Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Monday, June 29, 2015

My Latest "Child"

Arrived today, A Purple Passion Flower, Passionata incarnata.

Kimchi - Round Two!

I'm telling you, this is so good I could sell it.

I large Bok Choy (or the equivalent in smaller ones.  I want to try this at some point with a bunch a baby Bok Choy)
.25 cup kosher salt
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
.75 cups Korean chili powder, also called Gochugaru (The courser form is better)
1 bunches of scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
.25 cup ginger, minced


1. Cut the Bok Choy crossways into inch wide sections. Put the cabbage in a big bowl and use your hands to toss it with the salt. Pour in cold water to cover the Bok Choy. It will float, so invert a plate on top to keep it submerged. Cover the bowl with a towel and leave it out overnight.

2. The next day, use your hands to lift the cabbage out of the brine and put it in a big bowl. (Keep the brine, too.) In a small bowl, make a chili paste of the soy sauce, fish sauce and Korean chili powder. (Check the ingredients list to make sure you get pure chili powder, not the kind that has salt mixed in.  It can help to have a Korean friend or someone who reads Korean!)

3. Add the chili paste to the cabbage along with the scallions, garlic, ginger and mix the Kimchi well. Pack it into hard plastic or glass container/s. Pour in enough of the brine to cover the vegetables.  I pack mine so tightly that I only need to use a couple of tablespoons of brine to fill the jar without air pockets.

4. Cover the containers and leave out at room temperature (but not more than 75 degrees, or it ferments too fast). Taste it after three or four days, and every day after. As the vegetables shrink, the Kimchi can be combined in ever-smaller containers; just keep it covered with brine.  In the beginning it will give off gases and leak some liquid.  I leave mine on some folded paper towels to catch the run-off.  This stops when it's done fermenting--4-7 days.

The beauty of Kimchi is that you can experiment with any sort of cabbage, some add carrots, others all manner of radishes.  It's up to you, really!

The Cukes & Scarlet Pole Beans Are A Rising!

 Watching plants grow is so much fun!

Saturday, June 27, 2015


The Creek Done Rose!

 This is looking east over the first bridge.  Normally the creek is only ankle deep here.
 Looking west over the same bridge (above) is what a normal flow looks like and (below) is what it looked like today!

 Also looking west over the same bridge.
 This is approaching the second bridge.
 And this is looking south off of the second bridge.
 Looking north off of the second bridge I again have the contract of a normal flow (above) and today's wild flow (below).

Pride Birthdays and Memorials for the Week ~ June 28th to July 4th

Friday, June 26, 2015

Proud To Be An American

Where Now I Know I'm Free.....to marry or not.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Passionate Encounter

In the park with Romeo this week I have encountered a wild Passion Flower, Passiflora incarnata.  I confess, I've never see one in the flesh before and it's was thrilling!  What a curious, delicate little creature.  To say they're exotic is too obvious.  And so mesmerizing in their design and details.

Happy Birthday Virginia

Random Quote #198

Another Rainy Night In Maryland....

Monday, June 22, 2015

More Exhibits Open In My Garden Zoo

 The African Buffalo, Syncerus caffer.

 The Mandrill, Mandrillus sphinx, the third primate to join the Zoo.

And the North American Timber Wolf, Canus lupus.

So to recap, I know have plant container exhibits in my little Garden Zoo.

Western Mountain Gorilla
Fennec Fox
Reticulated Giraffe
Hartmann's Mountain Zebra
Black Rhinoceros
Nile Hippopotamus
Thomson's Gazelle
Greater Kudu
Common Ostrich
African Buffalo

Scarlet Flamingo

Timber Wolf

Amur Tiger

I have three more African species in the wings and will probably concentrate on North American Species after that.  I have several more Asian and South American and even a few European models in the wings, too...  I need to figure out the durability of these models at some point--UV light is NOT a friend to some plastics.

Mens Fashions

Anyone who knows me knows that my fashion sense is mediocre at best. I don't spend my money on adornments. I, in fact, take pride in how little I spend on clothes. I do try to buy high quality clothes, but I also wear them until they fall apart in the washer! I will never be a fashionisto.

Still I enjoy the process of creating fashion. I am a total sap for Project Runway! And I am avid reader of the New York Times which covers the world of fashion like no other newspaper.

Here are my likes and fails from the recent fashion season. I swear, if I were a model on the failing runway, I would be humiliated to wear some this stuff. You have to either love the check or tell yourself that you don't know jack shit about fashion, so this could be a good idea.... Honey...it's NOT!

Random Quote #197

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Random Quote #196

Random Quote #195

Random Quote #194

Happy Birthday: West Virginia!

A new series celebrating the birth of our states.  Starting today is just a random act of celebration!

Moose Become The First North American Mammal

...in my Garden Zoo.

First Garden Zoo Exhibit From Asia

 A Family of Amur Tigers, Panthera tigris altaica

Another Primate Comes To My Garden Zoo

Chimpanzee, Pan pan!

Persian-spiced Lamb Shanks (Chops)

The recipe from the New York Times Food sections David Tanis called for shanks--I used thick cut chops instead.

4 meaty lamb shanks (ask for the hind shanks), about 4 1/2 to 5 pounds
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground dried rosebuds, optional
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric
 Vegetable oil
¼ teaspoon crumbled saffron
 Juice of 2 limes, about 4 tablespoons
3 teaspoons rosewater, available from Middle Eastern grocery shops
1 large onion, roughly chopped
½ teaspoon ground dried lime, or the zest of 1 fresh lime
 Zest of 1 orange, plus 1 tablespoon more for garnish
 A few thyme sprigs
2 fresh bay leaves
6 cups hot chicken broth or water
2 tablespoons roughly choppedparsley, for garnish
2 tablespoons roughly chopped mintor dill, for garnish


Trim any excess fat from lamb shanks and season generously with salt. Mix together the cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, rosebuds (if using), black pepper and turmeric. Sprinkle evenly over shanks and rub into meat. Let sit at room temperature at least an hour, or wrap and refrigerate overnight, then bring to room temperature.

Place a Dutch oven or deep, heavy pot over medium-high heat and add oil to a depth of 1/2 inch. When oil is hot, add 2 lamb shanks and fry until nicely browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside, then brown the 2 remaining shanks.

Meanwhile, put saffron in a small bowl with lime juice, 2 teaspoons rosewater and 1/2 cup warm water. Let steep for 10 minutes. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Carefully remove all but 2 tablespoons oil from Dutch oven. Add chopped onion and cook over medium heat until softened and lightly colored, 8 to 10 minutes. Season onion with salt, then add lime zest, orange zest, thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Stir in saffron mixture. Lay in the lamb shanks and add the broth. Bring to a boil, then turn off heat and cover pot.

Transfer pot to oven and bake for about 1 1/2 hours, covered, until meat is tender when probed and beginning to fall from the bone. Remove lamb shanks to a deep serving dish and keep warm. Strain braising juices through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing with a wooden spoon to obtain all the liquid (discard thyme, bay leaves and onions). Skim fat, then taste and add salt if necessary. Add 1 more teaspoon rosewater, if desired. Reheat strained juices and pour over lamb shanks. Combine parsley, mint and reserved orange zest and sprinkle over top.

Use a large spoon to break the tender shank meat into large chunks. Serve in low, wide soup plates, giving each portion a spoonful of the juices. Accompany with steamed Basmati rice, lavash flatbread or a loaf of crusty French bread.

I served with zucchini and cauliflower that I cooked in chicken broth and a little butter than tossed with fresh parsley from my garden AND cous cous made with a little powdered parmesan cheese and golden raisins.  I cook a lot, and I'm half bad at it.  THIS was just amazing.  I could hardly believe that I made it myself.  David Tanis may just be a god.

The Fisher Building!?

Is up for auction....
The vaulted marble clad grand entrance hall with its art deco chandeliers.

I hope it goes to someone who wants to preserve its charms and beauty and revitalize it's grand theater. Many warm memories their as a teenager.  I'd barely gotten my drivers license when I was creating theater trips for my friends!  We saw the Houston Light Opera's revival of "Hello Dolly" starring Carol Channing in her iconic leading role.  The magic of the first touring companies of both "Annie" and "A Chorus Line".  You can guess which one ROCKED my world!  And I saw the play Sherlock Holmes with the late Leonard Nimoy in the title role.  Somewhere there's a playbill with his autograph on it.