Garden Girl Sold

Garden Girl has found a home. Part of the “series of girls” and my Dreams and Wishes, Birds and Fishes exhibit, she was one of my favorite pieces… but it’s always rewarding when a piece goes to a lovely new home. (in Bay Hill, Florida)

Pinky and Sophie

They didn’t stick around long… Pinky and Sophie both sold at the Melbourne Art Festival last weekend. It was fun to work with the animal theme… especially farm animals. I also loved the bright and cheerful color palette and plan to do a few more pieces to add to the “collection”.

Chickens are a favorite… such personalities, and oh my, thinking donkey :) such sweet faces. Thanks to all for your encouragement and nice comments! Parting with art is not always easy, but seeing other people excited and smiling about my art makes all the effort worthwhile.

 

Life > Lemongrass > meatballs

2014-03-12 08.13.13I love cooking with lemongrass… in all forms. I buy it fresh whenever I see it and I alway keep a “tube” of it in the fridge. Look in the fresh produce area of your grocery store for herbs that come in squeeze tubes– almost as good as fresh and they are so handy when I am in the middle of a recipe and missing fresh herbs.

Lemongrass: lemony, yes… light, fresh, tart. I use lemongrass in most of my Thai or Vietnamese dishes, it provides so much flavor, especially when combined with ginger, garlic, citrus juice and fish sauce. One of my favorite dishes is Lemongrass Pork Meatballs in Lettuce Cups.

Dinner a few night ago:

Lemongrass Pork Meatballs in Lettuce wraps

Rice Noodles with red peppers, scallions and shiitake mushrooms

Pickled radishes and shallots

Lemongrass Pork Meatball
1 lb ground pork
1/2 chopped cilanto
4 TBLS finely chopped lemongrass
2 shallots minced
black pepper to taste

The great thing about these meatballs is that they are mostly pork… no breadcrumbs or fillers. They are juicy and tasty and go great with hot or cold noodles and with lots of fresh herbs.

Mix all the ingredients together and either saute in a pan with 2 TBLS oil or bake in a 375 oven for about 20 minutes. I like to saute them so I can keep a close eye on them and make sure they stay juicy.

The SECRET SAUCE
It is only the most magnificent sauce ever! Vietnamese table Sauce goes on everything…

1/4 C of fish sauce
1/4 C of lime juice
1 stalk of lemongrass finely chopped
3 TBLS brown sugar or light brown sugar
1 clove of garlic
1 TBLS of freshly grated carrot
2 tsp finely chopped Thai chiles (adjust for your heat tolerance)

add all the ingredients and let set for 30 minutes or more… I keep a jar of it in the fridge.

PICKLED EVERYTHING
You can do a quick pickle very easily…
fresh veggies along with a mixture of vinegar, sugar and spices like cinnamon, cloves, star anise, peppercorns, etc.
Heat up the vinegar and sugar and spices just till the sugar dissolves and let cool. Add your choice of julienne veggies like: onions, radishes, cucumbers, etc and let them sit for as little as 20 minutes… I keep a jar of “pickles” in the fridge and add them to salads, sandwiches and meatballs.
ENJOY! Bon Appetit :)

The Last Fresh Leaf

2014-02-19 17.22.17-1Sun… yes

70+ degrees… yes
Waiting till for Spring to plant my garden boxes… no
Luckily, they can be protected should we have a freeze here in sunny Florida.

One thing leads to another;¬†That defines my cooking style. Go to the produce market and see the loveliest of plums or peaches…make a tart. Fresh stalks of lemongrass = a Vietnamese influenced dish… and so it goes.

Yesterday was really lovely and warm and my earthboxes were not so lovely; stringy 4 ft. tall tomatoes plants with 3 tiny blooms at the very top, bright yellow dill flowers and woody basil stalks. Time for re-planting. I like to wait till the very, very last possible harvest before tearing out everything and starting new. Even the tiniest of gardens can add so much wonderful flavor to home-cooked meals. So… I planned to make spaghetti, my husbands favorite, but as I picked the very last of the sweet basil and purple basil and picked some of the last meyer lemons from my tree I decided to keep it light and fresh; basil chicken with mushrooms and artichokes over porcini mushroom egg pasta. Bon Appetit :)

Earthboxes great for small, super productive gardens!