Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Gorgeous Beets~

We love beets.. my daughter and son-in-law grew these gorgeous things..
I made that salad I made last year..that is a meal in itself..so good..
added beet leaves and swiss chard leaves ..
last year I froze kale..as is..and it turned out well..I was smitten w/ a blog last week and did beet leaves her swiss chard way..I have little freezer bags ready for soups this winter..
Simply blanch two minutes..then an ice bath..  look how pretty all rolled up~
That blog..♥
Could not stop reading..what talent...s

The small painting ,I took a pic w/ my Mini..and Waterlogue before settling in to the settee in the screened-in porch to paint.
This paper is unknown to me....but maybe 40 yrs old I would think..a friend gave me some of her husbands papers about 20 years ago..this is from a very large yellowed sheet..
a couple of the large shetts had Arches printed..but not this one..and the texture is very unusual.

You can see a brush case open on the settee..and my collapsible water pot..and a large Holbein palette..that I have had since I took those two art classes more than a decade and a half ago.
I really find Waterlogue helps so much to guide a novice..I love playing with it.
I have a new color in there Quinacridone Gold ..recommended when I took Shari Blaukopfs' online class..(that you get to keep and refer back to..)and it's gorgeous.
It's Daniel Smith..my first DS paint..I have a tiny order of 2 more colors and just recently bought Buff to help with sand.
I have discovered a great site for artist supplies in the US and have a small wish list for future USA visits.If you have not checked out Cheap Joe's..his videos..and read his story..do..Inspiring:)

Getting ready for a little birthday dinner here Saturday for our eldest..who..I don't know how this happened..will be 40 on August 10th.

PS..are you watching Friday Night Lights?I have mentioned it  before..
we have started Season 3..
I cried last night.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Lovely Tarts♥Tartelettes..come in..

I had found a fig tart..recipe I was smitten with..and lost it..
I finally had fresh figs.. whipping cream..and mascarpone..
I Googled and Googled..and found this recipe..
It's not the one I was PINING for;) The one I thought I had PINNED~
But guess what?
I ♥ this..
so I made half the recipe for the crust..and made 3 individual tarts..
halfway through baking..I pricked again w/ a fork.. and baked a good 5 minutes longer..maybe more..
Until a bit browned..not much..
I left the shells out overnight uncovered..

the next day..I whipped up maybe 1/4 cup or whipping cream.. some vanilla sugar and 3 tbsps of Mascapone..a tsp of honey..
I filled the shells..topped with quartered figs.. sprinkled w/ pistachios..a few lavender buds..

and drizzled w/ more honey.
That night..I ate a whole half of one..
that good:)
The crust is dry and shortbeready.. and flaky..the creamy interior is not too sweet..and the figs and honey? ♥

My arbor clematis..at the front are so floriferous..that one must walk around the arbor..Betty  Corning and  Paul Farges....intertwine..cross over ,and engulf the arbor.
I will not complain..winters ..a whole different srory..

..the first hydrangeas are blooming..

..the Pink Diamonds..Kyushus and PinkyWinkies will follow suit..for now..Anabelle..and Endless Summer have started their show~

I have one big bunch of peach floxglove and the short..too short ...but heavy rainfall we had..all but flattened all the glorious stalks.

One of my mom's favorite poets..was Paul Géraldy..every time I see 2 blooms close together ..I think of the title of the poem I learned off by heart in grade 6  ....to say in front of the class..
I knew every word..and I remember the very confident feeling I had reciting it in front of everyone..
unusual..what does a grade sixer know of Toi et Moi?:)
She loved it..so I loved it♥

I know this looks familiar..I tried watercoloring the oil I did of the Littles..
the thought I want to share is that a very good quality watercolor paper is a dream.My friend Nancy gave me a package of 10 small watercolor papers in February.
I could tell looking at the texture..it was even nicer than a big  sheet of Arches paper I have..
the edges are deckled..the paper felt like fabric..I can only imagine what some of you could do with this paper.
It was bought at a Japanese paper store.. Au Papier Japonais  I think..I went once with Nancy many years ago.. but it is made by.... Papeterie St-Armand..
It is heaven to work on.What a difference.
If ever you want to spoil a friend who likes to piant..this is a lovely idea..
I buy the $ store  blue bubble bath..  and fool myself by putting it into one of my parents crystal decanters ..this is like getting Arpège~:)No fooling needed.

Bon Weekend..
So nice to hear  from Sam who is back from Provence~
Provence is just so darn picture perfect.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Lilies and ..garlic..and..rain..

I love ratatouille.
The movie..and the edible one..
I made my first one many many years ago..a gleaned recipe from Bon Appétit or Gourmet..and I still follow their lead..
for sure..you need eggplant..and zucchini..and garlic..and tomatoes..and red peppers and green peppers and red onions..chop them up..mix w/ a generous portion of EVOO..salt and pepper (I add red pepper flakes..)and ROAST  @ 425F .. 20 minutes.. flip..and then 15..
I then put in  a bowl on my counter..let cool and add fresh chopped herbs..mostly basil!
IN a pinch and for added flavor..add Italian seasonings..dry..quality ones..

I adapt this recipe..

cover..the flavors..meld~

later in the day..dinner time..we cook pasta..usually penne..  and I add the ratatouille..and some pasta cooking liquid..and adjust seasonings..adding paremsan cheese..

I could have like 1/4 cup of pasta and all the rest? Ratatouille:)
Have you tried?
Don't expect a pretty plate.. but a delicious one  that is certain.

It's Lily time here..and my garlic:)
Maggie is my all time favorite Lily.
No ifs ands or buts about her♥
She's creamy peachy ruffly abundant.

Many are blooming right now..and I cannot say that they each don't catch my eye..in their own individual ways~

I harvested my first garlic bulb..
just a couple of weeks ago..I cut off the scapes..
from that moment..the leaves started to change..as they start to turn brown..keep an eye open..
my friend told me he waits until they are all brown..so although I am tickled pink at the test bulb I harvested..I'll wait now till all the leaves are brown..
and I'll get back to you;)
need I say..another part of my gardens will be reserved for garlic only?
I love watching things grow..you might find that a funny thing to say..but believe it or not..even in a few hours things change in a garden.

Sometimes for the better..sometimes not..

we had a torrential downpour last night.. during the night..my borage.. bye bye..it was..as high as the tomato plants..  4 feet?

both plants uprooted and down.. Peter ..feels wide open now.
Buried under the borage..sage,thai basil,chives..
Look at all those blooms..hundreds..
and I had big clumps of roses on single branches..  snapped..
C'est la nature.. the earth needed rain..

I'll be pressing the borage blooms..some to see if they will work..they are not flat like pansies..so not sure..I did salvage 2 blooms~
Bessie is happy.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Savory Sablés~

We enjoy a glass or two of wine..I like pairing a glass of wine w/ a little cheese crisp..as you have seen here.. and here..
I just read Picnic In Provence..by Elizabeth Bard and her friend's sablés aux olives noires, romarin and parmesan caught my eye..
it is summer and warm and Provence~like here right now..
So I made them♥
I LOVE the addition of black olives..
I used Kalamatas.
And..you know I really like the blog "La Cuisine De Bernard"..I had made these a while ago..a long while ago..and recently repinned and remade..

they are really good too..wish I could incorporate a few black olives..
Jacques likes both very much.
Me? I like salty better than sweet so I am quite taken with them all♥

Not sure about Elizabeth Bard's opinion on my publishing one of the recipes in her book..so ..read it:)

The book is a good read.

I do have the recipe though..so if anyone would like it..let me know..I just do not know what her rules are..

Contrary to La Cuisine De Bernard:)

Recipe below..

My gardens are in some parts wild.
I admire pristine..formal gardens w/ boxwood and lavender..  maze-puzzle like..
but mine are cottage gardens..not one is formal.
Strange..because I like order in my home;) I do..
but my gardens have to look fancy free.
Because I am not I guess;)

Bonica is a marvelous rose to have in a garden that gets cold..  (read Siberian cold)..year after year with no winter protection.. she rewards me in a front sunny garden.

Do you know the Kiwi vine?

It's abundant to say the least..every year I think my arbor will fall down..it is HUGE..tiny little kiwi shapes grow..and the leaves become pink♥ in spots..
Astilbes don't last forever..but the show they put on..in groupings is quite spectac..
I have pinks and whites..

and ,well ,clematis..what can I say?
I love to grow them together:)
They often make happy marriages.

And tell me..
are you thrilled like I am by a postcard arriving in the mail?
I love a written note..snail mail as we now say because of the speed of lighting emails..
to get a postcard in the mail..is a vintage gift now.
Arlene was visiting San Francisco (be still my heart)..and sent me a postcard.
Today's gift with the cooler temps and the sunshine ..and rhubarb from a neighbor.
Dahlias starting..a nana email..Mylène starting watercolors..she has my mom's talent..I hope she keeps it up:)

La Recette~

180 grams of AP flour
70 grams salted butter
45 grams Evoo
1/4 tsp salt
50 grams parmesan cheese
1 egg
 1tsp of dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
fleur de sel

Mix grated parm,salt,herbs,egg,evoo,salt in a bowl until creamy..add flour in one shot:) And mix only until combined..I used my fingers for all..

Preheat oven to 190C

I suggest you let the dough cool in the fridge ap 1 hr.

Roll out thinly..cut..sprinkle fleur de sel and more herbs..bake for 15 minutes.

Let cool..and enjoy..

So I did sneak in a recent oil painting..small.. and water soluble oils..
I have 4 colors and white..  hard for me to mix and paint..

I find the water soluble oils..jelly like..

but..w/ my knowledge of oil painting..who am I kidding;)

I took this pic of 3 of the alphabet boys at the beach..So Max..Maxime is to the right..Oli..Olivier is in the middle and should be far thinner..and Lucas..  Adonis..is to the left..what on earth did I do to his arms?
My boys are always faceless..because as soon as I add a face..  well my alphabet boys don't even look like themselves..as it is..they usually know who is who..if I add a face.. a whole different person shows up:)
I love to paint..
you know that already~

Sunday, July 12, 2015

In the summertime,when the weather is fine~

You can see her Garden Open Today sign..above~

We've had some lovely summer days here~
Everyone is enjoying the outdoors..the boys..all 4 have either day camp or swimming and swim team..football is on hiatus for July..
you can hear crickets..
roses  and clematis are blooming their heads off..the cornfields are growing..it's awfully pretty..my town comes alive in summer..Main Road is lined with daililies..the water sparkles....being touristy..it's totally different in winter.
we went to the beach one day..the boys play non stop..nnd well~
I went to the market w/ my Ipad.. easy to take pics..I have found that if you ask if you can take a photo..the vendors can be quite gracious..I think I know who to ask..I will never forget the year I asked one woman if I could take photos..I was making photo cards for our Firemen's Fund  Bazaar at Christmas..she said no..! Outright and I had told her why.
I never stop at her dried flower arrangement booth anymore and have never bought one thing there since then.
I mean c'mon..I wasn't taking a photo of a secret document,blueprints etc..
Especially w/ the internet now.
Oh well..
So I have fave vendors there..quite a few..
One is a local artist well known for her art,floral arranging,hat making,sign making and throw/apron confections..I have a couple of her signs and have offered them as gifts..she had the loveliest throw there this w/e.I only took a shot of the little shed she hangs some of the signs on..

A little..big..coup de coeur was that vintage 1920-1930 canister set..♥
I have my friends' that I love ..have no pink in the kitchen and really no room for another set..but look how SWEET!!
I read up when I came home..seems these sets (this one is opalescent)..were made in Germany or Czechoslovakia..in the 20's and 30's.Adorable no? In almost pristine condition..one chip..on one container.

Right..the little summer domes:)

I have shown you the silicone mold before..you just brush melted chocolate of your choice..firm up in freezer or fridge..I brush 2 coats on..fill w/ your favourite mousse recipe..and tuck a fresh washed strawberry inside as a surprise..
In a pinch you can even use Dr Oetker mousse..just make sure your mousse is firm enough.You need to have it that way so that when you unlod it stays in and put:)

PS..We are years late on this Netflix series..but we both love it to bits..
Friday Night Lights  
Kyle Chandler (Bloodline),Connie Britton(Nashville),Taylor Kitsch(True Detective)..etc..form a terrific ensemble cast with all the other actors.
Love the show! And over 70 episodes I think..we don't binge watch..  so it will last a long time..finished Season 1 and it was nothing short of great.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Strawberry ~Lavender Cream Cheese Pound Cake~

Oops..I meant cream cheese not sour cream..:)

I would love to go back to Bleu Lavande and see what's changed under the new ownership..but it was quite a trek..
Provence felt closer for some reason..but we went after the Lavender Days~
I have a small amount of lavender growing here..small amount..I wonder why mine never takes like the above pics?
Must be the soil..
Anyway..I do have some of the edible kind..and I still had about 1 1/2 cups of strawberries..from our berry picking day..so I decided to make a Strawberry Cream Cheese Lavender pound cake..I invented part of it..the lavender part..and a touch of almond in the icing..
the rest I gleaned from Food .com..and instead of a Bundt.. I halved the recipe and made a loaf..because that's what I wanted;)

La Recette~ this is it halved..

1 1/2 half sticks of butter softened (I used the Trader Joe one I brought back from Vermont..love their sticks♥)
1/2 pack of Cream Cheese..room temp..(I used my cute Trader Joe one..love their packaging)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs room temp
1 1/2 cup of sifted flour
some edible lavender buds to taste
1 1/2 cup strawberries..sliced..some whole..the wee wee ones..
Beat cream cheese and butter until homogenous..add sugar..beat till pale and fluffy..add eggs one at a time ..beating very well after each addition..
Add flour..mix well
Fold in berries..
Put in your prepped pan and bake in a pre-heated 325 F oven for ap 1 hr and 15 minutes..
Let cool..remove from pan.. I added a glace of powdered sugar..almond extract..and icing sugar..not much..
adorned w/ fresh Lavender sprigs and lavender pearls~
This is a cake for someone who likes a very moist dense cake.
The berries and the cream cheese add the moisture.

In the shade..Goddess of Oy~ Solomom's Seal,Ferns,Heuchera,Hostas,Filipendula, Bleeding Hearts,Sweet Woodruff(ground cover..)..to the right..not shown..Hydrangeas..Phlox..Gooseneck,Hostas..a Diablo Ninebark..all these things are prolific in shade..
The fancy Clematis..that gets wilt unfortunately..you can see it....is Josephine..a real can~ can girl..she is in sun in a front entrance bed..Geranium Rozanne blossoms at the same time..great combo..sedum is there..more hostas.. Shastas..white astilbes..I pack it in..
That curving entrance bed is so much better than it was a few years ago..I ripped out a lot and started over..and everything loves it's place now.
Just gotta figure out Josephine and her wilt:)
I took a photo w/ Waterlogue ..different angle a bit of that bench in the shady garden..wanted to see..if Waterlogue can help a novice..
I like following along..albeit it's like copying..just looking up at my Ipad and down at my paper..I enjoy trying to do what they do.It gives a novice an idea of where to actually put lights and darks in foliage..
If you feel like relaxing w/ a paint brush..paints and paper..pull out your Ipad and Waterlogue;)

PS ..the reason I show what I try and paint..is to encourage you to try and have fun..I have been pleased w / very few of what I have painted..a few birthday cards..some watercolors and oils of the boys..that's it..maybe one or two things from 10 yrs ago..
I think if I show you novice..it's not intimidating...and you may try and find the peace I find in painting♥

Bon weekend!

PPSS  Terry made the Marie Custard Cream cookies ..flawlessly!:)