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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Cavolo Laciniato




Soup's on


The garden is overflowing with produce.





Onions drying on top of wall. 





Gathering ingredients for Cavolo Soup,
Leeks, potatoes, spices, herbs and Cavolo Luciniato.
Cavolo, the only Kale grown in Tuscany, also known as black Kale.
Best when harvested after a light frost...brings out the sweetness.    







Cavolo Kale is very high in Beta Carotene, rich in Calcium, Vitamin K and Vitamin C.  Lowers cholesterol, decreases absorption of dietary fat and boosts DNA in cells.  
And, most importantly, it contains sulforaphane, a chemical with potent anti cancer properties.  

When driving through Italy you will see small "Palm Trees" in every garden.  Cavolo is harvested by plucking the leaves from the bottom on up.  

Thank you for visiting and next year, grow a row of Cavolo.

Have a wonderful  week. 

Gina 




Friday, September 27, 2013

Pflaumenkuchen mit Streusel bedeckt




Plum Cake covered with Streusel.





Growing up in a small village in East Germany, it was my job to take our unbaked cake to the local bakery.  A slip of paper, with our name on it,  would be attached to the cake pan.  A few hours later our cake was ready.  Saturday was the only day that the entire town could take their unbaked cakes to the bakery.
  The Baker didn't need his large oven until Sunday night.  


A few years ago, while traveling in Portugal, we followed
wonderful smells in a small village on a Sunday morning.  Not knowing Portuguese I thought for a minute that the Baker just didn't understand what we wanted.  He kept showing us different dishes and shaking his head.  Then it dawned on me that the very same custom was being observed in Portugal,  as it had been in my little farm village.  

So many smiles and so many handshakes followed... but no Sunday Meal. 








I could never resist unbaked Streusel and would eat a few on the way to the Baker, not many, because my Mother would know. 








Now that my own plums are ripe I can bake Pflaumenkuchen with lots of  Streusel on top.  If I sneak a few Streusel before the cake is baked no one will be the wiser.  But a good Pflaumenkuchen must have plenty of Streusel on top. 


Plum Cake, use your own yeast recipe or follow the one listed below.  
Simple Yeast Dough
1 pkg of dry yeast
2 Tb warm water
1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 stick of butter (melted) 
3 Tb sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg beaten (room temperature) 
2 cups flower
Combine yeast and water in a bowl, let stand for 15 minutes
Add all other ingredients
Turn dough out on board and knead for a few minutes, adding flour as needed.  
Place in bowl and let rise until doubled (about an hour) in size.   

Pit and half about 4 dozen Italian plums (or similar), add a cup of sugar and let  macerate while dough is rising.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Press yeast dough into large and buttered cookie sheet.  Add plums in rows, cut side up and close together.  
Sprinkle 1/2 to 3/4 cup of sugar on top of plums (depends on how sweet they are).   Add lots of Streusel on top of cake.
Bake at 375 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until crust is golden brown.  

Streusel
Mix 1 stick of UNSALTED butter at room temperature with  1/2 cup of sugar and 1 cup of  flower. Mix with your hands until crumbly. 







Have a great weekend my dear 
Blogging Friends. 

Gina 




Monday, September 23, 2013

Hansel and Gretel


They were abandoned.


By someone who didn't want them
anymore.




About a mile from our house, in the middle of a 10-acre Alfalfa field, they stood, terrified. 








 They're domestic geese, they can't fly.
They didn't know how to hide from the coyote, the fox and the raccon.  
They stood there, without water,  for I don't know how many days waiting for their owners to come back.







We slowly herded them to our pond.  They responded easily to our hand signals.  
The geese stayed for one night, cleaning their feathers and quenching their thirst.  They left the next morning. 






We found them.  They had returned to the very same spot in the Alfalfa field. 
Again we walked them to our pond.   It only took half the time. They had already memorized the route. 







That was a months ago.  They have stayed.  We named them Hansel and Gretel. 
We will take good care of them. 


Have a great week my dear 
Blogging Friends,

Gina 


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tradition, The Mutton Roast



How many years before a Tradition becomes a Tradition?


Saturday Morning September 14, 2013.




It's early morning.  Slowly roasting under a blanket of metal sheeting, a Mutton roasting for 10 hours. 
See the steam rising?






23 years ago, the first Mutton Roast at our Country Farm house.
The Mutton was roasted in a hand dug pit, first wrapped in chicken wire with herbs and spices and then tightly covered with wooden planks and a layer of dirt, and left to roast for 10 hours. 

Did I tell you that it was a black tie affair?  






We had just introduced our niece Susan to our Friends' son, Johnny.
There was chemistry right from the start. 






Now, three handsome boys later.






And we celebrated our 23rd Annual Mutton Roast last Saturday, 
for many years now hosted by Johnny's Mother and Father.





The wood is already stacked up for next year's Mutton Roast.






To be roasted in a pit which Johnny's Father built. 





It's 7 o'clock in the morning.  The Mutton was uncovered and brought up to be cut into serving pieces.  

 Champagne is on ice, another tradition. 

 Mr G is still the head honcho.  He is the farm boy who knows how to cut a perfect butterfly steak.  






Celebrating Life.






While remembering a fallen friend. 






 We enjoyed each others company and the abundance of nature.


Have a wonderful week my dear 
Blogging Friends. 

Gina




Thursday, September 12, 2013

Asters with a past.




Asters growing in my garden from seeds gathered almost Forty Years ago at Lake Maggiore, Italy.


They were growing through her fence. 
The young woman watched me from an upper story window.
She smiled and waved.  I thanked her with a smile and a wave. 
She knew.





Hand painted muslin bag filled with Aster Seeds. 
Now almost forty years later and going back to Italy.





It's been raining for a few days.  Good for our pastures and garden. 
A good time to paint a few tiles.  Tiles as simple as Asters. 






Also time to make a few Pear and Champagne Grape Preserves. 







Asters from my seeds are growing in many gardens. 








I'll save some seeds for you.  


Have a great remainder of the week and a wonderful weekend. 



Gina



Thursday, September 5, 2013

On the way to the Carrots




 We pass by the flowers first. 
On our way to the carrots.





And the cabbage Patch.







Someone has been pulling our carrots.







Ahaa, caught you!







It's Lucy.







And she has taught Charlie.  







Nothing else will do.  
They're just crazy about carrots. 

Have a great week my dear 
Blogging Friends.

Gina 






Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Artist Studio Tour and Plein Air competition




It was a beautiful day.
The Artist Studio Tour was a great success. 














Many people came. 
It was too beautiful to be inside.  My temporary studio was set up under a row of Mountain Ash trees. 




The plein air competition attracts more and more Artists to our little town each year. 





First Cash Prize in the plein air competition was awarded to 
 Doug Fryer, a fine local Artist.  This is the first in many years that a local artist won the coveted prize.  







Even grown ups wanted to pick apples.  
We have plenty.  







The Italian plums were not quite ripe.  






Winter Pears will grow some more. 





Sunflowers of every variety were blooming along the fence.





Interlaken grapes were ready to pick to the delight of
 little boys and girls. 





Wishing you a bountiful week ahead. 

Gina 





Monday, September 2, 2013

Lucky Me



I won a lovely prize.



It arrived beautifully wrapped and with a special note.




Sent to me by Erika of  Parvum Opus  an artistically bound Journal. Made especially for me with turquoise Florentine papers and highlighted with  golden accents.  




 It is so perfect to take with me on our upcoming trip to Italy.  








Thank you Erika.  What a wonderful surprise and beautiful treasure. 

Have a great week my dear 
Blogging Friends.

Gina