Friday, April 30, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

'BREAD FEEDS THE BODY ... FLOWERS FEED ALSO THE SOUL' ~ BERGENIA (FRESH TOMATO & BASIL BRUSCHETTA)

"... BREAD FEEDS THE BODY INDEED, BUT THE FLOWERS FEED ALSO THE SOUL."
~ The Koran


Bergenia
(the perfect companion plant)
____________________

FRESH TOMATO & BASIL BRUSCHETTA
~ a delightful appetizer, perfect for all seasons

Bruschetta

Italian bread or french baguette
1 cup loosely packed chopped parsley
1/2 cup room temperature unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
freshly cracked pepper to taste
1/2 -3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Tomato Topping

3 1/2 cups chopped & seeded ripe plum tomatoes
3 cloves minced garlic
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
pinch of coarse salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Combine chopped tomatoes, garlic, basil, olive oil and salt & pepper. Let stand at room temperature.
  • Preheat oven to 400-degrees. Blend butter, parsley, salt & pepper. Spread on bread. Dip bread in grated Parmesan cheese to cover surface. Bake 4-5 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Slice bread in serving size pieces and top with tomato mixture.

Bergenia

(Grown for cabbage-like leathery foliage, this hardy low growing plant spreads by rhizomes and can be used as ground cover and edging along borders ... looks best in mass plantings. Perfect for a shady spot getting morning sun or in full sun.)

Monday, April 26, 2010

"THE PRIMROSE BANKS NOW FAIR!" ~ CILANTRO SCAMPI with CHEDDAR BISCUITS

"The primrose banks now fair!"
~ Robert Burns


Primrose
(Primula)




CILANTRO SCAMPI with CHEDDAR BISCUITS
~ Simply delightful weeknight supper adapted from (CuisineAtHome.com)
___________

For the scampi:

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. peeled and deveined large shrimp, dusted with flour
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro (or fresh parsley)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice and zest from limes
2 Tbsp. chopped chipotle chiles in adobo - these canned smoked jalapenos pack a punch so, if sensitive, use sparingly (or chopped jalapenos ... or chopped green chilies for a milder taste)
coarse salt to taste
4 lime wedges
sprigs of fresh cilantro (or parsley)

  • Heat oil in large pan over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and sauté 2 minutes. Stir in garlic; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Deglaze with wine, scraping up any bits from bottom of pan. Simmer until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Stir in butter until melted.
  • Combine cilantro, lime juice, zest, and chiles in large bowl. Add shrimp to cilantro mixture and toss to coat; season with salt. When ready to serve spoon over the biscuits.
  • Garnish each serving with a lime wedge and cilantro sprigs. (Serves 4)

CHEDDAR BISCUITS

2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
6 Tbsp. (cold, cubed) unsalted butter
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar
1 cup buttermilk
1 beaten egg

  • Preheat oven to 450º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or coat lightly with nonstick spray.
  • Mix dry ingredients together for the biscuits.
  • Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the size of peas; stir in cheese.
  • Combine buttermilk and egg. Stir into flour mixture just until incorporated. Portion batter with an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup measure onto prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until tops begin to brown. While biscuits bake, prepare scampi.



Wednesday, April 21, 2010

'WICKY-WACKY' WEDNESDAY ~ 'TULIP MANIA' / TULIP TUNA

"Not one of flora's brilliant race
A form more perfect can display;
Art could not feign more simple grace
Nor nature take a line away."

From "On Planting a Tulip-Root"
James Montgomery 1771-1854













TULIP TUNA
~ from Edible Flowers (Cathy Wilkinson Barash)
______________

12 brightly colored 'pesticide free' tulips (reds, yellows, oranges or multicolored are preferable)
2 drained cans albacore tuna packed in water
4 chopped stalks of celery
1 tsp. curry powder
1/3 cup mayonnaise
lettuce

  • Remove petals from 8 of the tulips, cutting off 1/4 inch where petal was attached (this can be bitter).
  • Julienne petals. In a large bowl, mix tuna, celery, curry and mayonnaise. Add julienned petals and gently toss.
  • Cut off stems and remove the pistils and stamens from the 4 preserved tulips. Lay each tulip on a bed of lettuce. Gently spoon tuna mixture into the tulips. (This is also good with your favorite chopped chicken salad recipe.)

NOTE: Though 'pecticide-free' tulip petals are edible (never eat the bulb), some people have allergic reactions, which vary from species to species, producing a rash or numbness. Unless highly allergic, a few petals should be harmless. Stuffed tulips make a beautiful presentation. Do not eat flowers from the side of the road, florists or garden centers.




April garden tulips

Sunday, April 18, 2010

SPRING PANSY PARADE ~ (SUNDAY BRUNCH) WILTED SPINACH & GRUYERE FRITTATA / ORANGE-ALMOND SCONES

Dainty pansy whose soft painted face
Tickles my garden with whimsical grace.







WILTED SPINACH and GRUYERE FRITTATA

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 (10-oz.) package baby spinach leaves
1 bunch chopped green onions
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tsp. sweet Hungarian paprika
10 organic eggs
1/2 cup sour cream or half & half
1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
dried parsley flakes for garnish
  • Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Saute green onions in 1 Tbspbutter. Gradually add spinach until wilted. Drain well and set aside.
  • Melt 3 Tbsp. butter. Whisk eggs, sour cream, and salt & pepper. Fold in 1 cup of cheese, spinach mixture and melted butter. Spread in greased quiche pan. Sprinkle with additional 1/2 cup cheese. Garnish with parsley
  • Bake 45-55 minutes or until eggs are set. (Serves 4-6)








ORANGE-ALMOND SCONES
~ delicious warm or cold
_____________
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 extra-large organic egg
1/4 tsp. almond extract
3 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. soda
1/4 tsp. salt
8 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut up
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped blanched almonds
1 Tbsp. freshly grated orange peel
  • Grate peel before juicing the orange. Blend juice & buttermilk. Add egg and extract. Beat smooth with a fork.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles fine granules. Add sugar, almonds, and orange peel. Mix together evenly. Add egg mixture and stir with a fork until soft dough forms.
  • Drop by tablespoons on greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake at 375-degrees about 20-25 minutes or until medium brown. (8-12 scones, depending on size)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

'AND SPRING AROSE ON THE GARDEN FAIR' ~ MEDITERRANEAN TORTA / CHOPPED GREEK SALAD

"And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest."

~Percy Bysshe Shelley
"The Sensitive Plant"


Siberian Squill
(Scilla siberica)

Yoshino Cherry, Forsythia, Lungwart
____________


MEDITERRANEAN TORTA
~ Simple layered loaf of mouth-watering goodness
______
1 large round bakery loaf of sour dough, boule, or peasant bread
2 large sliced roasted red peppers*
2 large sliced roasted yellow peppers*
(short cut ~ 16 oz. jar fire roasted yellow & red peppers)
8 oz. sliced provolone cheese
15 sliced in half sun-dried tomatoes
8 oz. sliced mozzarella cheese
14 oz. jar drained and halved artichoke hearts
1/4 cup pesto (homemade or quality store bought)
  • Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Slice off 1/4 from top of bread. Hollow out leaving 1/2-inch shell. (Use inside for breadcrumbs. Toast and freeze for later use.)
  • Layer ingredients inside shell in the following order: roasted peppers, 4-oz. provolone cheese, sun-dried tomatoes,mozzarella cheese, artichoke hearts, pesto, and remaining 4 oz. provolone cheese.
  • Wrap in foil and bake for 30-40 minutes, until cheeses are melted. Uncover and slice into wedges. (6-8 servings)

Note: Roasted peppers. Broil on baking sheet until skin is charred, turning as each side blackens. Remove and place in paper or plastic bag for 10 minutes. Remove, rinse and slip off skins. Core, seed and slice.




View from Upstairs Window

Shadblow Serviceberry
(Amelanchier canadensis)
__________________

CHOPPED GREEK SALAD
~ Simple salad coated with a simple dressing of olive oil and lemon
_______________

1 chopped yellow pepper
1 chopped red pepper
1 chopped orange pepper
1 chopped and seeded English cucumber
1 cup chopped red onion
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
4 seed and chopped Roma tomatoes
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped oregano (2 tsp. dried)
pinch of sea salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice & zest
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups shredded red leaf lettuce
3 cups shredded romaine
1 cup crumbled feta cheese

  • Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice & zest.
  • Toss chopped peppers, cucumber, onion, garlic, tomatoes, olives, parsley, oregano, salt & pepper in large bowl with olive oil dressing. Cover and refrigerate at least an hour to allow flavors to mellow.
  • Combine both red leaf and the romaine lettuce. Divide among 8 individual chilled salad plates. Spoon vegetables over top. Sprinkle with feta and additional cracked pepper. (8 servings)


April Blues
Siberian Squill (Scilla siberica)
Lungwart (Pulmonaria)
Virginia Bluebell (Mertensia virginica)


Hyacinth, Tulip Tarda, trillium, tulips, pansy, lungwart, blooming pachysandra, forsythia, Siberian Squill, primrose
________

Click on all for enlarged photos :)