Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Because it was a preview event, they had an excellent DJ spinning tunes and greeted us all with a Bloody Mary or Mimosa as we arrived. They brought each table the Breakfast Meat Sampler - I prefer my bacon to be really crispy, but I thought the cider-brined ham was good, meaty without being too salty and my dad really loved the Berkshire pork sausage.
The servers were just learning the brunch menu, so I didn't ask what the texture was in the zucchini bread, there was a bit of grittiness, possibly wheat germ, but the flavor was nice.
My dad ordered the Wild Mushroom Omelette with gruyere and tarragon. I was a little concerned about the browned edges, but it turned out to be very tender and light with plenty of cheese and mushrooms. The potatoes could have been a little crispier, but that didn't stop me from sneaking 1 or 7 from his plate.
The Yet Another Shrimp and Grits had beautifully cooked Georgia shrimp in a tasso and scallion gravy with shellfish reduction over my favorite taste of the day - sweet corn and white cheddar grits. I have no idea where they found such good corn this early in the year, but it was sweet, tender and fresh and i could quite happily eat a huge bowl of these just on their own.
I can not imagine a lovelier place to sit and enjoy brunch in town, so be sure to give them a try next time you are in the mood.
1180 Peachtree St
Hours: Monday-Sunday 11:00A-3:00P
I was a guest of Olmsted, but all opinions are my own.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
This past January, I attended this year's Food Blog South in Birmingham, an amazing food blogging conference first organized in 2011 by Jason Horn and Shaun Chavis, that just keeps getting better and better each year. One of the neatest things this time, was the presence of a number of companies that wanted to work with the food blogging community. I had the opportunity to chat with several of them and was really excited when Gourmet Garden offered to send me some of their products to try. Now, for those of you who know me, I am particular about what I will and won't eat. I was pretty dubious about what tubes of herbs would taste like, so I was happily surprised to find that they had tons of fresh herb flavor and didn't leave a weird aftertaste. I also love that you only use as much as you need at one time and then refrigerate or freeze the rest, no more bunches and bunches of cilantro in the compost pile, big $$ savings for me.
Since I had so many fun flavors to work with, I decided to have a little dinner party and put everyone to the test to get creative and come up with their own delicious creation. I didn't want anyone starving, so I baked some potato chips (side note, Ellie Krieger's recipe does NOT work, at least not in my oven) and made the first task of the night to create a tasty dip for them. When you combine 1 c of sour cream, 1/2 tsp Gourmet Garden Garlic Paste, 1 tsp Gourmet Garden Italian Herbs Paste, 1/4 c freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano and freshly cracked pepper to taste, you get the easiest dip imaginable, good not only on potato chips, but also bell peppers, cucumber sticks, pretty much anything you might like to dip in it. You could also be healthy and use Greek yogurt instead of the sour cream, but I had sour cream on hand, so that's what we used.
Next, we worked on our main course, chicken, 4 ways. I gave everyone a chicken breast and they each got to create their own quick marinade using whatever flavors they liked. We had Italian style chicken, Asian style chicken, whatever sounded good. Mine had cilantro, chunky garlic, lemon grass, ginger and chili pepper, with just a bit of fish sauce and dark soy. I put them on the stove and had them cooking as we started our side dishes. I had roasted broccoflower and kabocha squash, cooked some penne, and whipped up some mashed potatoes earlier in the day, so they were a blank canvas for the herbs. My penne was sauced with essentially the same herbs as my marinade, in a little chicken broth and topped with kabocha squash. I think Todd's salad dressing of 3 Tbs rice wine vinegar, 3 Tbs olive oil, 1/2 tsp lemon grass, 1/2 tsp cilantro, salt & pepper to taste, was the hit of the night - I know that it is going to be added to my recipe collection!
Of course, what's a dinner party without dessert? I went with one of my favorites, cobbler adapted from Virginia Willis' recipe. Knowing that strawberries and basil make a pretty good combo, I added basil to the berries and also whipped it into the cream at the very end. While I got some odd looks over the green flecked whipped cream, everyone agreed that it really made the cobbler that much more flavorful.
If you would like to try Gourmet Garden herbs, you can find them at most grocery stores, or you can win your very own Gourmet Garden cooler full and have a party to see what delectable delights you can create!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
While Gourmet Garden did send me their products to try and are providing a giveaway for my readers, I was not otherwise compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Picture from the Norcross Garden Club Plant Sale
I absolutely love buying new plants for my yard, I'm constantly on the look out for new shapes, new colors and plants with different bloom times so I can make my yard a riot of color all year round. Even though I am slightly less enthusiastic about the actual chore of planting said plants, that doesn't stop me from buying them in abundance. Sometimes that means they languish in their pots until they eventually succumb to the brutal Georgia heat, but for the most part, I do get them in and they seem to be pretty happy in their new homes.
Hamamelis x intermedia 'Diane'
I always feel like I need more early color, so I have two witch hazels, poor 'Jelena' is still in her pot in my back yard, and after looking through old photos, looks like she has been there since at least 2011, but she still seems to be hanging in there. 'Diane' joined us last Spring and is planted in my front yard, she was absolutely gorgeous in February and March, maybe 'Jelena' will join her there sometime soon.
My camellias were just stunning this year, they have been blooming and blooming for months now. While I don't actually have space for anything so big as another camellia, I am coveting 'Black Magic' since I saw it at the Flower show last month. I may need to find a home for it somewhere in my yard.
While you may be thinking that I probably spend a fortune on plants, you would be wrong. I actually have scored some incredible deals by shopping all of the local plant sales, especially the pass-along-plants sections. These are really great because you know that they did well enough in our climate to be divided, so they are pretty much guaranteed to survive and thrive.
Gomphocarpus physocarpus Hairy Balls
I also love that you can find some really interesting plants, things that you don't find at your local big box store, like Hairy Balls, above. This is one of my favorite plants ever, even though it spreads like crazy, it still makes me smile. It grows to be about 6 feet tall with long narrow leaves, then it puts out the blooms that look like some kind of miniature amusement park ride, that then turn into hairy balls. They are full of silky puffs of cottony fiber that the seeds are disbursed on after they dry out. Even though they do self seed, they are very manageable because you can easily pull them up.
I always stock up on daylilies anywhere I can find them, because they are one of my favorite flowers and because the deer eat them faster than I can plant them. I keep saying I am going to join the Daylily Society of Greater Atlanta because they invite me to join every time I see them at various plant sales, but my Saturdays are so busy with BBQ and Chef and the Fatman, it's hard to make the commitment. They are such incredibly nice people though, and always have the most jaw-dropping daylilies you have ever seen. Plus if you go at the end of the sale, they will usually toss in a few bonus plants for their best repeat customers. Below are some of my best bets for plant sales, but this is only a tiny fraction. For more great gardening events and sales, check out Walter Reeves Garden Events page.
April 19-20 Norcross Garden Club Spring Plant Sale
33 College Street, Norcross, 30071
I am a member of the Norcross Garden Club, so I have to say that our sale is the best. Not only will we have nursery plants and tons of pass-along-plants dug from our very own yards for sale, but we are also going to have a number of workshops where you can learn how to make recycled plastic flower art for your yard, glass jar terrariums, or other fun garden projects. Don't forget a few extra $$ for raffle tickets, as our brown bag raffle will have plenty of great prizes to pick from!
10:00A-11:00A Recycled Plastic Flower Demo
11:00A-12:00P Terrarium Demo
2:00P-3:00P Veggie & Herb Gardening 101 presented by Rebecca Caley of Caley's Kitchen Garden
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Southeastern Horticultural Society Logo greets you as you enter
This year marks the Silver Anniversary, 25 years, of the Southeastern Flower Show. I'm not sure if that includes last year when there was no show, or not, but either way, it's a celebration of many years of horticultural excellence. My mom and I have been regular attendees over the last 25 years along with various friends and family. We took her mom when she has been in town for a visit, and regularly took my dad's mom, who was herself a Master Flower Show Judge, when she was alive. It was really interesting to go with her and listen to her analyze the entries and discuss which components lost points - she made many prize winning arrangements in her time.
Surrounding Landscapes "It's Zen, Y'All"
My mom and I both feel like the economy has had an adverse impact on the show. It seems like each year, there's a little bit less on display. I do like the new location, the Cobb Galleria, better than previous locations, like the Expo Center down at Jonesboro Rd, the World Congress Center, or the worst, the bottom of the old Sears building on Ponce, which was like being in a cave. Back in the early days, they offered so much more. I remember taking a class with my mom down at the Expo Center to learn how to build a bog garden, which we then got to take home with us. The classes cost extra, to cover the supplies, etc. but they were really well done and we would usually take one or two each show.
Bloom'n Gardens "Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue"
Another fun feature they had was the tea room. We did high tea at the World Congress Center one year, and they set up the tables in the middle of a giant water feature, so it felt like having tea on a giant lily pad. Again, an extra charge, but so much fun!
Bloom'n Gardens Galvanized tub water feature
The regular ticket price includes access to all of the landscapes, assembled on site by local landscape design firms, Discovery Gardens, the Artistic Design and Horticulture Exhibits and Marketplace. New this year, they partnered with ADAC to create vignettes showcasing some of their designers and also created an Antiques section in the Marketplace, with various antiques dealers.
Cultivators Design & Landscape "ReFresh...A Modern Take on the Heritage Garden"
This was my favorite garden, more for the hardscape than the plant selection, although, they did have some lovely ferns in the terrarium on the left. I loved the water feature created with rock pallets and the bold use of color. I wish my back yard looked like this!
Terranova Landscape "Old Dog, New Tricks"
This is the best dog house ever! You can't see them very well here, but they even have stainless steel dog bowls built into the deck. I think every pup should have framed, spot-lit art hanging on the walls in his doghouse!
This is one of the entries in the Artistic division, it won the blue ribbon in the "Hats Off to the 25th" class. I really love the echeveria used as the "clasp" for the necklace. The one beyond it with the Spanish moss "hair" was too busy for me, but this one was stunning. I wouldn't mind having this ensemble.
Asarum maximum, or Panda Face Wild Ginger, was entered in Par, which is the class for plants of outstanding horticultural merit, that are judged against perfection, not the other exhibits. I've never see one before, so it was a real treat to see, it was stunning! If anyone knows where I can get one, please let me know.
I'm also quite smitten by this Camelia 'Black Magic', not that I have any more room in my yard for anything else, but it may be worth digging up an azalea to make room for this.
Jason Paolini of Restaurant Eugene
One of the other fun things about the flower show is the variety of speakers they attract, from local chefs to international landscape designers. One year they had the designer from one of the winning Chelsea Flower Show landscapes in to explain the process behind the creation of the garden - they brought in many ton boulders from Scotland to create their water feature! This year I saw Jason Paolini make a Spring-y Vidalia onion soup with duck fat brioche croutons and talked to him about the new H&F burger stands going in at the Braves Stadium. I tried to wrangle an invite to his house for fondue night, but haven't heard from him yet, although I'm sure he'll call any day. I wish I had been able to go back Saturday, as P. Allen Smith was talking at 2:00P, and I have been wanting to meet him. His Garden2Blog symposium is at the very top of my bucket list.
I always love finding out about cool new tools and funky fertilizers from Walter Reeves, like the Bug-A-Salt that he is holding above. Just load that sucker up with salt, aim it at those pesky bugs, and blast away! He is one of the most entertaining speakers around and so knowledgeable! If you missed him at the show, you can catch him this Saturday 3/30/13 at the Pike Nursery Johns Creek from 6:00AM-10:00AM, doing a remote broadcast of his radio show. There are very few things that will get me out of bed that early on a Saturday morning, but I try to get to several of his live broadcasts a year because it is such a fun time.
I hope you will plan to add the SE Flower Show to your schedule next year! If you do, be sure to bring your credit card so you can stock up on some of my favorite things: local soap mixtresses at Indigo Bath & Body create limited edition soaps just for the show, I stock up on the best garden gloves ever made, BIONIC gloves, the sheepskin Classic gloves are so soft you will want to wear them everywhere and don't forget to get your seed potatoes at D. Landreth, I may be potato challenged, but that doesn't mean I'm going to stop trying.