Pain de Mie: French Sandwich Bread

December 31, 2011
IMG_3274OKAY, I'LL ADMIT IT. I'm addicted to French sandwich bread, or Pain de Mie. What a versatile loaf! I use it for sandwiches, toast, French toast, croutons and canapes. Pain (pronounced "pan") is French for "bread," and mie (pr. "mee") means "crumb," or "interior." And the crumb in this instance is soft and moist. Yet the bread is so deliciously dense that you can cut it into paper-thin slices. My New Year's resolution is to have this lovely loaf on hand at all times. Fortunately, it is incredibly easy to make: Read more »

Eye-Candy for the Winter Weary

December 27, 2011
IMG_3522I'M GRATEFUL for the plants which are willing to bloom with summer exuberance in winter windows. Take, for instance, the 'Fiesta Pink Ruffle' pictured above. I bought this Impatiens wallerana last spring, nurtured it in a pot all summer, and then brought it to the window in my upstairs bath in autumn. Although the plant receives only weak morning sun there, its fully-double, rosebud-like blossoms have formed in constant profusion. The only pampering the plant requires is daily water with a little high-phosphorous food mixed in. And here's more eye-candy for the winter-weary: Read more »

Happy Holidays from a Motley Crew

December 23, 2011
Africanviolets SILVER displayI wanted to send this out much, much earlier, but thanks to Time Warner, I had no internet connection until just now. Anyway, all of us -- 147 houseplants (including the purple African violets that serve decorative-duty in dining room here each Christmas, as above), Gerta the snake, an assortment of frogs, toads and birds, and, of course, me -- would like to wish you all the happiest of holidays. You are the best friends that any gardening- and cooking-blogger could possibly have. Let's toast each other with a glass of spiked eggnog, okay? Clink! Read more »

Figgy Pudding

December 20, 2011
IMG_6377(Reposted from Dec. 3, 2010) LAST NIGHT -- and mostly out of sheer curiosity -- I made the Figgy Pudding of Christmas carol fame. I'll admit the recipe I adapted (from Dorie Greenspan) is not an easy one; it involves 18 ingredients, and also a half-hour of prep time. Make that one hour of prep if you stop to take photographs along the way, as I did. But I think the final product, pictured up top, is well worth the time. For Figgy Pudding is spicy-fruity-boozey-delicious. Furthermore, you get to flame this dessert at the table. Now that's fun! Read more »

House Tour Part 3: The Parlor

December 18, 2011
IMG_3370YOU'VE ALREADY SEEN the Music Room and the Entrance Hall in this 185-year-old house I happen to call "home." Shall we have a look at the parlor? Read more »

Giveaway: Narcissus ‘Winter Sun’

December 16, 2011
IMG_2682I FORCE OODLES OF FLOWERING BULBS IN WINTER. Their scented bouquets lift my spirits, and their dazzling colors make my house look happy. A super-fast bulb for indoor bloom is Narcissus 'Winter Sun.' Back in November, I sang the praises of this tropical tourist after it unleashed a torrent of heavenly-scented, yellow and white blossoms in my music room window. Winter Sun will bloom for you, too. And that's why I've purchased 3 packages of the bulbs to give away to 3 readers in this month's random drawing. Read more »

Recipe: Eggnog

December 14, 2011
IMG_3202WHEN SIX FRIENDS ARRIVE FOR DINNER ON SATURDAY, we will honor the season with the perfect December cocktail: eggnog. Here's my recipe for this creamy, bourbon-y, nutmeg-scented ambrosia: Read more »