Wednesday, February 28, 2018

On the fly...


Many projects have overshadowed this one lately, but a few occasional good meals have been happening despite the chaos. It will be a breath of fresh air when most everything on the plate soon comes from the garden. 
Until then, 
grateful for what we have....







Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Snow Day

8am


Late morning (snow ice cream)


Noon 


Next day  (fulfilling orders)


Afternoon


Supper

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Perhaps the World Ends Here

My friend from childhood sent this poem to me years ago and it remains a vivid reminder of why this blog still has a heartbeat:


 Perhaps the World Ends Here



The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.
We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.
It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.
At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.
Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.
This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.
Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory.
We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.
At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.
Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.


--Joy Harjo

Monday, September 11, 2017

Chocolate Wafer Icebox cake: It's Been So Long....



Well, things have shifted gears over here for those of you still occasionally tuning in. My last post was on the Spring equinox and here we are approaching autumn. Shameful. 

After officially launching Mountain Floral, good ol' Girl In An Apron got the cold shoulder. Not on purpose. It's just there are only so many hours in a day, and I am afraid those hours have been parceled out judiciously: turning soil, weeding, cooking on the fly (or barely cooking at all), fine-tuning websites, delivering flowers in the sweltering heat...hoping they don't droop, invoicing, working with brides on color schemes, so on and so on. 

But, the show does go on in the food world. After all, eating still has to happen. And on occasion, so does cake. However, in the heat of summer, baking is not an awesome pastime---in my opinion. 

My friend gifted me a recipe card featuring an old fashioned icebox cake printed by Blue Apron, and it was clear it needed to be made. My neighbor had extended family visiting from abroad, so it provided the perfect opportunity to make the recipe to bring to her welcoming party. It got eaten quickly. The rose garnish (pictured) did not. 

Decorate this stack with florals you still have in your garden, before the frost (obviously leave out the noxious). This could easily stand-in as the new 'Autumn Equinox Cake'. Though I hope to be posting again before winter solstice. 

Thank you for reading friends. Happy (cake) eating!



Icebox Cake Recipe (Blue Apron)
INGREDIENTS
4 Cups Heavy Cream½ Cup Powdered Sugar
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 Tablespoons Almond Liqueur
2 9-Ounce Packages Chocolate Wafer Cookies
5 Ounces Dark Chocolate
Make the whipped cream
In a large bowl, combine the heavy cream and powdered sugar; using a whisk, beat until soft peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the vanilla extract and almond liqueur.
Assemble & refrigerate the cake
Spread a thin, round layer (about 4 inches in diameter) of the whipped cream onto the bottom of a flat serving dish or cake dish. Arrange 7 cookies, side by side, in a circle around the circumference of the whipped cream layer. Place 1 cookie in the center. Carefully and evenly spread about ¾ cup of the whipped cream over the cookies to create another round layer. Repeat with the remaining whipped cream and cookies, finishing with the whipped cream on top. Carefully cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or up to overnight).
Shave the chocolate & finish the cake
Just before serving the cake, place the chocolate on a clean, dry work surface. Carefully drag the blade of a knife over the surface of the chocolate to create thin shavings. Garnish the cake with the chocolate shavings.



Sunday, April 2, 2017

Nettle Chickweed Soup for the Equinox and Other Stories



Every spring we kick things off with some wild food, usually nettles since they are getting a good lead on other new-growth by the time the equinox rolls around. Some chickweed made it into the pot as well, why not. As this has proved to be a challenging season health wise (we seem to have been the favorite hosts of most viruses and colds going around kindergarten this year), this particular recipe was part of a plan to kick our uninvited guests out for good. No more freeloading illnesses. Green is such a great cleanser, especially this time of year. The recipe is loose:


Creamy Nettle and Chickweed Soup:
*1 sweet onion, chopped
*3 celery stalks, chopped
*3 cloves garlic, minced
*sea salt
*black pepper
*5 medium gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
*5-6 cups bone broth 
*5 cups fresh young nettles, washed 
*3/4 cup half and half or cream
*1 cup fresh chickweed, washed 

Saute the onion and celery in butter in a large soup pot over medium heat until tender. Add garlic. Saute. Season with salt and pepper. Add the potatoes. Stir. Add the broth, lower heat and simmer gently until the potatoes are very tender. Add the fresh nettles and stir until gently wilted but still bright green. Remove pot from heat and allow to cool slightly. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor until very smooth with the fresh chickweed. Return to the soup pot and whisk in the cream. Reheat and serve with some edible flowers and fresh chives.


Some other sweet images from life lately:

~The annual orchid show returned to the NC Arboretum with some absolute beauties.~


~I have launched my new floral website in anticipation of the upcoming season for weddings and special occasions. This was a fun, early spring arrangement from around the property. Mountainfloral.org~



~While we were under the weather, eating lots of comfort food (and still snapping photos).~


~A stroll to a favorite little patch of bloodroot proved to be good timing.~ 



~Yes, we too have hopped on the broccoli-sprout train.~



~Collards from the garden.~ 



~One pan supper with tons of spinach pesto.~



Welcome (belated) to Spring! Much to come. . . 



Sunday, February 26, 2017

Savory Mushroom Broth



I owe this one to my friend Ben. He's a passionate vegan, and very fine host. He makes his broth from little more than an assortment of steeped mushrooms, but it's rich and punches you with umami. I've recreated it loosely many times since. The following recipe is very approximate. It's fun to play around with what goes into the broth itself, and then what accompanies it into the soup bowl. We use this for build-your-own ramen night. 



Savory Mushroom Broth:

*3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
*1 onion, chopped
*2 celery stalks, chopped
*3 garlic cloves, minced
*3-4 cups fresh mushrooms, assorted, chopped
*6 cups water
*4 whole peppercorns
*tamari
*red wine
*sea salt

Heat olive oil or butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and garlic. Saute until the onion is browned and translucent. Add the mushrooms and saute until tender. Transfer all contents of skillet (including any liquid) to a large soup pot, add water and peppercorns. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Season with small splashes of red wine and tamari to taste (keep in mind the salt in the tamari will intensify if you plan to reduce your broth). Lower heat to medium and simmer until broth reaches desired richness, 40 minutes to 2 hours. Adjust seasonings and add sea salt if needed. Strain broth through a sieve before serving.

Load soup bowls with cooked udon, scallions, cilantro, avocado, seaweed, soft boiled egg, poached fish, chili oil, etc. Pour hot broth over soup ingredients. Top with toasted sesame oil and sesame seeds. Serve.