The Merry Month of May by Dotti Hydue

WELCOME to the Levy County Kitchen. It is blueberry season and I am rolling in those round, blue beauties. I have been picking enough every other day from my six bushes to top my morning cereal, bake muffins, and freeze for later. These tasty berries are full of nutrients so check your local U-pick farms, produce stands, and farmers markets and get your share before their season ends.

A few minutes in the garden yields a bounty of berries for my breakfast cereal.

A few minutes in the garden yields a bounty of berries for my breakfast cereal.

May is National Barbecue Month, National Hamburger Month, National Salad Month, and National Blood Pressure Month. So barbecue some burgers and serve them alongside a salad. (Lettuce and tomato on the burger does not count as a salad.) Remember to relax and enjoy yourself, it will help lower your blood pressure. A friend holds an annual burger festival with bragging rights going to whoever makes the best burger, the craziest burger, and the most inventive burger. So break out of your comfort zone and rally your family and friends for a burger cook-off sometime this month. You might just create a new family tradition.

May and June are also prime months for weddings, graduations, and special occasions such as Mother’s Day. When entertaining family and friends, be sure and take advantage of fresh Florida produce and seafood when planning meals.

The following recipe for crepe-like pancakes is very versatile because you can use a variety of fillings depending on whether you want to serve them for breakfast/brunch, lunch or dinner. When I was a school kid, my mom used to make them for lunch. She would serve them spread with jam or jelly, rolled, and drizzled with syrup. Accompany breakfast or brunch pancakes with bacon, ham or sausage if you like. Serve the savory pancakes with a side salad. See my column, “Hug A Mother Today” from May 2013, for a delicious fruit sauce recipe. Consult your favorite cookbook or online resource for a basic cream sauce recipe.

 

Thin pancakes with blueberry sauce make an ideal breakfast or brunch treat.

Thin pancakes with blueberry sauce make an ideal breakfast or brunch treat.

Thin Pancakes

Makes about 6 pancakes

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons light cooking oil
  • Butter for skillet

Beat together the milk, egg, flour, salt and oil until well mixed. Batter will be quite thin. Heat an 8- or 9-inch skillet over medium heat. Lightly coat with butter. Pour 3 to 4 tablespoons batter into skillet (depending on size of skillet), quickly tilting and rotating the pan to spread the batter evenly to the edges. Cook a few minutes until bottom is lightly browned. Flip and briefly cook the other side. Turn out onto a plate and fill as indicated below. Eat right away or keep warm until all pancakes are cooked.

DMS-ll-ad

 

Fruit Filling

  • 1 cup sour cream or plain or flavored yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
  • Fresh berries (blueberries, blackberries) or sliced fruit (strawberries, bananas, peaches, etc.)
  • Fruit sauce, powdered sugar or syrup

Mix sour cream and honey. Spread about 2 tablespoons along 1 side of each pancake, top with a little fruit, roll up and top with fruit sauce, powdered sugar or syrup.

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Seafood Filling

  • 1 cup cooked chopped seafood
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • Cream sauce

Mix seafood with onions. Spread about 2 tablespoons along 1 side of each pancake, moisten with cream sauce, roll up and top with a little more sauce.

 

Gainesville Video ProductionSpinach Filling

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup cooked spinach, drained and chopped
  • 1/4 cup sautéed mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • Cream sauce

Mix all ingredients except cream sauce together. Spread about 2 tablespoons along 1 side of each pancake, moisten with cream sauce, roll up and top with a little more sauce.

 

Damage caused by root-knot nematodes distorted these beet roots causing the beets to be malnourished.

Damage caused by root-knot nematodes distorted these beet roots causing the beets to be malnourished.

The local wildlife has been giving me fits lately. A flock of little tweety birds decided to frolic in the citrus bushes and managed to knock off most of the newly formed limes, greatly diminishing our potential harvest. Gray squirrels got into the strawberry patch (again), somehow figuring out how to get through the chicken wire fencing. They also decided the dozen “pups” or “tillers” (offshoots) that I had potted up from a relocated sago palm were theirs. The pups ranged in size from a small lemon to a grapefruit. The squirrels pilfered all eight of the small pups along with one of the larger ones. The three that were left showed signs of having been gnawed on. Really? They eat them? I am hoping the squirrels buried them out in the yard instead. I look forward to seeing sago palms sprouting…any time now. Watching the young squirrels squirrel around in the yard is fun, but realizing they were eating the new shoots of the camellia bush is not. The poor camellia bush, struggling in this sandy soil, is now lopsided. I have spied fox squirrels up in the pear trees, happily munching on baby pears.

The garden has its share of critters too, although some are hard to spot. I finally pulled up the winter beets and noted their distorted roots—the work of root-knot nematodes. The roots were in such bad shape that the plants were not able to pull up enough nutrients from the soil to keep the beet leaves green.

What’s in your garden this season? Did you plant a new vegetable, flower, or herb? I planted a patch of Mississippi Pink-Eye Cowpeas. I have not grown those before but they look similar to a black-eyed pea. Hope they are just as tasty. Another bed is lima beans. I love seeing those big seeds sprout; the seedlings look so sturdy and eager to grow. I left the front half of the garden fallow. I’ll work in some compost, leaves, and hay and let the soil rest until fall. That means I’ll have fewer vegetables to harvest this spring, but both the soil and I need a rest.

A Fordhook 242 lima bean begins its journey.

A Fordhook 242 lima bean begins its journey.

I hope you are all enjoying our wonderful weather. Get out and explore the Nature Coast, on land or on the waters. We have so many natural wonders to be thankful for. Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms, and until next time, the kitchen is closed.

 

Nature Coast Happenings:

Friday and Saturday, May 8 and 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Chief Theater, 25 E. Park Ave., Chiefland. Plant sale benefiting Suwannee Valley Players and the Chief Theater. More than 20 varieties of annuals are $1 for each 4-inch pot. Roses are priced at $5 each. Email robinsonchild@gmail.com to pre-order.

Saturday, May 9 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Chiefland Chamber’s Farmers Market at the Train Depot Park in Chiefland featuring fresh, seasonal, local food. Live music from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Saturday, May 9 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Heritage Park Market at Heritage Park, Williston (where the new clock tower is) features crafts, a farmers market, baked goods, and a horse tack trade. The proceeds benefit the Friends of Williston Horse Park fund for raising a roof over the horse arena.

 

May Dates to Remember:

May 10: Mother’s Day

May 16: Armed Forces Day

May 25: Memorial Day

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