The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas


March 8, 2014

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

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

Text Only
  • 7-26-simon-slaw.jpg Cooking with Simon: Stomp grapes and eat Texas food

    If you’re picking up the newspaper on Saturday, you still have a chance to come out to Sabor a Pasion and celebrate the grape harvest at the 2nd Annual Charity Grape Stomp.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • Two decades of storytelling

    For the past 20 years, I have covered everything under the sun while working as community editor at the Palestine Herald-Press. I have covered festivals, banquets, graduations, fires, wrecks, elections, giant vegetables, you name it, I probably wrote about it.

    July 26, 2014

  • At the Movies: 'Begin Again' — Fresh tale creates appeal

    Some people film big pictures.  Others do small pictures.  Writer-director John Carney makes small pictures. 

    July 26, 2014

  • IMG_1373.jpeg COOKING WITH SIMON: Summer produce brings recipe inspiration

    Chefs are always recreating their menus and finding new inspiration for recipes. People ask me how where my new ideas come from and what I do to get inspired. The answer – mowing the lawn – and, by the way, I have a lot of lawn, vineyard and fields to mow.

    July 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • Swiss Chard  & Peach Salad COOKING WITH SIMON: Garden vegetables ready to harvest

    Last month, I was invited to cook for a group of clients at a fishing lodge in Alaska. It was quite an experience – beautiful scenery, amazing salmon, halibut, and great accessibility to some of the best fishing in the world.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • watermelon COOKING WITH SIMON: Red, white and watermelon

    Happy 4th of July weekend! On every street corner the fruit of Texas is being sold from the back of old trucks and roadside produce stands.

    July 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • COLUMN: Musings about life and the pursuit of happiness

    Yesterday was July 4th, a time we celebrate independence and the truths that all men are created equal and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” to quote Mr. Jefferson.

    July 5, 2014

  • MOVIE REVIEW: 22 Jump Street

    I should have known better.  Just like “Legally Blonde” and “Dumb and Dumber,” a comedy based on a premise as opposed to one based on truly funny characters merged with a clever situation should never have a sequel.

    July 3, 2014

  • 6-28--SIMON-Lamb-Sliders.jpg Cooking with Simon: Celebrate July 4th with lamb burgers

    Being born in one country and raised in another can bring a bit of confusion to one’s life. And then to find yourself living in a third country as an adult, is one reason this kiwi is all messed up.

    June 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Editor's Notebook: Kids can create their own summer fun

    Things are so different today than when I was a kid. A recent conversation with my 9-year-old son reinforced my belief.

    June 28, 2014