Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My Secret Ingredients Shared

IMG_2215 Yesterday I got a package sent with FREE shipping from King Arthur Flour.  In it were some secret ingredients I used in this delicious cake made with their recipe for Lemon Custard Cake which I of course tweaked a bit with great results.  To be fair though I should make it again following their directions to a tee then compare, but I am completely satisfied with my results.  I used the new Mary Ann cake pan that came in this order and the Queen Guinevere Cake Flour and Cake Enhancer.  My secret ingredient though that they didn’t use in the cake was the fiori di sicilia which is an orange/vanilla flavoring that smells divine.   I could wear this as a perfume.  I also added some grated lemon rind and used a lemon pudding mix with some cream cheese added instead of the pastry cream they called for.  We had some fresh blueberries and raspberries on hand to add to the very top, the only thing missing was whipped cream which I some how forgot on my trip to the grocery store.  This was worth turning on the air conditioning so we could turn on the oven for a while…very much worth it!

Check out King Arthurs recipes for some really great ideas then find your secret ingredient that makes it yours!

Shhh!!!  It’s a secret after all…


Saturday, June 12, 2010

What’s Growing in our Garden

IMG_2126 I have another blog where I usually blog about garden related stuff, but Candace at Squash House has started doing garden updates weekly on her blog and I thought it might be fun to play along.  So…this week in my garden after a very long and cold spring things are finally starting to show signs of future harvests.

IMG_2124This little squash is an heirloom ‘White Lebanese’ that should be ready to harvest any day now.  It looks a bit like one of my favorites called ‘Magda’.  This is the first time I have grown this so I will have to update you all later to let you know if you should search it out next year.  The plant itself only gets about 3 feet around instead of taking over the garden like some zucchinis.   IMG_2125 My herb garden is finally taking off too and I harvest a bunch of Italian Parsley that I dried in the food dehydrator and bottled.  I like dehydrating my herbs because they come out so colorful and fresh looking and that way I know they are not dusty.  We got a big dehydrator called an ‘Excalibor’  and hope to put it to good use this summer.  They parsley took about 24 hours to dry.  There is a temperature control which is nice since herbs need less heat than drying tomatoes or other fruit so this is a handy feature.  It also has a lot of removable drying shelves so depending on what you are drying you can add or remove shelves.  The motor is really quite also not at all annoying.  I think I will be making lots of Basil mixes later.  I am growing about 5  different types of basil and love to mix them together.  I have a little leaved one called ‘Pistou’ and a bigger leaved one called ‘Marseille’ and of course there is ‘Genovese’ and ‘Opal’ and my favorite ‘Cinnamon’.  Can’t wait for those tomatoes to serve up with basil and balsamic vinegar…oh, and don’t forget the mozzerella!

Looking forward to many harvests!

IMG_2130Besides the vegetables I have a lot of flowers in bloom.  I have tried for years to grow lupines and this year I had great success.  These are Russel hybrids and they stand about 2 feet high.  I love them!  There is also some scabiosa growing there next to them.  I planted them a little close together because they are in a 1 foot by 3 foot gopher cage.  I took a lot of precautions here and love the results! 

Another plant I have not had much success growing until now is hosta.  I have IMG_2140put out the snail bait, but not seen one snail here.  I’m hoping that they don’t like the cold winters.  I think I planted  about 6 different ones in this bed and they all came up and are just about ready to bloom.  I love this place where I can grow almost anything, let’s hope the gophers and deer don’t discover my treasures.  We have lots of deer fencing and gopher cages in place and our fingers are crossed.


In this bed are some Russian Mammoth Sunflowers and they are budding up, can’t wait to see these huge sunflowers and feed them to the birds. 

I’ll close with a picture of my favorite rose ‘Country Dancer’,  I wish I could share its sweet fragrance with you all, but you will have to trust me on this one, itIMG_2133 smells like a sweet apple.

Let the growing and harvesting begin!