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Archive for the ‘inspiration’ Category

In remembrance of Michel Rae 1936-2019… one of the loveliest growers both inside and out, I’ve ever known. I was fortunate to have met her some sixteen years ago. For fifty years the owner, along with her husband of the Old Sheep Meadows Nursery have been the only growers in Maine and all of New England, of old fashioned root roses, along with her outstanding day lilies. Near and dear to her in her gardens was her uncanny ability to attract hummingbirds, butterflies and birds through very well thought out plantings.

In addition to their lovely farm, you could always find Michel at local farmers markets exhibiting her roses, and always with a willingness to chat gardening.

Having collaborated with the Maine Audubon Society, TV’s Secret Garden Series and Better Homes & Gardens, her immeasurable expertise in old fashioned, heirloom landscape gardens and her generosity sharing her wealth of knowledge, a treasure I will hold on to forever. Rest In Peace my friend.

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…. the zinnia’s are still so showy in the garden.. growing strong.

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As I work my way through our very abundant zucchini harvest this summer, I thought I’d post a few of my fave zucchini recipes. As well as zucchini, I am picking a bowlful of zucchini flowers pretty much daily that I feel the need to use in a productive way. Though the zucchini flowers do not have a lot of flavor on their own, their vibrant color makes them a great addition to many dishes, in addition to just stuffing them.

This week I made this creamy risotto using up some of my zucchini, summer squash and zucchini flower buds… along with a leftover ear of corn on the cob in the frig just screaming.. ‘use me up!’ LOL I also added just a spoonful of basil pesto made fresh from the garden that really added a bright note to the dish.

If there is one thing I have an over abundance of growing here, besides zucchini.. it’s the basils. I am constantly picking basil before it flowers and often make a batch of pesto to garnish a bowl of soup, to toss with hot pasta or to stir into a risotto, such as this one. If you do not have your own supply of fresh basil on hand, you could use a good quality store brand pesto instead. ( for shame! 🙂 Just a mere spoonful of pesto is all that is needed in this dish. If you use too much, it will take over and all you’ll end up tasting is basil, and you’ll lose the summer fresh flavor of the zucchini.

2 TBLS unsalted butter

2 TBLS olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

1 small shallot, minced

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice

3/4 cup dry white wine.. I used Pinot Grigio

5-6 cups vegetable or chicken broth, warmed

1 1/2 cups finely diced zucchini ( or summer squash, cousa, pattypans etc) (1/2 ” dice)

10-12 zucchini flowers, stamens removed & diced

1 ear, steamed corn on the cob, cooled and kernels removed

1 heaping tsp basil pesto

1 tsp lemon juice

Sea salt & ground pepper

To finish….

1 TBLS butter

1/3-1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Place the olive oil and half the butter in a saucepan and heat until sizzling over a medium heat.

Add the onion and shallot and cook until translucent, stirring often, about 5 minutes.

Add the rice, and stir to coat the rice completely with the oil mixture. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, stirring often.

Add the wine to the pot, stir to mix and continue cooking over medium heat until the wine has been absorbed.

Add a large ladleful of warm broth and continue to cook, stirring constantly.

Halfway through the cooking period, or 10 minutes, add the diced zucchini.

As each addition of broth has absorbed, add another, stirring until the rice is just slightly firm to the bite.. about 20 minutes.

With the last addition of broth, add the chopped zucchini flowers, corn kernels, pesto and lemon juice.

Stir to mix, and season with sea salt and ground pepper.

Cook another 3 to 4 minutes, then remove from heat.

Stir in the butter and grated Pecorino cheese, stirring until the cheese has completely melted into the rice.

Serve immediately with some rosemary focaccia bread and a fresh garden salad as a stand alone meal. I served it as a side with grilled salmon. Either way, it’s just plain yummy! Enjoy.

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“There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life.”– Lin Yutang

Harvest of my fave tea blends… tulsi, lemon balm, chamomile, bee balm, lemon verbena, lavender, mints and hyssop. The tulsi is spectacular this year.

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The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind.

— author unknown

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Another gorgeous morn here.

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A very pleasant sunrise on a milestone birthday morning for me! Happy birthday to me.. and Happy May Day!

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