We live in zone 6a and I have been gardening and cooking for years. This blog is an opportunity for me to share with you my success and those failures that come about on occasion. Plus, I want to hear from all the gardeners and bakers and cooks out there and learn from you. Feel free to share your ideas.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Pimento Cheese Dip- great for New Year's Eve or Game Day

I made this dip for an after Christmas party and the bowl was scrapped clean.

Pimento Cheese
Yield: About 1 pint (serves 4 as an appetizer)

2 cups sharp orange cheddar, grated (8 oz.)
½ cup Duke’s mayonnaise ( Duke's is preferred and start with 1/4 cup and add more, if need be)
½ cup pimiento peppers, drained and chopped (7-oz. jar)
¼ cup green onion, chopped (use both the green and the white parts)
1 tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cayenne
Dash of Tabasco
1 tsp. horseradish ( optional -but I would definitely add it. I am just saying.)

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, and stir with a rubber spatula. Serve immediately with crackers, or cover, refrigerate, and let flavors marinate. I know this us atypical, but the Nacho chips that are shaped as dippers are great with this dip.

Leek and Potato Soup--Variation of Julia and Jacques' Recipe

I had been wanting to make leek and potato soup. So I grabbed my trusty Julia Child and Jacques Pepin cookbook and made a few changes. Below is my edited version of their recipes. It is easy and delicious. Hope you enjoy it. Sorry if this appears in all caps, but blogger is not behaving for me.


2 tablespoons olive oil
4 to 5 yukon gold potatoes (1 1/2 pounds), peeled and roughly chopped
3 or 4 large leeks (1 pound), and thinly sliced
4 cups light chicken stock or broth ( store bought is fine)
Kosher salt, to taste and pepper, to taste
1 cup onion chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream or whole milk ( optional  )

1/3 cup minced parsley or chives ( optional)


  1. Heat the oil in a large (6-plus quart) stockpot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leek and onion. . Cook 5 minutes on medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have begun to soften. Add stock and potatoes. Bring to boil and turn down to medium boil, cover and continue for 20 minutes or  until the vegetables are tender.
  2. Blend until smooth, either using an immersion blender or by carefully transferring to a blender in batches.
  3. Add the cream/milk, and season to taste with salt (start with 1/2 teaspoon and go from there, tasting frequently).  Add pepper.
  4. Ladle into bowls, and garnish with parsley or chives. This freezes well. 
Also I added turkey in my bowl for lunch today. Frankly you can take liberties with this soup by adding other vegetables that have been cooked. It is a great starter base that will let you ad other items. Ham would be great!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Rain, Rain and More Rain

It seems as if it has been raining for at least 3 days straight. I must say it is getting on my nerves today. So I have been reading through the New York Times best noodle dishes on line, and I must say there are a couple that look very interesting.

Spiced Ginger Pork Noodles

  • 12 ounces baby bok choy (3 or 4 small heads)
  • 1 ounce ginger root (1 fat 2-inch-thick knob)
  •  Kosher salt
  • 8 ounces rice noodles, not too thin
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or safflower oil
  • 1 pound lean ground pork
  • ¼ cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • ½ cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh Thai or habanero chile, seeded if desired, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sesame oil, more for drizzling
  •  Cilantro or torn basil, for serving
  •  Black vinegar, for serving


  1. Trim bok choy and separate dark green tops from white stems; leave tops whole and thinly slice stems. Peel ginger and finely chop half of it. Slice remaining ginger into thin matchsticks.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook according to package instructions. Drain and run under cool water; drain again.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook, breaking up with a fork, until golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season with salt, 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce and 1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar. Use a slotted spoon to transfer meat to a bowl.
  4. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Stir in half the scallions, the finely chopped ginger, the garlic and the chile. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add bok choy stems and a pinch of salt. Cook until bok choy is almost tender, about 2 minutes. Toss in leaves and return pork to skillet.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas

I am relaxing with my husband and even though we are not having company over for dinner, I set the table with china , crystal and silver. I love a beautiful table. We are having a well seasoned pork shoulder that has been rubbed with a garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, and olive oil. Plus we are having a Buche de Noel for dessert. We will be breaking open the bottle of champagne shortly.

Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Meyer Lemons - Easy Lemon Curd

I have a 3 foot Meyer lemon and I bring it in the house in the winter? Well I found an easy recipe at King Arthur for lemon curd. Wow it was simple and you can even freeze the lemon curd which is great on ginger cookies by the way. Click   here for the recipe. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes and it is made in the microwave.

Hope you Christmas season is going well. We are having an amazing heat wave!

Sunday, November 1, 2015


I got a great deal on an assortment of apples. Probably over 10 pounds for a little over 3 dollars. So what does one do with these? Make applesauce in the slow cooker. This is the first time I have used the slow cooker for applesauce. It should work out fine. Tonight we are having pork chops, squash and applesauce. Yum.

Also just finished planting the last of the Spring bulbs- daffodils.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

More Updates

I don't post for several months and now I post two days in a row. Just got back from Ed's Feed and Seed where I purchased 4 cu ft of vermiculite. I have faked it into the beds that have had compost and manure added to them. The beds are all ready to go for Spring. I prefer to do my clean up,now instead of waiting. When Spring comes I can get going quickly with my raised beds. They look so tidy.

Next I am going to start the rub for tonight's turkey breast. Yum.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Updates From The Garden

I know it has been a long time since my last post, but I do have updates. The garlic harvest was pretty good this year, the bulbs were not as large as other years, but we still have enough garlic stored for a year. A few weeks ago I planted a 4 x 6 foot bed with a new round of garlic. So far I have found that Music seems to be what I should stick with, so the entire bed is that.

I also cleaned out the beds and compost and manure has been added since my raised beds seem to loose soil and compost over time. Trying to find compost/ manure is a bit of a challenge in the city. I have to call around for it. I would love to find a good reliable source where I could buy it by the cubic yard.

The basil and tomatoes did well and my experiment with corn was not worth the real estate that I used. Every year I like to try something new and I had not planted corn in 35 years. It just did not produce. So next year I want to try a winter squash that is reasonably resistant to insects. That may be a challenge.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


We have been fortunate that our tomato plants have produced plenty of tomatoes. So this morning I rough chopped the tomatoes, gently sautéed garlic in olive oil for a few minutes ,added the tomatoes , and topped the sauce off with sea salt and pepper to taste. Even added a dash more of olive oil. I only cook the sauce for about 15 minutes, and then let it cool. Transfer to freezer bags and pop into the freezer. I will use it on pasta and top it off with fresh basil right before serving .

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Garlic Harvest

This is the third year for garlic which has been incredibly easy to grow. It has been a challenge thus year to harvest it because of all the rain. However today was the day. I have about 100 bulbs and Music which is a hardneck is a favorite of mine. We have more than enough to last the year. This
makes me so happy.

Sunday, June 14, 2015


Well the weeds have made an attempt to take over. No way that I will let that happen. I use cardboard where I can to smother them and pull the rest up. Wouldn't it be nice if the planted vegetables grew as well as weeds and needed no attention.

My tomatoe plants are still doing amazingly well, along with the basil. I have scapes ready to be harvested and pesto will be made this week.

We are supposed to have rain on and off all week. I hope so.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Garden Harvest and More

The lettuce this year has been the best ever and below is the first peony I have cut ( ever) from our garden. Love the fragrance and ants have not been a problem. The rhubarb is coming up slowly. This is the first year for it, so it is not ready to be harvested.

to be harvested.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Tomatoes at Week One

I have to tell you that I have never had tomatoes grow as much in one week as what I have planted this year. In one week they have grown around 6 to 8 inches. Hopefully this is the year of the tomato.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Planting Continues

Tomatoes are in. I have planted a combination of heirlooms and non heirlooms. The black beauty
eggplant and basil transplants are also in. The season is moving forward.

Friday, April 17, 2015

P. Allen Smith

I just came back from the Cincy Flower Show and heard P.Allen Smith speak. His presentation exceded my expectation. He is entertaining and informative . Plus the weather was perfect for a day on the river for this event and the luncheon was delicious. We received a goody bag and the  event did a wonderful job with the tent décor. It was a lovely garden party.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Seedlings and More

I started my basil, sweet pea, and butternut squash seeds indoors several weeks ago. They are doing well and I will probably start to get them acclimated to the outdoors soon. Cleanup has begun in my raised beds and cabbages and lettuce planted earlier are doing well. Even the rhubarb is starting to pop up.

With have had a massive amount of rain over the past couple of weeks which has made weeding easy but muddy. Wish we could give California some of our rain. They need it badly.

The grass of course is as green as can be.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Spring Is Coming

Well it feels as if Spring is coming. Cincinnati always had an annual flower show in April.. Of course that was on my Spring to do list to attend. It was lovely. This event went on for years and then the recession hit and it was put on hold for years. Well it  is back  as the usual 5 day event. Love these flower shows and over ten years ago we went to London for the  Chelsea Flower Show. Well the Cincinnati Flower Show is back and as big as ever. I have tickets for  the show plus to hear P. Allen Smith speak. I can hardly wait. They have such great ideas: flower boxes, landscape , and what a great chance to get new ideas. I will never forget seeing my first kousa dogwood in bloom. I fell in love with it.    

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Garden 2015

I have been pondering what to plant this year. Well I am going to plant something that I have not planted in years. Corn. Sweet corn will be dedicated to one 4x 8 raised bed. I have only 4 raised beds and multiple large planters, and I have to plant wisely.

Tomatoes are always a given. There is nothing like a home grown tomato or corn. Basil is always planted because I like to make pesto and freeze it for use later. It would cost a fortune to buy all the basil that I need for pesto. So cost  is a factor too. Eggplant grows well and if roasted it freezes well.
Add in beans and lettuce and that may be it.
So it will be tomatoes, corn, basil, eggplant, lettuce, beans and I am sure I will add something else into the mix.

I always plant zinnias. I would love to plant squash, but I need advice on how to prevent wilt.