Baby Birds

One of the things that I enjoy about our neighborhood is the number of birds around. At any time of the day, one can hear birds singing. I believe that these babies, nesting atop one of our gutters, are house finches. With good luck, Mama will return with some food.

BirdsBabiesNest

Wishing you a terrific day …

Grapes in the Garden

A few years ago, a friend gave me a few grape vines from his vineyard. I had just put an arbor in the front garden as a backdrop for wedding ceremonies that we host. I was undecided about what to plant on it, but Joe gave me a Malbec vine and a Cabernet Franc vine. The Malbec vine made it through the first summer but not the winter. Apparently, larger-leaved varietals can struggle in Kansas. The Cabernet Franc vine, however, has been growing strong; and this year, for the first time, it has produced grapes. I don’t have any plans to try wine-making, but it is awfully fun to see the fruit coming along. A good addition to the garden!

GrapesOnArbor

Wishing you a lovely first day of summer!

Chive Blossom Omelettes

Cousin Kate asked me for my Chive Blossom Omelette recipe and so I decided to share it here. Unfortunately, our chives are done blooming for the season – and I don’t have any other herbs flowering today, so I can’t make this recipe to photograph it right now. I am borrowing a chive photo from one of my very early blog posts and giving the recipe anyhow.  I hope that this post inspires you to use some herbs from your garden.

Thank you for the prompt, Kate!

chiveblossoms

2 large eggs, beaten until frothy

about 1 1/2 teaspoons of unsalted butter

optional: a little bit of Vidalia (sweet) onion sautéed in butter

sliced Havarti cheese, torn into several pieces

pinch of garlic powder

salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

about 1 tablespoon of snipped chives and parsley

about 3 chive blossoms, gently torn apart

3  whole chive blossoms for garnish

Directions

Clean the herbs and pat dry with a clean towel before starting.

Preheat a 9″-skillet over medium heat. Add about 1 1/2 teaspoons of unsalted butter to the skillet and swirl it around until the butter just barely begins to sizzle. Immediately pour the eggs in and swirl them around the bottom of the pan. Try not to let the butter or the eggs brown. Turn the heat down, if necessary, while cooking the omelette.

Spoon the onion – if using – over half of the eggs. Top with enough cheese to mostly cover half of the egg mixture. Lightly  sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and fresh ground pepper. When eggs are very nearly set, top with the fresh herbs. Slide the omelette, filled half first, out of the pan and onto a warmed plate, folding the egg side over the filled side as you remove the pan.

Garnish with little creme fraiche (crema), a sprinkle of fresh ground pepper and a few whole chive blossoms. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

The Underrated Chive

Growing and Cooking with Herbs

 

Pinks and Golden Yellows in May Garden

We’ve had a bit of stormy weather here in Kansas over the last few days – with more in store over the next few.

Some of our flowers, especially some of the roses, have gotten bedraggled. Others have really pulled through, thankfully, and they are some of my fragrant varieties; so that is quite nice.

The “Kiss Me Kate” Asiatic Lilies just started opening and are especially saturated with color – I think due to the cooler spring temperatures than we have most years. The coreopsis have also just started to put on their show for the summer.

As you can see from the photos, at this time of year, the color scheme for the garden is one of contrasts predominantly strong pinks and golden yellows. In a few weeks, that shall change. With its long bloom season and variety of perennials, the garden is always changing.

“Kiss Me Kate” mixed in with “Memorial Day” Rose. Spireas in the background and Golden Oregano as ground cover.

LiliesRosesSpirea

LilyKissMeKateProfile

Coreopsis …

Coreopsis2016

RoseSecretPartiallyOpen

Above, “Secret” Rose.

Here in the U.S. it is a holiday weekend – Memorial Day Weekend. Wishing you the best …

Sunny-Rainy Garden

We have had quite a bit of rain this spring. In fact, for the first time in six years, Kansas is not in drought conditions.

At least one big storm passed through the area overnight and when I awoke this morning, the sky was full of ominous-looking clouds. So I wasn’t expecting to a few minutes of glorious sunshine for photographing the garden. By the time that I was done taking and uploading pictures onto my camera, rain clouds had moved back in. Our weather can change almost minute by minute.

Here are a few photos that I got in between bought of rain …

RoseCincoDeMayoRain

RoseMrLincolnRain

RoseLivinEasyRain

GardenLookingWest

As always, wishing you a lovely day whatever the weather might bring!

 

Kumquat Gin & Tonic/Kumquat Tonic

KumquatG&T

Something I enjoy is creating cocktails and recently I made what I thought was a perfect Gin & Tonic … with kumquats! I won’t say that it is “the” perfect Gin & Tonic, because that all depends on what one is in the mood for and on one’s personal taste. (I, also happen to be a fan of Day Lily Gin Tonics for after working in the garden on a sticky hot early summer afternoon.)

Kumquats are very tart, as are limes, so they are a substitute for a squeeze of lime. But they are also sweet enough to eat, so one can consume them after finishing the drink.

Anyhow, here is what you need:

  • a good gin, one that you really like – I used Caorunn
  • chilled tonic water, one that actually has both fizz and flavor, e.g. Canada Dry in small glass bottles (a tart “soda”, e.g. San Pellegrino Limonata, can be substituted for those who like a slightly stronger sweet-tart cocktail)
  • several kumquats, sliced not too thin and not too thick
  • ice

Place the ice and the kumquat slice in a glass. Stir. Pour in gin to your desired strength (approximately a 1:3 gin to tonic ratio is my preference). Top with tonic. Enjoy! Share with friends over the upcoming holiday weekend! Cheers!

A quick note on tonics: if your tonic is flat or flavorless, it will ruin the drink, as will it if your tonic isn’t chilled because the ice cubes will melt too quickly.

When entertaining and serving cocktails, it is important to have fun alcohol-free beverages as well. For a pleasant mocktail, let’s call it a Kumquat Tonic, skip the gin, use the San Pellegrino Limonata (or something similar); don’t skimp on the kumquats … and use a lime slice for garnish. Very colorful and pleasant for hot weather! Again, cheers!

Either way … a delightful way to kick off summer! Best to you …