It has been a little tumultuous with Hurricane Arthur blowing up the coast – but today is bright and sunny.
We are grateful for Food, Friends and Fireworks… Come Fourth! Continue reading
This morning my friend Helen Yoest, and fellow J C Raulston Volunteer appeared on My Carolina Today.
Click Here to see Helen’s charming interview.
Plants with Benefits will inspire you to create… Avacado on Toast with a drizzle of Virgin Olive Oil for breakfast—I am fanning myself at the imagery—Thank goodness Helen gave out fans at a recent talk—I keep it with my Copy!
Then for a sinful treat with historical Benefits back to 7,000 BC – Chili and Chocolate oozing the ancients and thoughts of Johnny Depp too. It’s all in Plants with Benefits!
Somehow knowing you’re taking a bite out of history makes HOT decadence guilty free! Thanks Helen.
Jayme’s Quick Chile-Chocolate Brownies
· 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
· ¼ Vegetable oil
· ¼ Water
· 1 egg, at room temperature
· 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
· 1 box Ghirardelli Triple Fudge Brownie Mix
· 1 1/4 teaspoons ancho chile powder
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 1 cup chopped and toasted pecans* (optional)
For the glaze:
· 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
· 2 tablespoon cocoa powder
· 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
· 1 tablespoon coffee-flavored liqueur
· 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
· 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease a 8x8x2-inch baking pan.
*Heat frying/sauté pan to medium.
Add Pecans, stirring occasionally for approximately 4-5 minutes or until they release their roasted aroma. Chop when cool. Well worth doing, unless you prefer nut free.
In a medium bowl, whisk together; Vegetable oil, Water, add the egg. Stir in the vanilla.
Add fudge pouch (enclosed with mix)
In a separate bowl – whisk brownie mix, ancho chile powder, and salt;
Gradually add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture, stirring well until fully combined.
Stir in the pecans.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the center is set and the brownies begin to pull back from the sides of the pan.
Cool brownies for 1 hour in the pan.
To make the glaze: in a medium bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, butter, liqueur, vanilla, and chile powder; blend until smooth. Place the glaze in a pastry bag (or zip-top bag with a snipped corner), and drizzle back and forth over the brownies.
Cut them into 20 bars.
Makes 20 brownies
WE love them with a little caramel/vanilla ice cream on the side!
Enjoy – living the EntwinedLife
Gathering with friends warms my soul. The laughter, conversation and enjoying flavors of the occasion… Continue reading
Bursting point… We all get to this point… when the blood starts to boil – the emotions swell – so full of stress our juices ready to burst like a fig after a fresh rain. This morning I was so ready to burst that I called my sage friend Helen Yoest – she reminded me that sometimes it is just better to “let it go”…
I took a deep breath and ventured outside to find solace in Entwined Gardens.
To my delight, I wasn’t the only one having a break & snack.
The Heptacodium miconioides (Sevenson Flower, Autumn Lilac) tree was a buzz with pollinators. As I looked up at creamy white puffs against a Carolina Blue sky my angst began to vanish lost in a swirl of bees, wasps skippers & butterflies. My thoughts turned to my delightful 2009 quest to find this tree – an Entwined Gardens expansion – to create a new border adding fall interest near our parking area.
Yes, a crazy Dr. Seuss – like plant that gets far too large for the chosen location. But the fragrant creamy white flowers appearing August – September, turning into small rounded fruit with a cherry red to rose purple calyx – ShaZaam! There’s no such thing as too Big as the sweet scent welcomes us home each day. This small deciduous tree growing 10’ –12’ tall x 8’ – 10’ wide also valued for exfoliating bark in warm hues of light brown, does not disappoint, especially if you don’t mind unpredictable plants with fall winter interest! For those of you who cringe at the word ‘Prune’ – one can’t make a mistake on this wildly branching structure. Within a year of planting this tree was a showstopper in my new themed border of plants for fall interest and ready for the 2010 Garden Conservancy Open Days Tour!
A lovely butterfly perched upon a Cana ‘Phaison’ or Tropicana Lily, caught my attention. I wasn’t quick enough to get a photo – then it was off in a wisp of a wing – up and circling overhead.
My mind clearly engaged as I watched the Zen motion as the butterfly fluttered up and around higher & higher then caught a glimpse of pink in an unexpected place. One of the out of reach Celeste figs had burst open and the scent of soft flesh fills the air. Another Butterfly lands and enjoys the fleshy sweetness – talk about table with a view.
The usual suspects at the Fig Café – humans with morning coffee in hand, disrupting the quiet feast of squirrels & birds who quickly disappear, thinking of another way to enjoy these fruits, of course tasting for inspiration. Wasps & butterflies throughout the midday, lingering like the folks at an Internet cafe; Possum and Raccoons – the nocturnal clientele leaving debris like twenty -somethings in a college town, so although unseen, we know they’ve been & enjoyed.
slowing down progress, almost paralyzed to move forward. I snap a few photos – in this the moment of truth. By the time I can summon my husband and run back he has slithered into the safety of foliage.
I am reminded of the lesson to let it go. Had I not taken a break, made room to breath, I’d have missed these whimsical delights, sweet smells and delicious figs.
Time to beat the birds and deer to the bushes… to harvest the sweet baubles in varying shades of green, purple, mauve and blue – victory. Yes, it’s Red, White & Blueberry Time in the NC Piedmont!
At Entwined Gardens we grow Premiere, Onslow, Garden Blue, & Yadkin blueberry varieties in our heavy clay soils.
I attended a lecture a few years ago by NCSU’s Jim Ballington
And here Dr. Ballington’s notes* for fool proof Blueberries – But for us I would rather be tasting so here are a few recipes and more information below.
Premiere is our earliest Blueberry – about 3 mm round Blue pearls of sweetness.
Our first pick yielded about ½ cup…perhaps a Blueberry Tart for dessert.
Simply use premade tart shells, a dollop of Lemon Curd and top with Berries can’t be any easier!
When I get a cup we’ll grill up some wild salmon and top with fresh Blueberry salsa.
1 cup blueberries or more for color
4 Kiwifuit, peeled & chopped
½ cup thinly sliced red onion,
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 Teaspoon honey
- Green Pepper Tabasco (jalapeno) to taste or cut up a jalapeno!
Mix ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and set aside. Great with chips or grilled salmon
- Mango – diced
- fresh ginger shredded
- Avacado – diced
- Vidallia onion siced – Or Green onions sliced
- Green Seedless grapes cut in half
- Strawberries (sliced) or Blackberries
- Cilantro – chopped
- Poppy seed dressing – drizzled to coat
- Cracker bread or bread sticks
– Ahead – Combine everything together except Arugula & cracker bread.
– Serving time – but arugula in botton of glass, add fruit mixture add a little more arugula
– Garnish with bread.
– Fruit keeps for a couple of days in Tupperware.
– I like to mix in a few other textures and colors of lettuce for color… the arugula gives it a nice spicy flavor to balance the sweetness!
– Serves 8-10
Some of my notes:
Check with your local extension agent for your area. Blueberries provide great fall color too, so tuck one into a sunny border!
*Note: For Zone 7 – all recommendations are Rabbit eye
A. Large Fruit, high quality
Premier (2) – early, self-pollinating (last week June)
Columbus – midseason, not self-pollinating
Onslow – Late, self-pollinating (3rd week July)
B. The very best quality
Yadkin (2) – midseason, self pollinating, medium size, medium to dark blue color
C. The Toughest Plants for red clay
Premier – early, self-pollinating (last week June)
Ira – early-midseason, not self-pollinating
Garden Blue (2) – midseason, not self pollinating – sweet
Tifblue – midseason, not self pollinating
Powderblue – late, not self – pollinating
– Full sun is preferred, but performance will be satisfactory with 50% sun.
– Soil -Acidic (pH 4.0 – 5.5) well drained soils
– Recommends roto tilling in 3 cu. ft of pine bark at the site where each plant is to be established.
– Surface mulch recommended pine bark, pine straw, aged pine sawdust or rye straw.
-Supplemental irrigation will be needed when rainfall is less than 1″ / week.
-Two year old nursery plants are the preferred planting stock.
-Pruning is required to maintain vigor and production of high quality fruit
-Young plants sensitive to fertilizers
-On young plants application of one TBSP of 10-10-10, or one handful of cottonseed meal spread thinly over the root zone several times during the first growing season will usually be beneficial.
-Double the amount the second growing season
-Pests – Japanese Beetles (treat with Sevin), climbing cutworms, fruit armyworms,
-Birds – Netting
-Deer – Wire cages
Now is not the recommended time to plant…. Make a note to plant in Feb./March.