Goodness from the GardenJul 28th, 2012 | By Cecilia | Category: blog, cook something
Greg Grant wrote the book Texas Fruit & Vegetable Gardening: Plant, Grow, and Eat the Best Edibles for Texas Gardens, published in 2012 by Cool Springs Press. It is a book for Texas food gardeners, written by a lifelong Texas food gardener.
In the book, Greg offers some family recipes with ties to — you guess it –the garden.
Cornbread is, of course, an all-American classic in the South. My Papaw always said cornbread could outrun light bread any day of the week. I prefer the coarser texture of stone-ground cornmeal in all my concoctions. My chickens lay medium-sized brown eggs, so I use three eggs in this recipe instead of two. I adapted this from a Southern cornbread recipe that originally called for “sweet milk.” My Papaw drank lots of buttermilk and was strong as an ox, so I figure it has to be good for you.
1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil (bacon grease is even better!)
1 cup buttermilk
(May also add 1/2 cup of fresh kernel corn)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cover the bottom of a cast-iron skillet with bacon grease or vegetable oil, and heat on the stovetop over medium-low heat. Mix the cornmeal, salt, baking, powder, baking soda, and brown sugar in a large bowl. Add the eggs, oil, and buttermilk (and kernel corn if using), and stir until blended. Sprinkle a bit of cornmeal into the hot skillet, then pour the batter into the skillet. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the top is slightly brown and firm to the touch. Flip the cornbread onto a plate, then back onto a rack, top side up, to cool a bit and to prevent moisture from collecting on the bottom of the plate. Serve with real butter and anything from the garden.
Southern Peas (or Any Fresh Shell Beans)
I grew up eating peas or beans with almost every meal. We generally had purple hull peas at everyday meals and cream peas on holidays. Oddly enough, black-eyed peas are my least favorite pea and are rarely grown in my area. Always remember that fresh (or frozen) peas taste better than dried ones. I’m happiest eating mine over rice. Of course, I love butter beans as well and can’t get enough. That reminds me of my favorite verse from an old folk tune (sung to the melody of “Just a Close Walk with Thee”).
Who’s that lady standing over there?
The one with the rollers all up in her hair.
She’s not pregnant as she seems.
She just ate too many of them butter beans!
Cut salt pork (or bacon) into bite-size pieces and place in a large pot. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. Add a quart of water or enough to cover the peas or beans, and bring to nearly a boil. Add the peas or beans, simmer for a few minutes, and season with seasoned salt, garlic power, and pepper. Cook over low heat for at least 40 minutes or until the peas or beans are tender. They will taste even better if you put a lid on the pot and let them sit for 20 minutes before eating. This recipe works for purple hull, cream, and crowder peas as well as fresh pintos, butter beans, and limas.
If you have trouble getting your children or grandchildren to eat fresh fruit, try this. You can make it with any fruit, fresh or frozen. Frozen strawberries are my favorite, however. If you use frozen fruit, the smoothie is cold and slushy when you drink it. If there’s any left over, freeze it in Popsicle molds for later treats. I use rice milk. If the finished product isn’t sweet enough, add a little sugar and blend.
2 cups frozen strawberries
Whole, skim, or rice milk (enough to fill the blender until three-fourths full)
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
Sugar to taste (optional)
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Drink and loosen your belt.