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Last year my peppers did awful.  This year, I have had a little bottom rot, but my poblano peppers are producing like a champ. So many  people confuse these for their hotter sibling peppers, but poblanos are usually a mild chile. But a word of caution…they have a wild side to them.  You may get a hot one…sort of random actually..from the same plant too. I think they are just a flavorful version of the bell pepper.  Their flavor is complex with a hint of smokiness.  They are perfect for chillies or fajitas.

My Poblano Peppers dangling in the breeze

They origins are from Mexico as you would have guessed.  They are often used in Mexican cuisine. It is a start ingredient on the famous mole sauce. When dried it is called an ancho chile.

The plant itself grows to be about 25 inches tall.  The pepper actually has quite a color transformation as it matures. It goes from a deep purple to a dark green, and if you wait long enough, a dark red.  I pick them at the dark green stage.  They like it drier than some of your other veggies so you should plant them together and water them differently than you tomatoes or squash.  And boy do they love the heat…it seems the hotter the better.  I have 3 plants this year and they are getting full.

I have the perfect recipe for these.  It is simple and delicious. It from Steven Raichlen’s BBQ USA.  You can cook it on the grill or in the oven…your choice. Sometimes I don’t make the whole recipe, you can half it and it comes out fine.

BBQ Bean & Cheese Chiles:

6 Poblano peppers

2 cans of low sodium pinto or black beans (you can also cook the dried ones too)

3 tablespoons of EVOO, plus 1 tablespoon for drizzling

1 med onion–fine chop (toss it is in the food processor and puree)

2 cloves of garlic

2 jalapeno peppers

1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped

1/4 chopped cilantro

1 teaspoon of ground cumin

1-3 teaspoons of your fav hot sauce (depending what heat level you want)

3 cups of pepper jack cheese (i have used cheddar in this as a sub)

salt and pepper to taste

Prep the veggies.  Heat skillet with oil and add onion, garlic, jalapenos, red pepper cilantro and cumin and good til golden brown (4 min). Stir in the beans, hot sauce and 2 cups of cheese. Taste and season. Then spoon mixture in poblanos to stuff. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

You can set up your grill to medium and put on indirect heat and throw in some moist hickory wood chips for added smoke) You can cover and cook 30 minutes.  You can sub the oven at 375 degrees and 30-40 mins, until cheese is bubbly.


You should grow poblano peppers….

Happy Gardening.



These beautiful Rudbeckia need regular deadheading--but they're well worth the trouble

If you want to get more from your flowers, grab the clippers, go out and DEADHEAD every few days.  Cutting off spent blossoms not only make plants look better–in many cases it will extend their blooming season…often all summer. 

But deadheading only works some of the time–

Sometimes flowering can’t be extended–especailly in our Southern heat.   The daylily season is fairly fixed.  The foxgloves and hollyhocks bloom and die.   And there’s no way to get more color from the winter annuals I’m so fond of once they’ve decided it’s just too darn hot.  I pull up them up and compost– But I always leave one or two plants  so they can GO TO SEED. 

It's a good thing to see this dying poppy going to seed in my garden--means more plants next year.

Going to seed is good is the garden–the only way to keep some of my very best plants–my unusual red poppies, my very deep blue larkspur–my cherry/plum tomatoes which are so plentiful,  tough and unique. 

I've grown this big, beautiful red poppy for decades--always from seed scattered in the garden

All of these plants are HEIRLOOMS.  Theyt have not been hybiridized  or improved by breeders and scientists.  These open-pollentated plants come true from seed. 

And heirlooms are back in fashion–big time.  $5.99 a pound for the heirloom tomatoes at Whole Foods.   And they sell. 

Just last week my friend and gardening buddy, Robert brought over a box of the best cucumbers I’ve every eaten–his Heirloom White Cucumbers from the mountians.  Delicious. 

Here (by request from my lunch guests, Kristen and Delaney)  is a link to the salad I made with these wonderful fresh, old-fashioned vegetables.     Note:  Instead of the peanuts, I added some Polli Spicy Peppers and Garlic, an Italian product that I buy at Capri Flavors and can’t live without.

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So last night, the garden helped save dinner. We were cooking a tri-tip roast and didn’t really have any ideas on seasoning and sides…the dinner decision delimnia.

But luckily, we had fresh cilantro and parsely to save the day–straight from my winter garden.  I whipped up a chimichurri dressing for our beef salads.  Too die for.  Usually chimichurri has the consistency of pesto, a thick sauce.  But I was able to thin it out with olive oil and rice vinegar to make a wicked salad dressing.

Chimichurri to die for!

What does chimichurri taste like?  Well, it is kind of sour, very garlicly and had the freshness that only herbs can provide. It is from Argentina, where they use it like we use A1 steak sauce.  I remember when I traveled to Buenos Aries to stay with a friend, it was always a staple at the dinner table…like our ketchup or ranch dressing. Yum…that takes me back to the best steak I have ever eaten and the best barbeque I have ever participated in called an asado.  It is where they cook every part of the cow in this huge open fire.  Even the seemingly icky parts were delicious.

Here is the recipe from Weber: Way to Grill:

4 large garlic cloves

1 1/4 cup of loosely packed fresh Italain parsley

1 1/4 cup of loosely packed cilantro

3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup of rice vinefar

1 teaspoon of kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper

To make the dressing version, I just reduced the amount of herbs, 1 cup of cilantro and 1/2 cup of parsely.

That is how dinner was saved by the garden.

So if  you are trying to spice up your dinners a little…try chimchurri sauce or dressing.  You will be pleasantly surprised.

Which reminds me, when you are thinking about what to plant in the garden.  Here is another reason to plant Italian parsely and cilantro.  A tip on the cilantro…you must plant it in the fall.  It needs a little cooler temperature to grow well.  I made that mistake the first year I tired growing cilantro.

Happy Gardening.


Hunkered down at the Blaisdell estates…too cold. Don’t get me wrong I love winter…in fact, I love that in NC you can experience all four seasons. It makes you appreciate each by comparison to the others.  But it doesn’t mean that I don’t treasure ‘lil reminders of seasons before…like homemade pesto from my summer basil.

Blaisdell Basil Summer '09

Ooh..look one of my garden friends…his name was “Blant Jr.” Gotta look REAL close to find him.

Anyway, I took my garden basil and made pesto and froze several jars.  They make great gifts…and great reminders of the freshness and beauty that summer brings with herbs and other edibles. Grill or bake chicken, cube and add in some pasta and you are livin’.

MKB Basil Pesto

Recipe is easy.  I used pistachios instead of pine nuts..they are cheaper and you can snack on them in the summer. And I use parmesean instead of percorino, just cause I have that on hand. Then just get some ball or kerr jars, fill and freeze.  I haven’t tackled canning yet, but freezing works!

What about you? Got any ‘lil tastes of a season you would like to share?

A long-time gardener and a passionate beginner share the dirt on their NC gardens-

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