Sunday, April 29, 2012

Mr. & Mrs. Robin Build a Nest

Two weeks ago today, I was once again startled by Marion's boisterous exuberance while drinking my morning coffee. I stayed up half the night attempting to put the last two weeks into words, when it dawned on me that in some cases words just won't do. So today I present you Our Robin's Nest in the making:

I'm leaving for Idaho on Tuesday so this will be my last post until I return. There are so many days to celebrate in the Yummy Month of May, I do hope you will Party Hardy because I know for sure I will! It seems, the grandkids have big plans for this year's visit so it may take me a few days to recuperate when I return:)

As usual, I will have limited access to the internet unless my daughter Michele finds the time to teach me how to use my new MacAir, which I'm bringing with me. We'll see how that goes:)

Enjoy the merry month of May everyone and I'll see you soon, Louise.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Delightful Surprise!

It's a cold and blustery day here in central PA, so you can image my delight when I found this in the garden during my morning "check-up."

The first of many I hope:)

I've been taking daily pictures of this nest since April 15, 2012. Watch for my post on Sunday! Enjoy, Louise.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Today is...National Pretzel Day!

The Dutiful, the firemen of Hartford
are not without reward
A temple of Apollo on a velvet sward
And legend has it that small pretzels come
Not from Reading but from Rome
A suppliant's folded arms twisted by a thumb.
Marianne Moore, Pretiolae (1950)

Happy Pretzel Day! Did you know National Pretzel Day was first proclaimed by Congress way back in 1983 to recognize and celebrate the art of pretzel-making and the evolution of the pretzel industry.

According to some resources, Pennsylvania produces 80% of the nation's pretzels. No wonder Pennsylvania's former Governor, Ed Rendell re-claimed April 26th as "National Pretzel Day in 2003" Pretzels are an important part of Pennsylvania history and economy. Why all this fanfare over the humble pretzel you may wonder? Well, "consider" the pretzel plaque below:)

The Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery remains a tradition in Lititz, Pennsylvania. And, that salt-besprinkled twist of dough as Dr. Preston Barba calls them, claims its fame is Moravian in origin. I found an article in a magazine called The Dutchman published in 1955. You may recognize the name of the food editor Edna Eby Heller. Edna Eby Heller is the author of many Pennsylvania Dutch Cookery books including The Art of Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking which was published around 1976, I believe. Here is an excerpt from her article in The Dutchman. (the above scan comes from the article also.)

The Lititz Pretzel can truly be called Moravian in origin. The original recipe itself belonged to Moravians. Throughout these ninety-four years since Julius Sturgis began manufacturing pretzels from the formula received from an itinerant baker many pretzel bakeries have opened in Lititz.

Have you ever wondered where the pretzel came from? The word itself, though German, was taken from Latin pretiola, meaning "little gift." In the Palatinate they were once given as rewards to children who learned their prayers. The shape of the pretzel suggested a pair of folded arms, an attitude of supplication. what a significant beginning for the lowly pretzel. From this grew our present multi-million dollar industry.

I suppose it's time to mention Auntie Anne's pretzel company which is also based out of PA. Dare I say, I'm not much of a fan of Auntie Anne's pretzels? However, I know many of you are. It seems Auntie Anne's has launched a new pretzel variety, Almond. I haven't tried it yet and probably won't. Have any of you tried it? It just so happens that I have a rather interesting recipe handy for Almond Pretzels from The Settlement Cookbook (1938 ed.) by Mrs. Simon Kander.

Almond Pretzels
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 lb. almonds, ground
2 cups flour
2 yolks and
2 whole eggs
Cream butter and sugar, add eggs, the almonds, unblanched, and the rest of the ingredients. Mix and knead into one big roll. Let stand in ice chest to harden. Cut into pieces size of walnut. Roll each piece 1/2 inch thick and form into hearts, rings, cresents and pretzels. Bake in a moderately slow oven, 325 degrees.

Many of us think of pretzels as those treats we find in canisters or bags. You know pretzel logs, bites, sticks or the infamous hard shaped pretzel. I must admit, I've become rather fond of those as of lately. It has to do with the amount of time I've been spending at the computer:) I don't know about you "guys" but I have a tendency to "nosh" a bit while I'm flying about. And sometimes, those bites seem to add up into a whole lot of calories. I found myself grabbing at anything small and handy that would fit by my side and fulfill my every whim when those hunger pangs arrived, frequently after reading one of your mouth watering blogs:) One day when Marion and I went shopping, she stuffed a bag of Snyder's Olde Tyme Pretzels in the cart.

It immediately clicked in my head that Marion munches on pretzels while she's crocheting! Many a time I have visited her in her living room only to find her with a paper plate full of pretzels. She like the Sourdough variety:) On the plate you can see bits of glistening salt. She rubs the salt off and on to the plate and then neatly piles the broken pretzel on her lap. I guess it makes it easier for her to nibble as she pearls. Or is that in knitting? Anyway, she has quite a system. I guess after 93 years it's more like a habit:)

In The Secret Life of Food, by Martin Elkort, there is a brief explanation of the travels of the pretzel.

The pretzel comes not from Germany, as you might guess, but from Italy. The Italian word for pretzel, bracciatelli means "folded arms," a reference to its shape. According to legend, the pretzel was invented by a monk in Northern Italy in 1610, who baked pretzels in the shape of folded praying arms as prizes for his students who recited their catechism without error.

I don't remember ever being rewarded with "braided arms" when I was in Catholic School. I do remember a few rulers though:)

As many of you know, I have joined the world of "pinning." Pinterest enthralls me, although, I'm not exactly sure why. But anyway, I started a Pretzel Day Board on Pinterest a while back and I tell you, it has been so much fun! I had no idea there were so many delicious recipes available for both soft baked pretzels and those we buy at the grocery store. Not being a baking kinda gal, it just never would occur to me to actually make my own pretzels; dream as I might. However, there are oodles of home bakers such as yourselves who create all kinds of varieties!

National Pretzel Day

For those of you who are not on Pinterest, yet, here are a few of the links:

1. Raspberry Pretzel Salad
2. Copy Cat Recipe – Auntie Anne’s Pretzels
3. Pretzel and M&M Chocolate Cheesecake
4. Best Homemade Pretzels (not pictured)
5. Ham & Cheese Pretzel Bites (not pictured)
6. Braided Soft Pretzels

And for you Paula Deen fans out there, Paula Deen's Strawberry Pretzel Salad

If any of you would like to include a link to your favorite pretzel post, by all means, leave it in the comment section. Nothing like "braiding arms" across the internet I always say:) Happy Pretzel Day!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Garlic Day Chicken

Last time we "met", I told you about the Garlic Day Event Heather was having over at her place. Well, as luck would have it, my plans to join the festivities were rudely interrupted. So, if you don't mind, I'd like to share my attempt at Garlic Day Chicken today instead. Okay? Okay...

I can't actually give you a "recipe" because I kinda sorta improvised as I went along. Marion doesn't eat garlic so I prepared the chicken breasts in two different ways but baked them in the same pan. I also brined Marion's in a regular solution of salt water, sweetness and spice and the other, which for argument sake we'll call mine, in the reduced leftover water from the 12 cloves of garlic I boiled for the puree. I've never boiled garlic before and was quite surprised by the transformation to an almost sweet, pungent creamy goodness. (I'll definitely be doing that again:) With the garlic water as the base of my brine, I added a bit of leftover coffee, yes coffee, and a few squeezes of orange blossom honey. (I had intentions of making this dish lemony too but I didn't want to take a chance on the coffee leaving a bitter after taste, I was right!)After soaking the breasts for about 5 hours, I removed them from the bine, rinsed them off and began to play! I should tell you, there was a noticeable difference in the color of the coffee brined breast and the others. It had a deep golden hue and surprisingly, the tang of the coffee and the briny aroma of the garlic bath reacted quite well together. Gee, I thought maybe this will work. Except, I really hadn't decided yet what "this" was going to be.I knew that I wanted the garlic puree to be the dressing for the chicken and I also knew the dish had to be flexible enough to satisfy both Marion and I. What to do? I attacked the fridge with my Italian roots in tow. Parsley, fresh tomatoes, olive oil a few capers, and Locatelli cheese.When we were kids, Sunday dinner always included mom's home made Italian Spaghetti Sauce. If we were really lucky, my mother would "throw" in a few braciole in the sauce for us kids. My thought for today's chicken is sorta kinda adapted from those good ol' days:)
What is a braciole, you may ask. Well, I guess that depends on who you ask. There are many, many variations. In their most basic form, they are meat rolls. Williams-Sonoma has a wonderful recipe for Pork Braciole with Tagliatelle and Tomato Sauce. They also offer this explanation:
A Southern Italian specialty, braciole can refer to any cut of meat pounded thin and stuffed with savory ingredients, then rolled and braised to tender perfection. Nearly every local cook has a signature family recipe, with many versions featuring boneless pork loin or shoulder (braciole di maiale). Immigrants brought the dish to the United States, where it plays a starring role in holiday celebrations, Sunday dinners and other festive occasions.
My mother used pork rind for her braciole and they were always stuffed with the same ingredients. Chunks of Locatelli, minced Italian flat parsley, Prosciutto, a little freshly grated bread crumbs, salt, pepper and, lots and lots of garlic all rolled and tied and "thrown" in the sauce. Oh my, just thinking about it is making me feel all warm and fuzzy. The only difference in the ingredients I used for today's chicken, is I didn't roll, instead I draped rashers of bacon over the top of the chicken. But wait, "my chicken" was a bit different. What I did for it, was layer a thick coating of garlic puree which was blended with a little melted butter over the top. Then I added the chopped parsley, chunks of Locatelli and I stuffed a few chopped basil dressed tomatoes in the thickest part of the breast. I figured it would help with cooking the chicken more evenly if the thick side was just barely sliced. (It did!) Then, I put the bacon on top with a sprinkling of red pepper flakes, just because:) That's it in the front.
I tossed the leftover ingredients in a ramekin on top of a thickly sliced piece of fresh Amish bread and sprinkled it with a bit of Olive Oil a spritz of Balsamic Vinegar, and a quick grating of Locatelli.
So, how did it turn out? Well, Marion's chicken was just right. I thught the bacon needed to be crispier but she was taking the bacon off any way and since the chicken was done she couldn't wait for crispy bacon she wanted delectable chicken, minus the garlic of course.
As for mine, it just didn't hit the right note for me. I'm not sure why though. I'd like to try this again minus the coffee brine but truth be told, I probably won't. I think the bitterness in the coffee was too overpowering for the chicken with the thick blanket of garlic. On the other hand, the garlic puree saturated the chicken and I must admit, the delicate flavor reminded me of that most popular dish of the late James Beard, Chicken with Forty Cloves:) The parsley took on a nice crisp bacon like flavor which was really yummy!

The hight note for me was the Bruschetta!
I'm giving myself a pat on the back for sharing this concoction with you today. I almost didn't especially when I saw Heather's inspiring post for Apple Spice Cake with Roasted Garlic and Honey Poached Garlic Sauce. Seriously, Whodda thought!!!

Happy Jelly Bean Day! "See" ya Wednesday:) And don't forget, tomorrow is National Cherry Cheesecake Day!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Sunday State of Mind

As I was running out the door to get the camera out of my car the other night, I was startled by my neighbor who was facing me as I opened the door. She had just finished taping a copy of the annual town wide yard sale flyer on the door window. People around here call her Cricket. I gingerly don't call her anything. Now mind you, I have nothing against the name Cricket. On the contrary, to me the name adds a tone of familiarity. You know sort of a nickname, or an endearing name. I don't know Cricket. Yes, I did speak with her over the phone once. (yes I have a land-line too:) I've driven past her house a few times only because every once in a while I like to take a ride around the block to see how my garden looks from different angles. (yes, I know, weird:) She has the house that is usually quite done up for any kind of occasion. If I were a bit more brazen, I'd take a picture to share. I'm talking done up BIG time, all the time!

Anyway, I thanked Cricket for the flyer and explained to her that once again, I would not be able to make the annual town wide yard sale. Do you have town wide yard sales where you live? Do any of you even go to yard sales? I know a few of you do. IMHO, town wides are thee best as long as you go garage "sailing" in a town where you don't live. Just my opinion. Yard sales in Pennsylvania are not like the ones I 'm use to being from Long Island. I don't know how to explain it so I'll put it in Marion's words. "All they sell around here are clothes and kids toys!" Not good picken's for a woman who is always on the prowl for yarn, I'm afraid.

If you live in the US, you must have heard of the 450 mile yard sale. It's been a while since I went so maybe the miles have increased since then:) It was wonderful. If I remember correctly, it begins up north in maybe, Illinois, but don't quote me on that, and heads right on down to Tennessee, but don't quote me on that either. Oh wait a minute, let me run get a link. How's this?

There, that was easy. Touted as the World's Longest Yard Sale, it is now 690 miles and begins 5 Miles North of Addison, Michigan to Gadsden, Alabama! In case you're wondering, or want to mark your calendars, in 2012, the sale will be from August 2-August 5th. I took a camper and my two nieces when I went and let me tell you, we had a blast! We left the house full fledged scavengers and returned, 7 days later full fledged educated scavengers. What a way to see the USA! (well some of it anyway:) The kids, who are no longer kids, still talk about the best apples they ate in Kentucky. Yes, that's their memory of the World's Longest Yard Sale. Although I too remember those crisp, refreshing newly picked apples that the kind old farmer shared with us on that blistery day. Thankfully, I brought memories back with me in the way of goods. Tangible that is:)
I chatted with Cricket for a while after explaining to her that I couldn't make the yard sale this year because I would be out in Idaho visiting my daughter and her family. It's recital time again, and I'mma goin'. Now don't fret, I'm not leaving until May 1st and I'll only be gone a couple of weeks. And, don't worry about Marion either, her son is coming to stay with her and just before she said good night tonight, I could hear her telling him over the phone that he had better bring walking shoes! (yes, Marion has a landline too:)
So, are you ready to see a few of the treasures I picked up at The World's Largest Yard Sale?

I'm not much of a seamstress, so why oh why do I collect buttons? (the ones in the jar are my least favorite:) This jar is 21 inches tall and very wide:) (I don't do circumferences:) It also weighs a ton.


Look closely at this Owl. Isn't he the coolest thing ever! He's a clock and his eyes are the clock face. To be quite honest, I haven't fiddled with him to get him to work. He doesn't seem to give a hoot either. He just stares the time away.

Time for Tea?

Salt & Pepper Shakers are always a sore spot for me. You might remember the pair I shared on Spill The Salt Day. Quite different than this Piano Salt & Pepper Set, don't you think?

We won't even discuss all the cookbooks I unearthed at the sale, however, when I found this Pillsbury die-cut tucked inside a Betty Crocker Picture book I literally jumped for joy! Die-cut cookbooks are very difficult to find and the fact that it was snuggled up with Betty made it a die-cut with a past:)

Just one more shake...

Perhaps one of the most unusual treasures I bought at the sale was this...I have no idea what to call it or what it is. It struck my eye even though it was filthy when I bought it. A good scrubbing and wah la, I wish I could make out the name of the artist which is on the bottom but, these ol' eyes just "ain't" what they use to be:)

It's probably a good time to tell you the camper was stuffed with "stuff." What you've just seen is a slim portion of what we rustled up:)
Before I go, I wanted to remind you all that Thursday, April 19th is National Garlic Day! I'm really going to try to post a garlic inspired recipe by Wednesday to enter in Heather's National Garlic Event, 2012! I have a very busy business schedule this week so I am not sure I will make it. I do suggest though that you "guys" try to play if you can muster up the time.

Just in case I don't make it, I leave you with this recipe that I found in the Cooking with Garlic cookbook. Notice how it too is shaped like a die-cut but this one is from 2005, cardboard and not nearly as nice as some of the die-cuts I've shared with you on this blog:)

Have a wonderful week. Thank you for sharing your Sunday morning with me:) Louise

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Full Circle

Hi Everyone! How was your holiday? Ours was wonderful! Although I didn't get around to those Castroville Eggs I spoke about the other day, Marion and I did manage to have a delightful breakfast at the neighborhood diner. As for dinner, we went simple; prime rib, roasted rosemary potatoes (although Marion swears Rosemary elevates blood pressure:) and a fresh balsamic roasted vegetable medley of red peppers, onions, mushrooms, and fennel. No, I didn't take pictures:) I did however, turn the leftovers into one heck of a cheese steak monster the next day!

It whipped up in a dash after I rolled out a tube of grand biscuits, covered each layer with the leftover vegetables, including a few potatoes, drizzled some pan juices, and topped it all off with grated Monterery Jack cheese and another rolled out grand. (which is all I had in the fridge:) Pinch the sides bake 15 minutes, Wha La! And, it was yummy!
In general, the day was a quiet one. I saw the grandkids via Skype in the morning before they left for church. (I'm waiting patiently for the "dress-up" pics:) And I spent a little time visiting you "guys" while Marion crocheted two more baby sets for the local hospital.
Without a doubt, the highlight of my day was my visit over at T.W.'s. I can't help it, I always get excited when one of you "guys" cooks up a recipe that I've included in one of my posts. In this case, baked up... That's right kiddies, remember this recipe from St. David's Day?
Well, not only did T.W. share it at his blog Culinary Types, he also included a Daffodowndilly poem by A.A. Milne. Perfect, I thought, now I get to share this Daffy-Down-Dilly illustration by Katharine Wireman. (©1929) This print has been resting in my cedar chest for-ever! Thanks T.W!

American woman illustrator, Katharine Wireman, was born in Pennsylvania in the late 19th century. A woman illustrator in the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century had kind of a hard road, because once you got married, it was usually over. Katharine Wireman continued working after her marriage, doing covers for the Saturday Evening Post, for lots of children's books, and also for Procter & Gamble, where she used her children as the models for their tremendously successful Ivory Soap advertising promotion. (source)
Would you believe one of Katharine Wireman's original oils on canvas was appraised on the Antique Roadshow for between $7,000-$9,000 dollars!

Have a wonderful rest of the week everyone. I'll be back bright and early Sunday morning with a brand new post. In the mean time, I have some more visiting to do:)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Eggs, Artichokes or Both?

While I was trying to catch up on some blog visits the other day, I heard a little voice beckoning me into the living room. It was Marion, of course:)

"I know what I want for breakfast Easter morning," she squealed, as I approached the couch.

"Oh you do, do ya" I answered.

"I don't want you to look at the picture." "I'm just going to tell you the name and you tell me what you think" she bantered:)

Without hesitation, I agreed:)

Marion hasn't been feeling well the last couple of weeks. Nothing serious considering she is 93 years young after all. And she isn't one to complain, quite the contrary. If it weren't for the fact that she visited me out in the garden a couple of weeks ago with her walker at her side, I wouldn't have even known that she was having her Spring attack of the gout! I don't want to sound insensitive, because we do joke about it each year, but, for some reason, a sure sign of Spring's arrival around here is when Marion has to whip out the walker. (don't tell her I told you though she wouldn't like that at all:) We do however, have a very effective remedy, cherries! We haven't quite figured out why the gout attacks are so timely however, Marion has her theories. When asked, her reply is always the same.

"It's nature's way of waking up these old bones, it's as simple as that" she retorts:)

Now before you head out to the supermarket to get your gout supply of cherries, you had better seek out The Best Cherries for the Gout, first. I, on the other hand, have an Easter dish to guess.

"Okay, Marion, shoot."

"Ta Dah" she squeals again, "Castroville Eggs!"

"Is it Eggs with Artichokes?" I answer in an instant.

"It sure is" she exclaimed. I want this for breakfast Easter morning" she says, as she shows me this picture from Recipes from America's Favorite Resorts (©1985)

Castroville Eggs

As you can see, that is not any old Egg and Artichoke dish. How did I immediately know the answer? Well, I sorta kinda guessed. You see, I figured since Castroville California claims to be "The Artichoke Center of the World," what else could it be? We won't get into my knowledge and the legend of California's artichokes, that, dear readers was a post I just never got finished in time. (there are oodles of those:) In the meantime, mark your calendar for May 19th and 20th of this year because that's when the town of Castroville is holding its annual Artichoke Festival!

According to The California Artichoke Advisory Board, as of the 2007-2008 crop report, "Virtually 100 percent of all artichokes grown in the U.S. came from California." I didn't seek out the percentage that come from Castroville but it seems to me it is a lot! So, why wouldn't there be a dish that bears its name? But, further investigation was needed. (oh I know, I drive Marion crazy when I do that too:) I can't help it, sometimes, I just have to get to "the heart of the matter!" (pun intended:)

My first thought was to see if the source of the recipe The Lodge at Pebble Beach, still existed. Indeed it does!

Since 1919, The Lodge at Pebble Beach has been a legendary California haven for discerning clientele....Pebble Beach Resorts is a legendary place...It's no wonder Pebble Beach Resorts has attracted extraordinary visitors throughout its history. From Samuel F. B. Morse to Clint Eastwood. Teddy Roosevelt to Sir Winston Churchill. Jay Leno to Chef Thomas Keller. Bing Crosby to Bill Murray. Bobby Jones and Jack Nicklaus to Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.

My next stop was the historic Gallery Cafe. While there, I downloaded the current dining menu to see if Castroville Eggs were by chance, still on the menu. They weren't.

I was left to my own devices, Recipes from America's Favorite Resorts:

...Breakfast too holds special rewards for those who visit the charming Gallery above the putting green. Even the most avid golfers have been known to postpone their morning rounds for the zesty flavor of Castoville Eggs.

I couldn't help myself, I did a quick search to see if I could find the recipe for Castroville Eggs online, just out of curiosity of course:) Although I did find a few Egg Benedict recipes that did include artichokes, none came close to the attractive dish Marion was so mesmerized by except perhaps that New Orleans favorite, Eggs Sardou.

Eggs Sardou
image via wiki

Apparently, Eggs Sardou also have a "linkage" heritage. According to most accounts, they are named on behalf of a French playwright of the 19th century, Victorien Sardou, who was visiting New Orleans when the dish was created. I found an image of him at wiki.

Eggs Sardou is a French Creole cuisine dish made with poached eggs, artichoke bottoms, creamed spinach and Hollandaise sauce. It is on the menu of many Creole restaurants in New Orleans, including Antoine's, where the dish Eggs Sardou was invented. Antoine's has given the dining world many famous dishes. It is the birthplace of such culinary classics as Oysters Rockefeller, Eggs Sardou and possibly Pommes de Terre Souffles.

Antoine's is an 172 year old New Orlean's institution. The Times-Picayune food critic, Gene Bourg, once wrote "New Orlean's without Antoine's would be like the Giza without the Great Pyramid." Perhaps a bit dramatic for our times but probably quite accurate for the day. Antoine's has an infinite list of "celebrity" visitors including, Mark Twain, Sarah Bernhardt (namesake of many dishes including these cookies from Martha Stewart:) Ty Cobb, Tennessee Williams, Princess Ann to name a few. At least seven Presidents have dined there including both Theodore and Franklin Delanor Roosevelt.

I asked Marion if she would prefer Eggs Sardou for Two rather than the Eggs Castroville for Easter breakfast, she plainly refused. I tried to convince her that although the Castroville Eggs indeed look tempting in the picture, I wasn't sure how I would fare making fresh artichokes to use as the petals. Although, I must admit, over all, the egg recipe in the book does seem a bit easier than this! And, I could omit the petal presentation:)

Cooked fresh spinach is creamed with a Bechamel Sauce. A drop or two of Tabasco sauce is added. The artichoke bottoms are warmed in a 175-degree oven for five to ten minutes. The Eggs Sardou are assembled by placing spoonfuls of the warm creamed spinach on a warmed plate. The artichoke bottoms are placed on top of the creamed spinach and the poached eggs are set inside the artichoke bottoms. The assembly is then covered in the Hollandaise sauce. Some cooks omit nutmeg and cloves from the Bechamel sauce when using it to cream spinach for Eggs Sardou. The Eggs Sardou served at Antoine's Restaurant include truffles, ham and anchovies. Other restaurants typically omit one or more of these three ingredients. Eggs Sardou should be served at once, while the spinach, artichokes, poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce are still warm. For this reason, a warmed plate or bowl is recommended in most recipes. The garnish, if any, should be something of a color that contrasts well with the yellow Hollandaise sauce that tops the Eggs Sardou. This may be anything from crumbled bacon or a small dice of ham to a simple sprinkle of paprika. If Eggs Sardou are served as an appetizer course, no side dishes are needed. If it is served at brunch, or as an entree, the side dishes should be such that they do not overpower the muted, carefully blended flavors of the eggs, spinach and sauce. If wine is to be served, it should be white, preferably a slightly sweet white wine.

Eggs Castroville it will be then! But, before we get to the recipe, I would just like to give you a glimpse of the Antoine's book that I have in my collection. (I actually have a few Antoine's booklets but this one is from 1935, the oldest one I have:)

Eggs Castroville

Eggs Castroville
Recipes From America's Favorite Resorts
4 egg yolks
1-1/2 tablespoons cold water
1 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2-3 drops liquid pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
8 artichoke bottoms
8 poached eggs
24 slices cooked bacon, sprinkled with black pepper
Whisk yolks and water in top of double boiler over simmering water. Continue whisking until yolks thicken and pull away from the bottom of the pan. Slowly add butter, whisking constantly. Whisk in lemon juice, red pepper sauce, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.

Top each artichoke bottom with a poached egg; spoon over sauce. Serve with bacon. Serves 8 people.

Just in case I don't make it over before Easter...

Happy Easter! Louise

1. Cherries Against Joint Pain
2. Williams_Sonoma Eggs Sardou
3. Galatoire's Crab Sardou
4. Poached Eggs on Artichoke Toast
5. Poached Eggs on Artichoke bottoms in a Sage Pesto
6. Poached Eggs with Artichokes Barigoule
7. Sarah Bernhardt Cakes
8. Sarah Bernhardt Cookies with Buttercream Frosting

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Ah April!

Beckoning from blue or storm skies,
April smiles, and then April sighs...
~Louise Bates~

We've been very fortunate here in central PA. March arrived with a whiff of April and if not for the last few days, it pretended to remain that way. I suppose you could say, March came in like a lamb and tried to go out like a lion but, it didn't. The rain today is most welcome and surely confirms that it is indeed April!

As you can imagine, things have been bustling at Fishing Creek Greenhouse once again this year. For those of you who may have missed last year's post about Katie, her family and their dairy farm, follow the picture:) I do believe there is also a recipe for Sugar Cookies for a crowd from The Best of Amish Cooking too:)
March was a busy month for setting up the greenhouses, sowing and planting. I can't recall a time I ever planted so many seeds and mind you, I'm a gardener from way back! How's it looking?
Greenhouse #2 is packed with freshly sown herbs and oh so much more:)
Around my place, the signs of Spring are also popping up. I was really worried about how this newly planted Primrose was going to fair through the winter but, it looks like "she" made it!
There's lots of "animation" going on in the yard. I wouldn't even know where to begin. The new Petit Carnations Marion planted last year have nestled in quite nicely and it looks like they are getting ready to pop! Although they are hardy plants, budding is a bit early for them. I hope they hold off a while. It's still a bit chilly at night.
Since the flower garden is filling in quite nicely, I've decided to tackle a new project in the next couple of months. I'm going to attempt to add a water feature using this bath tub I bought at the Habitat for Humanity Store down the road. The plan is still on the drawing board, mostly in my mind, but my thought is mosaic it!
I probably won't grapple with it until I return from Idaho in May. Chances are the fountains won't make it in before the end of the season either but I am going to try like heck to get it done!!! We'll see...Marion has been drawing all kinds of pictures and we've got tons of glass mosaic pieces we will be using to put the puzzle together. Like I said, we'll see...
As for the "visiting" houseplants who are eagerly waiting to go outside to play, the impromptu planting of the Candy Corn at the end of the season last year seems to have taken root. As a matter of fact, to our delight, one morning Marion and I uncovered this tiny Candy Corn flower buried within the scented geranium plant on the window sill. (the geranium has since been trimmed) We were giggling like school girls when we uncovered it. Lesson learned, Candy Corn plants can over winter in the house, Yeah! I did save some seeds too which I plan on sowing at the end of April.
I'm on the fence about the Pineapple Plant I started three years ago this March. If you look real close, you can see the tiny Candy Corn flower in the back round. That'a a String of Hearts hanfing in the basket. It blooms teeny tiny violet flowers which are cute but the charm really is in the heart shaped leaves dangling. I adore it! It took me a long time to replace the one I lost many years ago:) I'll be putting the Pineapple plant outside when the weather permits but, I'm undecided as to whether I want to nudge the fruit along or not. Again, we'll see...
I should mention, that statuesque lady next to the Pineapple Plant is Heliotrope. The intense fragrance this plant shares is simply amazing. I want to grow tons of it so I tried them in the house and it seems too be thriving quite nicely. Lesson learned: cuttings from heliotrope grow:) Here's a glance of last years bouquet. (I'll try to get better pictures this year:)
Yes, April is a month of uncertainty this year. I have lots on my mind and a few blogging/computer decisions also in the works. It seems I've been on the fence about those much too long and with Blogger's new Dashboard beginning this fine day, I may just have no choice but to nudge myself along:) I've read, it may take a while to get use to though.

"Who lives without folly is not so wise as he thinks"

Happy April everyone! If you've missed any of the celebratory posts I've done for all the food goodies April brings, I'm leaving a few links below and I've also included the monthly celebrations in the side-bar. Chances are, I won't be posting the rest of this week but, we'll see...
"April 1st is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other 364 days"
~Mark Twain~

1. Sourdough Bread Day
2. Chocolate Milk Powder Day is the 4th!
3. Don't forget Twinkies have a birthday this month!
4. Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day is April 12th. It's Grilled Cheese Month too!