Chocolate comes from cocoa which is a tree ... that makes
it a plant which means ... chocolate is
Salad!

Friday, March 27, 2015

MACY'S FLOWER SHOW 2015: ART IN BLOOM

We have snow on the ground and it's about 34º outside.  What better day could there be to drive Downtown Minneapolis to take in the beauty of the Macy's flower show?!?


The theme of the flower show is "Art in Bloom" with each installment representing a major movement in art history such as classical art or pop art.   This sculpture of David greets visitors as they enter the show.  Psychedelic colored lights, shining on the statue, created a fascinating introduction to the show.


Notice the changing lights.

Shown below is the Post-Impressionist Garden.

Notice in the very large installment below the flowers beneath the sheer fabric.  A number of paintings from the great Masters were projected onto the fabric.   This was the Renaissance Garden.


The piece below reminds me of the works of Joan Miro.

Below is shown the Abstract Garden.



The floral selection complements this "Piet Mondrian" piece, below, perfectly!  The gardens in the photo above and below are both part of the Modern Garden.


There were a number of installments that were reminiscent of Dale Chihuly's glass works.





Below is the Kinetic Garden.

The amaryllis in this photo appears to be floating.  In fact, there are mirrors which create interesting illusions.
Below is the Art Nouveau Garden.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

ENGLISH COUNTRY GARDEN VIDEO


TURN ON YOUR SOUND AND CLICK ON THE VIDEO BELOW, ENLARGE THE VIEW, AND DELETE THE AD.  IT IS SO LOVELY!!




Tuesday, March 17, 2015

BEER FOR ST. PATRICK'S DAY.

I was just brainstorming what to post today for St. Pat's Day... Previously I posted a recipe for Irish Soda Bread, and another time I posted a vintage postcard.  I could do another post of an Irish recipe; or I could do another post of vintage postcards, or something entirely different.  I decided on the vintage postcards, with a twist.  This time the theme will be beer, since many of us associate St. Pat's Day with green beer (or, for some, any beer at all!).

Micro brew beers are a hugely trendy thing at this time with thousands of small brewers making the news.  But, many years ago, we had only very large breweries, many in this area because of the large number of Germans who immigrated here.  

Fox Head Brewing Company, originally located in Waukesha, Wisconsin was one of the smallest breweries in the area.  Opening in 1946 in a building formerly run by a number of other breweries, by 1960 it was allegedly owned by the mob.  In 1962, the brewery was purchased by Heileman Beverage Company, LaCrosse, Wisconsin, and the Waukesha operations were closed.

On the back side of this postcard it says:
"City Keg and Bottle Beer Exchange,
1638 N. 12th Street
M I L W A U K E E"
Once the largest brewing company in America, the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company was founded in 1849, and had a huge presence in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.   In 1902 it achieved status as the largest brewery in America.  During Prohibition it changed its name from "Brewing Company" to "Beverage Company" and adopted the slogan - "The Drink that Made Milwaukee Famous."  A 76-day worker strike in 1953 resulted in the company moving to second-place status, and other problems over the years caused additional declines.  Finally, a worker strike in 1981 led to the sale of the company to Stroh Brewery Company of Detroit, Michigan.  According to Wikipedia, what remained of the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company products was sold to American Entrepreneur Eugene Kashper and TSG Consumer Partners in 2014.


Miller Brewing Company, was originally organized in 1855 and is still in operation with headquarters in Milwaukee.  In September, 1956 a series of sales led to partial changes in ownership of the company, first to the conglomerate W. R. Grace and Company, then to Philip Morris, then to South African Breweries, and finally, to Molson Coors, some of which companies continue to own interests in the Company today.

This shows the Administration Building of Miller Brewing Company in Milwaukee.

One of the more interesting and famous breweries, Anheuser-Busch, began operations in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1852.  Following a long and interesting history, today Anheuser-Busch operates 12 breweries and some of the largest theme parks in America,  including Busch Gardens in Florida and Virginia, SeaWorld, and LegoLand,  

On the back of this postcard it states:
Home of Budweiser, Lager Beer
With 5,000,000 square feet of floor space, it covers 52 city blocks - an area larger than the famous downtown 'loop' district of Chicago.  It has an annual brewing capacity of 5,000,000 barrels of the world's finest beer.  The annual overall taxes exceed $54,000,000. "


On the back:
Thousands of visitors are welcomed and entertained here each year during visits through the huge plant, made up of 110 individual buildings, covering 70 city blocks, which is the home of BUDWEISER and other fine Anheuser-Busch beers.

This is a fold-out postcard.
 BEER OR NO BEER, HAVE A FUN ST. PATRICK'S DAY!!!

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Young-Guinlan Building in Downtown Minneapolis - Antique Dolls, Clothes and Accessories

When I started this blog five years ago, one of my goals was to comment on whatever life brings - not just recipes, not just gardening, but whatever happens in the course of a day.

Yesterday I was scheduled to work at the Minneapolis Home and Garden Show at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  I was early so had time to kill.  There is a massive network of "skyways" downtown and, in no time at all, I found myself walking through a skyway in the old Young-Quinlan building at 901 Nicollet Avenue.

Second story of the Young-Quinlan building.
As a result of that walk, here is what I found out.  In 1894, the first ready-to-wear dress shop west of the Mississippi was opened at 513 Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis by Elizabeth Quinlan and her partner, Fred Young.   After Mr. Young died in 1911, Miss Quinlan took over the successful business which focused on high-quality, modern apparel for men and women.  In 1926, she moved the store to 901 Nicollet in the newly constructed building designed by Frederick Ackerman of New York, the architect who had designed her home at 1711 Emerson Avenue South in Minneapolis just two years earlier.  His design incorporated Miss Quinlan's desire to have a "beautiful home" for her merchandise.  It was, and still is, an elegant building which was given historic preservation status in 1979.

Fortunately, the owners of the building have set up beautiful glass and wood cabinets (perhaps they are original to the store?) to highlight some of the early Young-Quinlan merchandise.  What a pleasant surprise to come across this display as I walked through the second level of the building!

Merchandise cabinets.



Miss Quinlan traveled to France to find an artist to design the image to be used on the store's boxes and for all other purposes.  He painted this picture of a woman without the gold beads.  Miss Quinlan was concerned that a picture of a nude woman would not go over well in Minneapolis.  With a flourish, the artist grabbed his brush and quickly painted in the gold beads about the shoulders.  With that, the painting became the official image of the Young-Quinlan store.  Notice this image on the hatbox in the photo below.



Mens' Accessories




I was so pleased to see that these charming objects have been preserved and are on display for others to enjoy.  Coming across this delightful display reminded me that there are so many things in life that can fill us with so much joy, when we least expect it!  

To read more about Elizabeth Quinlan's very interesting life, follow this link and this link.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

GREEN BEAN BUNDLES

I have made Green Bean Bundles for a number of gatherings and it is always a crowd pleaser.   It is also the perfect dish for entertaining since it is easy to prepare ahead and baked just before serving.

Ready for baking.
GREEN BEAN BUNDLES.   Source: The Pastry Queen Christmas, by Rebecca Rather 
* 1-1/2 pounds green beans 
* 1 stick butter 
* 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard 
* 1 teaspoon packed brown sugar 
* 1 clove garlic, minced 
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
* 8 ounces bacon 
     Blanch green beans in salted water for about 3-4 minutes until beans are slightly pliable. Drain and run under cold water to stop cooking. Dry and place in shallow ovenproof casserole dish. Melt butter and stir in dry mustard, brown sugar, garlic and salt, and pour over the beans. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. 
     Make a bundle of 8 or so beans and wrap a half slice of bacon around each bundle, securing with a toothpick. Arrange back in the same dish, and bake, uncovered in preheated 375º oven for 45 minutes or until bacon is cooked and the beans look wrinkled. Serve warm or at room temperature.


The bundles were placed in an 9" x 12" glass baking dish.  I would advise baking these in a larger dish so that they aren't quite so crowded.  That may result in the bacon cooking a bit more completely.  

Saturday, December 27, 2014

A GREETING FOR THE NEW YEAR.


HAVE A BEAUTIFUL NEW YEAR MY DEAR FRIENDS.

Monday, December 8, 2014

SWEDISH TEABALLS...RUSSIAN TEA CAKES...MEXICAN WEDDING CAKES

Swedish Teaballs... Russian Tea Cakes... Mexican Wedding Cakes.  What do these all have in common?  Everything!  I wonder if there is any other food item that is claimed by so many different countries.   Also, why are they called "cakes" when they are actually "cookies"?   

A few friends came over the other night to bake Christmas cookies, and we each brought a recipe to make.  One person had a recipe for "Swedish Teaballs" that we thought sounded (and the picture looked) just like Russian Tea Cookies.  The only difference was that they were made with cake flour rather than all-purpose flour, and they baked in a 275º oven for an hour,  rather than a  400º oven for 10 minutes.  We were curious to see how those two factors would impact the cookie.  The short answer is... not much.  They turned out somewhat lighter and crisper, but also dryer.  In the final analysis, the added expense of cake flour, and the long cook time, did not result in a better cookie.  

Now is the time of the year to make these delicious cookies.  Here is the best recipe I have for Russian Tea Cakes (donated last year by friend, Diane).  I'm going to change the recipe, though, to call them "Russian Tea Cookies."  When you make them, you may decide to select your ethnicity and rename the cookie... perhaps "Italian Tea Cookies"?

RUSSIAN TEA COOKIES
*  1 cup butter at room temperature
*  1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
*  1 teaspoon vanilla
*  2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
*  1/4 teaspoon salt
*  1 cup finely chopped pecans
In a mixing bowl beat butter for about two minutes until creamy.  Beat in the sugar and salt for about three minutes, until creamy.  Beat in vanilla, then slowly beat in flour until blended.  Stir in chopped pecans.

Preheat oven to 400º.   Roll dough into 1" balls, dusting hands with flour if necessary.  Place about 1" apart on ungreased baking sheets.  Bake about 10 to 12 minutes, or until set and bottoms are lightly tanned.  After removing from the oven and allowing to slightly cool, roll the cookies in powdered sugar.  For a holiday look you can add colored sugar.  Very pretty!

Here is a photo of the cookies we made.  

Top:  Buried Cherry Chocolate Cookies.   Right:  Italian Almond Cookies - the 2014 winner of the Star Tribune Holiday Cookie Contest.  Bottom:  Cookie Cut-outs.  Left:  Swedish Teacakes.  Far Upper Left Corner:  Gingerbread Cut-outs.

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