Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Green Ganesha

B's Ganapati
Over the past few years, we have been blessed with a friend who's celebration of Ganapati is to be seen to be believed. There's no effort spared with an elaborate lunch and dinner - including obbattu. Her hubby has been making rather, sculpting the Ganesha from clay for 12 years now and the son made the "cool guitar-wielding" mooshika.
Ganesha is known to be Gana Priya - one who likes talents and there was plenty on display besides the sculpting itself.The mil embroidered a spread for Ganesha's table, the friend made tomato-chutney give-aways for Gowri-Jevan and the kids stamped brown paper bags to hold the jars. Friends brought Maharastrian style lemon pickle, dahi-mishti and pedas moulded as modaks. The rains have kept away means the flower-beds of marigold and dahlias have been on fire taking just one harvest of the front yard to make enough garlands for her. With the kids acting up, could not follow through on promise of more garlands and rangoli from back-yard.

At home, amid all the ganesha-hopping, tomato stashing and long-overdue work on the house, got around to making kadubus for the pot-bellied gourmand a little after, surprising BigC and S who then went on to mold the very forgiving pot-belly with an elephant face from turmeric. All of 10 minutes were spent with promise to do better next year. Only time will tell.

in the garden - lily bowl going strong with water hyacinths

Monday, September 17, 2012

September Cheer

September is the new August, it appears - blue skies, an ever-so-little nip in the evening air and the winds bringing down the pots. With the kids back in school, grandparents visiting are leaving in a hurry. Baked the cherry upside-down cake for the get-together and made punjabi-chole for dinner that was so tasty that i am still in doubt if its the tea when boiling the channa. S wanted to have some panna-cotta while the weather still allowed for it which answered the usual dessert dilemma. Sprouted mung and horsegram for a couple of new recipes - one for a refreshing salad with carrots and apples and another for curry from Amma. Not sure why it took me this long to try these! Better late than never!!
Attended back to back arangetrams from BigC's dance school while also squeezing in BigC's Fall piano recital. Exhilarating performances and choreography suiting the dancers' strengths by a dedicated teacher makes one hope that their kids will also be there one day. Came away from a canning class all set to jam/pickle as soon as i can buy some jars, that is. Planted some long-overdue trees around the yard and hoping they will take off. Ogled at a few beautiful private gardens around town and came away with a list of plants and ideas to implement - a rain-catcher into the lily-bowl being a top-pick.
in the garden - kniphofia

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Adieu Summer!

Adieu Summer - only if yours lines up with the school calendar! The sun is still shining bright and long while the rains have kept away...the shorts and skirts still getting good use. Mangalorean dinner with friends in the garden with kids entertaining on the violin conjures up visions of what it might be like in a few years. BigC followed up with another dance performance at Art in the Pearl. The first time in 7 years that i did not bring anything home despite eyeing some beautiful hand-blown glasses - what with two tired kids.

A lot of apprehension about starting a new school for BigC has slowly turned into excitement. 80 degree temps and a half-day of school made hubby's proposal of a trip to the beach seem like the idea of the century. For a change, it was clear and sunny with perfect temps even at the beach. With water as freezing as ever, one could not have known two siblings more different than BigC and LilC. Fussy BigC in her jacket and pants staying miles away from the water while LilC frolicked into the water without a care about wet clothes. Ended the evening with dinner at Vivi's - packed even on a week-nite.

B had given me a taste of a cauliflower cake a while ago and i finally got around to baking it. Its an all-rounder of sorts - served it up as an appetizer, made a meal of it with a salad of cucumber/tomato and basil from the garden, BigC's breakfast given that its eggs holding it together! A keeper for sure.

in the garden - sweetly scented heirloom tiger-lily

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Garden on sabbatical

Love affair with black-eyed susan going back to the 1st days in Minneapolis - along Lake Minnetonka, finally bloom in my garden
Sedums are flowering earlier than usual, a sign of low temps
Hardy Gardenia that has survived one mild winter has been flowering along the sidewalk and the envy of passers by
Humming bird corner - Agastache and yellow Crocosmia with blue scabiosa and hardy geranium
Cactus Dahlia and marigolds putting on a show in the veggie box where i temporarily plopped them.
Artichoke flower had caught my fancy since the first year in our home - the house on the corner of our street had one along the sidewalk. Under the impression they needed hotter temps, i never planted one. This year, after seeing a few gigantic ones at Bethany Nursery, Kruger's farm and Hughes' garden, i planted a lil one in June with hopes for next year but a pleasant surprise awaited us on our return home from the east-coast.


Of long drives and...

Nothing is ever impromptu once kids arrive - something that was put to rest this past weekend with an aimless drive through the local wine-country. You do not need to be a wine-connoisseur to enjoy the picturesque countryside. Still in its infancy, the stands of tall conifers speak of the deforestation that has made way for the rolling vineyards - a must given the region's rainy winters. We stopped for lunch at the newer Paulee and were pleasantly surprised by the flavors and portions. A deconstructed nicoise salad had tuna grilled with plain salt and pepper - tastiest ever and Halibut "Fish and" taro "chips" came with a curried apple/cabbage/raisin slaw. LilC polished off the waffles that came with some very ordinary fried chicken. A few interesting antique stores that we could probably return to some time.
BigC had her debut Bharathnatyam performance and with a lot of helping hands, made it through. Took BigC for the class picnic before the school starts and while there, planted up their new veggie garden for the Fall. It was fun to see the kids excited about all the veggies they'd be getting (i hope eating too)soon!

Usually, i never try a recipe as soon as i see it but this one for a pudding/custard brought back memories of the berry trifle we had at Butchart Gardens. Ingredient list was minimalist enough that i had all of it even on a Friday and i set to try with the kids running around the house. BigC scraping down the last bit on the whisk and licking it up while giving LilC a taste was indeed a stamp of approval.
1 cup whole milk
Seeds from 1/4 to 1/2 vanilla bean (see Note) or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup blueberries
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Juice from a wedge lemon, or to taste

in the garden - chocolate cosmos