Friday, November 28, 2014

Cherub with osage orange fruits

I harvest heaps of osage orange tree fruits each fall from a secret source. I am in love with the lime green color of course. I group them here and there outside for decoration. Here, they look great against my little cherub and my espaliered ivy.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Color inspiration—lavender

Lavender in the garden

"Best among the good plants for hot, sandy soils 
are the ever blessed lavender and rosemary, 
delicious old garden bushes that one can hardly dissociate."

Miss Jekyll, Home and Garden 1900

To see more colors, click on the red "color inspirationlabel below.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Better late than never

Looks like a monochromatic tangled mass of compost, but these are my dahlia tubers. I'm a little late digging them up this year but I did it. Into a bucket they will go, and they'll all rest on my cool porch for the winter.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

French lentil salad

French lentil salad rolled up in kale leaves

I first tasted this gorgeous lentil salad combo at a lovely French cafe in Concord, MA called La Provence. It was love at first bite. It's bathed in a tangy classic French, dijon style vinaigrette, and speckled with colorful little dabs of diced tomatoes, parsley and crunchy purple onions. Oh, and there's cubed feta cheese. Trés, délicieux, oui? Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I have attempted to recreate this lentil salad several times, and I think I finally have it. The key is in the chef's vinaigrette of course, which I could go and buy at the cafe, but to me that's cheating. So here is my version of La Provence's lentil salad...

French lentil salad

Place 1 ½ cups du Puy (or any kind of) French lentils in pot along with 1 bay leaf, 1 clove garlic and ¼ onion. Add in 3-4 cups water, and some salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Do not overcook—mushy lentils are yucky, and you want these lentils to have a little bite to them. Strain lentils and let cool. Meanwhile, make your vinaigrette.

½ clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
¼ cup olive oil
lemon juice
Salt and pepper

In a bowl, whisk together the garlic, vinegar, and mustard. Then whisk in the oil, adding it in slowly. The oils and vinegar should combine together (emulsify) and thicken. Taste, and add some lemon if the dressing isn’t zesty enough. Season with salt and pepper. Alternatively, you mix first ingredients in a small jar with a lid, add the olive oil, and shake like mad until it's emulsified. Et voila!

Now dice around ¼ cup each of purple onions, plum tomatoes (outside parts only), feta cheese, and flat leafed parsley. In a bowl mix your cool lentils, the diced veggies and feta cheese, and around 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette. Taste. It's good, isn't it?

The lentil salad keeps for around 2 days in the fridge and is great for hot summer days or any time of year. The salad it délicieux on its own, or sometimes I place a tablespoon or so inside a kale leaf and roll it up for a little bundle of yum. 

You may also like:

with Moroccan spices, pickled onions and cauliflower

Friday, November 14, 2014

Very late season raspberries

Just a happy tumble of raspberries, no big deal, right? Oh wait, these are my raspberries... that I picked in my own back yard… in mid-November… after an early snowfall. Now that's a sweet deal! We've only had one hard frost so far, so I guess these guys will just keep ripening until it gets too cold.

One of my favorite ways to enjoy these homegrown jewels is to toss them into these darling little single-serve grass fed organic Traderspoint yogurts (higher in omega-3s) that I can only find at Whole Foods markets. The glass containers are great to upcycyle too. The combo of my raspberries and their yogurt is serious perfection.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Color inspiration—pumpkins!

and pumpkin seeds ready to roast...

To see more colors, click on the red "color inspirationlabel below.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Master and servant

This cherub bird bath stands proudly and loyally in my long, herbaceous flower border. In the fall when the ornamental grasses flower and blow softly in autumn breezes, they look as though they are servants, fanning the cherub.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Crane Estate art show & sale—2014

On the scent   9 x 12 

This coming weekend is the Trustees of Reservations annual juried Crane Estate art show & sale! It's a nice chance to visit and view "... art highlighting the beauty of North Shore's landscapes and landmarks." I have 5 paintings in the show this year; three were inspired by the equestrian milieu of the town I live in—Hamilton, MA.

Airborne  9 x 12

Lightness of Being 4 x 12

The Crane Estate is beautiful to visit this time of year, magically perched on a hillside that overlooks the Atlantic ocean. The kids can run wild and the adults can pop inside to see the paintings, then you can stop into Russell Orchards on the way home for some apples or cider donuts. It's free, and show hours are Saturday and Sunday, November 8th and 9th from 10-4. There is a preview party Friday night (Nov 7th) from 7 to 10 PM with an open bar, catered hors d'oeuvres, and music. Tickets for the preview party are $50. each, which may seem steep, but it's a really good time and worth the price of admission to be in an enchanting grand estate filled with beautiful artwork. Hope you can make it to the party of at least some time over the weekend!

                      Boy with fountain                         Boy with flute

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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Pumpkins in urns

I bought some huge pumpkins 
which look smashing in my iron urns.