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.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lavender and Summer Sundays

Hello everyone and welcome to Summer Sundays # 4 at The (Wonderfully Talented) Tablescaper!!  This week's post is going to be short because I'm working on my little HP mini laptop and it's a little slow and difficult to work with today for some reason.     

For all of us at Frog Hollow Farm, summer brings the beautiful and delightful blooms of the lavender plants that grow in our east garden.  For me, the scent of lavender is about the most soul soothing scent I know.  Above, I have a few blooms in a old pressed glass vase in the conservatory.

There are several different varieties that grow on the terraced east garden.  Of course I don't know their names nor am I organized enough to have thought of researching that before beginning this post. 

The butter-yellow Stella D'Oro lillies work well with the lavender. 

Hope you're having a wonderful summer weekend!  FHFB is outside right now finishing up our chicken coop!  Can't wait to post it for you all to see. 

Ciao, bella!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Kale from the Garden

This is our first summer harvest of delicious, nutricious organic kale.  FHFB asked me to cook something yummy out of it for an early Father's Day dinner on Friday evening, since we were busy with a graduation party on Saturday and Father's Day at my dad's house all day Sunday.  I have it placed on our porch table before bringing it in for a good washing. 
You can see our hammock in the background - which is really where I'd rather be than washing kale, but FHFB was so excited about getting this into the house and onto the stove that I didn't have any time to think about lounging on the hammock.  Actually, that hammock was a Father's Day gift for FHFB many years ago. 
A couple of weekends ago, FHFB and I took cooking classes up at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.  He took a grilling course, where today's recipe with the kale is from.  Although the recipe called for beet greens, Chef Velie told FHFB that kale would work great as well. 

Beans and Greens Sauté

Makes 6 servings

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp minced garlic
10 cups coarsely chopped beet greens or kale
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp ground black pepper, or to taste
2 cups cooked or canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp malt vinegar, or to taste

Prepare this savory sauté in a cast iron skillet right on the grill while you grill the pork, or make it ahead of time on the stovetop. If you can't find beet greens, substitute spinach, kale, escarole, collard greens, or turnip greens.

Heat a large sauté pan over the hottest part of the fire or a burner set at medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and heat until the oil shimmers. Add the garlic and move the pan or turn down the heat. Sauté the garlic, stirring frequently, until it is tender and aromatic, about 3 minutes.

Add the beet greens and cook, stirring and tossing briskly with a wooden spoon to coat the greens evenly with the oil. When the greens have cooked down and are a vivid green color, add the broth. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and a pinch of the pepper.

Bring the broth to a simmer, then add the beans and cook, stirring frequently, until the greens are fully wilted and the dish is very hot. Season to taste with the malt vinegar or balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.

The best, best, best part of this meal was that FHFB surprised me by flying our son home from North Carolina for the weekend!  My son is a vegetarian, so this dish was perfect for him as well.  It was so wonderful to see him on the porch when I got home on Friday afternoon.  I had baked some Rustic Rhubarb Tarts from the Smitten Kitchen blog for dessert and had to run out for some vanilla ice cream (the perfect addition to the very delicous tarts by the way!  I also made peach and blueberry tarts with the same corn flour/meal dough - yummy!)

The Grilling cookbook that FHFB received as part of taking the course came with this recipe and displayed it as a side dish to barbequed pork ribs, which looked like a really delicious pairing.  We think this dish tasted better the second day, when all of the flavors had a chance to meld together.  I used canned cannellini beans, but Chef Velie used black-eyed peas that had soaked overnight. 

Thanks for stopping by!
Ciao, bella!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summer Sunday at The Tablescaper

I was so excited (really, like a little kid), when The Tablescaper dropped by my last post for Tablescape Thursday and left a comment and invited me to join her new meme called Summer Sunday.  Now, I know that this is open to everyone but it felt so special having her take the time to say that she hoped I would join her with some pics of the summer flowers here at Frog Hollow Farm. 

Right now we don't have too many flowers blooming, but FHFB does have some pretty petunias placed in two old planters in his garden that belonged to his mother Maria. 

Well, like I said, we don't have too many other flowers to post yet; but for future Summer Sunday posts you can expect pics of sunflowers, zinnias, snapdragons, cleome, roses, monarda, honeysuckle (I hope), daisies, water lilies from our pond and butterfly bush flowers. 

For today I wanted to post some pictures from FHFB's vegetable garden.  This is an organic garden that seems to get bigger and bigger each year.  It reminds me of summer in so many ways.  First of all, I always know where I will be able to find FHFB during the spring and summer months.  Also, to me there is nothing more wonderful (well, maybe there is, but anyway) I just think the smell of tomatoes growing in the sun is one of the most aromatic and delightful aromas there is.  The heat of the sun just bring scents of herbs, tomato vines, earth, water wafting up into the summer air.

Let's take a tour: 

Green leaf lettuce and kale....

Italian flat beans growing on poles....

Tomato plants....some from seed and some from my dad Andy.

Garlic, planted last November...I think by my extremely talented son, the artist and vegetarian.

This is a view of the cinderella pumpkins through some netting .  They are my favorite pumpkin - I always imagine that they will grow wheels and roll away with four mice as horses just like in the story of Cinderella.
Rows and rows of golden and red raspberries.  These bushes bear fruit in early July and then again in September.  The September berries always seem larger and sweeter. 
Marigolds are patiently waiting their turn.

FHFB is experimenting with lots of borders this year.  Here's a corner of the garden with monarda, lamb's ear and something else that I can't identify, maybe daisies? 

Wonderful mint for salads, mint juleps, Irish Blessings and bunches cut just right to look pretty on the table in little vases. Sometimes bunches of fresh herbs from the garden are the perfect table decorations!

FHFB also has oregano, basil, sage, rosemary, tarragon, chives, thyme and parsley growing in his garden.

Thank you so very much for stopping by and touring our vegetable garden here at Frog Hollow Farm.

Don't forget to stop by Summer Sunday at The Tablescaper!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ladies Luncheon in Pinks and Robin's Egg Blue

For the past 5 and a half months I've been inspired and awed by the beautiful tablescapes in so many of your blogs.  When  "The Tablescaper" posted a few weeks ago and asked 'Where Do You Keep It All', it got me thinking that I need to put out a little effort, like so many of you do each and every week, and try to design a tablescape with dishes and colors from my rather small (but always growing) collection.

After perusing my two shelves and one cupboard full of dishes and glassware, and being inspired by the pinks and blues of spring, I decided to see if I could put a tablescape together using pink and blue (mostly pinks)without it looking like a baby shower. Forgive my photos please, they are not the best - still need to learn about using a digital camera indoors.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Milk Bottles

Hi everyone.  I'm not sure that this idea is really a match for Metamorphosis Monday, but I wanted to share it with you.  It's really a silly little brainstorm (?) that I had a few weeks ago, while looking through some of my antique glassware. 

Menus For a Couple of Days!

I love looking through all of my cookbooks, as well as my down-loaded and cut-out recipes over the weekend t put together a few nights of simple, healthy menus.  Sometimes I just put together menus for get-togethers and quick dinners with friends that haven't even been planned yet! 

This morning while FHFB and I were sitting out on our sauna back porch I decided to pull out my binder of recipes. 

FHFB was up earlier than I was, we've had a few very late nights recently, and he was very engrossed in his Sudoku book - Sodoku is something that I do not have the patience for. I'm good with a word find book if I'm trying to pass the time at an airport (when I've finished shopping in all the stores - do you love airport stores as much as I do?).

The other day I went through all of my recipes (not the cookbooks) just to organize them and see what I had.  Since I had never even made a few of the recipes, or they just didn't look so appetizing to me any longer, I threw out a few.  They were then organized in three-hole punched plastic protective pages in a binder in several categories:  Breakfast, Salads, Appetizers, Pasta, Vegetables, Beef, Pork, Chicken, Fish and Desserts.  So, after that bit of organization, my task of finding the perfect recipes this morning was much more enjoyable and easier for me - and I am about enjoying what I do, even if it's writing out a grocery list or planning my next organizing chore. 

And sometimes I just don't feel like being organized in the least!

Here's the menu at Frog Hollow Farm for the next few nights.  I'm trying to get back to lots of veggies and away from meat for FHFB. 

Eggplant Rollatini (purchased at our butcher shop)
Salad with Frog Hollow Farm Baby Greens
Grilled Potatoes and Zucchini with Goat Cheese, Raddichio and Sherry Vinaigrette


Fresh Italian Semolina Bread

Farfalle with Baby Spinach and Roasted Bell Peppers
Spice Rubbed Chicken with Mustard-Chive Sauce
Oven Roasted Frog Hollow Farm Asparagus (yes, it's still growing!)


Bitter-Greens Salad Wrapped in Prosciutto
Pasta with Kalamata Olives and Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

I'm really excited because I have a tablescape to post this week for Tablescape Thursday with Susan on her wonderful and beautifully inspiring blog called Between Naps on the Porch!!  I don't think Susan realizes how much her ideas have inspired me - and the bloggers that post on Tablescape Thursday are phenomenal.

I hope you are enjoying your weekend and I really want to thank each and every one of you for taking the time from your very busy day to stop by my little blog and read my post. 

Knowing that I was going to be able to share my Frog Hollow Farm menus with you made the task ten times more enjoyable!! 

Ciao, bella!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Front Wine Garden at Frog Hollow Farm

Our front garden is called our 'Wine Garden'.  When it was first established FHFB and I would escape to the little black iron bistro table with a glass of wine.  It was a quick, peaceful little get-away during those very interesting teenage years (if you have/had teenagers you know what I mean!). 

When we first moved to our home the front of the house was a very barren little area.  Moss and hard-packed dirt covered the area, it was sad indeed.  We dug up the old dirt to replace it with new topsoil - in doing so we uncovered some wonderful old antique pieces that must have been thrown out into a dump area at one time.  It's hard to believe that people did have areas right outside their homes where they dumped their broken items and other things. 

The challenge with this little garden is that it's shaded by a very old maple tree.  Besides shade, this tree also dumps millions of maple seeds onto the ground each spring.  I think I've told you that I use a leaf blower to get them off of the back porch (they stain the wood if they get wet) - well, I also use it to blow the seeds off the top of the soil in the front garden before they begin to sprout.  I found that raking them out only pushed more of them into the dirt. 

I've planted many perenniels over the years, the black eyed susans and phlox seem to be the ones that have come back and increased in size year after year. Some foxglove have also bloomed this year, but that's not always the case.

Here's what we have blooming right now.  Most of my color comes from annuals that have been planted in large clay pots or inside hollowed out stumps of some trees that were cut down on our street by the power company.

I found a couple of new colors of impatiens over in Pennsylvania a few weeks ago - at least they were new to me.  Here they are - aren't they pretty??


It's very, very muggy today at Frog Hollow Farm.  FHFB and I are heading in to the city to meet our daughter for dinner at a wonderful little restaurant in the Gramercy Park area of the city called Novita,  then off to see the play Promises, Promises.

Hope your day is a little cooler than ours! 

Ciao, bella!