Coastal and Tropical South
Fresh Food Recipes
A great deal of emphasis is being placed on eating local food, and that is terrific. Fresh is best, and many of us favor vegetables and fruits picked just in time for local farmers' markets for just that reason. Fresh From the Farmer's Market (Quail Ridge Press, 2011, $24.95) gathers a host of mostly from-scratch recipes based around local harvests across the country. Affectionately known as the Cookbook Ladies, Gwen McKee and Barbara Moseley have added long-time assistant Terresa Ray as an author on this, the latest in their Recipe Hall of Fame cookbooks. If you are just learning that not all beans come in cans, or if you dearly love simple dishes that start with squash or lemons or spinach, this cookbook belongs in your kitchen. I'm a big fan of their Spinach Lasagna myself.
Favorite or New Plant
Chinese violet (Telosma cordata) has flowers with amazingly thick petals, reminiscent of their cousins, the milkweed plants so favored by monarch butterfly caterpillars. The vines are chunky, tropical, and muscular looking, the flowers borne like whimsical fists pumped into the air. Its fragrant yellow blooms appear for months, then its growth slows and it becomes a great indoor garden plant in a cool dry room where it is not hardy.