Saturday, September 28, 2013


This is an abundant season for pears!  A fleeting time to enjoy one of my favorite fruits.  I paint them, cook with them, and slice pears over everything I can.  Last night I turned this basket of organic pears and rosemary:
into this delicious pear galette...
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp.cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1/2 cup ice water, and more if needed
6-8 pears,peeled,cored, and cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch wedges
1Tbsp. melted unsalted butter
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary, (optional)

In a food processor or large mixing bowl, stir together the salt and flour.  Cut in the butter until the mixture contains pea-sized pieces.  Slowly add ice water to form a stiff dough.  Form the dough into a ball, and wrap with plastic. Refrigerate for about 10 min.
Preheat oven to 450.  Lightly grease a baking sheet.
Using a lightly floured rolling pin, shape the dough into a rough circle about 14 inches across.  Transfer to a baking sheet.  Arrange pears in the center of the crust, leaving the outer 3-4 inches of dough uncovered.  Fold the edges of the crust over the fruit, crimping the edges as needed.  Brush the crust with melted butter and drizzle what's left over the pears.  Sprinkle the sugar over the crust. Scatter rosemary over top if using.  Bake until the crust is browned and the fruit is tender, about 45 minutes, turning the galette after 20 min. so it bakes evenly.
Let the galette cool on the baking sheet for about 5 min. before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Farmers Market

One simple pleasure I have during the summer is to visit the St. Paul Farmer's Market once a week.  We have one of the best markets in the nation!  There is such a bounty right now and I find it hard to control myself...the colors, variety, lushness, freshness!!  If I see a fruit or vegetable I've never tried before, I just have to bring it home.  This time I brought home ground cherries.  Have you ever had one?  They grow on bushes like tomatoes and have a gauzy outer film.  Pop open that and inside is a pretty orange/yellow fruit which is tart and sweet, very delicious. I've found I'm fond of ground cherries!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Bundt Cake

Give me a Bundt Cake...give me happiness!!  There is something so wholesome and delicious about the simple Bundt.  And dangerous for me, because I can't pass without cutting a tiny piece..sunrise to sunset!  This recipe uses olive oil instead of hey, it's healthier....right?

4 eggs, separated, plus 1 egg white, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. Cointreau liquor, or orange blossom water
finely grated zest of 1 large orange and one large lemon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/3 cups milk
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375.  Oil or butter and flour a 10 inch bundt pan.
Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks, then gradually add 1/3 cup of the sugar and continue beating until firm peaks form.  Scrape them into a large bowl and set aside.  In the same mixing bowl-no need to rinse-beat the yolks with the remaining sugar until thick and light colored.  Lower the speed, add the flavorings and salt, then gradually pour in the oil.  The batter will look like mayonnaise.  Slowly add the milk, then whisk in the flour and baking powder, folding quickly to incorporate, scraping the bottom. Fold in the egg whites.  Turn batter into prepared pan.
Bake in center of oven for 25 min.  Reduce temperature then to 325 and bake for approx. 40 min. or until a cake tester comes out clean and cake has begun to pull away from the sides.  Let cool in the pan for 10 min. Invert onto a cooling rack.  When cool, gently transfer to a cake plate and dust with powdered sugar.  Serve with whip cream or ice cream and berries or nectarines.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Yosemite National Park

It is sad to think about the wild fires ravaging our amazingly beautiful national park, Yosemite.  Hopefully, our brave fire fighters can contain the blaze and damage soon.  How bittersweet to think that just last year my family and I enjoyed a summer vacation during August.  So, I thought I'd look at a few photos taken then to share with you and reminisce.
Our vacation was remarkable and memorable!  How fortunate we are in our country to have such places to enjoy and explore.......

Good Morning Thursday

In an attempt to start my day in a healthy way, I've started to make a delicious morning drink with my Breville Juicer.  I juice 3 celery ribs, 1 orange, 1 inch piece peeled ginger root, and a handful of spinach. may look a bit suspicious and green....but trust me, really delicious! 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Summer Walk

 Summer is swiftly fleeting.  A walk in the park is a sure way to slow  it down and appreciate the surrounding color, sounds and scents.  We have had wonderful clouds all week. Glorious skies...and there's something about the sunlight in August....

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Favorite Sugar Cookie

Sometimes only a sugar cookie will satisfy...and this recipe delivers!!  Chewy inside with a brown crispy edge and a rich butter flavor, makes for a perfect sugar cookie.  This recipe comes from one of my favorite Minneapolis restaurants, "Lucia's", owned by Lucia Watson.  Whenever homemade ice cream is on the menu I make sure to leave room for dessert because a few of these cookies are always served on the side.

1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla or almond extract
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and vanilla or almond extract.  Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder, then stir into the butter mixture to make a soft dough.  Scoop up teaspoonfuls of the dough and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet, about 3 inches apart.  To shape each cookie, dip the bottom of a flat juice glass or cookie press in water, then in sugar, and press each mound of dough.  Bake in a preheated 375 oven for about 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are light brown and the center is golden.  Remove the cookies from the sheet and cool on a wire rack.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Oh Linden Tree!

This tree makes me happy every summer....oh, how I love my Linden tree!  It's in full bloom right now...the blossoms are not showy...yet they have the most amazing, sweet, and dizzy scent. If I could, I would bottle the perfume and wear it every day! Once, I picked a basket full of blossoms and put them in my bath.  The aroma was intoxicating and luxuriant.  It was a treat until I drained the water from the tub...and ugh, what a terrific mess!!  So, I honestly can't recommend it, yet I chuckle that it was an idea I went through with, once upon a time...
And a close-up of the blossoms:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Today I said good bye to my Grandma.  I will miss her very much and our family will be different because of her absence.  She was the beloved matriarch of our family, one of a kind, who lived a rich 94 years.  In this photo of her wedding day she carried a big bouquet of pink roses and a similar bouquet was placed on her casket today from her children.  We have a large family and it was heart warming to see so many at her funeral.  Even though it was a sad occasion, it was terrific to be together with my many aunts, uncles, and layers of cousins. It verifies my existence to see common noses, smiles, personalities, hair qualities, and wrinkly eyes.  And to think it all started with these two people, my grandparents.....

Monday, July 1, 2013


Remember the popularity of stenciling for home decor from the 1980's-1990's?  I especially became a fan, creating my own mural/stenciling business.  With the housing boom of the time, I was hired to decorate many model homes.  It was something I enjoyed doing....but as a fad it fizzled out.  I had such a hard time painting over my stenciling in my own home....and still have remnants scattered about!  And guess what??? Stenciling is returning big time to the home decorating scheme...Hurray!!  Here are a few random samples from my home:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

"The Farm"

Today I picked our first vegetables from the garden.  Tender spinach, kale and chard lettuces and one tiny radish.  It is a tough season this year with rain, clouds and cooler temps.  The garden is way behind schedule. Regardless, it truly was fun to reap a small reward...and enjoy a very small salad for dinner!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


It's that time of the year again when the rhubarb reappears in our gardens and markets.  I always look forward to the first taste every spring....and I always try a new recipe.  This time I baked a rhubarb tart with a very easy crust and rhubarb from our local farmer's market.

Tart dough:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
3 eggs, at room temp.
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
Cream butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy, add eggs one at a time and beat until smooth.  Add vanilla , then stir in flour and salt.  Smooth the batter into a buttered 11-inch tart pan, pushing up against the edges.  Fill and bake.
1 1/2 pounds rhubarb
3/4 cups sugar
1/8 tsp ground clove
1 egg
1/2 cup cream
1 Tablespoon Grand Marnier

Preheat oven to 375.  Dice rhubarb into aprox. 1/3 inch pieces.  Toss with the sugar and clove and set aside.  
Beat the egg in a 2-cup measure, then add the juices that have collected from the rhubarb with enough cream to make 1 cup.  Scatter the rhubarb over the tart dough in prepared pan.  Pour the egg mixture over the fruit and bake until set and lightly browned, about 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and immediately spoon Grand Marnier over the top.  Serve with sweetened whip cream.


Sunday, June 9, 2013


The irises are starting to bloom and bring memories of my Dad.  One fall he arrived with a huge box of iris tubers that he divided from his garden.  It was a wonderful gift!  I planted them around our property and had extras to share with my neighbors.  I have to smile when I see them blooming brightly down the street.  He was a great gardener.  After snapping this photo I returned to weeding and found this rock:

  Doesn't it look like a heart??  I choose to think so....and I choose to believe it was no accident that I found it after thinking of my father!  Thanks Dad!  I miss him.  The hardest part of loosing a loved one is the empty silent space that is left.   Yet, his life lives on in my memories and these tiny little wonders that make me smile!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Gardening at "The Farm"

I adore these two people!  They are close friends and neighbors who are moving out of the neighborhood (boo-hoo) to a new development which once was farmland.  The development features a community garden.  The Kuckers are graciously allowing me to help garden.  Which is something I love to do!  We have two plots which are 5x10 ft.  Neil Kucker constructed the garden boxes (with sides which allow for kneeling and sitting) and we amended the soil with organic compost and fertilizer.  This is what they look like:
We planted a variety of vegetables.  So far everything is growing wonderfully, except for basil.  Our weather has been a bit too cool, wet and cloudy.  One of the strangest springs on record.  I'll keep you posted as plants grow and we reap the rewards of our small garden.  We will miss our friends the Kuckers, Neil and Rachel, but they won't be going far...and their new neighborhood is fabulous!