Monday, December 13, 2010


"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."
~Norman Vincent Peale

Poinsettia 'Winter Rose'
(Euphorbia pulcherrima)

December Garden

~ Classic holiday favorite from Southern Living (Dec 1991)


1 (17 1/4 oz.) package frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 (4-oz) container garlic and spice flavored Alouette cheese
(1/2 cup chives/onion flavored cream cheese may be substituted)
6 skinned and boned chicken breast halves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

1 beaten egg
1 Tablespoon water

flowering kale leaves for garnish

  • Unfold pastry sheets, and roll each sheet into a 14 x 12-in. rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Cut sheet into four 7 x 6-in. rectangles; cut second sheet into two 7 x 6 in. rectangles and one 12 x 6 in. rectangle. Set large rectangle aside. Shape each small rectangle into and oval by trimming off corners. Spread pastry ovals evenly with cheese.
  • Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and coarsely ground pepper. and place in center of each pastry oval. Lightly moisten pastry edges with water. Fold ends over chicken; fold sides over and press to seal. Place bundle, seam side down, on lightly greased baking sheet.
  • Cut remaining large pastry rectangle into 12 x 1/4-in. strips. Braid 2 strips together and place crosswise over chicken bundles, trimming and reserving excess braid; braid 2 additional strips, and place lengthwise over bundle, trimming and tucking ends under. Repeat procedure with remaining strips. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 hours, if desired.
  • Combine egg and 1 Tbsp water; brush over pastry bundles. Bake at 400ยบ on lover oven rack 25 minutes or until golden brown. Garnish with flowering kale. ( 6 servings) Delicious served with roasted vegetables.


~ Sure to become an autumn favorite from old (Nov 2003) Bon Appetit.


1 lb. medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, then crosswise

1 lb. medium parsnips, peeled, halved lengthwise, then crosswise

1 lb. turnips, peeled, halved, cut into 1-inch thick wedges

1 1/4 lbs. brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved

6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided

coarse salt & freshly ground pepper

3/4 cup pecans

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 oz.)

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, divided

1 Tbsp finely grated lemon peel

1 clove minced garlic

  • Preheat oven to 425-degrees. Toss carrots, parsnips, turnips, and brussels sprouts in large brown with 3 Tbsp. oil. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle with salt & freshly ground pepper. Roast until vegetables are tender, tossing often, about 1 hour. Transfer vegetables to large platter; cool.
  • Using on/off turns, chop pecans in processor until coarsely ground. Transfer ground pecans to small bowl.; stir in grated cheese, parsley, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, lemon peel, garlic and 1 Tbsp. oil. Season gremolata to taste with salt.
  • Drizzle vegetables with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil and remaining 1 Tbsp. lemon juice. Sprinkle gremolata over vegetables just before serving. (8 servings)


Unknown said...

Beautiful! Hope you are enjoying the snow. We don't have any but it freezing and windy! Not nearly as fun as snow.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Joey, the most beautiful snow pictures, and I am getting to appreciate it's beauty.

The recipes are gems, just what I need for an upcoming dinner party.


Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Just beautiful, Joey. :)) I love the way you've captured all the gorgeous moods and colors of the season.

Rick said...

Beautiful collages of wintry scenes. Hard to imagine the garden in May now (but that's why we have lots of photos of that time, right ?).

Marysol said...

You know Joey, this time of year, I tend to purge any and all thoughts concerning 'snow.'
But I stop groaning the moment my eyeballs rest on your lovely wintry images.
Snow ain't so bad, after all.

Esther Montgomery said...

I've just noticed the Latin name for poinsettia at the top of your post. I wish I'd known it all my life.


Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

How festive it is looking here Joey - the wonderful reds make Christmas seem even closer.

I have been going beck through your posts (as I now have some time again to be on the computer) and your photography is sublime - I like what you do with some of your images.

Warm christmassy hugs

p3chandan said...

Lovely mosaics of winter garden and winter roses! Happy holidays1

Gail said...

I have to agree with Karen~Your photography is sublime. Your recipes are tempting and your spirit and mood are delightfully infectious! xxoogail

Garden Sense said...

You show winter in all it's glory! Great food to enjoy together completes the mood.

Cat said...

The roasted vegetables sound wonderful! I bet they make the house smell amazing and I'm looking forward to giving this one a try. Stunning photography as always! It's always a pleasure to visit your blog. Merry Christmas!

Nature Rambles said...

I like your quote and your pictures are stunning! This is a lovely poinsettia...I'm amazed at the cultivars available in your part of the world. Your December garden with the snow looks magical.Love your centre photo in the snow mosaic.

Your recipes sound most delicious!

Eliza said...

Beautiful photos! I love the way you set up your galleries, too. :)

joey said...

Hi, Michelle, and thank you. Yes, enjoying from inside! I hate this frigid weather. You well know how cold MI can get! Happy Holidays :)

Thanks Eileen. Enjoy 'the gems' :)

Thank you, sweet Kate. It's a colorful/festive time of year!

Indeed, Rick, and what a huge difference. I really should have gone outside to shoot but wimpy me, with this frigid windy weather, opted from inside.

Hello, sweet Marysol. I don't know about you but I hate this bitter frigid weather. How much snow did you get? I think I owe you a note :)

Well, now you do, Esther ... and like you I need an elastic home for all my indoor plants :)

Delighted to hear from you, dear Karen, and thank you kindly. It is a beautiful time of year ... from inside :) You are lucky if not trapped in the deep-freeze gripping a good portion of this country. Everyone is grumbling! Yes, Christmasy hugs to you too. (I have been meaning to pop over and visit your stunning artsy sites ... it's been too long!)

Welcome, p3chandan, and thank you. Warm regards.

Hello, Gail, and thank you, dear friend. You must be two people ... one couldn't be that sweet :)

Merry Christmas, WG, and thank you. Yes indeed, the roasted veggies smell awesome!

You are always so kind, dear Kanak. Thank you.

How kind, Eliza. Thank you for visiting.

Anonymous said...

Dearest Joey, I know that you always think that I make excuses for not being able to cook any of your delicious receipts......but there is a genuine reason why I just know that I cannot even begin on the mouthwatering chicken receipt of today. And, that reason is the pastry. Yes, of course I can buy it ready made but on the one [and only] occasion when I have experimented with shop bought pastry most of it ended up in my hair and the rest like cardboard and mainly on the floor.

However, I do love roasted vegetables which I have been known to do for myself!!

Diana LaMarre said...

there is nothing like snow to make the perfect Christmas scene.

That recipe sounds delicious!

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

Gorgeous collages Joey, and so festive! Why is it I'm always hungry after reading your posts? The Chicken sounds delicious!

joey said...

Dearest Edtih, I could care less if you ever cook one morsel ... enough to be my precious friend and even care :) Holiday hugs and warm wishes ... enjoy your holiday! I'm sure you will be filled with more wonderous tales when you return.

Thanks, Zoey! It truly has been (at least looking out the window), Michigan picture perfect. Happy Holidays :)

You are a dear, Clare, and thanks for being hungry ... a goal accomplished for me :) BTW ~ most touched by your last post and the true meaning of Christmas. I am blessed/honored to know such a fine friend. Merry Christmas!

Kala said...

Love the collages Joey - especially "December Garden" which is a beautiful wintry compilation.

Rose said...

The first snow is always so magical--your garden looks lovely all frosted with white, Joey. Your post is so festive; the first collage looks like a stained glass window. Reading your posts always makes me hungry:) The chicken alouette sounds delicious, and I'm sure it doesn't have many calories, right?:)

A wildlife gardener said...

Dear Joey...Thank you for visiting Our Little Corner Of Paradise this year:)

Just popped by during the run up to Christmas to wish you all the best, and happy gardening/cooking and baking in 2011…WG :)

joey said...

Thanks, dear Kala :)

Thank you, dear Rose. And right, no calories :)

A joy to hear from you, dear Wildlife. The beautiful choir is still singing in my head after a visit to your beguiling Barleycorn. Wishing you Christmas blessings and a happy, healthy New Year!

Jennifer@threedogsinagarden said...

The flower shots are lovely but I find that I am attracted to the images of snow. Maybe the novelty and beauty of a snowfall hasn't worn off yet.

joey said...

The first snowfall is Christmas magic, Jennifer! Happy Holidays :)

Kathryn/ said...

You are the Recipe Queen, no doubt about it. If I want something delicious it's one stop shopping at Village Voice! I love the addition of the extra veges in the roasting process, topped with those yummy pecans. I will definitely give this a try before the holidays are over. Thank you, Joey! Mwah! xoxo

Wendy said...

The chicken sounds pretty and delicious - all my favorite ingredients.

Your winter scenes collage is really lovely - and similar to what I see out the window now too!

D said...

There you go with all those wonderful photos and recipes!

Dear Joey, if I don't see you before Christmas ;)... many blessings to you and your family. It has been wonderful sharing in this year with you.

joey said...

Thank you all for your lovely thoughts. It might be awhile before I get around to see you. It has been a whirlwind week ... blessed today with a beautiful new grandbaby 'boy', our daughter is still in a guarded state with 4 major blood clots in her broken leg/ankle. Luckily, only 2 floors apart, we are running back/forth. Christmas Blessings for all!

Chloe m said...

Dear Joey,
Hope you have a Merry holiday.
I love anything roasted, vegetable wise and will have to go scouting out parsnips now to try this out.

Chad said...

Pretty winter and Christmas photos. It makes them even nicer knowing they were shot in your own yard.

Mary Anne said...

Merry Christmas Joey. I love your sight and enjoyed the "tour" of your yard after the first snowfall. Beautiful. I learned about you from Gatby's Gardens. She attended my Christmas Tree Tea.

I wish your daughter a quick recovery so she can enjoy her new baby boy. (and so you no longer have to worry) It is something we all, as mothers, claim the right to do.

I look forward to using your roasted vegetable recipe on Christmas Eve. Thank you and again a blessed Christmas to you all of your family.

joey said...

Thank you and Merry Christmas, Rosey!

Christmas Blessings, Chad. Thank you.

Welcome, Mary Anne, and thank you for the kind thoughts. Actually, the dear newborn is my oldest son's ... and praying daughter will be home for Christmas. So enjoyed visiting your lovely site. Merry Christmas!

Jan said...

Joey, your collages are magical and your first snowfall so gorgeous. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and your daughter is doing better. I haven't checked FB yet today but will check in later to see any updates. Take care;-)

joey said...

You are so kind, Jan, and thank you. It's been a whirlwind for sure. Have had a moment to update on FB. Throughout your many challenges, you are certainly an optimistic role model ... a gift in knowing you, dear creative friend. Happy New Year :)