Friday, August 30, 2013

Zucchini Bites

A Week of Zucchini ~ Day 5 ~ Zucchini Bites
This is my first year growing these Baby Globe Zucchini.  I think they are just so darn cute, looking like they are going to be little green pumpkins, but they are every bit a zucchini.  
Having some beautiful Dr Wyche Heirloom tomatoes, one of the best tasting yellow tomatoes to be found, ready to harvest at the same time as the zucchini started the wheels turning.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Zucchini & Tomato Tian

A Week of Zucchini ~ Day 4 ~ Zucchini & Tomato Tian

Now you might be wondering what a Tian is, right?  Wikipedia states that a Tian is an earthenware vessel that is used for cooking and serving and it is also the name of the dish prepared in it.  Over time, the classic cone shaped vessel from the Provence region in France has changed as well as the dish itself.  In the 18th Century a Tian was typically a lean stew, where the modern Tian is a dish cooked with no added liquid and generally made with vegetables alone, more commonly called a gratin in the United States.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Zucchini, Brown Rice, Peppers & Cheese

A Week of Zucchini ~ Day 3 ~ Zucchini & Brown Rice
This is one of those comforting one pot meals that I could eat for days.  I adapted this recipe from one in the May/June 2009 issue of Eating Well.  When I make it for vegetarian friends, I exchange the chicken broth for vegetable.  If you'd like to make it even heartier, add cooked turkey kielbasa or sausage.
Zucchini & Brown Rice Casserole

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Curried Zucchini Soup

A week of Zucchini ~ Day 2 ~ Curried Zucchini Soup

Inspired by a recipe in Bon Appetit, I used two curry spices, traded the vegetable oil for coconut oil and added both toasted shredded coconut and cashews to the final dish.  I was pleasantly surprised with a thick, creamy and delicious soup.

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Week of Zucchini ~ Nut Muffins

Zucchini season has arrived.  Neighbors are giving them away.  Co-workers are dragging large bags to work, setting them in the office kitchen with a note that reads please help yourself.  I'm going to share a recipe for zucchini every day this week, and not one of them will be for bread...because everyone has at least one recipe for that.
I clipped this first recipe from the Miami Herald Newspaper thirty years ago and it has been a favorite ever since.  Slightly different than bread, this recipe is for zucchini muffins. Unlike bread, when making muffins, I don't squeeze the excess moisture from the zucchini, otherwise they'd be too dry.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Butchart Gardens ~ Over 100 Years in Bloom

While on vacation in Canada last month, my friend Kitty and I visited the fabulous Butchart Gardens, which had long been a dream of mine.  After hours of wandering the gardens and hundreds of photos snapped, we wanted to share the beauty of this amazing place.  Before coming home, we collaborated on an article and submitted it to the Key West Citizen Newspaper.  Here is the article as published.

Over 100 years in bloom and still going at Butchart Gardens  by Lori Harryman and Kitty Somerville

Friday, August 23, 2013

Agastache ~ Friday's Flower

If there is a plant that attracts both hummingbirds and butterflies, is hardy in zone 5, there is a good chance you will find it growing in my yard.  The Agastache, also known as Hummingbird Mint, Mosquito Plant, but more commonly Hyssop, is one of these plants.  It likes full sun, blooms between July and October and depending on the variety, of which there are many, grows between 2-4' tall.  
These two 'Black Adder' Hyssop plants were set at the back of the split rail fence last fall.  An easy care perennial, drought tolerant once established, they feature long wands that support dark purple bracts where soft lavender blooms emerge.  Unlike most plants, it's anise scent comes from the green foliage and not from the flower.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Green Bean, Red Rice & Almond Salad

Fresh green beans are plentiful this time of year.  The French Market Cookbook, written by Clotilde Dusoulier, pairs red rice with freshly steamed green beans for a tasty side dish.  A handful of ingredients produce a wonderfully nutty dressing that comes together quickly.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Hosta ~ Friday's Flower

Native to Japan, Korea and China, the Hosta is also referred to as a Plaintain LilyWhen grown in the wild, the leaves on this shade tolerant plant are usually green.  Nurseries carry a wide variety of greens, even a frosty blue.  The elongated heart shaped leaves can be edged in yellow, cream or white, with the reverse also possible; edged in green with white, yellow or cream as the dominate color.
The broad leafed perennial Hosta is grown from rhizomes, which are horizontal underground stems that produce shoots above and roots below.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tomato Time Is Near

The number one vegetable planted by back yard gardeners is the tomato.  Some of us see more than the garden in front of us, we have a bigger picture in our mind.  We envision the pantry shelf filled with dozens of quart jars, waiting to be called on during the winter as a base for soup, stew, chili and marinara sauce.  Every year I tell myself I'm not going to plant as many as last year, but for the past several years it seems I haven't been listening.

I will say this in my defense, five of the eighteen tomato plants are strictly for canning purposes.  The San Marzano has very few seeds and makes a delicious sauce.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Arbutus Menziesii ~ Friday's Flower

Last month while vacationing in Canada, we hiked Jocelyn Hill in the Gowlland Range, part of the Urban Mountains in Victoria, BC and were rewarded with this stunning view looking South toward Mt. Wells.
While there isn't a flower in this post, the distinctive Arbutus tree, more commonly known as the Pacific Madrone and Strawberry tree in British Columbia, is worthy of highlighting.  It's an evergreen tree with a unique red papery bark that naturally peels away, exposing a smooth green trunk.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Today's Garden Happenings

Walking back to the garden I do Breathe In, and currently I'm having to duck down as I enter, otherwise I'd be hit on the head by the birdhouse gourds.
To my delight, the Wisteria is having a second flush of flowers.  I did a lot more trimming today, trying to keep the wispy ends in check.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Fishing for Salmon....and Catching

Our first instructions: be at the dock by 6 AM and have your fishing licenses.  I've heard before, 'If you're early you're on time, if you're on time you're late.'  We were early to the dock in Sooke, British Columbia, Canada, and you couldn't ask for a better start to the day.
Our Captain was a Frenchman named Luc.  He had been chartering his 25' boat, For Play, for seven years.  Upon our arrival, Luc asked if we liked crab...all four of us were he quickly filled a trap with bait that we would check before returning to the dock.  Water was calm, spirits were high, sun was coming up, a fast ride to our first spot and we started

Friday, August 2, 2013

Plume Poppy ~ Friday's Flower

The Plume Poppy, Macleaya Cordata, is drought tolerant once it's established, and a lovely perennial that looks good from the ground up.  Just because it can reach eight feet in height doesn't mean it's meant to be in the back of the garden.
It's gray-green lobed leaves can grow up to eight inches across and are just as interesting as the flowers.  I have Coral-Plume, which has light coral-pink flowers growing on thick large stems that do not need to be