Sunday, April 11, 2010

~Spring Love~

I just love this time of the year. Everything is fresh and new

And the colors are so vivid

The lamium is blooming (these and the two above)

This cute little ranunculus that my friend Karen gave me appears - it will disappear later

Plants that I had completely forgotten about make theirselves known, like 'Spring Symphony' Tiarella

Shrubs and trees start putting on a show. This pink flowering currant is so pretty at this time of the year

This Vine Maple looks especially cute with its new frilly foliage

Even the foliage plants are especially colorful like this Red Wing Euphorbia

The spring bulbs are still looking nice including this Snowflake

This early purple leafed corydalis brings some blue to the garden

And just in the past couple of days the rockcress has begun to bloom such a pretty pink. Its a great spring blooming perennial and growing it from seed is very easy.

And look what has just begun to open - the first clematis of the season - variety unknown to me but the vine is loaded. Can't wait to see the whole thing in bloom. It's right outside my front door.

Another thing I love about Spring is that I get motivated to grill outdoors. Today I did country ribs, sausage & Raspberry Chipotle glazed chicken. I made potato salad and tried a great new Garden Slaw with Spicy Asian Dressing.

The Raspberry Chipotle glazed chicken was inspired by my friend Carol at There's Always Thyme to Cook who has raved about her Cherry Chipotle Wings. Go check out her site..she's always cooking up something good. I didn't have any cherry jam on hand so substituted Raspberry and it came out delish.

Chipotle-Raspberry Barbecue Glaze
Inspired by Carol who got inspired by:
Source: Food and Wine Magazine - June 2005, recipe by Grace Parisi,

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped or sliced
8 ounces Raspberry preserves (3/4 cup) (I used a bit more!)
1/4 cup chipotle chile in adobo sauce (you can deseed and chop but I wanted the heat)
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup cider vinegar

In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until bubbling, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and process until fairly smooth or use immersion blender . Transfer to a bowl and let cool before using. The glaze can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

NOTES : Use this spicy, smoky, sweet barbecue sauce to glaze grilled meat or poultry in the last few minutes of cooking. It can also be served on the side.

Garden Slaw with Spice Asian Dressing
From Midwest Living with a couple of changes
  • 4 cups bokchoy (or other cabbage)
  • 2 carrots, cut into julienne strips or coarsely shredded (about 1 cup)
  • 3/4 cup bite-size strips green, red, yellow and/or orange sweet pepper
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped radishes
  • 1/2 thinly sliced red onions
  • Spicy Asian Dressing (recipe below)

In a large bowl, combine cabbage, carrot, sweet pepper, radishes, cilantro, and green onions. Pour the dressing over cabbage mixture. Toss to coat. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours before serving. Toss slaw before serving. Makes 6 to 8 side-dish servings.

Spicy Asian Dressing: In a screw-top jar, combine 3 tablespoons rice vinegar or white wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons canola oil or vegetable oil, 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil (optional), 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger, 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper. Cover and shake well to mix. Makes about 1/2 cup.


So on to dessert!

I now have a new Spring "love" - Rhubarb! I know this is a rite of passage for many people each spring, but its relatively new to me and I've never baked with it. I saw some at the grocery store this week so thought I would pick some up and give it a try. It's such a pretty color! For those southerners out there who might have seen looks for all the world like pinkish red celery. I used a recipe from what's becoming my go to baking book - Heirloom Baking with The Brass Sisters. I think its a classic, but for this Southern Girl it's a novelty! Here is the rhubarb getting all sugared up

And ready for the oven

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
from Heirloom Baking with the Brass Sisters

Pastry for double crust pie
4 cups chopped rhubarb (1 inch pieces)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1 pint strawberries, sliced, drained on paper towels
2 tablespoons cold butter, diced

Preheat to 400. Prepare a glass pie plate with vegetable spray and cover with foil the spray again (not sure why but I did it and the pie crust cooked well. Roll out dough to fit pan and put bottom crust in. Mix rhubarb, sugar and flour in a bowl and set aside 1 hour. Put rhubarb in a strainer to collect juice. Pour juice into a saucepan and add nutmeg and salt. Cook on medium until juice thickens. Cool 10 minutes. Combine rhubarb, strawberries and juice. Add mixture to pie shell. Dot with butter then add top crust. Brush top crust with beaten egg. Place pie on baking sheet (I didn't do this and it was okay). Bake 30 minutes and check -cover with foil if browning too fast. Bake another 15-20 minutes or until top is evenly brown. Cool pie completely before serving.

*Randy's note: Don't refrigerate and don't eat until the second day. Susan's note: Ya right on waiting until the second day....

I'm joining in for Mosaic Monday over at Little Red House. Go check out all of the cool mosaics!


Kate said...

I wish I had been at your house for dinner! This sounds absolutely wonderful. I will be making this complete meal! I can hardly wait for the weekend...

Marsha said...

I wish I was there too - what a wonderful meal and a great revision of raspberries on Carol's recipe! Rhubarb strawberry pie is a favorite here and I love your romantic version with the heart crust :)

I love spring and all it brings but I especially love to see it in other's gardens. You have so many plants that are "new" to me and they are so very beautiful. I also spotted the little vined mushroom in the rockcress photo - does this mean fairies are moving in?

Dishesdone said...

Took me a second to guess the middle mosaic pic was pie! Looks delicious!

Great idea to sub the raspberry for the cherry, I'll have to do that!

Dinner looks so good! The slaw looks great!

Foley said...

Suzy - you do have Spring Fever - I can "hear" it in your writing!!

Your dinner looks perfect..will have to try that glaze this summer, I had copied Carols recipe for my file when she posted it. Rhubarb is a favorite here..can't believe it looks so nice, red and will be awhile for here. The hearts are too cute..really puts the crowning touch on the pie..BUT why wait for the second day??

Your blooms are beautiful..can't imagine how you remember all the names, quite the variety..

Joyce said...

Such a pretty Spring Mosaic. I also have Spring Fever here and have had the BBQ going. Taking a break from using it this week since the pollen is so bad here I hate to step outside. It looks like it is snowing yellow but the bees are sure enjoying the pollen. Your recipe for the chicken sounds delicious and easy. Easy leaves more time for me to then play with my FLOUR:)

Mimi said...

Your flowers are so beautiful...I just love that vine maple. I noticed my clematis has a few buds that are going to be open pretty soon, too.
I am going to try to find some rhubarb to make Howard one of his favorite the way you cut little hearts out of yours.

32˙North said...

You have a delightful mix of flowers in your garden! I love gardening, too - nothing remains the same from day to day!


Gardening in a Sandbox said...

You had quite a post this morning and I don't know where to start. I loved your plant photos. I grow the lamium too as it can take the dry and drought in summer. The chicken looked delicious and the rhubard pie devine. I grow rhubarb in the garden and freeze it for the winter. Valerie

Kathleen said...

Beautiful flowers, Suzy! And such a variety..Dinner looks good too. God to see you back on the computer!

Debbie said...

Suzy, had me at those little heart cutouts! I'm sure the pie was great too :-)

Thank you for sharing your blooms with us!

I LOVE your mosiac!

Mary said...

Suzy, this was such a nice post. I, of course, loved the flowers, but my heart caught at the sight of that gorgeous chicken. I love chipotle barbecue sauce and will try this one as soon as I can. I stopped by to say hello but stayed far longer than I had intended. I really like your blog and will be back often to see what you've been cooking. I hope you have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

Cape Coop said...

I have NEVER had rhubarb, I'm so hopeful that we will find some locally grown soon! I will definitely try your recipe!But, what I am really jonesing for is that white flower- snowflake? It is stunning!

Cynthia said...

Suzy, I immediately recognized the rhubarb pie in the center of your mosaic. My grandmother was known for her rhubarb pie. (But her crust wasn't as cute as yours.)

I love seeing glimpses of spring from your yard and always appreciate that I can click on the pics and enlarge. It's wonderful to see the detail of flowers and plants that I am not familiar with.

I've never heard of Euphorbia, but it sure is an interesting plant. Love it!

A Grain of Salt said...

Suzy, I just LOVE to visit your garden. You have the most unusual blooms! Where do you find all your plants? Oh, the food looks good too! ;-)

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I love to come for a tour of the garden and dinner ;) Things are looking beautiful there Suzy and what a great way to celebrate spring with that strawberry rhubarb pie!

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