Clematis are the queen of flowering vines. Alluring, diverse, they are best known for their large striking flowers in a wide range of colors from white to pink, red to burgundy, yellow and even black, but never orange. The clematis can be bodaciously large such as the showy flat-faced flowers of the hybrids or gracefully petite with elegant bell-shaped flowers. For sheer flowering power, few flowers rival the clematis. Continue reading
Monthly Archives: August 2016
Take-out Tuesday, September Soup & Squash Croutons
The French Gardener Kitchen has been a little quiet as we are getting ready to move to temporary housing during some construction work in our home. This recipe for a very unique and flavorful soup comes to you from one of my favorite bloggers, Jenna@ The Painted Apron. Enjoy!
A double treat’s in store today, a lightened up chowder made with roasted yellow squash and corn, topped with crispy bacon
AND Parmesan Squash Croutons!
Let’s make the croutons first so we can nibble on them while the soup simmers
All you need is some tempura batter mix, the old fashioned Parmesan cheese in the signature green bottle, or any finely grated Parmesan, and some oil for frying
Dip in batter, coat with Parm, and fry!
Sprinkle with kosher or sea salt
Try not to eat them all while you’re making the soup 😋
Roast squash slices on a parchment lined sheet until done, 20 minutes or so at 400
Give it a rough chop
While the squash is roasting, fry bacon until crispy and saute the onion and celery in bacon drippings until soft
Stir in flour making a thick roux, and then add 2 cups of the broth…
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Lobster Ravioli with Charred Corn, Pancetta, Tomatoes and Arugula
With the dog days of summer in full swing, are you looking for quick cook meals that get you out of the kitchen fast and don’t heat things up any more than necessary? I know I am! This dish is just as easy to throw together as a salad but is a little more substantial and still takes full advantage of the abundant summer garden produce. We love lobster and went with lobster raviolis. Plus they are so pretty with their red stripes and they pair perfectly with summer corn. Any raviolis you enjoy are perfectly fine to substitute.
Blackberry Lily: Hummingbird Magnet
“A flash of harmless lightning. A mist of rainbow dyes, the burnished sunbeam brightening from flower to flower he flies.”
John Banister Tabb
When my children were little, we would often sit quietly at dusk waiting to see if a hummingbird would alight on one of our flowers. If we were rewarded to see one hover nearby, our hearts would fill with wonder and joy. Many years later, I still count seeing a hummingbird as one of life’s greatest privileges. My garden is filled with brightly colored flowers known to attract these beautiful birds: columbines, foxgloves, daylilies, impatiens, petunias, phlox, coral bells, penstemmon to name a few. But my garden’s star attraction to hummingbirds is the little known perennial, blackberry lily(Iris domestica), which grows just outside my kitchen window. Also known as leopard flower, leopard lily or the fun “freckle face” for obvious reasons, this hardy perennial grows in zones 5-10.
Maple Glazed Apple-Oatmeal Cookies
“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” Martin Luther
When I came across this cookie in the September issue of Family Circle Magazine, I knew I would be trying it out. Oatmeal and apple? Count me in! With less than a cup of flour, 3 cups of rolled oats, egg whites, no leavening agent and chock full of chopped apples, it was a pretty healthy version of a classic oatmeal cookie. The recipe called for jumbo sizes but I made them regular-sized and got twice as many cookies. The texture is a bit granola-like with big soft chunks of apple and a nice spicy note. The maple glaze puts these over the top! Turn them into a fall ice cream sandwhich by pressing a scoop of maple-walnut ice cream between 2 cookies. A delicious back-to-school lunch box cookie with a big dose of fiber and fruit. A+
Skinny Dipping: Individual 7-Layer Mediterranean Dip
Love Greek salad? Hummus? Need a fresh way to enjoy summer tomatoes, cucumbers and red peppers? Look no further! You don’t usually think low-cal, healthy when thinking of dips but this knock-out gorgeous dip really is! To make it, layer your favorite hummus in the bottom of a pretty glass. Top with all the fixins’ of Greek salad: diced cucumber, sliced Kalamata olives, chopped roasted red peppers, crumbled feta and a handful of quartered cherry heirloom tomatoes and diced red onion. Let the tomatoes drain a bit before assembly to reduce their moisture content. I added different toppings to mine: fresh oregano leaves, toasted pine nuts, diced avocado, a few turns of the pepper mill. I offered lemon wedges on the side. I served mine with grilled sourdough bread that we brushed with olive oil on both sides, then toasted over a hot grill for about a minute and a half, turning often. Finish it with a sprinkle of sea salt and cut into triangles. I found it handled the weight of the dip ingredients better than pita. This dip is so easy, you don’t need a recipe. Dig in! Clothing optional. Continue reading
Goat Cheese Stuffed Hisbiscus Flowers
My friend Anca is the finest of hostesses. When she received our Italian conversation group, one of the appetizers she served elicited a lot of intrigue and delight. It was a small little amuse-gueule, with a star-like shape which held a tiny ball of goat cheese. Anca revealed it was a hibiscus flower imported from Australia, (available on Amazon), sold in a simple syrup. I promptly ordered a jar and served them on a cheese platter at a dinner I hosted. No one could guess what they were but we had fun trying! Continue reading