Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Carrots, Spinach and a Lone Wildflower

There is not a lot going on in my South Texas garden at this time of year.  And I admit, it's *not* my favorite time.  Although I did get out in the garden yesterday and redid the two beds with the lousy soil.  I have a brand new pile of cedar bark mulch ready to use.  There's tons (literally) of this mulch lying around the property.  We had our landscaper bring up a couple of mounds and now I'm all set for the season.

We harvested the first of the carrots this past week!  Baby carrots...and they were delicious! 

My favorite way to prepare them is very simply. 
  • Wash and scrub them well
  • Place whole carrots in medium saute pan with a little butter and a few tablespoons of water
  • Bring mixture to a low simmer; cover and cook for about 5-7 minutes until carrots are fork tender
  • Remove lid; add another tablespoon of butter, a pinch of brown sugar and stir until liquid evaporates and carrots are glazed
  • Season with salt & pepper to taste
We also harvested some spinach this past week.  I "love" fresh young spinach.  This variety is "Spinach Renegade Hybrid" and I love it because the leaves are curly, dark green and very tasty; not wimpy like baby spinach you get in the grocery store. 

Again, for my taste, a simple preparation is best:
  • Remove the tough stems
  • Wash spinach well but don't dry it; leave some moisture on the leaves
  • Heat a little butter in a saute pan until it begins to bubble; don't get the pan too hot
  • Using a garlic press, press a couple of cloves of garlic in the simmering butter
  • Add the spinach, stir and cover
  • Let spinach simmer for just a couple of minutes, until the spinach wilts
  • Remove cover, stir and season wit salt and pepper to taste

Remember it takes *a lot* of  spinach to make a couple of servings once it cooks down.  I used about four bunches of spinach this size for one serving each for my husband and me.  It was delicious!  And there's more spinach out there :-)

As I said earlier, the garden is pretty low maintenance this time of year.  Which is OK, I guess.  It gives me a little more free time.  Like this morning.  Puppies and I went out to the garden to check on things as is our usual routine.  Since nothing much was happening, I began wandering around the property, camera in hand.  You never know what you're going to see on a cloudy, winter morning.  I alternate looking up in the trees (for birds) and down on the ground (for wildflowers).  In looking down, this tiny purple speck caught my eye.  It is the first wildflower I've seen this winter.  But it seems there is always something blooming here in the hill country.  When I got in the house, I looked in my wildflower book to try and identify it, but couldn't find it in there (I think I need a new wildflower book).  Anyway, whatever it is, it sure is pretty and is a gentle reminder that spring is just around the corner! 

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