The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

March 8, 2014

COOKING WITH SIMON: Planting seeds for the future and the plate

Palestine Herald-Press

— My workload just got a lot easier and more interesting. Why? Because soon I won’t have to shop for produce and I get to start creating some fun new dishes that incorporate all of the wonderful vegetables and herbs that will be growing in my garden.

I’ve built several 8 foot by 4 foot raised garden beds out of 1 inch by 10 inch cedar boards. They are each filled with a yard and a half of compost and anxiously waiting for seeds to be planted.

But after last week’s ice and cold I think we will be starting many seeds inside and not taking a chance on the weather.

If you’re interested in starting a vegetable garden, the Palestine Master Gardeners, who are part of the Anderson County AgriLife Extension Office, are a great source of information. You can call the office for horticulture and gardening advice at 903-723-3735.

Growing vegetables is really a lot easier than you expect it to be and so rewarding when you finally eat what you’ve grown. Plus, it tastes so much better than what you buy in the grocery store because it is fresh from the garden.

I have several vegetables and herbs in my garden plan, but the two things I am most excited about planting and sowing are New Zealand Apple Cucumbers and an Italian variety of eggplant (or, as I like to call them aubergines) called Prosperosa. These eggplants are round, lavender in color and about the size of a softball. They are also less bitter than large eggplants we typically find in the grocery store.

The New Zealand Apple Cucumbers I used to grow as a child and they look just like a green apple.  But amazingly, they taste just like a typical long, green cucumber.

You just can’t beat the taste of fresh vegetables and the ideas that come from shopping for whatever is fresh.

I am really looking forward to planning the menus and creating all types of new salads, sides and sauces.

In a few months you will start to hear more about the rebranding of the Sabor a Pasion restaurant as Restaurant Aubergine. It’s not just a new name, but a menu, atmosphere and décor inspired by local food, flair and innovative ingredients. We’ll celebrate food in art, flavor and experience.

I don’t have a recipe this week because the inspiration for the story still needs to be planted and grown.

But later this summer – just wait – the fruits of the garden labor will be inspiration for many new plates.


Simon Webster is the Executive Chef & Owner of Sabor Pasion Estate & Vineyard. A multi-event venue in Palestine, Texas. Born in England and raised in New Zealand he brings his globally inspired cuisine and lifestyle to guests of the Sabor a Pasion estate., 903-729-9500