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 26, 2011

Dinner for a Friend

FHFB and I have been to visit our friend Dave many times at Lindenmere in South Hero, Vermont. Dave is originally from New Jersey, and makes a trip back down here once or twice a year. 

The last time Dave was in New Jersey we hosted a small dinner party for him - and it was warm enough to eat out on the back porch. 

Here's what was on the menu:

If you have the time please check out some older blog posts about our trip to Lindenmere, Vermont.  It's truly a magical place that we love to visit.

(this blog post has another menu for you to check out!)

I'm linking in to Yvonne's first On the Menu Monday party at Stone Gable!

Ciao, bella!

A Street Food Stroll in Rome with Eleonora

At the end of our recent trip to Italy, FHFB and I spent a couple of days in Rome.  When we first visited Rome many years ago we found it to be very much like any large city - large, busy, noisy and unfamiliar.  Since then we have figured out that in order to understand Rome, like any large city, we needed to learn about and understand the different areas of the city.  For example, the area around the Pantheon or the area around the Piazza Navona.  I'm sure that each of these city sections have their own name.

A new part of Rome (for us) was introduced to us by Eleonora from aglio, olio e peperoncino.  She also writes a blog called Roma Every Day.  I've become a follower of aglio, olio e peperoncino and blogging friends with Eleonora since last year. 

Eleonora and  Frog Hollow Farm Girl eating chocolate!!!

Check out Eleonora's blog - it is chock full of delicious Italian recipes, and all things Italian.  I
t's always a delight for me to read and it makes me long for Italy!

Farmer's Market at Campo di Fiori. 
(This link tells you about many of the piazza's in Rome)
Our afternoon with Eleonora consisted of a Street Food Stroll.  Now, if you have been a follower of Frog Hollow Farm Girl for a while, you know that FHFB and I love to cook and to eat - and especially in Italy! 

Eleonora describes the Street Food Stroll as follows:

Street Food Stroll
If your idea of delving into a culture is to tune into the city's most cherished food traditions, this is the walk for you. Our leisurely stroll and sample tastings include tavola calda fare, portable goodies, ancient chocolatier confections, fried treats, pizza sold by weight, plus artisan pastries, gelato and grattachecca.

We had a wonderful time.  Here are some pictures from the afternoon as we strolled through Rome.  There aren't many pictures because we were too busy talking and eating!!! LOL


Shopping in Campo di Fiori with Eleonora.

Here I am learning how to drink out of a Roman water fountain. 
When you press and stop the water that you see running from the spout at the bottom of the picture, the water spurts up from the top.  I believe that this water comes from the original aquaducts but I'm not absolutely sure.

The chocolate shop!

We have a delightful afternoon and learned about a new section of Rome called the Jewish Ghetto, not far from the Campo di Fiori.  This is a very historical and solemn portion of the city - you can check out this link to learn more.  Of course there was food connected with the Jewish Ghetto, and the most famous dish to try to get is the deep fried artichoke. Now, we never did get back to the restaurant for that artichoke, and I'm disappointed that I didn't push myself a little more and get back when the restaurant opened, it  wasn't far from our hotel.
Next time, DEFINITELY!!!!

Eleonora was a wonderful guide - we so enjoyed our time with her and would recommend trying one of her culinary tours if you happen to have a few hours in Rome.

Thanks for stopping by.  I'll be linking in to Seasonal Sundays at The Tablescaper!

Ciao, bella!


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dresser Bar on the Back Porch for Summertime Entertaining

We entertain all summer long at Frog Hollow Farm, and with the addition on our wrap-around porch three years ago, entertaining has become so much easier. 

One thing that I have always done both in and out of our house is move things around - I am constantly moving furniture looking for just the right combination of sitting areas and places for food and a bar. 

The good news is that I think the porch is finally finished as far as figuring all of that out. We have a large farm table with 6 red ladderback chairs as the main sitting area, and several sitting areas all around the porch, including both small couches and chairs as well as large beautiful rocking chairs loaded with comfy pillows. 

My focus for this post is the bar area I just set up for the summer.  I found an old dresser in our garage that I thought would work just perfectly - I loved the color of the wood and the contrast with the rest of the porch furniture - and using an antique wooden piece of furniture in an outside sitting area seemed like a novel idea.  Having a covered porch allows for protection from the elements - we'll have to take it inside over the winter. 

You can see the entire piece centered under the kitchen window.    An old basket held the all-purpose wine glasses that we use for most everything - they are stock items from Crate and Barrel - I usually end up buying 24 of them each year around the holidays - they are inexpensive so when they chip or break throughout the year I don't feel so bad.  After awhile the finish on these everyday glasses tends to dull, so new sparkly glasses are a must!

The large glass jar with the spout is from Pottery Barn, and worked beautifully for our White Wine Sangria.  I filled it up right before our guests arrived, having to of course sample the sangria before serving it ;).  The wine bottle to the left of the glass jar is an old bottle from FHFB's family - I love the look and it's a colorful accent on the bar.

This old copper bucket worked so well holding the chilled white wine and proseco.  We found this recently at an antique shop on Route 9 in Cape May, New Jersey.  It was raised up off of the floor on a small plant stand for easier access. I love buying antiques that are simple, functional and beautiful.

Since there isn't a ton of space on the top of the dresser, I decided to use the two small drawers on the top to hold some specific items, like a corkscrew, bitters, shaker, a towel and small bottles of juice and alchohol (we had one person who loves gin martinis, so I needed to have the  ingredients easily available).  We always like to serve our guests their first cocktail or glass of wine, but having the bar area set up and easily accessible allows everyone to serve themselves cocktails, soda or water throughout the evening. 

Beer glasses and plastic cups for the kids were placed in the second small drawer, lined with a vintage checked placemat.

This bar will stay in place throughout the summer.  When not in use it still looks like a significant part of the porch with the addition of a colorful coleus plant.  We keep the large glass jar and the round basket out all of the time - just rinsing them off carefully before using them each time. 

Thanks for stopping by - I'm linked in to Seasonal Sundays over at The Tablescaper 
Foodie Friday over at Designs by Gollum 
Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch!
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home 
Friday Foods at Momtrends 

Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch!

Ciao, bella!

Saturday, June 11, 2011


During our April trip to Italy, we did three things that we had never done before.  The first thing was that we took a cooking class with Sharon Oddson - my last few blogs describe all of the recipes and have some yummy looking photos to go along with them.  The second thing that we did was taking the train from Florence to visit FHFB's cousin Mario and wife Pam at their wonderful little farm right outside of the wonderful little town of Panicale, Umbria, about 90 minutes outside of the city of Florence.  I think that I'm overusing the word 'wonderful', sorry!

Isn't this just heaven???

Here's a photo of my son, Pam, Mario and FHFB on the brick patio, where we sat and ate a delicious meal and drank local wine most of the afternoon. 

I think I'll just post the photos with short explanations - the photos just bring me back to that very wondeful day!

When we arrived (Mario picked us up at the train station) Pam  had a wonderful table full of delicious Italian specialties for us to try.  You can see the one bottle of local red wine labeled 'B'.

Mario built his own outside pizza oven and stone grill - don't these little chops look delicious and so rustic?

Believe it or not, we do other things besides eating!  After we sat and ate for a few hours, Mario took FHFB and my son to his neighbor's home to fill up on their homemade wine.  Pam and I stayed behind and had some time to get to know each other - it was the first time I had met her and she is a fascinating and intelligent lady.  I loved hearing about her life.

The next three pictures show the process of getting the wine from the large oak wine barrel into what looks like a white plastic bucket.

Here's the next step, pouring the wine from the white bucket into Mario's large glass wine container using the biggest funnel I have ever seen. 

And here's the wonderful container that Mario has for the trip home in the back seat of his car...

So, after the wine delivery, Mario took us on a walk through his property.  The most amazing thing that I saw (and there were many amazing things to see!) were the artichokes growing in his garden.  When we were in Florence artichokes were all over the vegetable markets - they were in season and just delicious and beautiful to see in huge piles.  Have you ever seen them grow?

Aren't they they gorgeous??

You know, as I'm putting this blog post together I'm missing Panicale so much.  It was such a lovely day.  Here are some more photos just to enjoy and dream with:

Walking through the woods, Mario showed us where the wild boar forrage for acorns. 

Wild cyclamen also grow in the underbrush.

An olive grove on one side of Mario and Pam's property.  I think the olive trees closer to the bottom of the photo belong to Mario and Pam.

A view of the front of the farmhouse and the patio where we sat and enjoyed a delicous meal with wonderful people.

My son and I enjoying the wine - this was bottle 'A'!

It was hard to leave this very tranquil and lovely home. 
Mario and Pam are wonderful hosts and very lucky people. 

They love their home and property so much and it shows in every nook and cranny.

Thank you both so much for making such a wonderful memory for all of us!

My next post will be about the third new experience we had during our trip - a street stroll in Rome with Eleonora from aglio, alio e peperoncino

I'll be linking to Seasonal Sundays at The Tablescaper and Foodie Friday and Alphabet Thursday!!

Ciao, bella!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Finally...the Dessert Recipe from La Cucina Del Garga!

Crema di Ricotta
con Salsa Caramello all'Arancia e Mandorle Tostate

(Ricotta Cream with Orange Caramel Sauce and Toasted Almonds)

Serves 6

For the ricotta cream:

1 pound fresh ricotta
2/3 cup confectioners sugar - sifted
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Place the ricotta in a bowl and cream with a wooden spoon until smooth.
  2. Add the sugar and cinnamon and mix thoroughly
  3. Add the cream in small amounts, mixing until well combined
  4. Add the zest and vanilla and mix again
  5. Chill, covered with plastic wrap for at least an hour
For the sauce:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons amber rum
  1. Cook sugar in a dry 1-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork (no liquids!!!!), until the sugar is melted into a deep golden caramel.  This really does happen!
  2. Remove from the heat and carefully pour in orange juice, then rum (caramel will harden and steam vigorously!!).  Cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until caramel is dissolved.  Cool sauce to warm.
Note:  caramel sauce can be made 3 days ahead and chilled, covered.  Reheat before serving.

Garnish:  1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds - slightly toasted
To Assemble: 
  1. In individual serving dishes place a quenelle shaped portion of the ricotta cream.  What's a 'quenelle' you ask????  Here's a You Tube video to help you see how Chef Patrick Fahey from Chicago forms an ice cream quenelle.  Looks like a lot of work to me.  If I were you I would just carefully mound the ricotta cream onto the plates. 
  2. Drizzle with the sauce and sprinkle with the almonds.

Here we are with Sharon at the beginning of our meal.  Of course, after drinking wine for four hours needless to say that I did not take any photos of the finished dessert - and I'm so sorry about that because it was just such a simple presentation and an absolutley fabulous dessert.  Here's one idea that I found through a Google search. Since this dessert is so rich, serving it in the individual serving peices from Pier One for example might be a good idea!!

I'm linked into Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum!

Ciao, bella!!  xxoo


A Frog Hollow Farm Windowscape!

Hello everyone.  I know that I promised to post the final recipe from our cooking class in Florence,

Crema di Ricotta con Salsa Caramello all'Arancia e Mandorle Tostada

(Ricotta Cream with Orange Caramel Sauce and Toasted Almonds)

but if you don't mind, I wanted to share a little windowscape that I created with flowers from our gardens and fields. 

I placed them in a row of 6 mismatched antique milk bottles

on the windowsill over my sink looking out over the porch and fields.

From left to right are 2 bottles of little white field daisies, a bunch of spearmint, a stem of tiny red field flowers (you can't really see the flowers though, sorry), some yellow yarrow, a pretty salmon poppy from FHFB's garden and a spring of sage flowers.

What do you think?  I love these little milk bottles!

Linking in to Tablescape Thursday!

Recipe for the delicious dessert will be posted later today, I promise!!!!!