Thursday, March 18, 2010


"In a way, nobody sees a flower really, it is so small, we haven't time ~ and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time."

~ Georgia O'Keeffe

(Forsythia x intermedia 'Lynwood')

~ This simple French peasant meal is perfect for an informal dinner with friends or after a busy day in the garden. Round out the meal with crusty French bread and a complimentary salad of arugula, tomato and black olive salad dressed with balsamic vinaigrette. (clipped and adapted from Observer & Eccentric 3/3/2005)

2 1/2 lbs. lean beef stew meat, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. coarse salt
2-3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (more if needed)
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sliced yellow onions
4 cloves minced garlic
1 cup dry white wine
1 (14 1/2 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cup pitted green olives
additional thyme and rosemary sprigs for garnish

  • Preheat oven to 325º.
  • Combine flour and salt in resealable plastic bag. Add several pieces of meat to bag and shake, coating completely.
  • In large ovenproof casserole, heat oil. Sauté meat in batches over medium heat until browned on all sides, about 7-10 minutes. Set meat aside.
  • Add additional oil to pot if needed and sauté onions, stirring frequently, until nicely browned. Add garlic and sauté until soft.
  • Add wine and stir, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan. Add tomatoes, mustard, olives and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes or until sauce thickens. Add meat to casserole. Cover and place in oven. Cook until meat is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. (4-6 servings)
  • Note: Can also cook on top of stove or in a slow cooker for 5-8 hours.

Gardener's Note: With exposed naked framework, this is the perfect time to prune and shape forsythia. Place trimmed branches in a bucket of cold water and let rest for 24 hours. Cut and arrange, trimming leaves and buds below water line, in a suitable container. Bursting buds will appear within a few days to a week. (These were snipped last Friday.)

"Forsythia is pure joy. There is not an ounce, not a glimmer of sadness or even knowledge in forsythia. Pure, undiluted, untouched joy."
~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh


Unknown said...

"Pure, undiluted, untouched joy"

And THAT is why they are so at home here, at your blog. I love this place.

That stew sounds heavenly. Wouldn't it be nice, with the table set with a few of those lovely flowers... Ahhh... now I'm hungry. ;o)

BernieH said...

Beautiful photos ... it's such a cheery summery bloom!
Rather like the recipe too ... have to give that a go.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

I don't know what I like better your photos or your recipes!


F Cameron said...

Love the yellow blooms! That's a recipe that I could easily want to make.

F Cameron said...

to your comment on my blog -- Of course, you can visit anytime! LOL

Rick said...

Beautiful shots of the forsythia! I think ours are still 10-14 days away from blooming - will enjoy yours in the meantime.

joey said...

Thanks, Krista , how sweet. So ... now you know where to come when hunger pangs howl!

Hi Bernie! Thank you and welcome. Please don't leave hungry :)

You are a dear, Eileen, and thanks :)

Cameron, first thanks, and thank you again for your stunning/informative posts ... but ... can we talk! I'm obsessed with Cecil since we first met and you showed us his handsome photo. I am such a wimp and could not imagine gardening if Cecil came to visit. I'm still stunned that living here in Michigan, home to many fine snakes, that I have not met one while gardening. If so, as much as I love this passion, because of my fear, I would hang up my hat! So, I bared my soul ... Yes, I'm a wimp!

joey said...

At least here too, Rick. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Dear Joey, I really love eating these hearty casseroles - in fact I am all in favour of things which sit in the oven and look after themselves and then come out tasting delicious. As I write my Hungarian cook, T, is preparing something very similar with beer for the weekend.

The collages, as always, are perfect. This one just says 'Easter' to me.

I sent you the Lemon Drizzle receipt by separate email. I do hope that you received it.

imac said...

Beautiful flower and captured very well too. Mouthwatering stew from Stew.

joey said...

Hello, dear Edith, and thank you. I too prepare a rich stew, Beef Carbonnade, with bacon, caramelized onions, and dark beer. If interested, I've included a link to the recipe ~
How thoughtful to send your Lemon Drizzle recipe but, sorry to say, did not receive it :(

Thanks iMac ~ it was a delightful afternoon shooting them yesterday. Happy weekend :)

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

I very much admire Georgia O'Keeffe, as a painter and person. Love your forced forsythias. I took some terminal buds to a climbing hydrangea when we were pruning back in Feb. and have been forcing them, but they are leaf buds, not flowers. Oh, well, green is still good!

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Joey, how pretty. Did it take a long time for the branch to bloom? I've never tried it, well just a few times with pussy willows. I was thinking about taking a couple branches from my old apple tree and seeing if I could force some early blooms.

joey said...

Thanks, Marnie. So easy ... snipped last Friday and they've been blooming for several days. Do try your apple blossoms ... cherry work well too!

Green is indeed good, Monica! Let's enjoy the remainder of this beautiful week before the white snowflakes again fall :)

inadvertent farmer said...

There is not a happier color in the garden than yellow...and when it comes at the very beginning of the season it seems to be all the merrier! Kim

lindalou said...

The stew sound great, although I won't be doing the olives part.

Thanks for the instruction on forcing the forsythia. Love learning new stuff.

Hasn't our weather been magnificent?

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

I really may have to try planting Forsythia here. I don't see a lot of it in gardens here, but I have fond memories of it from my childhood in England. Your photos are just lovely, it's such a cheery yellow in spring.

joey said...

Hello, dear Kim. Those of us, 'impatient' gardeners, delight in 'forcing' spring. Forsythia's 'merry' face never lets us down!

Hugs and thanks, dear Lindlou ~ more than we could ever ask for! But the weekend looms ...

Forsythia shout/announce spring, Curbstone Valley Farm. Once they bloom, you know all is in order and a beautiful parade will follow.

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

What a beautiful post! Forsythia is such a joyous color and flower. I wish I could grow it. Your photography is outstanding.

Happy Spring ~ Happy Gardening


Naturegirl said...

I love forcing the forsythia branches as well my cherry blossom tree branches indoors! Just a bit of a heads up of what while be in a few weeks or so. We are getting a snow threat...NO I don't believe the weatherman!
Yes it is a good friend the flower!

joey said...

Thank you, Flower Lady, how kind. Forsythia is a delightful shrub that heralds spring and graces many gardens here in Michigan. Oh yes, Happy Spring ~ Happy Gardening :)

My Yoshino Cherry blossoms are next, Anna. it looks like the days got mixed up here too ... in the 60s yesterday and 40s today! Regardless, Spring has sprung!

A wildlife gardener said...

Hi, your forsythia mosaic...and thank you, once again, for the recipe :)

I wanted to share a baing recipe with you. It is so healthy and nutritious you could eat one of those instead of breakfast, if you were in a hurry :)

I made them in little muffin cases...made around 24 of them...

Banana bran muffins


115g/4¼ oz butter
100g/3½ oz brown sugar
3 bananas, mashed
115ml/4¼ fl oz milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 free-range eggs
175g/6¼ oz wholemeal flour
100g/3½ oz wheat bran
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
Handful chopped walnuts, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5 and grease a muffin tin or line with muffin cases.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add the bananas, milk, vanilla and eggs and mix well.
3. Combine the flour, bran, baking powder, baking soda and salt and blend into the banana mixture. Stir in as many walnuts as you desire and pour the mixture into the muffin tray or cases.
4. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the muffin comes out clean. Cool in the tray for five minutes then place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy :)

joey said...

You are a dear, Wildlife, and thank you for sharing this nutritious and yummy recipe. Sing Hallelujah ... Spring has arrived!