Cooking With Myra: Boursin cheese with fresh herbs
By Myra Starkey
April 15, 2014 at midnight
Updated April 14, 2014 at 11:15 p.m.
Last weekend, all of the Starkey clan traveled to a place called Hideout on the Horseshoe for a family wedding.
This place is a large group of rustic cabins that were built along the edge of the Guadalupe River just downstream from Canyon Lake.
Hideout on the Horseshoe is about 15 miles north of New Braunfels, so we were surrounded by rocky, cedar-studded hills. The celebration was the joining of Paul and Madeline as man and wife. Madeline is our niece, who grew up in Victoria and is the friend and first cousin to our three children. We have had the privilege of watching her grow from an infant to a teenager and now from a woman to a new bride.
After graduating from Baylor, Madeline worked for a while in Dallas and then got the irresistible urge to quit her job and move to Florence, Italy, for a year. What an adventure that was as she traveled around, did various odd jobs, ate interesting food and sampled great wines.
She met a charming young Englishman named Paul Field, and they fell in love. He was there on a teaching assignment in a very small village nearby. After a year of traveling back and forth to see one another, they decided to get married and live in Texas.
Paul's family and many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends came to the wedding from "across the pond," as they call the Atlantic Ocean. They were a cheerful bunch, happy to be in Texas and loving their time with the new extended family.
At first, they were a bit difficult for us to understand because of their charming accent but as the hours passed, we grew accustomed to their delightful speech. We engaged them in many conversations about their country and their impressions of ours. Many Englishmen have a preconceived idea of what Texas is like from watching TV shows such as "Dallas" or old western movies.
They probably just think we all speak with a Texas twang, wear blue jeans and boots, drive pickup trucks, eat barbecue and like to be out in the country. So I'm glad that we didn't disappoint them.
They arrived earlier in the week so that they could experience our great state. They went horseback riding on a ranch, visited the Alamo and learned the story of some true heroes, drank Shiner beer and danced the night away to some classic country tunes played by a live band from Austin.
They toasted the bride and groom and wept over the miles that they would be separated from Paul. As a mother, I understood how lonely it would be to be so far from one of my kids. Hopefully, as the weekend came to an end, they realized how much we would love and cherish Paul and how happy he will be with his new bride.
We went to Gruene on Saturday afternoon. This is an old, small town just outside of New Braunfels that is mainly famous for Gruene Hall and the Gristmill restaurant. It has become a tourist mecca where people go to shop and hang out.
The streets were decorated with large containers overflowing with colorful flowers and herbs. As we drove up and down the hills in the nearby countryside, we saw fields thick with bluebonnets, black-eyed Susans, Indian paintbrushes and white prickly poppies. It was quite a display of nature.
I was so excited to get back home to my garden. A longtime neighbor and friend, Charlotte, shares my garden plot. She had added tomato and zucchini plants this weekend. Small buds from the seeds I planted last week were pushing their way through the fertile earth.
We both work on the garden and then share the bounty. It seems much easier and more efficient to do this with a friend. If you have the room to plant, and your neighbor doesn't, then a co-op is a great way to go.
I decided to create a Boursin cheese spread, filled with herbs and decorated with edible flowers. As spring kicks into full gear with warmer days and lengthening hours of sunlight, I get in the mood to cook with fresh herbs and vegetables.
We are only about a month away from ripe tomatoes and ripe squash. Many herbs are already growing and available to use. Go dig in the dirt.
Myra Starkey lives in Victoria. Write her in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.