasoned pumpkin seeds:

Heat oven to 375. Spray pan with any good vegetable oil. Spread seeds onto cookie sheet in a single layer. Spay lightly with oil. If you want spicy seeds, add seasoning now.

(Try a light sprinkle of chili seasoning mix, butter flavored popcorn salt, or onion salt. If you use a seasoned salt, skip the boiling-in-salt-water-step.)

Bake on the top rack until the seeds begin to brown (about 15 to 20 minutes). If you would like seededs darker, put back in oven, checking often until they are as brown as you like. Watch carefully, the time between browned and burned is but an instant.

Remove the tray of pumpkin seed and cool on an a rack. Let the seeds completely cool. Eat the seeds whole. If you have all the time in the world, crack open the pumpkin seeds and eat only the inner seed. I like te eat the whole seed.

Chop and use as garnish in soups and other dishes that could use a little crunch. Store in an air tight zipper bag in the frig.

If you do have any left over, roasted or raw seeds, share them with the birds.

20% off on ALL pumpkin seed ar Renee’s Garden.

Three for Thursday

Cindy, From My Corner of Katy is the host of 3 for Thursday, and really a delightful garden blogger. See for yourself.

Three for Thursday I’m seeing a pattern here…


  • 1 (6 ounce) can frozen limeade concentrate
  • 6 fluid ounces tequila
  • 2 fluid ounces triple sec

Keep it simple.

Really, I just order Margaritas for the limes.

I love limes.

The bar tender said it was a margarita.

Margarita Chicken

  • 4 boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 cup tequila
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice

Combine chicken, tequila and lime juice in small shallow dish. Cover and marinate at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours, turning occasionally.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat) or preheat broiler. Drain chicken; reserve marinade. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Grill or broil until just cooked through, occasionally basting chicken with some reserved marinade, about 4 minutes per side.

Cut each chicken breast crosswise into thin slices. Arrange slices on platter. Garnish with lime wedges.

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