Feeding the Soul 2

For Flower Mound Resident Kay Trotter, Gardening Doesn’t Just Feed Her Appetite

Each year, avid gardener Kay Trotter of Flower Mound grows more in her garden than her family can eat, so she gifts much of her harvest to friends and neighbors. Though others may reap the fruits (and vegetables) of her labor, Kay says her garden has given her so much more.

“For me, it’s therapeutic. It’s what feeds my soul,” she says.

Kay, who lives on 1 acre in the Saddle Oaks neighborhood, says she likes to make her garden beds whimsical and fun.

“The vegetable garden is more than just rows of vegetables; I like to be more creative,” she says, adding that she recently installed an antique headboard and footboard in her garden to train vines. “It turned out really cool.”

Unlike the popular nursery rhyme implies, Kay is anything but contrary when she is in her garden. She says digging in the dirt makes her happy.

“When you put your hands in the soil, it releases a chemical in your brain that fights depression,” she says.

Basil is one of Kay’s biggest crops. She often makes pints of pesto and freezes it and gifts it to neighbors. She also pickles jalapeños and dries and grinds cayenne peppers for friends.

How does her garden grow? “It’s all about the soil,” she says, “and I’ve worked really hard preparing my soil.”

Homemade Basil Pesto

Recipe courtesy of LittleSpiceJar.com

Ingredients

  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves, slightly packed
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, cashews or almonds
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional

Directions

1. Add the basil leaves, parmesan cheese, minced garlic, lemon zest, pine nuts, lemon juice and red pepper flakes to a blender or food processor. Blend continuously until the ingredients start to breakdown. If you prefer a more coarse pesto, use the pulse setting.

2. Stream in the olive oil and allow the ingredients to emulsify with the oil. Continue processing until the oil is combined with the basil and other ingredients. Taste and add additional garlic or parmesan if desired.

3. Store the pesto in a small container, where the pesto fits all the way to the top, and press to reduce air pockets. Homemade pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. You can also pour the pesto into ice cube trays and freeze. Transfer to a zip-close bag once frozen.

Perfect Pickled Jalapeño Peppers

Recipe courtesy of FrugalMomeh.com

Ingredients

  • 15-20 jalapeño peppers, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canning salt

Directions

1. Pack jalapeños into your jar(s) until they are level with the bottom of the neck of the jar.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine the garlic, vinegar, water, sugar and salt. Heat to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt.

3. Once dissolved, pour into jars leaving 1/2 inch space. (Always heat your jars in the oven first. About 400 F for about 20 minutes is best.) Seal firmly but not too tightly with two-piece metal canning lids. (Remember to boil snap lids for 5 minutes before use.)

4. Partly fill canner with water and bring almost to boil. Place jars on rack and pour in boiling water to cover jars by an inch. Cover and bring to boil for 10 minutes.

5. Remove and place jars on towel to cool before storing somewhere dark and cool. Once opened, keep refrigerated.