Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sneak Peek - Autumn Blooms in Polymer

Polymer Flower Pendants , originally uploaded by Lynn_EL/UnaOdd.
I am a complete sucker for bead shows. Last weekend was no exception and I spent almost too much money on little 10 mm long dagger beads from Eureka Crystal Beads. They looked like they'd make the perfect leaves for little flowers and immediately an idea came to mind.

A day playing around and I had a bouquet of early Autumn blooms in hand! :^)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sweet Little Color Break -POW!

Japanese anemones are in bloom now. They spread somewhat aggressively in the garden but I forgive them every autumn when their delicate, fluttery petals, intriguing wiry stems and tutu-collared centers enchant.

Welcome autumn!

Thursday, September 1, 2011


The mid-to-late-summer garden is one of my favorite times. Who can resist vine-ripe tomatoes still warm from the sun, or cheery zinnia blossoms?

Another seasonal favorite is basil, Ocimum basilicum. So easy to grow from seeds that I just scatter a seed packet and rake it in. A few months later an overly bountiful and wonderfully fragrant basil crop demands harvest and preserving. An extremely tasty and simple way to preserve basil is to make a pulverized mix of basil leaves and olive oil that is known as pesto.

Incorporating a few other tasty ingredients, my pesto recipe is excellent as a pasta topping, toasted bread spread, or condiment. My method of storage is freezing. Due to the oil in the mix it thaws quickly and it easily brings a taste of summer to the winter table.

1/4 cup pine nuts
3 cloves garlic, peel and lightly crush -I find it easiest to do this simultaneously by crushing lightly with the broad side of a knife blade. The skins will fall off.
2 cups packed basil leaves
1 tsp kosher salt
black pepper to your taste
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated hard cheese of your choice -Parmesan, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Grana Padano etc...

Wash, dry, and pack 2 cups of fresh basil leaves.

Toast the pine nuts lightly in a 450˚ oven, or in a skillet on the stove and stir if needed. Pine nuts brown/burn quickly so watch carefully!

Place first five ingredients in a food processor and pulse until coarsely combined.

With processor running, drizzle in olive oil. Add cheese and blend until just incorporated.

I spoon pesto into freezer bags and freeze for up to one year, although it never lasts that long. ;^)