Saturday, June 27, 2009


One of the joys of being a gardener is walking past the beautiful branches of the raspberry bushes and discovering that the fruit has ripened and it's ready for picking. You can't help but pick a few of the juicy red berries and pop them directly into your mouth. As they seem to melt away and the juices fill your taste buds with happiness, you can't stop at just one. Berry after berry misses the wicker collection basket and end up as a gardening snack!

The cool, wet spring and the blast of warm temperatures in the last month resulted in some of the largest raspberries ever.

Several years ago one of the Doctors I work with dug up several small sections of his raspberries for me to plant. They have since spread into just the right amount for us to consume and I have to admit, a few are enjoyed by the birds as well.

Whether they are enjoyed straight from the garden, as part of a salad, or pureed into a nice sauce for ice cream, nothing is better for the upcoming holiday weekend.

One of my favorite desserts is a Chocolate/Raspberry Tart with a Biscotti crust.

8 ounces biscotti cookies
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/3 cup raspberry sauce (recipe follows)
10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Raspberry Sauce:
1 cup fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons sugar

Fresh raspberries

Make the biscotti crust

Preheat oven to 350 F. Generously grease a 9 inch fluted tart pan.
Using your food processor, blender, puree the biscotti until they are finely ground. Transfer crumbs to a bowl and add the melted butter. Stir to combine. Press the mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Bake in preheated oven for 12-18 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool in the tart pan on a wire rack.

Make the filling

First make the raspberry sauce by pureeing the raspberries in your food processor, until smooth. Pour into a strainer set over a bowl and use a rubber spatula to push the puree through the strainer into the bowl. The seeds will remain in the strainer. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Set aside.

Place chopped chocolate in a bowl and set aside. In a saucepan, bring heavy whipping cream to a boil. Immediately pour over chocolate and let sit for five minutes. Stir until smooth. Stir in 1/3 cup of the raspberry sauce.

Pour the filling into the cooled tart crust. Smooth the top with an offset spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Just before serving, top with fresh raspberries!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Detroit 51 Year Tradition

The Detroit Riverfront will light up tonight with the 51st annual Target Fireworks show which begins at 10:06 p.m.

A long time Detroit tradition, originally sponsored by JL Hudson's Department store celebrates America's birthday and the international relationship with our Canadian neighbors across the river.

People from all over the state will decend on downtown Detroit for pre-fireworks festivities early in the day. Hart Plaza, is one of the best viewing areas to enjoy the show.

The Target Fireworks, choreographed by Zambelli Fireworks Internationale, is one of the world’s most spectacular and largest fireworks display in the nation with more than 10,000 pyrotechnic effects lighting up the international skyline over the Detroit River.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tavern on the Green Cookbook

Part cookbook, part history book, the Tavern on the Green cookbook with "125 recipes for good times" is a must have for any cookbook collection.

Nestled in Central Park, one of the most fabulous settings imaginable, Tavern on the Green has been dazzling generations of New Yorkers and visitors with its inventive, eclectic menu and playful decor. Some 700,000 guests dine every year at this one-of-a-kind restaurant, which has also played host to countless weddings and birthday parties, Broadway opening nights and glamorous afterparties, and many other memorable events.

This enchanting souvenir volume captures all of Tavern on the Green's rich history— from its origins in the 1870s as a shelter for the sheep that grazed in the nearby Sheep Meadow to its reincarnation as a restaurant in the 1930s and rebirth in the 1970s as the glistening jewel of the great restaurateur/showman Warner LeRoy.

The home cook can now make some of Tavern's most memorable recipes including Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Red Wine-Garlic Butter, Roasted Prosciutto-Wrapped Scallops, Marathon Pasta (served each year on the eve of the New York race), and Sliced Duck Breasts with Shallot-Ginger Glaze. Also included are decorating and entertaining tips. Beautiful photography and wonderful stories round out this wonderful cook book. If you've been to the Tavern, or only dreamed of doing so, this beautiful book will allow you to live your dreams right in your own home.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Summer Lemonade Cocktail

Summer is officially here! Nothing says summer like a good glass of freshly made lemonade... unless of course it's a glass of a freshly made lemonade cocktail!

Today, we celebrated the start of the summer season by making our favorite lemonade recipe.
My favorite lemonade begins with delicious Meyer Lemons. While not quite as tart as a standard lemon, Meyer lemons are full of delicious lemon flavor and they are perfect for making a pitcher of lemonade.

Begin with 1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice. This could be 6-9 lemons, depending on size. Pour the lemon juice into a large pitcher. Add 1 cup of simple syrup. (for an extra flavor booster, try making mint simple syrup and using that... delicious!) Add 4 cups of ice cold water and 3-4 sprigs of fresh mint. Stir until well blended. Serve over ice and garnish with thinly sliced lemons and mint.

To enjoy the "cocktail" version, follow the same preparation above. To the pitcher, add 3/4 cup of high quality premium Vodka. (or, if you're a Gin lover, that would work as well..) Serve in a tall glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with lemon slices and mint.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Just in Time for Summer!

Lucinda Scala Quinn, Executive Editorial Director of Food and Entertaining at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia offers tips to make outdoor entertaining easy. Plus, check out the July/August issue of Everyday Food (on newsstands June 22) for menu and recipe ideas.

1. Create a summer home for dishes. Station an armoire on a covered patio or clear a few shelves in the garage to hold items devoted to alfresco dining.

2. Accommodating a large group for a sit-down meal outside can be accomplished easily and elegantly by topping a few folding tables with a rustic flat-panel door or a single piece of plywood covered with cloth.

3. Tackle grill-related tasks more than just a few minutes ahead of time. Stock up on charcoal or refill the propane tank a week before. Clean and season the grill rack the morning of your party, and place a table nearby, complete with the various grilling tools and serving platters you’ll need. For specific grilling ideas check-out

4. Running a fan near your dining area will help keep mosquitoes at bay — and keep your guests cool, too.

5. Multiple beverage stations help ensure that guests can get a refill without waiting. Galvanized tubs, colorful enamel buckets, and planters work perfectly. Place an assortment of drinks in each bin destined for different locations throughout the yard.

6. Take advantage of seasonal produce when creating a summer menu for delicious and budget-friendly meals. Sweet corn is at its best, so try it grilled or steamed as a side dish, or turn it into a salad by tossing fresh kernels with extra-virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, chopped fresh herbs, and a little sweet onion or scallion; season with salt and pepper. For more ideas see the July/August issue of Everyday Food or

7. When getting ready for barbecues, clambakes, and other hands-on occasions, set out damp paper towels or cloths, sprinkled with lemon juice and rolled, to remedy sticky fingers. For easy cleanup, cover the table with split garbage bags topped with kraft or butcher paper. Keep crayons nearby for creative guests, young and old.

8. Informal gatherings, planned weeks ahead or convened at a moments notice, don’t require traditional invitations. Spread the word via e-mail using an online invitation site like

Monday, June 15, 2009

Martha University Now Open

A paid video library service called "Martha University" is now available from Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and iAmplify.

Martha University provides access to selected segments and previously released videos from Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia's vast evergreen library content.

From recipes, decorating and crafts, to wedding ideas and some of Martha's classics, subscribers to the service can download videos directly to their computers, MP3-4 devices, or smart phones. Content can also be downloaded directly into iTunes much like the current podcasts.

Video prices range from 5.99-12.99.

Once downloaded, the content is yours to keep, allowing you to view the videos as often as you wish.

I tested the service this morning, downloading "Memory Keeping" content. The download was relatively fast, despite the large file sizes. The service does require that customers have Quicktime video software installed on their computer to view the downloaded segments.

For more information go to the Martha University page on

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Beekman Video

I had to share this with everyone.. a video created by Josh and Dr. Brent.
One of my most favorite places on earth...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Garden Blooms

I took a walk around the garden yesterday afternoon...

This "Lemon Twist" rose blooms constantly from late spring until frost.

The Four O'clock, which spread like crazy and can fill a flower garden in a couple seasons are always a nice bright burst of color

I love geraniums. This blossom is from a Martha Washington geranium

A Carnival Striped Rose, which will climb near the steps is surrounded by Four O'clocks

This spring, I thought this rose had died after a very harsh winter. All of the existing canes were dry and not producing buds. I cut it back and from the surface emerged new growth a many, many new buds. I bought this "Bubble Gum Rose" from Kmart (of all places) 10 years ago!

A combination of Lobelia and a dark purple sweet potato vine makes a nice combo in a large pot near the entry of the patio.

A trailing Verbena against the bright green of another sweet potato vine.

Can you say, "vibrant?" This shocking pink geranium hasn't stopped blooming!

There will be many blooms on this Red Velvet rose. The plant itself seems to stay pretty small, but it will produce dozens of blooms. Unfortunately, it will probably get black spot again this year as it always does.

This rose was purchased in 1999 when Martha Stewart had a live plant program at Kmart. It typically gives me three flowering periods a year. Very elegant.

The edging used in this bed has rusted over the years and I love the look. The pineapple was a Martha Stewart Everyday-Garden item from several years ago. It looks like cement.. but "shhhh" don't tell anyone.. it's actually a heavy resin.

The Ladies Mantle is just starting to bloom. It makes long lasting filler in flower arrangements.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

July Issue - Martha Stewart Living

It's time to break out the red, white and blue bunting... the July issue of Martha Stewart Living hits the newsstands on June 15.

Are you looking to entertain in Star-Spangled Style? There are plenty of party ideas for the Fourth of July, including festive decor, scrumptious menu items and a table setting worthy of a lobster feast.

Is French cooking something you've always wanted to do but were afraid to try? Learn the secrets and shortcuts of a classically trained French chef as he and his family cook a casual dinner at home.

The hot summer days in July are the perfect time for a picnic. Make it a Moveable Feast with Martha Stewart Living's guide to the perfect picnic, complete with six delicious dishes that travel well for all outdoor occasions.

If you wear glasses (and many of us do!) update your look with a great guide to finding the right frame for your face.

All of these great articles plus the good things, beauty hints and tips, and more in the July issue.

Friday, June 5, 2009

In the Garden With Margaret Roach

Margaret Roach is no stranger to anyone who has read Martha Stewart Living over the years. Until January of 2008, Margaret first served as the garden editor for Living and eventually her role evolved to the editorial director for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Today, she's "just Margaret" using her natural talent for writing to inspire and teach others about gardening through her blog, named after her 1998 best selling book of the same name.

Margaret welcomes visitors to her gardens each year as part of the Garden Conservancy Open Days. Hundreds of garden enthusiasts descended upon Margaret and her cat, Jack on Sunday May 31st.

After David and I said goodbye to Beekman, we ventured further east (south east actually) to Copake Falls, NY to participate in the open days tour of Margaret's garden.

GETTING to Margaret's was an adventure. We of course, did not know the area and we were relying on our GPS to assist us. Big mistake. The GPS would not work properly as we moved through the hills. As luck would have it, we were following someone who seemed to have the same trouble locating Margaret's home. As it turns out (and I didn't know until later in the day) the person we followed was a long time reader of Margaret's blog, "Bobster." Together, we worked our way and finally found Margaret's house. You couldn't miss it. Cars were lined up and down the road.

From the moment we walked up the gravel drive, the view was breathtaking. We walked toward the house to sign in. Margaret was there, welcoming guests and directing them to sign in. I introduced myself as my screen name on Twitter and on her blog, "GardenGuyKenn." She was so friendly and pleasant - despite the all the people trampling her well maintained lawn (she must have nerves of steel).

Unfortunately, there wasn't a great deal of time to chat. As people kept arriving, Margaret kept greeting as any good host would do. We ventured off to do our own lawn trampling. The photos below, taken during our tour should give you a good glimpse into just part of the garden.

One of my favorite Hosta - "June" with just a glimpse of a Caramel Heuchera

I believe this is a Petasites Japonicus, or as Margaret refers to it, "a nasty thug."

One of the frog ponds surrounded by a dwarf white pine, a gorgeous rhododendron and a Japanese umbrella pine. Stunning.

I loved this little shed which is painted to coordinate with the main house.

A bird decides to see what is going on. I can only imagine him saying, "who ARE all these people?"

I was SO tempted to climb into this tree.

The gardens went on and on. There was so much to take in!

From atop the hill, looking down at the house. Does it get any better than this?

An espaliered Asian pear tree along the side of the house. I love how Margaret used empty pots as decorative features in the gardens. You'll see them in a variety of places.

The main frog pond

A place to rest and read. Again, the empty pots. Love that!

Japanese maples could be found in large clay pots. I loved this idea so much I went shopping for Maples yesterday to use them on my patio.

This picture served as a great example of how everything in the garden just seems to 'fit.' I love the vining on the steps.

One of Margaret's frogs who seemed to be totally un-phased by all the visitors.

Another picture of the nasty thug

One of just a few pots of annuals.

Margaret's sense of design is incredible.

Come... sit down and take in the view

I love the concrete spheres that flank the steps

Another sphere

Paths and walkways are everywhere. Take a walk... enjoy

Now, if only those people were not in the shot, this would be a frame worthy print!

Suddenly, this person popped up as I was taking the picture. Nice.

Margaret's home will be open again on August 22.

For more inspiration and to see how the gardens progress throughout the year, visit her blog

Keeping Memories

It's hard to believe that just a week ago we were in the car and on our way to Sharon Springs, NY to visit Dr. Brent and Josh. It was a wonderful trip with lasting memories.

In this day of digital pictures, it's not essential to 'print' your photos any longer. You can create on line photo albums or just maintain photo files on your computer. Yet, what would a vacation be without sharing your experience with others? (I'm sure someone has bored you to tears with their stacks of vacation photos, right?)

I decided to be a bit 'crafty' and use the best of the best from the numerous pictures taken at the farm to create small memory books. The books themselves are available through the Martha Stewart Create line at Wal-Mart.

The books are hard covered 14 page mini-albums to store treasured photos or make small scrapbooks. I used the enclosure cards from previous soap orders as labels for the front of the book. They were the perfect size. A bit of trimming and a few pieces of double sided poster tape was all it took to create attractive labels. For a finishing touch, I'll add photo corners to the pictures.

Creating memory books... it's a good thing. (to coin a phrase...)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Our Visit to Beekman

A year ago last April, I logged on to a relatively unknown website called “Beekman 1802.” One of the first images I saw on the site was this magnificent home (er.. mansion). Visually, it took my breath away. While looking at the photographs, I was muttering words like “stunning,” “incredible,” “amazing.”

Fast forward one year, one month and a few days… The GPS was telling me “you’re within .5 miles of your destination.” And again, “you’re within .2 miles of your destination.” It was then, I saw the magnificent mansion with my own eyes.. “There it is!” I screamed, pointing out my window and nearly causing David to go into the ditch. We had arrived at the Beekman mansion. There is a plaque posted near the roadside to let passersby know that indeed, this was the place.

As we pulled into the driveway even David was taken in by the beauty of the amazing structure. “this place is f---g beautiful!” (he has such a way with words) We parked in the circular gravel driveway and I just took in the view for a few seconds. As I sat there staring, I was breathless at the beauty around me. Because the Beekman 1802 website featured so many pictures of the grounds during the course of the year, it actually felt very familiar to me. Mentally, I was just putting it all together.

“Are we getting out of the car?” David asked with that significant hint of sarcasm. “uh, yeah.. out of the car.. “ I replied. We stepped out of the car and I completely resisted the urge to just run as fast as I could down the hill, spinning, and twirling about like a sick mix of Julie Andrews and Forest Gump. The land just beckoned you to come and play. I’m so glad I resisted… As I turned, I saw Josh walking up from near the barn, coming to greet us. I introduced myself and introduced David. With a warm hug, Josh welcomed us to Beekman. Again, there was an odd sense of familiarity in meeting Josh. As we were exchanging our hellos, Brent pulled into the driveway. After another round of introductions and friendly hugs we were off for a tour of the house.

As we entered from the side door, the beautiful piano grounds the space. The beautiful Beekman linens (a gift to Brent and Josh) were placed on the corner of the piano.

Moving to the right, you come to the formal living room

While you would expect such a grand home to be filled with furniture and period pieces, the Beekman is decorated in a minimalist style. In doing so, you gain a greater appreciation for the mansions beautiful architecture. On Sunday morning, I was the first one up and about, and took in the early morning quiet just sitting in this room for a while.

As you exit the room, you actually come into the grand foyer of the house. Free of furnishings, you’re taken in by the large space. The floors give notice when someone is approaching with that delightful ‘creaking’ sound.

From where I was standing which was at the base of the stairs facing the front door, the room to the left is the formal dining room and the room to the right is the living room. (which is shown above) Unfortunately, my picture of the dining room did not process correctly so I’m unable to show it to you! In the foyer there is the reminder of young Mary Beekman. Her name is carved into the floor.

We’ll head up the stairs next to see the second floor…

As you approach the top of the stairs you’re taken in by the large window and the two elegant chairs that face it. A simple, modern Lucite table almost disappears from view.

Just out of view in the first picture, carved duck figures guard (or play on) the second floor. I fell in love with the ducks. They are a bit of the unexpected when arriving on the second floor. What an excellent design element and demonstrates the playful side of Josh and Brent.

There are numerous bedrooms at the Beekman. The room on the right was our room for the weekend. I do apologize that our bags and things were visible in the picture!

Another bedroom and a beautiful writing space

One of my favorite spaces in the house was the kitchen. The large space was functional, beautiful and comfortable. The lighting over the table was designed by Josh.

The antique scale (below) found near the fireplace in the kitchen is wonderful find. The picture on the right is showing the Beekman linens.

As we headed outdoors, the view from the steps on the back porch was amazing. As you overlook the formal flower garden you see hills of green. I could have sat on the porch for hours on end.

Josh asked if I wanted to see the crypt. Of course I did! We headed down the hill to the crypt. A beautiful bleeding heart was cascading down the right side of the stone wall. As Josh opened the door to the crypt, it was at first kind of creepy… but, I’m not one to just stand outside and look.. I had to go in!

Inside, there were numerous old head stones, and even bones that had been un-earthed. There was a piece of a coffin top that had been placed back into the crypt. What was at first creepy, turned into something quiet, peaceful, and calm. The chandelier that hangs in the center of the crypt became the perfect nesting place for a bird. The bird must have had some design sense… because it looked as if the nest had been part of the crypt for years.

A beautiful red bleeding heart cascades down one side of the crypt entrance. A large monument stands near the entry to the peaceful sanctuary.

Next stop, the barn and the goats! The goats are cared for by Farmer John (whom I met briefly while looking for a shovel) and it’s obvious that he loves these beautiful animals and they love him. It was interesting to watch the goats follow Farmer John when he was on the tractor. As he pulled out into the field, the goats would follow him. As he returned to the barn, they would follow.

There are also turkeys on the farm. I shudder to think what will happen come November.

An addition to the goat herd was a Llama by the name Polka-Spot. BEAUTIFUL animal. Did you know that Llamas were used to herd goats? I had no clue. I learned something new! (go ahead, use that piece of trivia.. impress your friends) Polka-Spot loved the camera. Brent mentioned that he thought perhaps the black lens when held to your face reminded her of other Llamas. Could be.. or Polka-Spot needs some serious vision correction! In the picture below right, Brent and Polka-Spot seem to be focused in on the same thing... what are they looking at?

Look at that face. How could you not love that face?

To the left of the barn, was the raised Beekman heirloom vegetable garden. Bed after bed. With the season just starting, a few things were popping up. For anyone that loves to vegetable garden, using a raised bad is the way to go. It’s a bit easier on your back too when you need to weed

Alright.. so the tour was complete. There were other things to see, but work needed to be done! David went with Josh and I went with Brent for our tasks at hand.

I became a bit worried at this point. David is NOT a gardener. David saw his job as keeping Josh company while Josh pulled weeds from the raised beds. Now, if something needed to be repaired, David was the man… but a recent visit by Josh’s parents left no projects to be worked on. So, David chit chatted while Josh cared for the vegetables.
In the picture below, the buds on the poppy plants were just huge! I hope Brent and Josh will take pictures of the poppies in bloom. David was amazed at the size of the dandelions that were found here and there. He made several comments about them. They were pretty big! David's job at home is to make sure not a dandelion one exists in the yard. I think these over sized plants were scaring him!

Brent and I headed to the formal garden. WHEW! Now, there was some work to be done! I poked fun at Brent, telling him that there was a serious need for some edging! (it’s the Margaret Roach side of me..) “Have at it..” was his reply. So, I did. On hands and knees, I moved through a part of the garden pulling weeds, grasses, catnip, etc. and finally shaping a bit of a border.

While I moved slower, I liked Brent’s way of tackling the weeds… find a particular type of weed and focus on that one weed… move about the garden and remove all that you see. Then, move on to the next type of weed. He accomplished much more than I did. The picture on the right shows my bit of edging. While I accomplished more than the picture shows, I feel I didn't accomplish enough to be useful.

The time in the garden with Brent gave us the opportunity to talk and get to know each other a bit. You have to admit, that visiting for a weekend with someone you really don’t know outside of emails, television appearances, and radio appearances can be a little odd. It was a great time to talk and begin to know the ‘real’ person and not the professional persona. Both Brent and Josh are just ‘regular’ people. Very down to earth, very humble people. You can’t spend time with either of them and not instantly love them. David commented as we were getting ready for bed Saturday night that he really liked both of them and felt instantly comfortable with them. I felt the same. I felt as if a part of me had known them for years and years while there was still this discovery of meeting someone new and learning about them.

After a trip into Sharon Springs for a tour of the city and lunch at the Black Cat Cafe and a visit to the American Hotel (that will be a future blog post) We went back to the farm for more work. It was time to plant 4,000 sunflower seeds! David helped Brent and I with this task. In the picture on the left, you can see the little "speck" which is David casting seeds. The rows were LONG! From the kitchen window, you'll be able to look out and see the field of sunflowers. I can't wait to see it all in bloom! After a job well done, Brent heads back up the hill to the house.

Brent recently celebrated a birthday. I had asked Josh what Brent's favorite cake was and he told me carrot cake. I made one and brought it with us. I think he liked it! The top of the cake was decorated with whole pecans. Slice size was determined by the number of pecans on top.

Josh made a wonderful meal for us on Saturday evening. In the picture below right, you'll see Josh preparing our hors d'oeuvres of french breakfast radishes with butter and sea salt. He used the opportunity to shoot some photographs for a new blog post. The fresh salad (from the garden) with violet vinager was fabulous as was the entire dinner. Josh had earlier made bread which we enjoyed as well. He's a great cook!

One of the final strolls for the day was up and around to the pond. On the other side of the pond there are wonderful willow trees and two chairs. A great place to just sit and meditate. Brent mentioned that he goes there often. You can see the the Beekman mansion through the willow branches.

There is much more to share about our trip to Sharon Springs.. I fell in love with the town and the people. I'll be posting another entry about Sharon Springs soon. It's a place rich in history and beautiful architecture.

I cannot express enough, my appreciation to Brent and Josh for opening their home and sharing it with us for the weekend. We'll be heading back in September for the Harvest Party.

Learn more about Beekman by visiting their website at