Sunday, August 23, 2009

Food and Flowers

I have a sunflower plot in my yard, it's 4'x4' and full of nothing but tall sunflowers. I grow them for bird food but of course other critters didn't get the memo and likely help themselves.  It's pretty wonderful watching small birds land on them and pick the seeds right out of the flower.  I can never seem to get a picture of them though.  One son of mine usually says we should roast them and eat them but we haven't yet.  He wants to enjoy them as you would sunflower seeds that come salted in a bag but I would likely make this Basil Sunflower Seed Pesto recipe.   I have often substituted the basil in pesto recipes with other vegetables like spinach and broccoli and even used dried basil flakes to taste.

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Sunflowers hint that fall is coming but we don’t need to wait for fall in order to have some of it’s fun... Why not carve a watermelon and make it beautiful instead of the harvest pumpkin with it’s face. If you’re having a gathering for labor day, this may just be a highlight of your table-scape. 

I have not tried this but I discovered it when looking for things to do with a melon instead of the usual fare. Pretty cool thought can use other melons such as honey dew and a simpler technique which would work for beginners to this craft.  Once, a friend brought a watermelon punch to a gathering of mine.  It was such a treat and she said it was no big deal to make and when I tried the recipe I added frozen melon balls as "ice cubes", the fancy thing about that is the melon balls bubbled as they thawed so the drink had a pretty neat action to it.  If you thread them onto bamboo skewers you can use them as a stirrers because the watermelon punch separates.

I'm thinking about having some guests over for labor day.  I really shun entertaining large crowds lately because I never feel like I can relax and enjoy the party along with my guests.  Small crowds also afford the opportunity to make incredible hors d'oeuvres without breaking the bank.  I favor martini glass appetizers (no alcohol involved) but you can certainly make these in daiquiri vessels as well for larger servings.  These recipes are Shrimp CevicheLobster Martini Appetizer, and even a heavenly Tiramisu all served in chilled martini glasses.

I have to tell you about a dish I make whenever there is a cool day - Cuban Black Bean Stew.   My family loves this meal!  I serve it with brown rice and add lots of crushed red pepper to mine and some cayenne, also.  People compare the taste of this dish to the inside of a burrito and I don't make it with the cilantro or lime most times because I don't always have those handy but dish is still excellent. I make a vegetable to go with this, I prefer to couple it with a braised bitter green because the friend who introduced this to me actually had it in Cuba and said it was always served with a sauteed collard green.  I braise bok choy when collards are not handy.

At the height of lavender season, I find I always want a reminder of summer.  These lavender wands found at Lady Farmer Parables blog (scroll down a little) do just the trick using about 13-18 fresh lavender stems.  If you don't have lavender, try this with butterfly bush stalks or another fragrant stemmed plant.  Give it a try and tuck one in a drawer or near the bed for enjoyment. I tucked mine in my car's glove box.  


  1. I especially like your Cuban Black Bean Stew,great to have on cold days, Also, your lavender wands are extremely attractive as they add a little cham about the place,...Quite beautiful really ...

  2. Those Martini treats sounds scrumptious! And those watermelons are works of art. The Black Bean Stew is definitely the bomb! Another mouth watering post.

  3. Thanks for sharing the lavender wand project! They're so pretty and look easy enough to make. Now I just need to get my hands on some lavender!