This week’s adventures in the kitchen were inspired by our garden and my Southern roots. We have a relatively small garden comprised of six 4 x 4 raised beds. We grow some basics: one is an herb bed, one tomatoes, one asparagus, one pumpkins and there is an assortment in the others. When I go to the garden store each spring I buy a jalapeño plant and whatever else sounds good to fill up the other bed space. This year we have yellow squash, green pepper, cucumber and carrots. Unfortunately, the okra plant didn’t make it. And of course, a rhubarb patch.
Being retired, my hubby is out puttering in the yard and garden every day. One of the biggest challenges in the vegetable and flower gardens is keeping out the critters. He has to use a jug of granules often to deter the deer, squirrels, rabbits and crows. And sometimes we share, whether we like it or not. We do enjoy the bounty that is harvested almost every day. And, I do love having fresh herbs for cooking and baking.
My Southern roots greatly influence my cooking and baking. When I was young my parents had a large garden in Indiana. And my Granny in Arkansas had a huge garden. I remember tomatoes, green beans, carrots, onions, beets, okra, potatoes, all kinds of squash, turnips (including the greens), all kinds of other greens i.e: collards & spinach, watermelon, cantaloupe and probably more. There were fruit trees in Granny’s yard: peaches, apples and my favorite, figs. Not only did we enjoy the fresh fruits and vegetables, but there was plenty of canning going on to enjoy the bounty the rest of the year. One of our favorite summer meals was southern fried chicken with whatever was fresh from the garden. And, of course, homemade biscuits and cornbread.
So, as a nod to my heritage of gardeners and great cooks, here are the creations for the week…
Thursday Doughday: Decorated Focaccia Bread & Spaghetti…the focaccia was made and decorated by Matthew with fresh herbs and vegetables from the garden. He also made crockpot spaghetti…
Friday (Fruit) Pieday: Grilled Peaches & Prosciutto Pizza…my pan crust topped with lemon ricotta, Parmesan, grilled peaches, prosciutto, smoked almonds, mozzarella and garnished with a drizzle of sauce made with honey, lemon, vanilla & cinnamon and fresh mint.
Sunday’s Creation: Savory Tomato Pie & Fried Chicken Pizza (inspired by two of my favorite Southern comfort foods)…my pan crust topped with a white sauce: mayo-sour cream-chives-garlic, cheddar, Parmesan, tomatoes, fresh basil, sweet onion, black pepper, southern fried chicken (nuggets), mozzarella & more tomatoes and garnished with fresh parsley & a drizzle of ranch dressing. (A big thank you to my doughboy-Matthew & my Gardener-Roy)
Next week will be some more summer-inspired creations!