Wednesday, September 30, 2009

a tale of two women, 5 brautwursts and a jar of sauerkraut!

we made a fast road trip to connecticut this past weekend, so missed our sunday shopping. no trader joes, no farmers market, no food. i scored a jar of bavarian sauerkraut at world market on monday, and some delicious brauts at harris teeters. i had everything else at home to make braised sauerkraut a la julia childs. well, i didn't braise it 4 to 5 hours, maybe 2, and i might have thrown in a little garlic, but close enough. with the brauts it was a delicious meal.we each had one sausage. next day we took, to school and the flower shop respectively, sausage and sauerkraut sandwiches on crispy rolls with mustard. yum. tuesday night i made a german minestrone, adding cabbage instead of greens ,because my local safeway didn't have any greens (how could this be), and the 1 remaining brautwurst. yum, again. but there was the matter of the leftover sauerkraut. german girl told me of a casserole her mother made with kraut, ground beef seasoned with salt,pepper, nutmeg and paprika, then covered with mashed potatoes and baked. so, off to whole foods to get ground beef, sauteed it as directed,maybe added a chopped onion and more garlic,cooked half a bag of bow tie pasta, mixed all together with remaining kraut mixture. didn't have any potatoes left after monday night choucroute and tuesday soup so i dragged julia back out again and made a bechamel sauce, flavored it with nutmeg and paprika to complement meat. spread bechamel on top baked in 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. oh, my god. i may never have a reason to make this again, but it was delish. and will be even yummier tomorrow for lunch.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

how does my garden grow? part 1

with gifts from friends and birds and the wind.with lots of sweat and hand watering,and the occasional attack of poison ivy. oh, and this summer's curse: gardeners elbow, tendonitis. i'm a bit of a fevered weeder. i'm looking at pictures of the back of the house. here's the fig tree, planted with much trepidation in may, 2,005. it's now about 15 feet and shades the back bedroom. here are the leyland cypress, 8ft. in 2002 ,now forming a living wall between us and the back alley. here's the maple,in it's younger days, grown by our friend, chuck, that came with a ruff of white perennial geraniums at it's base. it's grown and grown and now shades a grateful group of peonies, baptisia, monkshood and berginia. garden tour to be continued.

how does my our garden grow? part I

as i look through garden pictures taken from 2002 to 2009, i am amazed and grateful at how the garden has grown. i'm also mourning a few plants that disappeared for no good reason. but,oh those exciting garden moments when plants spring up in unexpected places, brought by birds, the winds or as tagalongs on gift plants from other's gardens. the fig tree, planted with great hope and a prayer in may, 2005 has grown to shade the back bedroom. the 8 ft. leyland cypress planted on the back berm in 2002, have, indeed, grown to form a living fence. a gift of a maple tree, from our garden mentors, geoff and chuck, came with a ruff of white perennial geraniums at it's base. it has grown into a beautiful shade tree, sheltering peonies, monkshood, bergenia, and a host of other perennials that want out( of the shade). me, i wish it was always sunny and september.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

they have a farm

in maryland. with barns and ponds and peacocks and pergolas and trees grown from seed. they are geoff and chuck, our garden mentors. they are generous with their time and plants and knowledge and eggs!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

how does she do it???

"she", being marie of "66squarefeet". i know she's a garden designer, i lived with a garden designer for 14 years, they're busy. they're very busy and come home hot, tired and dirty. so how does she manage to whip up these beautifully presented, beautifully photographed, delicious meals? here's what i managed to make on a monday night, my DAY OFF. a" what's in the fridge " frittata. red onion, green pepper and jalapeno from the garden, a little smoked ham and a shallot or two sauteed in olive oil and a touch of butter. then i added 8 (count 'em, yes 8 ) cholesterol be damned eggs whisked together with salt, pepper, about a cup of fresh parmesan cheese, and shredded basil. i poured the eggs over the veg/ham mixture , dotted top with feta, cooked gently over a low heat till bottom was set then popped in a 350 degree oven till cooked through, flipped over on plate, scattered more basil on top and served it with the possibly last cherokee purple tomato from our neighbor's garden,just splashed with delicious olive oil i received for my birthday and more basil. ok, there was a plate of liberally buttered toast too. sorry marie, you are my muse. must try harder!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

the calla lilies are in bloom

today seemed to be calla lily day at the shop. the cooler was full of tall and medium callas in red, rust, the classic open cut white, pinks and yellow. not to mention, all shades of roses, local hydrangea, and a variety of other dutch and farm grown flowers. we did calla arrangements for 2ft. cocktail tables, a taller one for a sign in table, and one in pink callas mixed with orange rosehips and bi color roses for an anniversary. i was going to take one home at the end of the day, but opted for a piece of bittersweet instead. too much of a good thing ?

Monday, September 21, 2009

saturday's bride is full of taste.

we love last saturday's bride. she wanted her bouquet to be reds and yellows and the bridesmaids to be all yellow. both bouquets composed of an assortment of roses, wildflowers, grasses and berries. of our choice. a perfect ciao to summer, hola to autumn.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

well, it's my birthday too, yeah!

usually on my birthday, i have a party, either brunch or dinner. i shop and cook and clean up the garden.i barely leave myself time to take a shower and get changed. but i love my friends and i love to wine and beer and dine them. this year was different. my partner, nele and her equally beautiful sister ,tini, threw me a party at tini's fabulous apartment. while the "small but charming" house is slightly shabby chic, tini's home is all space and limestone counters and big fur poufs. there were marines and freshly lipsticked lesbians, old friends with their new friends and life of the party gay boys, and of course, two dogs. what's a party without lab drool? kisses and hugs to the hostesses and to all who got dressed up (even if they bitched about it) and came to celebrate. and kisses and hugs to you who couldn't be there in body but were with us in spirit.and thanks for the time allotted to me to dress up!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

a soupcon of fall

it's a cool,cloudy and drizzly day. rushed home from the shop to make soup. accidentally took a nap,read the new york times home section,walked the dog, sauteed some bacon for the soup. fed the dog(who thought the bacon was for her). chopped onions and shallots, carrots and garlic, sauteed all, added crushed red peppers, salt and freshly ground pepper. found a chicken stock i had made from a chicken back, poured that in, added about 1/2 a pound of baby gold potatoes diced, brought to boil, turned to simmer. neighbors came by, smelled bacon, asked what was for dinner. one,opened the refrigerator and peered inside, as if he was at home. i love this 'hood. cut parsley from garden, sprinkled in soup added a dash of milk, topped with bits of bacon. ate.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

feeling lucky

though my birthday isn't until friday, because i know such wonderful people, i've already received phone calls, cards and presents. yesterday, in the mail, came a mylar envelope, in the mylar envelope was THE orange box, in THE orange box was a beautiful scarf. the scarf was hermes, the pattern is "flacons" the girlfriends are susan and margo. thank you both from the bottom of my heart. i am, one ,very lucky woman.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

i love september....counting the ways

september is bring your dog to work month. september is my birth month. september is when our flower shop, Company Flowers, fills up with masses of flowers, berries and grasses of incredible colors and textures. september is when the garden is full of contrasts; fading flowers and leaves, and unexpected blooms. september rocks.


Monday, September 14, 2009

tangled up in blue

i've just spent 2 hours weeding and cleaning up the vegetable beds. in the 2009 battle of food v.s. weeds, weeds won hands down. so did the new contender: blight! blight took on the tomatoes, the squash, the eggplant, and handily won the battle. the weary warriors are in the trash. left standing are a few bedraggled pepper plants, the basil, and the ever growing raspberry, now in fall flower and fruit. then, i wrestled with my nemesis, the chain link fence. our side, covered in autumn blooming clematis, carolina jasmine, a variety of red honeysuckle, gourds, pesky morning glories. their side covered in bindweed, porcelain berry, and various weeds that get caught up in the web. oh, what a tangled web we weave when our neighbors don't weed.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

sunday in the garden

we all worked in the garden today. nika the lab, chased bees, greeted the neighbors walking by, and

graciously accepted the milk bones brought by one of her many admirers.
pokey the cat, slept, stalked and checked out the strength of the catmint. it appeared to be potent.

we humans, weeded, cut down some perennials and weeded some more. i'm covered in bug spray, sunscreen and dirt. off to the shower. then some football. perfect sunday!

Friday, September 11, 2009

the end of the day. 9/11/09

here's a picture taken of the Pentagon from the hill in our neighborhood. the hill is part of the Air Force Memorial. as i write this, taps is playing.

a picture is worth 0 peaches

it's been a busy couple of days in the shop, so i've had no time for home or garden. it's september 11.2009 and i live about a half mile from the pentagon. i just drove by on the way home and was touched to see all the people visiting the memorial. on september 11,2002, i planted some cottage yarrow to memorialize the day, and yarrow being yarrow, is now all over the garden. anytime i had a blank space i dug a hunk up and planted it. now, every spring, i beg my friends to dig up a piece. as a result, many gardens in my area remember the day.

recently i have been wanting to take a pic of our 2nd year peach tree, but not being a great photographer, it didn't happen. however, i did get a picture of the annual bed that surrounds it( 1st pic). i love the henna coleus and the rubrum grasses. the self serving - i mean self seeding verbena bonariensis, and the mahogany potato vines(i forget the variety), almost make up for the fact that we had NO peaches this summer. We had about 30 peaches to start but as you will, see courtesy of our neighbor nelda, a picture is worth zero peaches:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


tho' it's only september 8th, summer seems almost over . everyone is back at work, or back to school, the sun sets so early, i can't procrastinate feeding the multitudes at home as i could in the summer. the dog is hungry, of course the dog is ALWAYS hungry, the cat hates us all but she'll come in the house to be fed, nele, aka german girl , is on her way home from school and will be starving by the time she hits the door at 8:00 or 8:30, but luckily, our roomate, he-man, is home from a 10 day trip and has brought piles of vegetables from friends and family in pennsylvania. so,ta da, ratatouille, or my bastardized version of it. though i saute all the vegetables separately to help them to keep their own flavor and shape, i do throw in some crushed red peppers, tonight i'll serve it with pasta and strew fresh basil all over the top. a little freshly grated parmesan, a simple green salad and i'm talking love. in a bowl.

Monday, September 7, 2009

food not ferns

all of my big plans for the garden this long weekend went to hell. it rained and both myself and my german girl came down with a virus. since we couldn't work outside, we cooked. after drooling, in a lab like fashion, over a leaping frog chicken dish i saw on the 66 Square Feet blog, i followed her trail to Last Night's Dinner and then to Gourmet. i decided to keep it simple and just removed the backbone from the bird, flattened it out and used the marinade from Gourmet magazine. it cooked in about 50 minutes in a 450' oven. throw in a simple butter lettuce salad with garden tomatoes and avocado, and some crunchy garlic bruschetta, it was unbelievably delicious. quite obviously, the manner in which i believe to feed a cold: well. thank you Marie. now we're off to walk the lab (who also loved her bits of the bird)

Friday, September 4, 2009

the walk of shame

shame on me. i know it's the end of august/early september, but the garden still needs to be watered AND weeded. and yet ... i've let it go.
from monday till tonight, friday. on the back berm, drooping hydrangeas, ferns in hiding, a large swath of fall blooming anenomes so wilted i can see the soaker hose i haven't used. But wait! there's the liarope though, you can't beat that: standing upright, beautiful purple blossoms, now that's a garden workhorse. also, the chokecherry tree, which is laden with berries tinted red, it's just beautiful. moving on ... what's eating the sedum?
as god is my witness i'll weed sunday. bumper crop of bindweed, clover everywhere and those damn fall blooming allium(which my partner enjoys to my horror), started blooming in july and have spread everywhere the clover isn't. i'll take a picture of the weed pile and post it ... tomorrow. here's a few pics of the garden in better days.