Monday, November 30, 2009

pebble soup

rainy monday night. i wanted to make something simple for dinner, so i could devote a chunk of time to reading the new food and wine, last week's new yorker and of course, peruse some blogs. i decided on a tomato based soup with some onions, carrots, garlic and a cup of lentils, added chicken stock, salt, pepper, crushed red peppers and a bay leaf. foolproof? not so fast, the lentils must have been put in my cupboard before christ. it simmered and simmered, i blended some, added more chicken stock, put in slices of spicy italian chicken sausage. i made some delicious garlicky croutons to float on top. cooked a bit of pasta to add to bowl. and cooked and cooked. i'm still cooking. i'm still hungry. threw out rest of lentils. may they soften in hell. ps. it's tuesday night, the soup was ready to eat after 4 hours of cooking.. delicious with a teeny bite. i ate and felt a little happier. today at work my coworker, betty, made some sweet little trees in tea cups and a brandy snifter. they are made from, princess pine and two types of juniper. it's begining to smell a lot like christmas! now, i 'm very happy.

the best of the last

the friday after thanksgiving is one of my favorite food days. my coworkers and i bring leftovers to work . this year we sampled each others' food as we sat on the 12th floor of a huge law firm, overlooking the terrace that overlooked the washington monument, the old post office pavillion and a beautiful, constantly changing sky. their turkey is always saltier and spicier than mine, they had green beans and butternut squash. i had anne's brussel sprouts and nele's red cabbage. we ate and ate. then around 3:00, we had lattes and gwen's ( my constant reader) delicious cranberry bread. if she would send me the recipe ( for the 50th time) i will post it here. you want to make this. last night i finished up the turkey in a pot pie topped with biscuits. tini feels we should just serve this on thanksgiving, it was that good. i give thanks the turkey is gone.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

november, ha!

my garden, she laughs at november. she'll bloom when she wants to.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

sleep, soon

saturday night, home from work. feeling slightly greenish about those who have a 4 day holiday weekend. florists keep working. i think of thanksgiving as an unpaid workday. do other people's holiday dinners last till 12:45 am? rushed from dirty dishes at home to work on friday , compared cuts and burns on hands with workmates, then tore off with a crew of 5 to begin a two day decorating job at a BIG law firm. think i walked off my mashed potatoes yesterday. today, maybe a piece of apple pie. i'm going to post a few pics from dinner, then let the weekend eating commence!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


it's thanksgiving morning, quiet and foggy. as ever, only the cat and i are up. she's drinking rain water from the plants outside, i'm admiring the turkey quietly marinating , and digesting our traditional ,night before thanksgiving, dinner. wish german girl and the lab would wake up so we can start cooking.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

wednesday night and counting

home at last. flower arrangements finished, last minute stop at whole foods, now a bath and then the turkey! this is where we rinse off the brine, cut out the backbone and marinate the two halves. love cooking the bird this way, it cooks faster, the breast stays moist and the skin browns beautifully. here are a few photos of some centerpieces from today. some like 'em blue, some like 'em orange, some like a fusion of contemporary/ traditional (?!?) . me, i like them done!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


i'm new to the world of blogging, so i have a question. do florists blog over holidays? after 10 hours on my feet, concocting table arrangements to suit everyone's budgets, candles, linens, even wall papers i'm a little tired. but i do find that thinking through my day helps to process it. my eyes are blurred after looking at all the shades of fall in berries, leaves, gourds, acorns, artichokes, lady apples, roses, hydrangea, i can barely see to type. but, german girl is home early and preparing a dinner of stir fry shrimp with snow peas (or broccoli as the case may be). then, we'll make the simple but, OH so necessary brine for the turkey. i'm going in early tomorrow, so perhaps i can take a few pics of some of today's work, before it goes off in delivery vans. seemed to me, every time i lifted my head up from an arrangement today, i was looking at a work of art another designer was creating. i'm grateful for my job, and my co-designers talents and that my beautiful partner is such a good cook.

Monday, November 23, 2009

in house

this was not my plan. i was going to wake up, take the dogs for a walk and go to the gym. then, dash off to work ,on my day off, to get a head start on thanksgiving week. instead i woke up with a killer migraine, had to take two pills two hours apart to get it under control, beg a walk for the dog and a ride to the chiropractor from tini. now i'm home again, drinking coffee, staying dry and warm per doctor's instructions, well he said water, but there's water in coffee, right? luckily last night i made beef stock from some soup bones i got at the farmer's market.i'll finish the soup, make some more pomander balls, and admire an arrangement my coworker made on saturday. but first, a nap.

Friday, November 20, 2009


i'm home, feeling a little anxious. our roomate, he-man, had surgery today on the torn ligament in his right bicep. he's not home yet, so no news. his brother drove down from pittsburg today to take him to the hospital and give support. he also brought food. there is a large container of brownies to the left of the computer. i can't figure how to open it ( i'm no good with rubbermaid products) but tini, the other german girl, had two and pronounced them delicious. there is a larger container of his chicken soup in the refrigerator ,a huge bag of carrots and other containers of food i can't open or identify. but i highly approve and can't wait to meet the brother. any cook is a friend of mine. so while i wait, not patiently, i'll post photos of 2 beautiful wreath that came into the shop from california. the first is a mix of eucalyptus seeds and berries.the second, all blue privet berries. i love them both. i want them both. they are not too beautiful for me.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

turkey talk

the turkey talks have begun. the bird itself was ordered weeks ago from our local vendor at our farmer's market. this will be our 5th turkey from Smith Meadows Farm and each has been a grass fed, organic, sustainable delight. the difference every year is the style of cooking. some years we have my partner's family recipe. the bird is stuffed with a mixture of raisins traditionally soaked in rum, mixed with sliced almonds, fresh orange juice, paprika ,salt and pepper. since i don't drink, we soak our raisins in apple cider. this is served with bowls of braised red cabbage, piles of rich mashed potatoes and my friend anne's brussel sprouts with bacon and raisins in a sweet sour sauce. OMG. some years we cook a bolivian turkey, a recipe from my work hermanas. you brine the turkey tuesday night before bed. the next night, wednesday, after making one million centerpieces, you rinse off the brine, cut the turkey in half, and marinate it overnight in a mixture of olive oil, parsley, cilantro if you like, finely minced garlic, shallots, hot and sweet red peppers, salt, pepper, fresh lemon juice. maybe a little cumin also. OMG, again. so we're talkin. aside, i have searched through every folder for photos of said turkeys, to no avail. so, i give you turkey's flag. oops, again, the german turkey dressing also gets chopped apples!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

soup glorious soup

i'm hungry. as i'm writing this i'm making the simplest tomato soup know to woman. i finely diced a small red onion, a carrot and a couple of cloves of garlic. sauteed that ,then added a can of good plum tomatoes squished up in the can. sauteed those with a 1/2 tsp. of thyme. after 10 minutes i added 3 to 4 cups of chicken stock, more salt and pepper and let it simmer. then i used my hand held immersion blender and remembered to leave it in the soup. this time it actually pureed the vegetables and didn't splatter them all over the stove. success. i sprinkled the soup with some parmesan cheese and ate it with a grilled gouda sandwich on panne bread. the actual consumption of this dinner didn't take place till 9:00pm, because of phone calls and neighbors stopping by. but it was as good as i had imagined when i started writing and cooking at 7:30. oops, forgot to mention i cooked some orzo on the side and added a couple of spoonfuls to the bowl of soup. i never miss an opportunity to sneak in extra carbs.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

a few things i know for sure

i have learned the true meaning behind some idioms applying to dogs. to" work like a dog" is to do absolutely nothing. you lay around, on a bed when no one is home for example. you sleep. then, you wake up and want to eat. now we come to "it's the dog's dinner". i will spare you a picture of this, but at our house it's usually something delicious like reheated beef bourguignon poured over 2 cups of fancy kibbles. or maybe shredded roast chicken or some neighbor's leftover steak from a really good restaurant i can't afford to go to. once again, reheated and poured over said kibbles. so, " a dog's dinner" does not signify something that is a real mess or a job poorly done, or even someone overdressed; it means a gourmet meal served on the floor. or, german chocolates eaten from the christmas tree. "keep your nose to the ground" means, no matter what the weather, the time of day, whether your owners have to catch a bus or not, keep sniffing. there might be a mouse in that hole, or a squirrel up that tree, or a rabbit up that hill. dogs, a daily triumph of hope over experience. love them.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

sunday morning


it's a warm, sunny morning. the cat woke me up at 7:15, howling , she had to get outside asap. i'm creeping around trying not to wake anyone else. my latte is iced and the sunday times has been delivered. i've downloaded some photos from one of our weddings this weekend, and cruised a few blogs . blogging is quite an addiction. it's scarily perfect for someone who believes the unexamined life isn't worth living.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


this weekend is so busy at work, marnie, my boss, says we have a whole year of work to do in one weekend. the containers are prepped, flowers cleaned and conditioned, knives sharpened. i've been to the chiropractor and spent the night with a heating pad, eating thai carry out and alternating between reading and watching tv. the espresso beans are ground and the german girls have the dogs out for the last walk of the day. i'm off to bed, cause 6:15 comes around quickly, the first walk happens then. here are a couple of pics of centerpieces from last week' wedding. now goodnight all, sleep well. or if you're in australia, g' day.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

out of the roasting pan

last night i roasted a chicken a la greque. this means, i made a fast basting sauce/ marinade from olive oil, lemon juice, lots of garlic, oregano, rosemary and thyme ( all herbs still putting out in the garden) . i roasted it at 450 degrees for a half hour, then turned oven down to 350 for another hour. it smelled delicious, it tasted delicious. i served it with a brown rice pilaf and sauteed spinach. i had visions of feta cheese and greek yogurt, both of which were in my refrigerator, but we were too hungry to garnish. tonight is cold and rainy, so i made a fast chicken stock from the carcass, sauteed onions, carrots, garlic, green pepper, jalapenos in olive oil . i added a bit of quickly crushed plum tomatoes and a dash of cumin and oregano and chili powder. strained my chicken stock into soup pan, added black beans, diced zucchini and potatoes. when all of this smelled heavenly, i threw in shredded chicken from last night, and more salt and pepper. then, i cut up homemade ( by someone trader joe's knows) tortillas into strips, crisped them up in hot oil, drained then salted. dished up soup, added tortilla strips and freshly grated cheese. i felt very cared for.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

new kid on the block

german girl's sister, tini, moved across the street from us a week ago. she comes with a yellow lab, balu, and two cats. she is very welcome. now our lab gets twice as many walks, a buddy to race around the yard with and extra treats! we get good company, a sister to talk though the day with and lots more german sausages to eat. on sunday we grilled an assortment of meats, i made the endless sauerkraut ( but with 5 people to eat it , it was gone in one night) tini made her signature salad of spinach, garbanzo beans, red onion, avocado, tomatoes and feta cheese. for starters we had smoked salmon smoked and sent from connecticut from "the hai" father of all who is german on my street. we gave thanks for the food, the beautiful weather and our new additions. the next morning at 8:00am, tini and i went to the gym.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

love is... a friendly wedding

last night we went to a party to celebrate the wedding of our friends katie and steve. the venue, mie n yu, was a glam mix of red velvet drapes and reclaimed wood throne like chairs. the food was asian fusion and the music rocked. the bride was beautiful and 6'4" in her stilettos. the groom was beautiful, articulate and heavily tattooed. actually, everyone but me was pretty heavily tattooed. we cleaned up well, and german girl herself hit 6' in her own heels. so there. when it was over we raced out of georgetown, stripped ourselves of our finery, threw on our sweats and took the dog for a walk. she wasn't invited, but was much talked about. even the cat was mentioned. friends in love is a splendid thing!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

still life with artichokes

i went to the wholesaler today and finally remembered to bring my camera. visions of beautiful pictures (how could i miss) danced in my head but, alas, not in the eye of the camera. two friends of ours are getting married this weekend and i want the flowers, if not the pics of the flowers, to be beautiful. i got ornamental purple kale, little purple artichokes, bright orange hypericum berries, dahlias, an incredible big brown rose " coffee break", bright blue alpine thistle , pistachio berries on and on and on. i took the opportunity to lament i wasn't chosen as the new white house florist, i wasn't even a contender. though i was assured it was a thankless job, i would like to have had a chance to say no thank you! oh hell, they probably wouldn't have let me bring the lab to work anyway.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

small but charming house for sale by democrat

i want to sell my house and go live in the magical kingdom of Anthropologie. all are equal there, women control the right to make decisions for their own bodies and souls. both genders make the same wage for the same job and fruit and vegetables are grown locally and organically. everything is beautifully decorated and fantasy reigns. who wants to join me? i'll cook.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

after the storm

halloween took quite a toll on our little 'hood. last walk of the night with the lab and there was a RABBIT. lab ran after it, german girl's threadless old kicks skating over the wet leaves and paving. they were both stopped by a parked car. oouf, ouch. our roommate, he-man, managed to tear his bicep, protecting a woman from a beer throwing drunk in a bar. he's a weight lifter, that's a lotta bicep. another friend and neighbor is recovering from the flu, his roommate just diagnosed with bronchitis. me, i'm cooking. almost afraid to leave the house. tonight, chili made with chunks of beef and lots of red kidney beans. i'll serve it with rice and a big bowl of guacamole made with avocados that came to us from california via connecticut. we'll feed as many of the injured as possible. keep cooking, stay healthy!