Tuesday, November 17, 2015

In the Garden | November
Monthly guide for gardening tasks, forecasts, and more

NEW: This article has been updated to include additional to-do items for the fall garden, including Farmers' Almanac weather forecasts and moon phases, November 2015.

 Fallen leaves lying on the grass in the November sun bring more happiness than the daffodils--Cyril Connolly

Fertilize: Fertilize strawberry beds with a 3-1-2 ratio fertilizer. Keep soil moist to promote good plant vigor and berry production next spring.

Water:  Water everything well before a freeze, but avoid overwatering.

Transplant:  Divide and replant crowded perennials throughout the winter months. Transplant chives, garlic and multiplying onions. Now is the best time to move woody ornamentals. Prepare the new site before transplanting.

Prepare Soil:  Have landscape and garden soils tested now to determine soil balancing needs. Check winter mulch and replenish if needed. Stockpile leaves for mulch and composting throughout spring and summer.

Lawn Care:  Bring a sample of problem turf into your local Extension Office in a labeled plastic bag for analysis. A mulching mower makes raking leaves obsolete or use grass catcher as a mulch catcher. Use shredded leaves and grass clippings as a mulch or put into the compost bin.

Diseases/Pests to Look For:  Watch roots of removed annuals for nematodes (knots on the roots). Check houseplants for spider mites, scale and mealy bugs.

Prune:  After blooming, 
chrysanthemums should be cut back almost to the ground. Prune long, gangly shoots on shrubs. Remove dead and damaged wood from shrubs and trees.



9th-11th Start seedbeds. First two days are good days for transplanting and for planting carrots, beets, onions, turnips, Irish potatoes, and other root crops in the South. Last day is good for planting cabbage, celery, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, collards, and other leafy vegetables in southern Florida, Texas, and California. 12th-13th Poor planting days. 14th-16th Good days for planting peas, squash, corn, tomatoes, and other aboveground crops in southern Florida, Texas, and California. 17th-18th A good time to kill plant pests or do plowing. Poor for planting. 19th-20th Favorable days for planting aboveground crops where climate allows. 21st-22nd Seeds planted now will grow poorly and yield little. 23rd-24th Fine for planting beans, peppers, cucumbers, melons, and other aboveground crops where climate is suitable. Plant root crops where climate permits. 25th-26th Any seed planted now will tend to rot. 27th-28th Start seedbeds and flower gardens. Good days for transplanting. Best planting days for fall potatoes, turnips, onions, carrots, beets, and other root crops where climate is suitable. 29th-30th Grub out weeds, briars, and other plant pests.

8th-11th. Turning unsettled with gusty winds, heavy precipitation; some wet snow northern New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma. Unusually late hurricane threat for Gulf Coast. 12th-15th. Rain for Texas, points east, then clearing. Fair elsewhere. 16th-19th. Blustery, snow for Plains States. 20th-23rd. Fair, cold. 24th-27th. Unsettled for Thanksgiving holiday, with light snow Rockies, Plains. Fair, then rain for Texas. 28th-30th. Fair skies, then stormy.

Full Beaver Moon – November This was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. Another interpretation suggests that the name Full Beaver Moon comes from the fact that the beavers are now actively preparing for winter. It is sometimes also referred to as the Frosty Moon.
Forecasts for additional U.S. and Canada regions, can be found at the Farmers Almanac website.

Early—Mid Month: Carrot, Chard, Mustard, Turnip
All Month: Lettuce, Radish, Spinach

Borage, Burnet, Caraway, Catnip, Celeriac, Chamomile, Chervil, Chives, Comfrey, Coriander, Cumin, Dill,Fennel, Fenugreek, Lemon Balm, Mexican Mint Marigold, Mint, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Santolina, Winter Savory, Sorrel, Thyme, Yarrow

Fruit: Strawberries

Flower Plants
ajuga, alyssum, bluebonnet, butterfly weed, calendula, candytuft, carnation, cornflower, dianthus, daisy, euryops, forget-me-not, gazania, indian blanket, liatris, nasturtium, ornamental cabbage and kale, pansy, penstemon, petunia, phlox, obedient plant, snapdragon, stock

Flower Seeds
alyssum, bluebonnet, calendula, candytuft, cornflower, daisy, delphinium, hollyhock, larkspur, nasturtium, pansy, petunia, phlox, pinks, california poppy, scabiosa, snapdragon, sweet pea, sweet william, verbena, viola, wildflowers.

agapanthus, allium, alstroemeria, amarcrinum, amaryllis (in containers), anemone, ground orchid, calla, crinum, crocus, daffodil, freesia, spicer lily, ipheion, dutch iris, spuria iris, ixia, snowflake, lily, liriope, monkey grass, muscari, star of bethlehem, rain lily, society garlic, spraxis, aztec lily, watsonia.

How to get free seeds for your first garden, Mother Nature's Network
Garden Planner, The Old Farmer's Almanac
Growing Calendar by Zip Code, Burpee Seeds
Cooperative Extension Service Offices Country-wide
P. Allen Smith GARDEN HOME (Disclaimer: Mr. Smith is my father's cousin. I'd think he and his website was just as fabulous if he wasn't. Promise.)
Garden Planner, Online Trial Version
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, United States Department of Agriculture
17 Easy-to-start seeds for beginner gardeners, Mother Nature's Network

Tasks and planting guides courtesy of the Garden Guide for Austin & Vicinity, published by the Travis County Master Gardener Association, copyright 2000-2002, via Central Texas Gardener

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Seasonal Plate | What to Eat in November

NEW: This seasonal eating guide for the month of November has been updated to include links to information and recipes for each vegetable, fruit, nut, meat, poultry, and seafood listed. Need a little inspiration for that farmers' market haul? Just follow each link!

Eating in season maximizes nutrients, supports local farming communities, saves money, and even reduces one's carbon footprint, Find out what's in season right now, and follow links to recipes and additional information for each fruit, vegetable, and protein in markets in November. 

Vegetables in season for November

 Fruit and Nuts


duck + lamb + partridge + pheasant + quail + rabbit + venison


And a couple of great links, with maps, charts, and interactive resources, to keep yourself, and those you love, eating well:

·         Benefits of Eating Seasonally

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Chicken & Andouille Gumbo Class, Dinner, Brewery Tour
Maggie Perkins | Kitchen Underground | Hops & Grain

First you make a roux….. 

A little magic, a little science, a little art, gumbo is a Creole cook’s expression of affection; a one pot love affair for friends and family, alike.

There are as many types of gumbo as there are Thibodeaux in Louisiana, but the one you’ll find most often on a Cajun-country stove is Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo. Often considered a "beginners gumbo", it's the gumbo most cooks cut their culinary teeth on, however it's best undertaken with the assistance of a good recipe, and an understanding of ingredients and procedures.

Join me, in partnership with Kitchen Underground, this Monday, November 9, 2015, for an informative tour of local brewery Hops & Grain, followed by an instructional, interactive cooking class, breaking down the basic bones of this iconic dish, beginning with the mighty and indispensable ROUX. We'll talk gumbo history, differences in Creole and Cajun cuisine, other types of gumbo, and ratios, processes ,and proven combinations of ingredients that can be adopted for any type of meat or vegetable gumbo.

You’ll be as entertained as you are enlightened by hints, tips, family secrets, and raucous stories about life in Bayou Country while feasting on traditional Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo and rice, with a chunk of bread perfect for "sopping" every last drop. We'll finish this feast with the best dessert THAT side of the Mississippi—Bread Pudding and Hard Sauce with a Texas-brewed twist.

Come join us, cher, it’s going to be a BIG TIME. We're going to laissez les bon temps rouler!

The Hops & Grain tasting room, featuring award-winning craft beer for purchase will be open during class!

Gumbo Class, Dinner, and Brewery Tour
Tickets available here
Monday, November 9
6:00-8:00 pm

Class will be held at Hops & Grain Brewery. All class participants must be 21+.

Once you have mastered this classic, look for upcoming gumbo recipes on Notes from Maggie's Farm including Gumbo Z'herbes (Greens Gumbo) with Smoked Pork Necks, Fingerling Potato & Onion Gumbo with Ham Shanks, Fresh Pea and Tasso Gumbo, Vegetable Gumbo for Vegetarians and Vegans, Creole Seafood Gumbo, Wild Game Gumbo, Smoked Turkey Gumbo, Oyster and Mirliton Gumbo, Duck and Sausage Gumbo, and more.

It's Gumbo weather, y'all. Let's get down to delicious business.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Seasonal Plate
What to Eat in October

artichokes + arugula + asian vegetables + beans, green + beans, shelling + beets + bok choy + broccoli + broccoli rabe + brussels sprouts + burdock + cabbage + cactus pads (nopalitas) + carrots + cauliflower + celeriac + celery + chard + chicory + collard greens + corn + cress + cucumbers + eggplant + endive + fennel + garlic + gingerroot + herbs + horseradish + jicama + kale + lambsquarters + leeks + lettuce + mushrooms + mustard greens + nettles + okra + olives + onions + parsnips + peas + peppers, chile + pepper, sweet + potatoes + purslane + radish + rutabagas + salsify + scallions + shallots + spinach + sprouts + squash, summer + squash, winter + sunchokes + sweet potatoes + tomatillos + tomatoes + turnips

Fruit and Nuts
almonds + apples + chestnuts + cranberries + pears + pomegranate

duck + lamb + partridge + pheasant + rabbit + venison

clams + lobster + mussels + scallops

Favorite Fall Eats
Find favorite fall eats, including Farmers Market Favorites, at the links, below:

Pumpkin Pork Belly Mixed Bean Cassoulet
Supper Salads: Dressed for Success
Okra Fritters with Sweet Pepper Tomato Saute
Apple Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Pecan Streusel
Peanut Pumpkin Bisque

And a couple of great links, with maps, charts, and interactive resources, to keep yourself, and those you love, eating well:
Upcoming Events

Do you need a little inspiration to continue to eat seasonally at home? If you find yourself in Austin this weekend, or any weekend for that matter, check out the Texas Farmers' Markets calendar of events. The Season's Best series, with Market Chef Maggie Perkins (MOI!) runs twice a month at TFM Lakeline and TFM Mueller. This week, I'll be creating eats from the best the market, and the season, has to offer. Additional appearance dates for the year include November 7 and 21, December 5 and 19 at TFM Lakeline, and November 8 and 22, December 6 and 20 at TFM Mueller.

And as the evenings cool, and those first cold snaps arrive, be prepared to face the seasons ahead with your best GUMBO GAME. 

I'm delighted to be joining Kitchen Underground and Hops & Grain Brewery in Austin for Beer and Gumbo, a tour through the brewery and a gumbo-making class, culminating in a dinner of Chicken and Andouille Gumbo, and Bread Pudding with Hard Sauce (which takes a beer brewery twist!). Seating is limited and on a first-come basis so hop on that, y'all!

Class will take place Monday, November 2, and tickets can be purchased right here. C'est si bon, cher!

Last but not least, I am honored to have my recipes featured in local Georgetown View this month. Hard copies are available at newsstands around Georgetown, like the Visitor's Center and the Chamber of Commerce, however if you are not local, you can also see a version of the article online. I'll also share more about this neat experience in an upcoming blogpost. I'm happy to say I'll be featured in December with ideas for easy, yet elegant holiday entertaining, and again early next year, for Mardi Gras favorites. I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Bourbon Bramble
Icenhauer's, Austin

Well, we got taken to school.

Bourbon Booze School! A bourbon tasting and education session hosted at Icenhauer's, located in the historic Rainey Street District of Austin.

I knew so little about bourbon-- I wasn't even sure if bourbon was a whisky, or whisky a bourbon. I was bourbon-dumb, for certain, but bartender Stuart Thompson brought me, and my peers, up to speed this week, giving an intimate group of bloggers and industry folks the lowdown about the country's favorite liquor.

Did you know.......

  • Bourbon is a whiskey made with at least 51% corn, aged in never-used white oak barrels, the interior of which is charred before filling. It has zero flavor or color additives: just corn, water, wheat or rye, and malt, and must be between 80 and 160 proof. 
  • Although the lion's share of whisky is made in the state of Kentucky-- 95%, it can be produced in any of the United States to be called bourbon.
  • Bourbon barrels can be used to age the liquor only once-- used barrels are utilized in the aging of other liquors.
  • Bourbon is America’s only native spirit, as declared by Congress in 1964.

Thompson mixed 5 seasonal bourbon cocktails for us, using Bulleit brand bourbon, exclusively, frequently infused in-house with various herbs, fruits, spices, and nuts.

From left to right: The Bourbon Bramble, Pecan Bourbon Peach Smash, Apple Bourbon Sidecar, Rosemary Bourbon Punch, Maple Old Old Fashioned

Before #BourbonBoozeSchool, I can't say I was much of an informed bourbon drinker, but after learning more, tasting some premium liquor, and enjoying creative, lively cocktails, I'm on the bus! Why don't you try your hand at one?

The Bourbon Bramble
recipe courtesy of Stuart Thompson, Bartender,
Icenhauer's, Austin

1.5 oz Bulleit Bourbon
.5 oz St Germain Elderflower Liqueur
.5 oz Creme de Cassis (black currant liqueur)
1 oz fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients together in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into coupe glass. Enjoy!

Thank you for the invitation to #BourbonBoozeSchool, Icenhauer's, and the education and refreshment, bartender Stuart Thompson. Can't wait to be back!

Disclaimer: I was provided the opportunity to attend this event,
and enjoy cocktails, free of charge.

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