My granddaughter Sara inspired me to draw a scarecrow that tends the birds instead of scaring them. So I sketched and painted this scruffy guy with a bird's nest in his pocket, a Downy woodpecker feeding at the bucket dangling from his arm, a wren feeding at a bowl, a Hermit Thrush on a glove, and a Mourning Dove nesting in his hat. Oh, and did I fail to mention the hard-to-overlook crow?
The strong current of 2012 has washed me downstream like a leaf boat. My sweet husband Jeff had surgery last week and I have been busy tending him. My friend Ginny drove up to help me and between the two of us, we could move him, feed him, and keep him entertained. Thanks Gin! You saved me.
I love all the letters, e-mails, and cards I've received from you in the past few weeks. Thanks also to Diane Peterson for the gift of the children's garden book written by her friend Paula Frechette. Paula (like Diane) is a person who gardens with her heart and soul and that is evident in her book "Gardening with Leo and Bill."
Every time I sit down to scribble a note, write a card, or draw a garden plan, birds escape from my pencil and wing their way onto a page. Then, they beg for a splash of water, a dab of color, and a dash of fine-tipped black pen so they can come to life on a page.
This will be a shortie today. First, let me congratulate dear Pondside for winning the Timber Press, Marty Wingate book, Landscaping for Privacy, give-away, which was chosen by the random number generator. Since Pondside is a member of my Grimy Hands Girls Club, she'll receive a bonus gift.
Thanks Timber Press for sending me such a great book to share with readers.
In my last posting before my memorial tribute to my dear friend Marge, I showed a photo of my Molten Lava dessert. A few of you wrote and asked for my recipe, which I am happy to share. It was a great and easy dessert with some little tweaks I added for a contrasting salty/sweet taste.
I made the Molten Lava before a dinner date with friends. When we returned to our home, I popped the desserts into the pre-heated oven and the house instantly smelled like heaven. And, if you don't mind me saying so, the dessert was fabulous.
I dare you to keep your fingers out of this
Molten Lava Cakes
Prep time 25 minutes
Cooking time 14 minutes
6 (1 ounce squares semi-sweet chocolate)
2 (1 ounce squares bittersweet chocolate)
10 TBSP unsalted butter (MUST be unsalted)
1/2 tsp sea salt (choose the flaky sea salt)
1/2 cup Soft-as-Silk cake flour
1 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
3 large eggs
3 egg yolks (large eggs)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 TBSP orange liqueur (I used Grand Marnier)
Note: I add the flaky sea salt AFTER I mix in the butter. The sea salt won't dissolve, and when you bite into the warm, delicious cake, you will be able to taste a hit of salt contrasted with the deep sweetness.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
Grease 6 (six ounce) custard cups or ramekins. Melt the chocolates and butter in a double boiler. Add the flour and sugar to the chocolate mixture. Stir in the eggs and yolks until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and orange liqueur. Ladle the batter into the custard cups, which, for the sake of your oven, should sit on a cookie sheet. Clean the sides of your ramekins so they look neater than mine. Bake for 14 minutes. The edges will feel fudgey, but the center will be thick and gooey.
I topped these little gems with fresh-whipped, heavy cream laced with vanilla, 2 teaspoons of confectioner's sugar, and a light dusting of finely grated orange peel. You and yours will LOVE this dessert.
In between working and tending Jeff, I've been loving every second in the garden. Many of my terra cotta pots are filled with herbs, lettuce, and edible flowers. I call these pots, which are just steps from my kitchen, my "Fingertip Gardens."
One of my favorite greens in the garden is "Miner's lettuce," so named because the 1849 miners depended on this early spring green. This is a California native plant that is succulent, delicious, and easy to grow. It is great in green drinks and salads. I bought seeds for my California garden from Larner's Seeds, but Johnny's Seeds and Territorial Seeds also carry them. Like many of our plants, these are called many other names besides Miner's lettuce. Some refer to this as Indian lettuce, winter purslane, and penny lettuce, but the correct genus and species is Claytonia perfoliata.
Back to work now. So wonderful visiting with you. I love reading your comments. Keep in touch!