Becky Kirts is a Master Gardener residing in Shelby County, Kentucky. She loves to share recipes, garden information and travel fun on her blog. Gardening is in her genes. Becky grew up in a family of eight where a love of nature and gardening was understood and respected. In addition to growing plants, she has spent years cultivating her passion through research, writing, and teaching. She did this while raising two children and working full time.

Becky lives in a beautiful 100 year old home on land once owned by Squire Boone. She is lovingly trying to nurture the land to make it a home for birds, wildlife, plants, pets and family. Becky’s property has over 60 varieties of trees, a vineyard, berry patch, a potager garden, and much, much more.

Becky hopes that you will enjoy her personal approach to life in her garden and beyond.
 

 

Parsnip Planning
by Becky Kirts - posted 01/08/12

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      I  believe this blog may fall into the category of did the chicken come before the egg or vice versa. I had some left over parsnips from a roasted root vegetable dish I made at Christmas.  So I decided to try something new. I made "Parsnip Puree", inspired by a recipe I found on line by Tyler Florence, changed to my likings!

         It was so delicious and sweet, so now I am on a mission to add this wonderful veggie to my must plant this year list. I have not grown parsnips before so my blog on parsnips is for my knowledge as well as you alls!

         Parsnips need to be planted in the early spring, I love this as that is when I am so anxious to get going! I plan to dedicate an area to parsnip and interplant them with radishes.  The parsnips will not be ready to harvest until fall but the radishes I can enjoy earlier. The early and late veggies have been my favorites. They are treasures when the weather is cooler and other veggies are not prolific. For parsnips it is best to let them endure days of near frost temps as this exposure changes the starch in the parsnips to sugar resulting in their unique sweet taste.

         Parsnip seeds need to be fresh, they have a lower germination rate and should not be carried over year to year.  I plan to plant them in an area that I have composted and have a nice bed of shredded fall leaves over the area. They need to be in a well prepared area and this will be perfect. It is in my Potager Garden, so I will need to watch for swallowtail butterfly larva hanging out eating the leaves down. I will just pick them off and move them to the herb garden so they can munch on my fennel or parsley.

        It is so exciting to me to be planting a new veggie!  I will let you know how it goes. In the mean time, please buy some parsnips and enjoy the following recipe.

   Parsnip Puree

  1 pound parsnip, pealed and sliced

   Kosher salt and finely ground black pepper

  1 cup half and half ( the ordinal recipe called for heavy cream and milk)

  4 clove of garlic, peeled and gently smashed

  1 sprig of thyme

  1 stick unsalted butter

   Extra Virgin olive oil

 

Put the parsnips in a pot, season with salt and cover with the half and half. Add garlic and thyme them place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook until tender, the tip of a paring knife should easily go through without resistance--about 12 to 15 minutes.

Add the butter and a tad bit of EVO and use an immersion blender to puree the parsnips to achieve the texture of whipped cream. Season with salt and pepper and finish with a sprinkle of fresh parsley. 

Enjoy...this is delicious!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

        

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Salad Burnet
by Becky Kirts - posted 12/14/11

        I recently needed to bring an appetizer for an evening meeting. Lacking inspiration, I took a walk through my December garden and  noticed how tasty the Salad Burnet still looked. My thoughts and taste buds immediately turned to one of my favorite recipes, Salad Burnet dip.

        My love for this herb is not only for its appearance but its taste as well. The young tender leaves have a cucumber taste, without the burping problems. The crinkle cut leaves stay green well into the Winter and pop back up early in the Spring.  The plants form a mound of tenderness, especially when the young leaves are continually harvested.

       Salad Burnet does best when it receives at least 6 hours of sunshine. The blossoms, are best cut down so the energy is put back into making the leaves, but they do make a beautiful rose colored flavored vinegar. This vinegar used with a good olive oil makes a superb vinaigrette. If left to bloom Salad Burnet may reseed, which is not such bad thing.  My approach generally is that some are left to bloom for the vinegar, some blooms are left for reseeding and some are cut down so the flush of new young leaves continues.

       My hope is that you will add this wonderful herb to your garden. It definitely is one of my " Top Ten Herbs"

 Becky's Salad Burnet Dip

1PKG cream cheese

4TBS Burnet leaves, chopped or cut fine

2TBS Garlic chives chopped

Add to this a bit of chopped fresh lettuce, I have also added some chopped fresh radish

1TSP freshly ground salt and pepper

Blend with 1/4 cup dry white wine (I often use sour cream, mayo or Greek yogurt instead)

Let the flavors mix together by sitting in the refrigerator for a couple hours. From here the presentation possibilities are numerous. I have stuffed small cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, served on crackers or just as a dip for vegetables. This recipe is always a big hit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gifts from my December potager garden
by Becky Kirts - posted 12/04/11

With the nights now consistently dipping down into the 30’s, I journeyed out to the potager garden hoping to find some lingering vegetables. I was in luck, enough bits of kale to harvest and make into a fresh kale salad. Plus a bonus, some small but tasty globes of Brussels sprouts. These young tender bits of deliciousness I will roast in the oven for a great snack! Also one tiny rose bud yearning to come inside and open up!

I think that is what I love the most about my potager garden, vegetables, fruit, flowers and herbs. It is one stop shopping.

Recipe for roasted Brussels sprouts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

I prepare the Brussels sprouts by cutting off the brown ends and remove any of outer leaves that are brown. I then spread them out on the roasting pan and sprinkle liberally with about 3 tablespoons of good olive oil. I season them with some sea salt and some freshly ground pepper. Sometimes, I will use an Italian herb mix or Bragg Organic Sprinkle.

I roast about 40 minutes. Often times I will shred some fresh Parmesan cheese on top of the sprouts.

 

Recipe for Kale Salad

I take the leafy part of the kale off the stem. From here I add a little bit of the dressing making sure in gets into the kale leaves. You may add any ingredients that you have on hand to this salad. Sunflower seeds, fresh peppers, celery, cherry tomatoes are some good suggestions.

For the dressing I mix together 1 lemon juiced, 2 teaspoons agave nectar, ¼ cup virgin olive oil and some fresh cracked pepper. I use a whisk to slowly stream in the olive oil till it is the consistency I enjoy! 

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