It should come as no surprise that Master Gardeners are masterful gardeners but it is perhaps less well known that many of them are master cooks as well. For that reason, a pot luck lunch with the Surry County Master Gardener Volunteers Association is not to be missed. Each of the master gardeners brings a dish that showcases their garden in some way and even in the depths of winter, it is a delicious spread.
The Master Gardener Volunteers are part of a large national network that helps others obtain and use research-based knowledge. The Surry chapter primarily works with the art and science of growing plants. Last year the members of the group volunteered 568 work hours, contacted 807 people and received 132 training hours.
Master gardeners are not the same as garden clubs. Joy Barlow, president of Surry Master Gardeners and a member of two garden clubs sums up the difference: “According to the bylaws, the objective of the garden clubs is to study the culture of flowers, exchange ideas and to increase interest in gardening and flower arranging. The objectives of Master Gardener Volunteers include seeking to improve our knowledge and expertise through research based training and to share this knowledge with our communities through plant clinics, workshops and responding to questions from individuals. Mountain View Garden Club has had speakers from Master Gardeners do several of their meeting programs.”
Anyone interested in becoming a Master Gardener Volunteer, would like to ask a question about gardening or would like to sign up for a workshop, please call (336) 401-8025.
Darkest Chocolate Cake with Red Wine Glaze
Adapted from the Mast Brothers Bon Appetit recipe
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the pan
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used 60% cacao)
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
Glaze and Assembly:
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used 60% cacao)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup red wine (I used Round Peak Fiddler’s Red, recipe suggests Pinot Noir)
Special Equipment: A 9” springform pan
Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly butter and flour pan. Heat chocolate, sugar, and 1 cup butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch water), stirring, until chocolate is almost completely melted, about 3—5 minutes; remove from heat and continue to stir until chocolate is completely melted. Let cool completely. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, add eggs to chocolate mixture one at a time, beating to blend after each addition. Beat until mixture has a mousse-like consistency. Reduce speed to low and add salt and 1/3 cup flour; mix until smooth. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake cake until top is firm and edges are slightly darkened, about 50 minutes (time varies depending upon individual oven temperatures). The original recipe mentions that a tester inserted into the cake’s center will come out clean before it is truly done (55-65 minutes). I followed the recipe exactly the first time I made the cake and it turned out a bit dry when I left it in the oven for more than 50 minutes so I now remove the cake from the oven when a tester inserted into cake’s center comes out clean. Set your timer for 45 minutes to see if your cake is done. If it needs more time, set the timer for a few more minutes and test again. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool completely in pan before turning out.
Heat chocolate, butter, and salt in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch water), stirring, until chocolate and butter are melted, about 5 minutes. Whisk in powdered sugar. Meanwhile, bring wine just to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove chocolate mixture from heat and whisk in wine; let cool until slightly thickened and a rubber spatula leaves a trail in mixture when stirring, 8— 10 minutes. Set cake over a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Pour glaze over cake and spread it across the top and over the edges with an offset spatula, Let cake stand at room temperature until glaze is set, about 2 hours.
4 cups kale, trimmed and chopped
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1/4 small head red cabbage, chopped
1 red pear, cubed
1/2 small orange bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup carrot matchstick
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
6 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. oregano, crushed
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. crushed black peppercorns
Mix salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Combine dressing ingredients in a glass jar with a lid. Cover jar with lid and shake vigorously until dressing is well mixed. Pour dressing over salad, toss to coat.
Cream of Tomato Soup
4-5 tbsp. canola oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 tbsp. unbleached, unfortified flour (can be purchased at Mill Creek)
2 cups whole milk
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups tomatoes, chopped, skin and seeds removed OR use 1 (28 oz) box of POMI tomatoes.
1/2 cup chopped green peppers
1/2 cup frozen chopped collard or turnip greens.
Pour canola oil into a medium sized pan and heat on medium heat. Add the onion and cook until the onion is soft, but not browned. Sprinkle the flour over the oil/onion mixture and continue to stir for 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk, chicken broth, bay leaf and salt. Continue to cook until slightly thickened. Add tomatoes to the milk and bring to a simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. If desired, add fresh organic green pepper (unwaxed) which has been chopped finely or you may add chopped collard greens or turnip greens. (Add with the tomatoes.) This cuts some of the bitterness and imparts a nice smooth flavor to the soup. (Do not use spinach.) I usually add the peppers.
1 medium head cabbage
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 cup shredded cheese
Chop cabbage into medium-size pieces and boil with 1 tsp. salt until done. Drain cabbage, reserving 1/4 cup liquid, and transfer cabbage to a deep baking dish. In a small bowl, combine reserved liquid, curry powder and condensed soup. Mix until creamy, and pour over cabbage in baking dish. Stir gently to get soup over all the cabbage. Top with cheese and bake in a 350° oven for 30 minutes or until bubbly.
1 bag Italian meatballs (40 count)
1 20 oz. jar Food Lion Traditional Pasta Sauce
Place in slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours. Serve over pasta or as an appetizer.
Cal-Exico’s Pony Express style Enchiladas
1 pkg. corn tortillas
2 large cans or quarts of stewed tomatoes
1 clove garlic
1 cube of butter
2 cans of Ortega green chilies, chopped
1 16 oz. carton sour cream
1 block of Monterrey Jack cheese
Slightly brown tortillas in a little veggie oil. Mix tomatoes, garlic, butter and green chilies and stew on stove 1 1/2 hours on low heat. Fill shells like tacos with tomato/chile mixture, sour cream and cheese. Bake at 350°F.
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
5 peaches, chopped or sliced
5 slices of bread, cubed
Mix first 5 ingredients together. Stir well. Put peaches in a baking dish. Put cubed bread on peaches. Drizzle liquid mixture over bread. Bake at 350°F. for 30 minutes.
Winter Vegetables and Homemade Italian Sausage
Tasha Greer, reLuxe Ranch
Mix of Chantenay carrots, purple top turnips, white torpedo onions (including tops), sautéed with lard in a cast iron pan. Salt and pepper to taste.
Italian Sausage (homegrown pork, basil, oregano, garlic, fennel seed, salt, pepper, white wine, natural casings) pan-searwed for color, stirred into vegetables and finished in oven.
Garden Farm Loaf – Using what’s on hand
Sue D. Johnson
Meatloaves at the Johnson’s have never been the same. My goal is to always use lots of fresh veggies and to ‘spice it up.’ And I don’t use grains or oats to ‘thicken.’
2 to 3 pounds of ground meat – Use a combo. This one used chicken and hot sausage
3 cups mixed veggies – I prefer fresh from garden. In winter, I purchase frozen. In this one, Food Lion’s 12 ounce micro bag – broccoli, carrots, sugar snap peas and water chestnuts
1 med. onion, diced
2 heaping tbsp. salsa, drained
1 cup grated cheese – 1/2 pepper jack, 1/2 Parmesan (I sometimes use Swiss for the soft, sweet taste.)
1 egg (Only if using ground beef. I didn’t need or use for this one.)
2 to 3 cups tomato juice (V-8 spicy for me)
ground black pepper, to your liking (We like lots.)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Mince, dice and combine all the veggies. Pour into a sieve and add salt to get juices flowing. Drain and press excess. Combine meats, veggies, cheeses, add pepper and put into baking dish. I pat down to at least an inch and a half to two inches in depth and then press an opening around the edge so I can see the juices. Bake for 45 minutes, remove to check juices. You may need to drain some. The veggies create juices so the oils will be on top. After draining, pour on the tomato juice letting it flow over the sides. Bake for 20 minutes more.
*I like to add a cup of tomato on top for “pretty” and sprinkle on some cheese and then bake.
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Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699, on Twitter @BillColvard.