Life on Regal-Hill: Oct. 15, 2008

Now that we have had several frosts here at Regal-Hill, it is time to clean up the flowers and garden. As soon as we got the first damaging frost, I pulled or dug up the Dahlias and Gladiolus bulbs. Then I cut off the tops and prepared them to dry before storing them.
This morning I threw out a lot of flowers that had been bouquets in the house. They were bent, dried up or dropping seeds. Doubting I would find many fresh blossoms to cut when I went outside, but still having the courage to do so anyway, I went out to see what I could find. I found some blue cornflowers, four white and one red rosebud, besides several stems of white, lavender and pink candytufts. These were arranged into bouquets for the table, and each bathroom. I still had bouquets in the living room of glads and cosmos.
Flowers that I didn’t cut for bouquets but still looked nice after the frost were Alyssum, Phlox, Petunias and Lobelia and they weren’t even covered. However the Cosmos, Zinnias and Impatiens are done for this year so I better get busy and get them dug up and put on the weed pile.
In the garden the cucumber and squash vines, the nasturtiums and beans all need to be pulled up and thrown away. I plan to put a cover crop of rye on the garden to help nourish the soil and prevent soil erosion over the winter.
So you can see I have plenty to do before the weather gets any colder.
I usually think of onions as an ingredient to a recipe to simply add flavor. However onions can also be the main ingredient in a recipe. Try these recipes and see if you don’t agree they can be the star ingredient.

Garlic- Onion Appetizer Rounds
2 large sweet onions, chopped (about 4 cups)
2 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1/3 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1-4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
In a large skillet over medium-low heat, cook onions in butter until golden brown, stirring frequently. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat; cool to room temperature.
Unfold puff pastry. In a small bowl, whisk egg and water; brush over pastry. Spread onion mixture to within 1-half-inch of edges. Sprinkle with cheeses and basil; roll up jelly-roll style. Cut into 16 slices. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 425 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Serve warm.
Yield: 16 appetizers.
Country Woman April/May 2008

Vidalia Onion Bake
This is a great accompaniment to beef, pork or chicken.
6 large sweet onions, sliced (about 12 cups)
1/2 cup butter, cubed
2 cups crushed butter-flavored crackers
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded Romano cheese
In a large skillet, sauté onions in butter until tender and liquid has evaporated. Place half of the onions in a greased 2-qt. baking dish; sprinkle with half of the cracker crumbs and cheeses. Repeat layers.
Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
Yield: 8 servings.
Country Woman April/May 2008