Saturday, August 22, 2015

Eggplant

This year has given us a bumper crop of eggplant. We have several plants and they all look similar to this one.
Photo Credit: CK Worley
Luckily for me we have the June/July issue of Garden & Gun magazine. This is a wonderful magazine filled with all sorts of interesting articles. One page is dedicated to eggplant recipes. These recipes come from chef Matthew McClure who works at Hive in Bentonville, Arkansas.

First Recipe is called Whip a Dip eggplant snack.

Halve 3 eggplants lengthwise, season with salt and toss with olive oil. Roast, flesh side down on a baking sheet, in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and let cool, then scrape out flesh and discard skin. Puree flesh until smooth then add 1 tablespoon ground toasted cumin, 1/2 teaspoon pink peppercorns. (I used regular cumin out of the bottle and regular black peppercorns.)
Photo Credit: CK Worley

Add 1/2 shallot (for best results soak slices in red wine vinegar for a least 30 minutes first).  I didn't have a shallot so I used a plain yellow onion and it turned out just fine.
Photo Credit: CK Worley
Add vinegar to taste, and serve with pita chips and crudités. It tasted great but it looks a little dull. Perhaps so colored corn chips might work to brighten up this dish. It's worth a try.
Photo Credit: CK Worley

Next was a eggplant disc that they suggested be served in a salad but we used it as a side dish. The original recipe called for the eggplant to be peeled which I didn't do and I liked it that way.
Photo Credit: CK Worley
Slice eggplant into 1/2 inch thick coins. Place in a bowl with 1 cup rice wine vinegar, 2 cups of water and 1/2 cup sugar. Soak for 30 minutes.
Photo Credit: CK Worley
Remove eggplant from marinade and let it dry for a few minutes. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a cast-iron skillet. Add eggplant and caramelize, about 3-4 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.
Photo Credit: CK Worley
These discs were so tasty. Crunchy at first, followed by a creamy yummy flavor. My favorite.
Eggplant fruit between August and October and the plant itself grows fairly tall and needs plenty of room to grow. I've got plants in the ground, in pots and in my raise garden bed. Whichever way you find is easiest growing eggplant is worth doing. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Houston, Texas visit #2

We had a nice visit with our son in Houston.  He and his girlfriend Kristina did a fine job entertaining us while we were there.

Photo Credit: CK Worley
First stop - Hermann Park.
It is named after George H. Hermann who in 1914 donated 285 acres for the creation of a park.  A year later Houston Mayor Ben Campbell added 122 acres of city land to the park.

Located between the Texas Medical Center, Rice University and the Museum District the park has a golf course, outdoor theater, jogging track, Zoo (which cares for over 45 hundred animals) , Museum of Natural Science (includes a planetarium, a 3D I-max, and a butterfly exhibit). playgrounds, paddle boats, a mini train and a community center.  I hear the fishing is great at the lake.


Photo Credit: R.S. Worley

McGovern Centennial Garden has a 30 foot high garden mount that has a spiral trail that takes you to the top with a view.  It also has rose gardens, an interactive family garden and a pine walk garden.

Photo Credit: CK Worley

The Japanese Garden is build on 5 acres and is designed with the Zen philosophy in mind.  This garden was built to represent the friendship between the U.S. and Japan.

Photo Credit: CK Worley

At the north end of the park you’ll find a refection pool and gardens that lead to a statue of Sam Houston.  The kids (and some dogs)  love to play in the interactive fountains.

Photo Credit: CK Worley
We even caught an Astros game.  My husband was at the first game in the Astrodome on April 9, 1965 when he was a little kid.  It was the first time that baseball could be enjoyed under an air conditioned roof.  Now they play at Minute Maid Park which has a retractable roof.
Photo Credit: CK Worley
We also visited Kung Fu tea in Midtown to enjoy a bubble tea.  It's a mixture of tea, dried skim milk and tapioca.  The tapioca is brown in color and is about the size of the tip of your little finger.  You get an extra wide straw to suck up the tapioca and tea all at once.  The tapioca is chewy and fun to eat.
Photo Credit: Kung Fu Tea

We had a wonderful time and can't wait to visit Houston again very soon.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Marietta City Cemetery Founded in 1831

Marietta City Cemetery is less than a mile from the famous Marietta Square in Georgia. I've driven by it countless times and finally decided to stop by.

Photo Credit: CK Worley

Some of the most influential families from the area are buried there. The Chastains, Samfords, Whitlocks and Dobbins among many others.
Photo Credit: CK Worley
In 1913 Mary Phagan who at the age of 13 was murdered in the Atlanta Pencil Factory is buried there. Leo Frank was convicted and then lynched for that murder but was found not guilty and posthumously pardoned in 1986. A very sad time in the history of Marietta.

Photo of Mary Phagan from the AJC
This cemetery has a slave section which was unusual for the times. Although there are several slaves buried there only four are named. They were servants of Mrs. Eliza G. Robarts; Clarissa, Hannah, Nancy and Peggy.

Here is a convenient  web site that shows you who is buried where in the cemetery. You can also find a map for trees, plots as well as grave markers.

http://cityofmarietta.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=545f1b0ff22242519a7a0a00b05fa539


Red Cedar photo credit: CK Worley
The cemetery is full of Water Oaks, Pecan, Cedar, Cherry Laurel, Sugar Maple, Magnolia, Black Locust and Mulberry trees. Many are old and very impressive.

You can also participate in the many Marietta Ghost Tours including a Ghost Pub Crawl. You can find information by following this link.

http://ghostsofmarietta.com/

In 1863 the land began to be used to to bury Confederate war dead. And since Marietta was a major hospital town for the Confederacy the occupancy of this cemetery began to rise quickly. Marietta National Cemetery includes the bodies of men who died on both sides during The Atlanta Campaign and The March to the Sea.


Photo Credit: CK Worley
They even have a cannon that was captured by Shermans men on their March to the Sea displayed on the property. It was returned to the city in 1910.
Photo Credit: CK Worley

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
By Mary Elizabeth Frye