Listen to In the Garden With Ron Wilson LIVE ON Saturdays 6a-9a EST
I’m staring out the back door trying to think of a plant to feature this week, and all of a sudden things began to glow like a light bulb in my head. Actually it was the plant of the week, right there in front of me, screaming “Pick me, Pick me!”...screaming with it’s unbelievably golden yellow leaves espaliered right there on the fence in front of me. How could I have been so focused to not see the obvious? Our plant of the week is Hamamelis vernalis, or commonly known as the Vernal Witchhazel. And besides a little pruning to keep it espaliered on the fence, that’s all I do for this indestructible plant. A large native shrub (10-12’ high and wide) which can be limbed into a multi-stemmed small tree-like appearance, this puppy is unusual in that it actually flowers late winter and early spring, has nice larger green leaves during the season, and then they turn one of the most brilliant golden yellows you’ll ever see. You’ll find both vernalis and virginiana (flowers in late fall) species available, as well as intermedia cultivars...all of which are overlooked and way under used in the landscape.
TWO WAY WHITE CHOCOLATE BREAD PUDDING
Preheat oven to 375°. Coat a shallow or 2 quart casserole with nonstick spray. Place 5-6 cups of Italian, French or gluten free bread in casserole. Beat together custard ingredients: 4 eggs (room temperature), 2 teaspoons of vanilla, ½ cup of sugar, 2 cups of cream or milk. Pour over the bread. Sprinkle ½ cup of macadamia nuts and 8 oz. of white chocolate chips on top. Push with spoon to coat completely with custard. Let it sit about 15 minutes for bread to absorb custard. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until puffed and golden.
Oh this is so good, warm, room temperature, or chilled.
2 pounds pork tenderloin, or 2 one pound tenderloins
2-3 teaspoons minced garlic
Herbs de Provence (about 1 generous teaspoon for each 1 pound tenderloin)
Several parsley sprigs, minced (opt)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Trim tenderloins and set aside. Preheat oven to 425. Mix garlic, herbs and enough olive oil together to make a paste. Stir in parsley.
Rub this paste all over tenderloins, and if you have any left, make tiny slits in tenderloin and insert rest of paste in there. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes or until internal temperature reads 160. Don’t overcook.
HEARTY LENTIL & BARLEY SOUP WITH SUN DRIED TOMATO
1 cup brown lentils
1/4 cup red lentils
1/4 cup plain sun dried tomatoes, diced (measure after dicing)
2 tablespoons dried vegetable flakes from Knorr-Swiss vegetable soup & dip mix***
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup quick cooking barley flakes
** Place vegetable soup mix in a colander or sieve, shaking to allow the powdered bouillon/flavoring to be removed. You will get enough dried vegetables for 2 batches of soup (4 tablespoons in all).
Layer lentils, sun dried tomatoes, vegetable flakes, onion flakes, bouillon granules, oregano, garlic, cumin and red pepper flakes in a pint food storage jar with lid.
For gift tag: In large pot, place contents of jar, 8 cups chicken broth (if you’re short a bit of broth, add water to make 8 cups) and 1 can, 14.5 oz, stewed tomatoes with green pepper, celery and onions. Bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 40-50 minutes, or until lentils are tender. If necessary, add more broth or water, 1/2 cup at a time to reach desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with a generous helping of Parmesan cheese. Makes approx. 2 quarts and serves 8-10.
To make sausage lentil soup: add 8 oz. smoked sausage, cut into 1/2” slices, to soup at beginning of cooking time.
Try something different for the holidays this year. Decorate your home with the Christmas Rose (Helleborus
These beauties are hardy in zones 3 to 8 and perform great in shade. Plants may be available from your local garden center or check online. I plan to give it a try this winter.