Saturday, May 31, 2014
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
What a show tulips put on each spring! Remember these wild and crazy parrot tulips next fall when it's time to plant bulbs in your back yard. These lasted quite a while in the back yard, but I also just had to snip a few blossoms for inside the house. They opened up and exploded with their vibrant colors, reminding me of a wild fauvist painting that Matisse might have painted.
Once the petals fell off the stem their riotous beauty
remained, so I spread them out on
at table and played with them a bit.
Even the naked stems looked poetic and lovely too me.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Saturday, May 24, 2014
Although the blooms on our 'Magnolia Butterflies' (Magnolia acuminata Butterflies) came and went in a little more than a week, she put on quite a show! Read more about this pretty yellow magnolia in previous years here and here.
Friday, May 23, 2014
Thursday, May 22, 2014
This is my very favorite fruit tart recipe (originally from Cook's Illustrated magazine.), and also a favorite with my family… I've made it at least a dozen times! It's nice to make for parties because you can make both the buttery tart shell and the vanilla custard (pastry cream) way ahead of time, and then just assemble with the fruit of your choice just before your guests arrive or before you head out to your party. Glazing the fruit of your assembled tart with rum infused jelly makes your tart look trés French-pastry-shop awesome. The recipe is difficult to find on-line so here it is.
Classic Fresh Fruit Tart with Pastry Cream
2 C. half and half
1/2 C. sugar
pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks, chalazae removed
3 T. cornstarch
4 T. unsalted butter (cold) cut into 4 pieces
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1 large egg yolk
1 T. heavy cream
1/2 t. vanilla
1 1/4 C. flour
2/3 C. confectioner’s sugar
1/4 t. salt
8 T. unsalted butter, very cold, cut into 1/2" cubes
3 tablespoons apricot preserves
1 tablespoon dark rum
For the pastry cream, heat half-and-half, 6 T. sugar and salt in saucepan over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar.
Whisk egg yolks in medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Whisk in remaining 2 T. sugar and whisk until sugar has began to dissolve and mixture is creamy, about 15 seconds. Whisk in cornstarch until combined and mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.
When half-and-half mixture reaches full simmer, gradually whisk into yolk mixture to temper. Return mixture to saucepan, scraping bowl with spatula; return to simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until 3 or 4 bubbles burst on surface and mixture is thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds. Off heat, whisk in butter and vanilla. Transfer mixture to bowl, press plastic wrap directly on surface, and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours or up to 48 hours.
For tart pastry, whisk together yolk, cream, and vanilla in bowl. Pulse to combine flour, sugar and salt in bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture; pulse to cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 15, 1-second pulses. With machine running, add egg mixture and process until dough just comes together, about 25 seconds. Turn dough onto sheet of plastic wrap and press into 6-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour up to 48 hours.
Remove dough from refrigerator. Unwrap and roll out between lightly floured large sheets of parchment paper. Transfer dough to tart pan. Set dough-lined tart pan on large plate and freeze 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375. Set tart pan on baking sheet, press 12-in. square of foil inside frozen tart shell and over edges and fill with metal or ceramic pie weights. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time. Remove from oven and carefully remove foil and weights by gathering edges of foil and pulling up and out. Continue to bake until deep golden brown, 5-8 minutes longer.
When tart shell is completely cool, spread cold pastry cream over bottom and top with fresh fruit. Place apricot preserves and rum in a saucepan to heat, then brush the warm glaze over the fruit to give it a shine. Serve within an hour or two.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
In this wild resplendent place
ferns curl softly green
below bearded mossy trees
birds call echoing
—by CA Guilfoyle
To see more colors, click on the red "color inspiration" label below.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Monday, May 19, 2014
This weekend I gave the pachysandra and boxwood in our secret, sunken garden a spring haircut! This procedure—which hurts me (and my back) more than it does them—helps keep them neat, snappy and very happy! Pachysandra plants can get long and leggy, so to keep them in check I give them this judicious spring pruning, which in turn makes them flourish with new grown in about a month's time. This sunken garden, with a trickling palazzo fountain and four seasons statues makes us very happy too!
Click here to read more about our sunken garden.
Saturday, May 17, 2014
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Saturday, May 10, 2014
Friday, May 9, 2014
Artist Vincent Van Gogh painted these airy, almond tree branches blossoms in 1890 as a gift for his newborn nephew. Vincent was extremely close to his younger brother Theo, and after his birth immediately made a painting one of his favorite subjects: blossoming branches against a blue sky. I love the way Vincent saw the world! In this painting, he painted the gnarly branches and delicate white petals against an intensely colored turquoise sky.
“How glad I was when the news came…
I started right away to make a
picture for him, to hang in their bedroom,
big branches of white almond blossoms
against a blue sky.”
Thursday, May 8, 2014
Posted by Diane Carnevale at 8:32 AM
Sunday, May 4, 2014
+ + +
Potato nutrition—45 percent of the daily value for vitamin C—more potassium (620 mg) than even bananas, spinach, or broccoli;—10 percent of the daily value of B6;—Trace amounts of thiamine, riboflavin, folate, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, and zinc... and all this for around 110 calories— and no fat, sodium, or cholesterol.