Emergency Miracle Fig Ripening Trick

Here’s what your September figs ought to look like. This is a Celeste fig. I’ve had the tree for 10 years and it’s just now producing yummy figs. But, if your fig tree is full of little green knobby figs that will surely succumb to frost before ripening, I have a surprise for you. You can hasten the ripening of your little darlings with a nifty trick I learned a few years ago from my friend, Andrew, at a Men’s Garden Club of Asheville plant sale. Well, I’ll just show you. Continue Reading →

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Caramel Onion Pie

Last night, five of my young-ish friends invited me to a progressive garden dinner they were hosting in their vintage West Asheville neighborhood. We bicycled to four urban bungalows and enjoyed a course at each with wine and garden tours. All the food was prepared by these professional bakers out of their front yard bungalow gardens … from homemade hard cider with veggie antipasti to gazpacho with homemade ciabatta, squash risotto, to squashamole and salad. Our final destination was to be a sunset dessert at an old 19th century rambling farmhouse. Too much schmoozing, we arrived at dark. 
     I noticed a big ladder on the porch, leaning on the roof with plates and forks nearby. Holey squash blossoms, I thought, we’re having a roof-top dessert. My perky dinner-mates chirped “are you ok to climb on the roof Barbara?” I am, after all, their mothers’ age. “Oh, of course, I do this all the time,” I say as up and more up we go. I tried hard to walk normal and not skooch on my butt. And then, perched on the roof apex, we ate pie. In the dark. Watching a beautiful lightening storm come our way. Closer and closer.
     The pie was a caramel, chevre and onion with a flax seed and coconut crust. The cheese had red onions in it because somebody gave our young host a quart of homemade chevre mixed with raw red onions. So of course he made a frozen goat cheese and raw red onion caramel pie. Actually delicious, only i had to go to the dentist this morning and my breath stank to high heavens and there I was explaining to him about how I ate a raw red onion dessert pie on the roof with a bunch of young bakers in a lightening storm last night. 
     Remind me never to be an old lady.
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July Cooking Classes

Hey! The gardens are in full swing with all this wet and warm weather. Perfect for picking, cooking and eating. See you soon I hope!

Garden to Picnic Table                     Wednesday, July 6, 6:00-9:00 $45

Blackberry mint mojitos and crunchy pan-fried squash blossoms stuffed with garlic scape pesto and local chevre will get us up and running. Then we’ll wander into the gardens and pick our dinner fixings. Heirloom fingerling potatoes are so delicious they only need a golden roast along with optional toasty local fennel sausage. Yellow squash strips get a pistachio mint pesto stuffing, skinny green and yellow beans get tossed with sherry vinegar marinated red onions and cucumbers. And for our dessert, a gooey, drop dead gorgeous, easy blackberry chocolate dip-in cake. Continue Reading →

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Stay tuned for new spring classes!

On Monday, I’ll be posting classes for April and May. Stop back by soon and we’ll talk about how to prepare those fabulous creasy greens popping up in your yard about now.

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Log Cabin Cooking Classes

Aunt Barb’s Wednesday Night Supper Club                                  

First-ish Wednesday of the month   6-9pm  $10    

January 12  … Made-From-Scratch Soups & Herbed Flatbreads 

If you’re somewhere between 21 and 40 and didn’t get to learn to cook from family or friends, then join Auntie Barb and others like you for an informal elbow to elbow lesson in cooking basics. We’ll focus on easy to prepare seasonal, healthy dishes that are inexpensive and can serve one as well as a group. Class meets the first Wednesday of each month (or thereabouts.)
Suggestions are welcome.
Two-Layer One-Pot Comfort-food Cottage Pies
Sunday, January 16, 4-7pm   $45
This is some serious man-food that girls like too. These double-decker dishes can be baked in anything from a cast iron dutch oven in the coals of the fireplace to individual ceramic dishes that can be enjoyed now or frozen for quick, wholesome suppers on-the-go. We’ll make a chili and heirloom bean pie topped with a rustic cornbread topping, and a veggie as well as a local roasted pork and root veggie pies crowned with a variety of potato treats including crunchy swiss rosti, scalloped layered potatoes and mashed potatoes. These dishes sound heavy, but don’t worry, they’re not the way we’ll make them. Fireside supper includes hot mulled beverage, cottage pies, winter salad and a refreshing cranberry & lemoncello sorbet for dessert. Continue Reading →
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