Tag Archives: Vegetables

Waiting for Results, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Waiting for Results

A couple of years ago Tall & Handsome and I tried our hand for the first time at container gardening. I saw him enjoy a new hobby and it was good for me to do something I had loved for so long.

I had majored in horticulture at a local community college years ago. But, even before that I had enjoyed getting my hands dirty so to speak. I think it’s genetic because there seems to be a green thumb that has been passed down generation to generation on my Mom’s side of the family. I do have to give my Daddy’s side some credit, too, because I remember Papaw growing a garden.

My PaGee (Mom’s daddy) grew ornamentals…salvia and marigolds first come to mind and the biggest juiciest tomatoes this side of Eden. I remember Papaw (Daddy’s dad) grew a garden…potatoes, corn…that kind of thing. I remember him letting me pick cotton and peanuts. Now that was a big thing for a girl raised in the suburbs.

So, there just wasn’t a chance that somewhere down the line I would not grow something, right? It was bound to happen…

For years I did “garden”. I even had an honest to goodness vegetable garden a few times. But, I loved landscaping my homes. Finding and using obscure plants most people didn’t use, know about or would never think the use.

Unfortunately as my health started to decline my ability to garden decreased accordingly. Fortunately I have a guy that says, “Honey, you be the brains and I’ll be the muscle.” And, fortunately I can container garden! It’s kind of the best of both worlds. Container gardening is also a great way to garden if you have a limited amount of space.

This year we’re growing tomatoes, jalapenos, pablano peppers (they make wonderful Chile Rellanos), bell pepper, cilantro, cinnamon basil, sweet basil, lemon balm, mint, lavender, rosemary, Greek oregano and for ornamentals geraniums, Impatients and coreopsis. We also planted a Japanese maple. T & H planted some of these in the ground and I have a clematis waiting to go in the ground.

We started compost last year and we were excited to be able to use that in our plantings to enrich to soil. He planted some of our plants in the ground but the majority are in pots.

So, now we wait for results…yummy tomatoes and luscious peppers. The good news is we can already go out and snip herbs when we need them. The mint is wonderful in baby English Peas and Mojitos if you are so inclined. The basil, well what isn’t it good in?

So, hurray for having your container gardens and eating fresh produce, too!

Our first Early Girl Tomato

Our first Early Girl Tomato

Roma and Husky Red

Husky Red Tomato (cherry tomato) and Roma Tomato

tomato blossoms

First Parker’s Whopper Tomato Blossoms

cilantro and oregano

Greek Oregano and Cilantro

Cinnamon basil so fragrant

Fragrant Cinnamon Basil


Hardy lemon balm

Hardy Lemon Balm – this is perennial and very fragrant. Lemon balm is in the mint family

my precious mint

My wonderful Mint. I have two patches of mint. The one in this pot and we’ve planted one in the ground hoping it returns next year much like the Lemon Balm does.


countdown to jalapeno

It won’t be long before we have our first Jalapenos

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Backyards, Container Gardening, DIY, Gardening, Herbs, Jalpenos, Peppers, Photography, Tall & Handsome, Tomatoes, Vegetables

Menu at The BamaSteelMagnolia’s(TM) Bistro – Mixed Vegetable Casserole

There’s a new recipe over at The BamaSteelMagnolia’s(TM) Bistro. Today I’m serving up Mixed Vegetable Casserole, another recipe from Momma. This is an easy little casserole that a perfect side dish for most meals. Enjoy!

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At The BamaSteelMagnolia’s(TM) Bistro – Corn & Lima Bean Salad, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Just in time for warmer weather, check out Corn & Lima Bean Salad over at The BamaSteelMagnolia’s(TM) Bistro. This is a tasty little dish that just right for a side dish or a lite lunch or dinner.

Enjoy! 🙂

© 2009 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Cooking, Corn, food, Healthy Food, Lima Beans, The BamaSteelMagnolia's(TM) Bistro, Vegetables

Bev Burch’s Beef and Broccoli, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Bev Burch’s Beef and Broccoli

Real Chinese-American Food

By Beverly Hicks Burch

1 pound lean beef sirloin tip, trimmed of fat

1 tablespoon soy sauce – may use low sodium

2 tablespoons dry sherry, divided – do not use cooking sherry because it is too high in sodium

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 cups broccoli florettes – may use fresh, blanched or thawed frozen broccoli

¾ cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 – 3 stalks green onions cut into 2 inch sections

1 slice ginger root, peeled and minced, about a quarter in size

1 teaspoon sesame seed oil

2 – 3 tablespoons oil

Slice beef across the grain in very thin slices. (It will be easier to slice if you place it in the freezer before slicing for about 1 hour.)

Place beef in a medium bowl. Mix together 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon dry sherry, 2 teaspoons sugar and 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Pour over beef and marinate about 15 – 20 minutes on the counter (longer if in the refrigerator).

Mix together chicken broth, 1 tablespoon sherry and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Set aside.

Heat oil in wok on high heat. When it begins to sizzle and smoke, add green onions and minced ginger root and stir fry until onions are slightly brown. Add beef and stir fry until meat looses its redness and is almost done.

Add broccoli and continue stir frying for 30 – 60 more seconds.

Next add chicken broth mixture. Cook and stir until the mixture is heated though and thickened. Stir in 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil. Adjust seasoning. Serve with rice or fried rice.


© 2008 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Beef, Chinese food, Cooking, food, Meat, recipes, Vegetables

Bev’s New Year’s Beans, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Bev’s New Year’s Beans

By Beverly Hicks Burch

Every year after Christmas I usually have a ham bone leftover. I like to leave a little meat on the bone so I can make a big ol’ pot of bean soup shortly after New Year’s. My favorite ham to use is one of the spiral-cut hams because they have that great seasoning that adds additional wonderful flavors to your dish. I’ve used the ones from big named brand chain stores and the one’s you can get from Sam’s. Both provide excellent results.

Since I’m not really superstitious I don’t have what most people consider a “traditional” New Year’s Day meal…that would be greens and black eye peas in some form or fashion. Nope, since marrying Tall and Handsome I’ve adopted a new tradition of having Posole and warm tortillas for New Year’s. That is in recognition of his Southwestern heritage where Posole is considered a dish worthy of the holiday. This year we topped our New Year’s meal off with flan…than wonderful custard dessert from Spanish speaking countries.

Also, since my dad had his bypass surgery in 2005 and has been on Coumadin, greens are a big no-no in his diet. He hates that, too because being a good East Tennessee mountain boy, the man loves his greens. So, bye-bye greens, just another reason to adapt a traditional menu…

We had a scare with Daddy the week after Thanksgiving when his Coumadin level reached dangerously high levels. The plus side was he got to eat salads and greens. Momma had thrown out all the cans of Glory Be greens she had in the pantry because she was concerned Daddy might eat them “accidentally”. When this happened I told her she needed to keep a can or two behind a glass case they could break open “In Case of Emergency”.

Daddy was confined to the house for a week or so…to the torture of eating greens and salads. He did have to be careful. If he even cut himself shaving he could have bled to death. Coumadin can do scary things. In about a week, he went back to the doctor, got his levels checked and they were back down where they should be. Good news/bad news…no more greens…

Anyway after New Years, I got out the ham bone from Christmas and made that pot of beans…or really a bean soup…or as T & H says, it’s more like a stew. Rachael Ray calls those types of dishes “stoups”. Maybe this is what I fix…who knows, but it’s a Bev original. T & H says he’s never had beans fixed this way and he finds them “right tasty”. I think his bowls of seconds vouch for that.

You’ll notice I use a can of stewed tomatoes in the recipe. That’s a different ingredient from a lot of bean recipes. The reason is twofold in using tomatoes. First, I just find it downright tasty and good. Second, several years ago a medical study was released showing that tomato based foods were a good source to maintain prostate health and help prevent prostate cancer. My dad had a bout with prostate cancer about two years after my last bout of lung cancer. So, ladies…and guys…there you are, an easy and tasty and healthy way to fight what could be a deadly disease…so eat those tomatoes and tomato products! Yes, you now have an excuse to eat pizza…in moderation of course and with “healthy” toppings…am I a party pooper are what?

I usually serve with cornbread with this, but hot French bread/garlic bread would be just as good. And, this is a very good dish for cold days.


© 2008 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

Bev’s New Year’s Beans

By Beverly Hicks Burch

1 1 – pound bag beans of your liking (I like to use a 15 bean mix but have used pintos and other types)

1 ham bone with meat, trimmed of excess fat

8 – 10 cups water

Chicken broth

4 cubes chicken bouillon

1 onion, chopped

2 – 4 cloves minced garlic, to your taste (I use about 4)

½ teaspoon pepper

1 small bag baby carrots

2 – 4 potatoes

1 14 – 15 oz. can stewed tomatoes, any flavor to your taste (I used DelMonte basil, oregano and garlic this last time)

1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

Wash and pick over beans.

Put beans in a large stock pot and cover with 8 – 10 cups of water. Beans should be covered with 1 – 2 inches of water. Place on stove eye and bring to a rapid boil. Boil for 1 – 2 minutes then remove from heat and soak for at least 1 hour.

Next, to prepare to cook the beans, drain beans and pour off the water the beans soaked in. (Yes, this will cut down on the unpleasant side effects of beans!) Add beans back to stock pot and add the ham bone. Next, add enough liquid to equal 8 – 10 cups. I use all chicken broth or a combination of water and chicken broth.

Add the 4 cubes of chicken bouillon and begin to cook the beans over medium high heat until it almost comes to a full boil. In the meantime chop onion and mince garlic and add them to the beans and ham. Add ½ teaspoon pepper. Turn heat down to low or medium low and allow to simmer.

Allow your beans and these ingredients to cook until the beans begin to get soft. Depending on the type of bean you use, the time will vary. It will be anywhere from 1 – 2 hours, but may be more. Test the beans to see if they are beginning to soften.

Next add carrots and let them begin to cook. They will take a little longer to cook than the potatoes. Be sure they are washed before adding them to the beans. Peel potatoes, cut into chunks, about 1 ½ in. cubes and add to beans. Add the can of stewed tomatoes and cook until vegetables are tender. Add salt.

*Note: I use a brand of beans that has a seasoning pack included with the beans. I add this pack after everything else is done. It gives a little extra flavor. If you can’t find this brand beans you can adjust you seasoning by adding some garlic powder and onion powder or any other seasoning of you choice…that’s the beauty of this recipe!


© 2008 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.


Filed under Beans, cancer, Cooking, Coumadin, Family, Fathers, food, Health, Holidays, New Year, Prostate Cancer, recipes, Seasonal, Soup, Southerners, Tall & Handsome, Tennessee, The Story Behind..., Vegetables

I Think I Found It…, by Beverly Hicks Burch

I Think I Found It…

By Beverly Hicks Burch

Remember a few days ago I shared a new recipe with you I was anxious to try? It was the New Mexico Spoon Bread. Of course the bread has chopped green chilies in it and in the lead up to the recipe, I shared a little of Tall and Handsome and my history with you. With a native New Mexican in the house, I’m always looking for new and diverse ways to enhance our green chili consumption…no, we are not mere mortals…we must ingest this treat like Turkish delight least we turn to desert stone…

Anyway…I was trying to determine what I would serve with this bread. At first, I thought about Posole, but, then after discussing it with T & H, we decided we liked the hot buttered flour tortillas with Posole too much. So, the search continued for the perfect dinner companion for the savory morsel of New Mexico Spoon Bread.

Well, I think I found it! Today I was going through some magazines in preparation for a move…deciding what to keep and what to throw out, when by mere kismet I came upon this recipe. I can’t wait for the weather to finally turn cool…to get that first good, cool, crisp edge of autumn in the air! Because when it does, I’m bringing out my stockpot and making a big pot of this and a pan of New Mexico Spoon Bread to go along with it.

Yee-haw cowboy! Come on cool weather! I can’t wait…

Hope yall enjoy, too…

© 2007 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under "New Mexico", Cooking, food, recipes, Tall & Handsome, The Story Behind..., Vegetables

Shiner Bock Beans

Shiner Bock Beans

Recipe from Everyday with Rachael Ray

2 cups dried pinto beans

1 onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1 jalapeno chili, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped

2 bay leaves

1 12 oz. bottle Shiner Bock beer or other amber colored ale

2 tablespoons chopped chipotle chilies in adobo sauce

2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar

1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro (I would probably use parsley or just a tad cilantro with mostly parsley since we don’t care for cilantro)

In a large pot cover beans with water to be covered 1 inch. Bring beans and water to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans. Return beans to the pot and add more water to cover beans with 1 inch of water. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeno, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the beer and simmer until the beans are tender and creamy, about 30 minutes. Discard bay leaves and stir in the chipotle chilies, vinegar and cilantro; season with salt and pepper.

Serves 8


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Hatched…It’s Not an Egg, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Hatched…It’s Not an Egg

By Beverly Hicks Burch

Well, it’s finally happened. You know that green chilies have becomes a really big thing when Southern Living, the Bible for all true GRITS (Girls Raised In The South) does a six page full color spread in their magazine with accompanying recipes. I on the other hand was ahead of this trend and knowledge when I married Tall and Handsome, a Native New Mexican, but, I must add…he is a New Mexican with very Southern roots. Yes, I had foreknowledge of the chili revolution.

Bev is going to let you in on a little secret here. T & H and I met in a rather unconventional way. Yes, we met online…*gasp*…there I said it. No, it wasn’t in a chat room or anything like that…it was playing an online game. My very Southern momma will be very chagrined to know I’ve told that, although she is quite fond of Tall and Handsome. Daddy was afraid I’d met an ax murderer. Now, he, too, is fond of T & H and thinks he is head and shoulders above the ex, the regrettable Gomez the Unremarkable.

I was very cautious and we courted long distance for almost a year before we met face to face. Then, he had to meet me on home territory which meant meeting my former-mechanical-engineer/project-manager-retired-turned-pastor-father, mom and son who was returning home from duty in the Middle East. You could tell Tall and Handsome was raised by a Southern momma…he came bearing gifts from the southwest for each member of my family. (My gift was a beautiful silver and turquoise Cross hand-crafted by local Native Americans.) No wonder he’s been called the Silverfox…

I can tell you this…if he is an ax murderer he is the most patient one in the history of mankind…he’s still waiting to make his move five years later…

Well, after his visit, he returned to New Mexico and I planned a trip out to visit him and see some sights in the southwest. He made plans and squired me around the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta on a VIP pass. We drove up to Santa Fe and actually got engaged there. And, I had some fantastic food…I learn about chilies…both red and green.

la-ristra-hot-air-balloon.jpgNew Mexicans don’t like chilies…they are passionate about chilies. Everywhere you go you can see chili ristras hanging…for sale in different sizes…for decorations, for use, and yes even a hot air balloon at the Fiesta, which I thought was rather bizarre looking and anywhere else would have been considered obscene. Those big blown up red chilies stacked on top of each other floating in the sky just looked…wrong…

red-green-chili-peppers.jpgEven though a chili is technically a fruit, it is the official vegetable of the state of New Mexico. They like `em green and they like `em red. If you can’t make your mind up which you want…no problem…ask for Christmas on the side and you get both.

There has been some competition between New Mexico and Texas over who is the chili state winner, but, I think New Mexico and New Mexicans pretty much win by default and the amount of Capsaicin per cc of blood. Let’s put it this way…if there was a way to measure chili intake like alcohol with a breathalyzer…well, most New Mexicans would stay three sheets in the wind on chilies.

This is not necessarily a bad thing though because unlike alcohol…chilies do have some health benefits. For example, one fresh chili pod has as much vitamin C as an orange, and a teaspoon of red chili powder has all the daily requirements of vitamin A. Capsaicin, the chemical in a chili that makes it hot is used in products to relieve the pain of arthritis and it’s used as an additive in bird feed to keep squirrels out…they really don’t like it, but the Capsaicin doesn’t affect the birds…other than that it will help the Cardinals turn really red.

They take the chili so seriously in New Mexico…as seriously as the South takes football…that there is the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University. The Institute does not have a football team…but, they do study Scoville units, or how hot the dang things are. They range from mild to “scorch you eyes out and melt you sinuses” to “blow out the back of your head”. T & H likes his somewhere in between the last two.

Like Georgia and their Vidalia onion, New Mexican swear there is only one sacred place to get the “right stuff” and that is in Hatch, NM. You can get the fresh or canned kind from there. When Tall and Handsome moved South from New Mexico for our nuptials, about 75% of his U-Haul was filled with Hatch canned goods. That was the only thing I had to sign a pre-nup on…just kidding honey…those puppies didn’t last long and the poor baby had to resort to buying other canned chopped green chilies that will remain nameless.

There is a big festival in Hatch every September during Labor Day weekend. During the fall in Hatch and in most of New Mexico you can buy a big burlap sack of chili peppers that weighs about 40 pounds and then have them roasted over an open flame in a big chicken wire barrel. It will cost you about $15. The scent permeates the air during the fall.

One year around September, not too long after T & H and I got married, we treated our neighbors in a sleepy little northwestern Alabama town to this exotic scent…for a very long time. Oddly, one day I found this HUGE brown box on our doorstep. It was emitting a very strong pungent scent. Since it wasn’t ticking, I went ahead and brought it inside, opened it up and…Viola mon amis…stuffed inside was a whole box of fresh green chili pods. Yep, one of T & H’s buddies had shipped him a box all the way from New Mexico.

Well, he couldn’t wait to get his hands on those puppies and roast them, but, he had a small problem. There wasn’t any chili roasting people with big ol’ chicken wire drums in Marion County, Alabama. Being the resourceful chap that he is, he decided to do them himself…you got it on the grill! Now mind you, this was in the days of pre-Weber grill. All we had at the time was a very small table top, camp size propane bottle powered grill. The surface top was about the size of a pin-head, but by Jove he roasted those chili peppers…and roasted those chili peppers and roasted those chili peppers. We finished just in time to put up the Christmas decorations…that is after removing the skins, placing them in plastic freezer bags and putting them in the freezer.

Now, I make chopped green chilies a staple in my pantry. Want to borrow some high quality chili powder? No problem. This is what happens when you marry a Tall and Handsome cowboy from New Mexico…with Southern roots and who grew up in the South…

As I was browsing my Southern Living I found this recipe. It had Tall and Handsome’s taste buds written all over it. I read it to him and his eyes lit up like a little boy at Christmas. We’re planning what meal we’ll have it with. Thought you folks might like to try it, too…

© 2007 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under "New Mexico", AKA Gomez the Unremarkable, Birds, Bread, Cooking, food, Gomez, Grilling, grits, Humor, recipes, Southerners, Tall & Handsome, The Story Behind..., Vegetables

Sugar Grilled Asparagus

Sugar Grilled Asparagus

This recipe was from one of the finalist of the Next Food Network Star show, Rory Schepisi.

1 bundle asparagus

¼ cup olive oil

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ orange, zested

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Remove tough ends of asparagus. Roll in oil and coat with sugar and salt. Place on grill and cook 10 – 15 minutes or until done, turning to make sure asparagus cooks evenly and doesn’t burn.

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Filed under Cooking, food, Grilling, recipes, Vegetables