notes from maggie's farms
Always happy to get our hands in the dirt, this weekend we'll be spending the lion's share of daylight hours 'in the fields', actually doing that about which I'm always writing.
We have all manner of cold season greens in the garden, and we're putting in more, along with the cole crops, and extensive planting in the herb beds. (If you haven't already, time to get cracking getting those potatoes in, if you're gardening in Zone 8, and prepping your potato beds, or baskets, or tires, or what/wherever, appropriately in northerly zones.)
We always gather a little preseason inspiration by visits to the local nurseries, and this year, I managed to enthuse my fellow farmer into building me two, count 'em, two, of these 'herb houses' that we saw at The Natural Gardener, in Austin. We'll use these as our outdoor u-pick-'em salad bowls; our source for salads the year through.
Handling all of these beautiful greens always makes me hungry for one of my favorite comfort foods, Gumbo Z'herbes.
When Catholics were expected to abstain from eating meat during Lent, a meatless variety of gumbo, known as gumbo z'herbes (literally "gumbo with herbs"), was often served. This variety combined a large number of greens – typically including turnips, mustard greens, and spinach. The greens were cooked to mush and strained through a sieve to produce a thick green liquid. Preparation for this variety of gumbo was time-consuming, and as Lenten restrictions have relaxed, the dish has become less popular. It is very rarely served in restaurants. In modern times, ham or crabmeat is occasionally added to this type of gumbo.Gumbo z'herbes may have originated with the French, Germans, or West Africans. It has similarities to the French dish potage aux herbes ("soup with herbs"), as well as to the African callaloo. The meatless dish also bears striking resemblance to a dish often eaten in Germany on Maundy Thursday. German Catholics, obeying the Lenten rules, often served a stew made of seven different greens on this date. (courtesy of uk.askjeeves.com)
Today, enjoy advice from the experts, as well as their own recipes, as I head out to the garden.
5 Great Gumbos, Marcelle Bienvenue, Acadiana Profiles
Gumbo Z'herbes from Emeril Lagasse, Food Network
Granny Boutte's Green Gumbo, Cooking New Orlean's Style
Gumbo Pages, Gumbo Z'Herbes
Gumbo Z'herbes on Chow
And with any gumbo, first, you make a roux....
Have a wonderful weekend.
Title Image, Eugenia Uhl, Courtesy of Acadiana Profiles.