table dressing: new years eve

December 31st, 2012 | Posted by admin in TABLE DRESSING - (0 Comments)

A bit of sparkle, always perfect for a special night!  Mix silver and gold… it all works.



recipe: veal stew

December 21st, 2012 | Posted by admin in Entrées | RECIPES | Soup - (0 Comments)

This is a great one pot meal for winter entertaining.  You’ll want to reheat the leftovers as the next day it’s even better.


• 28-30 cipollini onions
• 4 tablespoons olive oil
• 6 pounds veal stew meat, cut up into 1 inch pieces
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
• 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
• 1-1/2 cups dry white wine
• 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (homemade is the best!)
• 1 (14-1/2 ounce) can diced San Marzano tomatoes in juice
• 28 small red potatoes, peeled and halved or quartered
• 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
• 2-3 turnips, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


• Peel the onions and cut off the ends.

• Next heat the 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy pot or casserole over medium-high heat (I use an 8 quart iron pot).

• Sprinkle the veal with salt and pepper.  Toss the veal with the flour in a large bowl to coat.

• Working in 3 batches, add the veal to the pot and cook until browned, adding another tablespoon of oil as needed, about 10 minutes per batch.

• Using a slotted spoon, transfer the browned veal to a bowl.

• Add the garlic and thyme to the same pot and saute over medium heat until tender, about 30 secords.

• Next add the wine and simmer over medium-high heat until reduced by half, stirring to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pot, about 5 minutes.  Return the veal to the pot.

• Stir in the broth and tomatoes with their juice.  Cover partially and simmer over medium-low heat for 15 minutes.

• Add the onions, potatoes, turnips, and carrots to the stew and simmer uncovered until the veal and vegetables are tender and the juices are thick, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.

• Stir in the parsley.  Season the stew to taste with salt and pepper.

The stew is ready to serve.  Enjoy!




winter containers

December 21st, 2012 | Posted by admin in FLOWERS | Outdoor - (1 Comments)

Weather had been great so I was still planting winter containers and having fun with all the amazing materials.

Here is another winter container using birch branches pepper berries and a variety of greens.



christmas container

December 4th, 2012 | Posted by admin in FLOWERS | Outdoor - (0 Comments)

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!



recipe: albondigas soup

December 4th, 2012 | Posted by admin in RECIPES | Soup - (0 Comments)

This is a great meal in itself.  I serve it with chopped cilantro, homemade tortilla strips, and a good Mexican beer.  The recipe is from “The Family Chef” by Jewels & Jill Elmore.


Serves 6-8

• A few glugs of olive oil
• ½ large sweet onion, finely diced
• 1 large shallot, finely diced
• 2 handfuls shitake or crimini mushrooms, finely diced
• ½ handful fresh thyme leaves
• Salt & pepper to taste
• 1 clove garlic, finely diced
• ½ bunch parsley (flat-leaf or regular), finely chopped
• 2 pounds ground dark meat turkey (I also like to use 1 ½ pounds ground dark meat turkey and ½ pound ground pork)

• ½ large sweet onion, diced
• 2 stalks celery, diced
• 1 large tomato, diced, or a small can of crushed tomatoes
• 8 cups chicken stock or broth
• 2 pinches Mexican oregano and/or dried cilantro
• Salt to taste


• Prepare the meatball mixture: In a hot skillet add the oil and then sauté the onions, shallot, mushrooms, thyme, salt, and pepper until mushrooms are cooked through and liquid is absorbed.

• Add the garlic and parsley.  Remove from heat and let cool.

• Add all the sautéed ingredients to the meat, season again generously with salt and pepper and mix together lightly by hand.  Be careful not to over mix, which can toughen the meat.

• If you have time, let the meat rest for a few minutes before forming into 1” meatballs.

• In a large-bottomed pot, brown the meatballs in olive oil, turning frequently.  Set aside.

• Prepare the soup: In the pan you used to brown the meatballs, add a touch more oil and sauté the chopped onion and celery until soft and translucent, scraping the bits from the pan to incorporate the flavors.

• Add the fresh tomatoes and the chicken stock, oregano, and cilantro to pot.  Bring to a boil.

• Turn down the heat to medium and simmer for at least 15 minutes or so.

• Add the meatballs to the pot.  Simmer until meatballs are cooked through (about 10 more minutes).

• Add salt to taste.

This soup gets even better the next day!




winter container

December 4th, 2012 | Posted by admin in FLOWERS | Outdoor - (0 Comments)

Changing seasons means changing your container gardens.  A variety of greens: pine, cedar, boxwood, and curly willow help make this pot special.



recipe: pam’s chili

December 1st, 2012 | Posted by admin in Entrées | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

The hard part for me when cooking is actually writing down the recipe.  Some things like stews, soups, and chili sort of morph as I cook and may change a bit each time… hopefully always improving.  I think I have this recipe down but as I always taste and retaste the amounts of chili powder and ground cumin could change.  Start with what I have written down and I encourage you to add your own twist to this classic comfort food.


• 1-1/2 lb ground skirt steaks
• 1lb sirloin steak cubed (try to cut out fat)
• 1 large can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
• 1 large can peeled San Marzano tomatoes
• 2 large carrots, diced
• 1 small red pepper, diced
• 2 medium onions, diced
• 2 tablespoons of olive oil
• 4 cloves of garlic
• 1 can pinto beans
• 1 can cannellini beans
• 1 can black beans
• 2 cans of red kidney beans
• 3 tablespoons of chili powder
• 2 tablespoons of ground cumin
• Salt & Pepper
• 1 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)



• Heat the oil in a large heavy deep pan; add onions and chili flakes (optional). 10 minutes approx.

• Next add garlic, red pepper, and carrots.

• Now brown the meat and drain any extra fat and return to pan.

• Add tomatoes, beans, chili powder, cumin, and salt & pepper to taste.

• Cook on low for an additional 20-25 minutes.  Serve with a variety of toppings, onions, cheese, cilantro, avocados, jalapenos… sour cream… oyster crackers.

• I serve this chili with corn cakes… always good!  Enjoy!