Spaghetti with Asparagus & Herbs

Spaghetti with Asparagus & Herbs

This dish is designed to highlight the flavors of its fresh ingredients rather than overpowering them with heavy tastes. Serve for lunch or a light dinner with bread, fresh fruit and a light cheese. (Makes about 3 servings.)

Approximate measurements:

12 oz. spaghetti

1 lb. fresh asparagus

2 oz. extra virgin olive oil

1 oz. white balsamic vinegar

4 fresh lemons

several twists of fresh ground green and red peppercorns

1/4 t. sea salt

1/4 c. fresh golden oregano

1 T. fresh flat leaf parsley

1 1/2 t. fresh thyme

1. Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of lightly salted, boiling water.

2. About half way through the cooking time for the spaghetti, put the asparagus on the stove to steam. Cook until crisp tender. Remove from pot then rinse asparagus with cold water and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, combine olive oil, vinegar, juice of 2 of the lemons, fresh ground pepper and salt. Set aside.

4. Submerge herbs in a bowl of cold water to remove any possible dirt or insects. Remove herbs and rinse well. Pat dry. Strip herb leaves from stems. Discard stems and any damaged leaves. If there are any thyme flowers, set them aside for garnish.

5. When the spaghetti is cooked to desired consistency, drain well. Add the olive oil mixture to the pot that the pasta was cooked in. Return spaghetti to the pan and toss with the olive oil mixture.

6. Divide spaghetti between serving bowls. Top with fresh herbs and then with asparagus. Squeeze a little more fresh lemon juice over asparagus and then grind a little more fresh pepper over dish. Garnish with thyme flowers if available. Serve immediately. Enjoy!




Weekly Photo Challenge: In the Background

My husband thinks that I post too many photos of our dogs; but this one always makes me smile, so I had to share it when I saw this week’s theme. I was attempting to take a photo of Abbey when puppy Penny came bounding in. “Hey, whatcha doin’ Ma?”

I hope that this picture brings a smile to your face, too!


A Word A Week Challenge: Angle

I love the way that the old stone buildings around town have so many angles and surfaces. This photo is of one of the windows in the Methodist Church around the corner from us. For more information on this week’s A Word A Week Challenge, see A Word in Your Ear.


Royal Amethyst Rose

I have a weakness for roses. Even though I really didn’t have room for them, I added two beautiful hybrid tea roses to the garden this year, which meant digging up some of my perennials and putting them in pots. One of the roses is Royal Amethyst – a gorgeous and highly fragrant plumish-pink rose.  It is supposed to put on the showiest blooms during cooler weather – which is exactly what we have been having this spring. (We’ll have to see what summer holds in store.)

I wish that I could add a dab of fragrance to this blog to go along with the photos. Can you imagine the fruity-rose scent of these blooms?




Wedding Cake & Flower Girls

It was a lovely day for a wedding. The bride and groom and their families were all smiles. I hope that they have a very happy future together!

After the wedding, I was able to get a few pictures of the cake and of the flower girls. They were so cute! I love the amazement that children experience when looking at a wonderful cake.








Yum! The perfect reward for two hard working little flower girls. Good job, girls!

Sweet Cherry Muffins


Sweet Cherry Muffins

2 c. all purpose flour

1 c. granulated white sugar

1 T. baking powder

1/2 c. melted butter

1 c. buttermilk

2 lg. eggs

2 t. vanilla extract

2 c. dark sweet cherries, pitted and coarsely chopped (frozen ok)

cinnamon sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Prepare 10 1/2-cup ceramic ramekins with butter and flour or with baking spray;  or line 12 standard muffin cups with muffin papers, with butter and flour, or with baking spray.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and baking powder. Set aside.

3. Stir together butter, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla extract until well combined. Stir mixture into dry ingredients until dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Fold in cherries.

4. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups. Using the back of a spoon, shape tops of muffins into a slight mound. Sprinkle tops of muffins with cinnamon sugar.

5. If using ramekins, place ramekins on 2 baking sheets. Bake for about 15 – 20 min for 12 muffins or about 22 – 27 minutes for 10 muffins. Muffins should be firm to the touch when done.

Lions’ Heads Urn

For a while, I have been wanting a beautiful urn for the back garden. Even mature gardens are still always a work in progress. I am delighted to have found this lions’ heads piece which coordinates with our fountain in the front yard. I chose to plant it with bright coral pelargoniums to add cheerful color contrast to the oregano around its base. 


Harvesting Sage

Having noticed earlier today that my sage has started to bloom, I realized that it is time to start thinking about harvesting some herbs. It is hard to believe, given that just a few weeks ago we had snow. It is generally recommended that if one wants to cut sage for drying (or freezing) that one do so before it starts to bloom. I love to see the purple flowers, though, so I disregard that rule and instead collect some stems before they go to seed. It is best to cut them in the morning after the dew has dried but before it gets hot for the day. One should not cut more than about 1/3 of the height of the plant. Sage can be hung in bundles to dry, but I prefer to spread the leaves out on a baking sheet and dry them using the pilot lights in my ovens. 


Multicolor Iris

After serving breakfast, I went outside to do some yard work and realized that I just had to take some photos first. The one below is my favorite of the morning. Unfortunately, I don’t know the name of this variety of iris, but up close and in the right light it is utterly striking. And now, I must get back to weeding. Have a lovely day!