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Showing posts from February, 2015

Dreaming of Spring and Summer Gardens.

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We are deep in the winter doldrums in New England with temperatures dropping to minus 20 last night! Record cold temperatures, record snow falls in one month, cities and towns buried under snow with more snow on the way. All around me complaints can be heard about our harsh and miserable winter of 2015. Enough I say, I'm over this winter instead I am transporting myself to a beautiful spring by shipping a  cup of tea while I look over last year's garden photo's to plan this year's additions to my already over flowing flower beds. I choose not to be miserable lamenting about record cold temperatures and snow falls: My beautiful garden photos are lifting me and my spirit to a different time when the air is sweet with new buds pushing past the just warming soil signalling the start of spring.


Gardening is in my blood; I come from a long list of passionate green thumbs who can spend all day laboring in their gardens, a labor of love. My particular passion is flowers, buil…

President's Day Old Fashioned American Apple Pie

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Happy President's Day! I'm celebrating with a  good old fashioned American Apple Pie. I've added a little extra to this recipe, dried cranberries soaked over night in cognac.

Pastry:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water


Measure flour and salt into a bowl. Cut into butter thoroughly with a pastry blender.  Sprinkle in the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing with a fork until flour is moistened and dough almost cleans the side of the bowl.


Gather the dough into a ball, then shape, divide the dough in half and shape into 2 flattened rounds.) Chill dough for at least one hour. On a lightly floured board roll each dough rounds 2 inches larger all around than the inverted pie pan. Place pastry on parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet, and chill.

9 medium size firm tart apples, thinly sliced. (I used Granny Smith)
1/2 cup dried cranberries, soaked over night in cognac. I used Ocean Spray…

Romantic French Onion Soup

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French Onion Soup brings up visions of a romantic dinner in a charming French Bistro at a small table for two. Wonderfully easy to make at home for dinner for two. Start with a cheese plate with a assortment of cheeses, french bread, olives, add an elegant salad lightly dressed with a french vinaigrette, then the soup, finishing the meal with Mouse au Chocolate.

French Onion Soup
1/4 cup butter
2 pounds medium onions, halved lenghtwise, then thinly sliced lenghtwise
4 springs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 cup red wine
4 cups reduced sodium beef both(32 fl oz)
1/2 teaspoon black better
4 1/2 inch slices from a french baguette
1/4 pound Gruyere cheese
2 tablespoon finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Cook butter, onions, thyme, bay leaves and salt in a 4-to-5-quart heavy pot over low heat, uncovered, stirring frequently, until onions are very soft and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Add four and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in wine cook for 2 …

Snowy Day French Lentil Mushroom and Leek Soup

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Winter is hard in New England with cold temperatures and blizzard snow conditions so one way I like to heat up the winter is with hot soups. I like soups that are filling and flavorful. Lentils add taste and fiber to this vegetable soup with a French flair. I've spiced it up with garlic, thyme and wine, a twist on classic lentil soup.

French Lentil, Mushroom and Leek Soup

1 32 ounce carton reduced-sodium vegetable broth 2 1/2 cups water 1 cup white wine 1 vegetable bullion cube 1 1/2 cups French lentils or brown lentils, rinsed and drained  1 tablespoon olive oil  3 cups sliced fresh cremini and/or button mushrooms (8 ounces) 3 medium carrots  coarsely chopped (1 1/2 cups) 2/3 cup thinly sliced leeks (2 medium) 4 cloves garlic, minced 4 cups chopped kale or chopped fresh spinach 1 teaspoon dried thyme 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper�…