The Kitchen Window

The Kitchen Window
Antique Milk Bottles with Herbs and Flowers


Welcome to the Frog Hollow Farm blog! I've been blogging since January 2010 and have switched from Blogger to Word Press, but I'm back to Blogger because, for me, it's easier to use. My husband and I live on a little farm in Northwest New Jersey. We have some chickens and a very large vegetable garden with asparagus and raspberries, and rows and rows of sunflowers, snapdragons and zinnias. Traveling, entertaining, gardening, spending time with family, studying Italian, blogging and reading keep us busy and happy. With all of this going on, moving towards a simpler life seems almost impossible but it's definitely a daily goal.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Beautiful Sarah P.Duke Gardens, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

According to the Duke Gardens website, the 'Sarah P. Duke Gardens provides a place where people of all backgrounds and ages come for beauty, education, horticulture, solitude, discovery, study, renewal and inspiration.' 

One part of our recent road trip was to see Duke University and the Duke Gardens.  FHFB and I have a thing about visiting many different kinds of gardens to see how the experts have chosen the plants, landscape and trees that all work together to form spectacular visual settings.  The Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Chapel Hill, North Carolina is a beautiful place where one can't help but become inspired, rejuvenated and motivated. 

Of course, if you are FHFB, you have to find the snack bar wherever we go.  This little building was a former gardening shed.  Inside they serve ice cream and small sandwiches.  The room has very deep-set windows with simple, elegant green toile curtains.

Let's take a walk through the gardens together....

Sweet and sunshine yellow....

A burst of spiky pink...

A lovely combination of California poppies and pansies....

Here they are again, I love the color of this flower....

Pure white rhododendrons....

Candy cane pink rhododendrons...

Beautiful, elegant columbine...

Hope you enjoyed this brief tour of the Sarah P. Duke gardens!

Tonight's Menu:


Green Cerignola Olives
Toasted Semolina Bread with Tomato and Cucumber Bruschetta


Pan Roasted Herb and Bread Crusted Halibut
Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Steamed Green Beans

Ciao, bella!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Frog Hollow Farm Bear

Good morning.  I was so excited (crazy, I know) to look out my kitchen window this morning and see a fuzzy black bear grazing behind our pond. 

Bears are common here during April, but I haven't seen any in the past couple of years. 

One time, many years ago, we had a bear in our back yard. When FHFB went out to shoo it away (his strategy was clapping at the bear, but that's another story), the huge bear hid behind this skinny little maple tree, thinking that FHFB couldn't see him. It was a riot, but the bear did finally lumber back into the woods, which is where we wanted him to go. Although beautiful animals, they can be dangerous so one can't be too careful around one.

Here's one last shot of the bear - he's looking at this crazy woman on the back porch in her pjs, wondering what the heck she's doing!



Caprese salad with fresh mozzarella, organic tomatoes and chopped chives
grilled garlic and olive oil semolina bruschetta
roasted organic cabbage wedges


fresh, organic spinach salad
baked leftover whole grain pasta pie with Frog Hollow Farm marinara sauce
 oven-roasted chicken/turkey meatballs

PS:  Emeril's Chicken-Patty Pockets that I made the other day from Martha Stewart's April issue of Everyday Food were out of this world.  The combination of all of the spices used with the ground chicken gave the little burgers a phenomenal flavor, give them a try!  I can send you the recipe if you can't find it!

Ciao, bella! 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Back to Basics and Aperitivo

Tonight's Menu!


Green Olives

Pan Roasted Cauliflower and Kale with Toasted Breadcrumbs

Oven Roasted Frog Hollow Farm Asparagus


Oven Roasted Chicken/Turkey Meatballs

Homemade Frog Hollow Farm Marinara Sauce

Whole Grain Pasta

Ciao, bella!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Cupcakes...who knew?

While FHFB and I were traveling through Virginia and Washington DC we came across two wonderful cupcake bakeries!  Now, you need to know that FHFB is a dessert fanatic - he loves sweets.  I am usually satisfied with a bite or two of his desserts, except maybe for a delicious chocolate lava cake or strawberry shortcake.  Anyway, for better or for worse I've become enlightened to the simple pleasure of biting into and finishing the perfect serving of dessert - the cupcake - most specifically, the coconut cupcake.

In the little historic town of Abingdon, Virginia we stumbled upon a little cupcake bakery (located inside of a larger home with a cafe and bookstore) called Babycakes CupcakeryBabycakes Cupcakery is owned by Natalie Shortridge and the store was full of little ones with their moms stopping off for a delicious cupcake after a long day at school. The service was friendly and very relaxed.   Natalie told me that she was inspired by the gals at Georgetown Cupcake (below) and that they inspired her to start her own business - isn't that unbelieveable?  She is very excited about being featured in my little blog and is delightful to correspond with.  You can contact her through her website - she is currently looking into the possibility of shipping her cupcakes in the future.

My choice of cupcake at Babycakes Cupcakery was a strawberry cake with light fresh strawberry icing.  It was out of this world!  I ate the whole thing while FHFB and I walked back to our car.  FHFB had the tiramisu cupcake topped with a light coffee icing and a dark chocolate covered espresso bean.  He was in heaven!

Here's their website:

Our second find was Georgetown Cupcake in, of course, the Georgetown section of Washington, DC.

  This little business is well developed and has had lots of exposure through newspapers, television, and the web.  Georgetown Cupcake is owned by two sisters, Katherine Kallinis and Sophie LaMontagne.  A visit to this store reminded me of our many visits to the Magnolia Bakery in Manhattan - there is always a long line of people waiting for cupcakes.  What was different here is that people were ordering 1-2 dozen cupcakes at at time, and at the door there were bags and bags of pink cupcake boxes ready for pick-up or delivery.  FHFB and I each ordered a coconut cupcake to go and a half-dozen to take home with us. 

I was able to take some photos before FHFB (and I) began taste-testing the cupcakes!

Our selection included coconut, chocolate lava, chocolate cake/vanilla icing and hazelnut/chocolate.

My favorite kind of cupcake with my favorite flower!!

This is the cute pink box they packed our cupcakes in.

Here's the website for Georgetown Cupcake:

I hope you enjoyed my little tale of our cupcake adventures!

Ciao, bella!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

What's Happening at Frog Hollow Farm

Well, FHFB and I are back from our 9 day road trip through Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland!  I don't know about you, but I am always anxious to get home, no matter how wonderful a trip has been.  We both missed our home, and really missed planning and cooking our own healthy, delicious meals.  Driving back to the farmhouse was so wonderful the other evening - the lilac bushes and dogwood trees in our field were all in full bloom, the bluebirds had nested again in our bluebird house, one of our Christmas cactuses had blossomed unexpectedly, the asparagus was up in the garden, the vegetable seedlings were doing well, and our two cats Olive and Finn were milling around the back porch waiting for someone to let them in.  Even while we were away, Frog Hollow Farm was busy getting ready for spring!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Flowers of Monticello

Red and White Tulips planted all along the back garden walkway.  The gardeners had planted perenniels that are already coming up in between the thousands of blossoming tulips. 
Majestic Monticello in the background!

Beautiful Pink Angelica Tulips
Don' they look like roses? They were really spectacular!

Virginia Bluebells...just the prettiest little perenniel - I can't always get mine to survive more than three years.

Light yellow Star tulips with the touch of a pink blush...just spectacular!
Exploring Asheville with FHFB for the next few days.  I haven't been keeping up with reading all of your wonderful blogs but will be sure to catch up once I get home!  And I haven't photographed all of the many flowers blooming at Monticello - I keep forgetting to snap the pictures because I get so caught up in looking at everything.  I promise to get better!


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Road Trip

We're taking a road trip down to Asheville, North Carolina to visit our son Frank.  Needless to say, I am not a lover of the road trip, and we stop every 3 hours or so to take a break, walk around, discover something, and of course, have a meal or snack.  There's not much halfway between where we live in New Jersey and Charlottesville, Virginia, our first stop for two nights, except for Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.  We gave it a shot and were pleasantly surprised to find a very busy little Mexican restaurant right across the street from the court house.  I took a photo of the fresh corn chips, guacamole and fresh, fresh salsa served to every diner before the meal.  This little aperitivo was delicious, and probably all I needed to have for lunch.  But, of course, I went ahead and ordered the chimichangas - and they were just to die for!  Off to Monticello today and wine tasting at the Barboursville winery, with lunch at the Palladio restaurant connected to the winery!  This winery is affiliated with the D'Albola winery in Tuscany - one of the many wineries we visited this fall!Ciao, bella!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Frog Hollow Farm Caprese Salad

We were invited over to our friends for an afternoon of catching up, drinking great wine and of course, eating.  I'm bringing my version of the Insalata Caprese Salad - I'm calling it the Frog Hollow Farm Caprese Salad because it's made with goat cheese -  that's what I have in the house today.  My friend Stephanie ate Caprese Salad every day we were in Italy this fall - and we would all laugh about it because even with so many other delicious menu choices, Stephanie just couldn't get enough Caprese Salad! 

The Frog Hollow Farm Caprese Salad is a super-simple appetizer to make, and was inspired by a goat cheese appetizer from Martha Stewart's website which I can't find on-line any longer. Here's how to put together the Frog Hollow Farm Caprese Salad

The ingredients are:
 a small log of goat cheese (plain or herbed)
fresh chives
fresh basil
fresh grape or cherry tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil
red wine vinegar

Slice the goat cheese into 1/4 inch rounds - I use this wire type of cheese cutter - it's great for soft cheeses.

Lay the goat cheese rounds on a platter, any way you like.

Cut the tomatoes in half...

Drop the tomato pieces directly on top of the goat cheese...

Chop the chives.....

Scatter the chives on top of the tomatoes....

Tear off about 5 basil leaves and chop them into julienned pieces...

gently drop the slivers of basil onto your salad....

Grate some fresh pepper and coarse salt over top of the salad...

Make a simple vinaigrette of extra virgin olive oil and red wine vineger - sprinkle all over the salad...

Ciao, bella!!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Congratulations Aunt Riz!

Congratulations on your 100th post Aunt Riz at Gifts from the Sea! 

Ciao, bella!

New Inventory

Yesterday was the start of my collection of inventory for my future Frog Hollow Farm Girl business. I'm not sure what my business will be exactly, but I know that I want it to reflect all of the things that I love about life.  That's not necessarily a great business plan (or any kind of business plan), leading me to believe that whatever my new venture looks like, it won't be up and running for about a year. 

One really special item that I found is a lovely little Flower Guide book (about 3" by 5") published in 1923.

This little book was designed to 'be carried in the pocket with little or no discomfort'.  The author goes on to explain that the drawings represent normal specimens and have been chosen to include those of the conspicuous flowering plants found from the Atlantic seaboard west to the States of the Mississippi Valley.  The illustrations are just wonderful and I plan on dedicating one blog to the book and illustrations soon.

Large Marsh Pink: Sabbatia - Gentian Family

That little book was discovered on a shelf at a store called Plum Cottage - right next door to the Antique Center at Red Bank

Here is another photo from the drawings in the Flower Guide:

Sweet White Violet and Lance-Leaved Violet - Violet Family

I just think they are delightful!!!

Tonight's Aperitivo....

Fresh Salad with Organic Arugula, English Cucumbers and Shaved Fennel

Pasta Pomodorini -

Lemon and Garlic Roast Chicken -

Ciao, bella! 

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Happy Pink Saturday Everyone!

Things are a bit busy today at Frog Hollow Farm, but I didn't want the day to go by without posting a little something.  So, here's a photo of a beautiful pink Gerbera daisy for Easter... sister-in-law Jan gave it to me!

Happy Pink Saturday everyone!
Ciao, bella!!!
I tried linking into a Pink Saturday blog but I was too late!  Maybe next time...