Friday, April 27, 2012

Tea Party


Tea Parties. The word itself conjures so many images. Images of ruffled summer dresses and lace gloves, miniature treats and dainty tea sandwiches, holding a cup with one’s pinky up, or perhaps even the fantastical party of the Mad Hatter in Alice’s Wonderland?


This weekend I hosted a tea party. I borrowed some family heirlooms and had the occasion to use some of my own, and we enjoyed our fancy tea to celebrate a bride-to-be. The fare consisted of tart cherries scones, with lemon curd & clotted cream, and three types of tea sandwiches, with tea biscuits and petite fours. The tea sandwiches were of three varieties: egg salad, cucumber & strawberry.


So we nibbled and drank tea with our pinkies up. I only felt like the mad hatter once when I burnt myself by accidentally touching the hot silver teapot top! It was nonetheless lovely to enjoy tea with the ladies.

To create the fanciful tea sandwiches, simple mix together this general spread and spread as little as possible to coat both sides of sandwich bread, add some paper thin slices of whatever you like (strawberry, cucumber, radishes, etc.), and then cut the crusts off!

Tea Sandwich Spread

  • 1 8oz block cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup peeled & seeded cucumber, diced fine
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 TB fresh herbs – tarragon, basil, parsley or mint

Thursday, April 19, 2012

CSA Box #1

Today I received the first box from the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscription, offered by The Produce Box, that we joined.

This CSA seems so different from the one previous bad experience I've had. In that prior experience, it was through one farm directly that charged you up front in the off-season. This came with a hefty tag of ~$600. At that time, it didn't seem prudent. Additionally, that farm's CSA did not offer any choices and would deliver whatever the farm could at that point - which was a nightmarish concept after many friends relayed stories of getting boxes full of the same undesired vegetable week after week.

So happy was I to realize that The Produce Box is actually a network of farms that offer you weekly Box Choices an the potential of skipping weeks. Adding to that you have the luxury of paying as you go, without any obligation to pay for the skipped weeks. I'm happy so far! And they even included a nice newsletter with recipes and farm news. So I'm glad that we’re getting to experience this fun farm-to-table shopping. This weeks rundown is:

  • 1 large bunch spinach
  • 1 large head Romaine
  • 2 quarts strawberries
  • 2 (greenhouse) cucumbers
  • 2 (thin) carrots
  • 6 sweet potatoes
  • Cost: $23

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Wine Authorities

2501 University Drive, #6A, in the same shopping center as LoYo, Durham, NC


Last night was Date Night. Fred and I went down to the Duke Forest corner of Durham by US 15/501 and had a surprising outing to Wine Authorities. While there, we also picked up a batard from Guglhupf that they were selling at the wine store. Additionally, they also had Escazu chocolates, Meat from Farmhand foods, and various other meat, dairy and gourmet food products from regional farms & producers. I was very impressed by the “small market” they had set up near the cashier.

Most people in Durham have heard of Wine Authorities. It was our first venture into the store together, and we were pleasantly surprised to find everything to help craft a romantic or gourmet experience. Also of note, is if you elect to enroll in their customer database, it will track your wine purchases for you, so you’ll never have to wonder what that great vintage was a week after the recycling’s gone out!

Joy to your World,


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Simple Spring Eats

iphone march 2012 015

Springtime is one of better seasons innately because it ushers in a new season of fresh produce. By late March, aren’t the first ripe strawberries of the season (from Elodie Farms at the Saturday Durham market) a happy sight? Sprinkled with a little homemade sucre vanille they are a luscious dessert!

Asparagus seems to be on sale at all the supermarkets, such a pocket friendly treat in the height of its season. We like to grill it crispy with salt and pepper. Roasted in the oven it is a lovely way to heat the house in winter – but now I’m looking forward to keeping that heat outdoors and welcoming the Grilling Season!

Best yet, simple tartines made from the deliciously charred “market bread” from Loaf, slathered with nutella, butter and fleur de sel, or cream cheese are the best way to break fast in the morn. Simple gourmandise at its best.

Joy to your World,


Monday, April 9, 2012

Coucou, Printemps!

Why, hello Spring! You almost caught us unaware. But we’ve been window-watching all this time, and have noticed our beautiful change of season!


I know it’s been quiet here on the blog, but the homestead here in NoDu has been bustling. We’re busy this Spring! Each weekend has a different project occupying us - us the human folk, at least. The kittens have been spending all their time this Spring laying on the couch peering out from the windows! Such sweet friends they are. Milosh always welcomes me home before re-claiming his spot right in the front window.

milosh pic

We’ve added two new planting areas: the side yard “orchard,” and a new flower garden in the back yard for cutting. In the orchard area, I’ve added blueberry bushes and there’s the fig tree. I hope to plant a pomegranate tree today that I bought at the market yesterday.

orchard 4 12

In the existing bed that lines the sidewalk & driveway, there’s a mélange of Spring vegetables: micro-greens, lettuces, beets, chard. Though, I think I accidentally weeded all the chard, believing the chard shoots to be oak tree shoots. I’ve promised my husband myself that I will not be buying any vegetable plants as last year the deer ate everything. I’m convinced they had our yard marked as an all-you-can-eat hotspot. We’d find tomatoes with one huge bite taken out of them a few yards from the once-laden plants. With that in mind, I subscribed to The Produce Box, a local CSA which delivers boxes of local farm fresh produce to your door weekly. We should be receiving our first delivery this week!

I’ve also expanded the herb garden area directly in front of the front door. It’s so nice to just slip right out the door to grab some fresh herbs just off from the front porch.


Regarding the back yard, in the wet days of early Spring, I had thought a tulip bed would be just the thing. Perhaps inspired by our trip to Holland, I thought they would do nicely in a segment of our backyard. So without giving it much thought, my dear husband went to work tilling it one weekend. In his zeal, he broke the tiller in two as the area was quite rooted. We spent the better part of the afternoon using the hatchet and the axe to chop out the roots. So far I have some tulips, a couple “Scotch Brooms,” a knockout rose, and a ton of miscellaneous flower seeds I had lying around. We’ll see what comes up! Pictures to come soon.

Joy to your World,


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!! Hope you and yours enjoy some Easter ham and celebrate the Risen Christ!

Joy to your World,