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Five Steps for Safe Summer Grilling

Summer time is grill time! But before you get all ready for the big family get together this Memorial Day weekend – when is the last time you tuned your gas grill?  This week’s post comes to us from our Grill Guru, “Uncle Smokey.” 5 Steps to Tune Your Grill If you are like me, I don’t use the outdoor grill much in the winter, preferring to use the oven and help warm the house. Besides, by dinner preparation time in winter it’s often dark outside. But now – it’s […]

Honey Marinade for Barbecue and Off-Grid

“Uncle Smokey” here this week to share a honey marinade sauce I created and have been refining for barbecuing beef or chicken. I use it before cooking, as a marinade, and during cooking, to help infuse flavor. Thinner Cuts For Summer Grilling Since summer is mostly upon us in the Southwest, I want to mention that one good way to spend less time at the grill is to focus on thinner cuts of meat. They have less cooking time. For beef, flank steak or skirt steak are one option. If […]

Egg Salad for National Egg Month

May is National Egg Month – so let’s celebrate! You could make migas (here), but I am thinking of something I don’t have to cook – that is if I have hard boiled eggs on hand. Why celebrate National Egg Month in May and not March or April with Easter and Passover and their eggy traditions? Not sure. Maybe because May is when the chickens (and other domestic fowl) really start laying again. Even if you don’t have chickens, take advantage of the low egg prices this month. Make Eggs […]

Luscious Lysium – the Southwest Goji Berry

Lycium? Yep – that’s the name for goji berries. Did you know we have native goji berries in the Southwest? World Wide Plant Goji, goji berry, or wolfberry is the name applied to the fruit of two Asian plants, Lycium barbarum and Lycium chinense. The genus is found around the globe, from China to Chile, Southern USA to South Africa. There are roughly 100 species all told, mostly living in arid areas. Lycium is found throughout the Southwest. There are around three dozen species, depending on what part of the […]

Savor Oregano in Many Ways

Oregano is a wonderful herb, with many uses – culinary, medicinal, ornamental, and aesthetic.  And it grows well in the Southwest. Origins From the arid mountains of the eastern Mediterranean, including present day Greece and Turkey, oregano grows well here in the Southwest forming a lovely low mounding landscape plant with a little added water. It is planted outside the fence in my landscape and the javelina, rabbits and other critters all leave it alone. Harvest Oregano Like many herbs, the best time to harvest oregano is just before it […]

Palo Verde “Capers” – Easy and Tasty

Palo verde flowers are edible – but better yet, so are the flower buds. They are not so tasty straight off the tree, so it’s best to cure or pickle them first. Capers Technically speaking, capers are the preserved unopened flower buds of the caper bush (Capparis spinosa). You can grow this spiny Mediterranean native bush in our region, but why bother when we have our own Southwestern spiny plants to harvest flower buds from?! Palo Verde Buds There are two ways to cure/pickle your palo verde buds. One, you […]

Roasted Artichokes – for Fuller Flavor

Artichokes are about ready to harvest right now in Southwest gardens.  Rather than boil them and lose a lot of flavor – roasting them seals in an added layer of flavor! Roasted Artichokes serves 2 or 4 – depending 3 fresh artichokes 2 large fresh lemons 2 tablespoons olive oil fresh herbs chopped fine – fresh if possible, use half as much it they are dried. rosemary, thyme, oregano, and a bit of sage coarse or Himalayan sea salt ¼ teaspoon dried peppergrass seed or freshly-cracked black pepper Preheat oven […]