Monthly Archives: March 2013

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Garden Snippet: Helleborus -Lenten Rose

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I spent the day looking through catalogs of perennials, annuals, and vegetable seeds. I’m so happy to have found this job 🙂

Anyway, Helleborus is a genus of perennial flowers, much like this one. Its called “lenten rose” because of its bloom time; early early spring. Its often one of the first things to emerge. So though it can’t out compete an Asiatic Lily on looks and fragrance, it certainly lets everyone know that Spring is coming! One of my favorites!

Holiday Planning.

Gabe and I are hosting our first holiday meal, in our new home. His family is coming up for Easter.  We’ve settled on a pork roast with garlic mashed potatoes, bourbon glazed carrots, and pan roasted asparagus. I’m also serving dinner rolls (of course) but because of my brother in law, I’m making them gluten free. I’ve also found a good recipe for a GF yellow cake, so I’m going to make a strawberry shortcake-cake- with homemade whipped cream.

Our trip to King Arthur Flour was awesome! Any time I need anything baking related that is the place to go, not only do they carry their full line of flours and mixes but all kinds of related items. And they offer classes ALL the time. I’m excited to go back and get some other cool things, but all we bought the other day was some flour- and coffee beans for Gabe. They have some of those obscure baking items that you can’t usually find in a grocery store- like food gel for making macrons, and all kinds of great gadgets. To top it all off, they have a bakery/cafe where you can have lunch!

 

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Ciabatta Bread: Finished.

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Just out of the oven. Topped with olive oil, coarse sea salt, and herbs.

Ciabatta Bread.

When I first received my KitchenAid, all I could think about (besides how easy baking all of those Christmas cookies would become) was baking bread. Lots and lots of yeast breads. I have tried hand kneading, and I just lack the patience and discipline to knead sticky dough for 10 minutes. But with an appliance, oh yes! In the year that I have had the appliance, I have mastered the crusty french loaf (see previous post, Perfect Bread for Soup) as well as Gabe’s favorite whole wheat sandwich bread. I have discovered that baking yeast breads is a delicate balance of wet to dry ingredients  there is no room to “wing” it, but once it all comes together it really is a forgiving substance. Which is just about perfect for me, since I hate to wing it in the kitchen and my technique still isn’t as good as those guys on America’s Test Kitchen.

Today I’m making ciabatta bread, with a recipe from ATK. I like their bread recipes, they are easy to follow and the cookbook is full of great instructional photographs. This recipe is long, but so worth it in the end. This is my dough after it came out of the mixing bowl. It’s still rising on the countertop.

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On to the Bread!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Future Tense

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Nothing exemplifies to me the possibility of the future more than small plants. Seedlings especially (but I don’t have any good seedling pictures right now) because of how much energy is packed into that small plant; only to utilize it and become something so spectacular. This is a “sunpatiens” impatiens. It’s great because they tolerate being in the sun and are resistant to Impatiens Downy Mildew.

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Garden Snippet- Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly weed)

Asclepias tuberosa- Butterfly weed

I am ashamed to admit that this photo came from the Univ. of Texas Ag department. I have one of my own..somewhere, but I couldn’t locate it on my hard drive.
Anyway! This sibling to milkweed is another excellent butterfly attracting native plant. The Asclepias genus is full of bright colored annuals (Mexican blood flower- has red and yellow flowers) as well as perennials, and all are attractive to butterflies, not just the commonly known milkweed.
Remember, a plant is only a weed because someone didn’t want it in their garden.

Cottage Life.

I think at this point it is safe to say that we have settled in. Of course two days after we arrived we got a foot of snow.. I really hope that was the last significant snowfall for New England.

We went snowshoeing yesterday afternoon, the property that we are living on backs right up to the Appalachian Trail. Gabe is excited because this means that we can do some overnights without traveling at all. The nearest lean-to is about 3 miles away, which is a perfect distance.

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Kittens have settled in, I’m pretty sure they are just as happy to be here and out of the last place as we are. It’s so bright and sunny; the exact opposite of the hole we were living in. As you can see in the picture, the stairs that lead to our loft bedroom are a spiral staircase  The cats are totally in love. Delilah likes to sit on in and keep an eye on everyone, and Reg and Gabe play through it.

Overall, we are settling in nicely and are excited for things to pick up. I start my job on Monday and while I am excited, I’m also a little nervous. Today we tackled the spice storage issue, and tomorrow we are planning to visit the King Arthur flour shop; its a good excuse to check it out (and the Cabot annex nearby) and I need some more bread flour. I hear its not any cheaper to buy at the shop than in the store, but I want to go just the same.

Tomorrow’s Garden Snippet? I’m thinking another native favorite of mine… Butterfly weed.