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The Antique Garden Winter & Holiday Edition

Lemon scented mini cypress trees make a great gift.

Lemon scented mini cypress trees make a great gift.

Winterberries, fresh greens and red twig dogwood stems make a simple winter arrangement.

Winterberries, fresh greens and red twig dogwood stems make a simple winter arrangement.

The Antique Garden Winter & Holiday Edition

Where has the time gone? This year has flown by quicker than you can say 2013. At The Antique Garden we are winding down for a long winter’s nap but before that, we will be open Monday through Saturday 10 – 6 pm until the 21st of December, Sundays 12-4 pm. Enjoy some photographs from the holiday season from our 1895 store in the square of Leitersburg, Maryland. We are still taking orders for custom urn decorating, gift baskets filled with our home canned goods and home baked holiday cookies.

Canned goods from our no spray gardens, hand made by us. Great for gift giving!

Canned goods from our no spray gardens, hand made by us. Great for gift giving!

We are stocked with ornaments, swags, wreaths, Christmas trees, illuminated pine cone baskets and lots of fresh cut winter berries, holly, balsam and seasonal mixed greens. Stop by the old store and visit us at 21501 Leitersburg-Smithsburg Road, Leitersburg (5 miles from Hagerstown), Maryland, in the heart of the beautiful Cumberland Valley, located in Washington County.

Winterberry stems in a warm rust color are perfect for this brick home.

Winterberry stems in a warm rust color are perfect for this brick home.

 

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Dried hydrangeas in a cast iron urn make a wonderful winter filler.

Dried hydrangeas in a cast iron urn make a wonderful winter filler

urns 097urns 100Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy holiday season!

Jennifer & John Thomas
Dixie too!

Dixie

Dixie

 

Grandma’s Secret Zucchini Flower Appetizers

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Zucchini Flower Appetizer -(a secret recipe)

In a past life I had an Italian Grandmother. The things I remember most were her multi course meals, that were a daily occurrence and the amazing vegetable garden in the backyard. From this revered family favorite appetizer recipe that Nonni never wrote down to her legendary pizzelle cookies, Grandma Ciffolillo knew how to cook with simple ingredients she had on hand. She’d whip up a Swiss Chard frittata to die for and Grandpa would serve the simple peaches and red wine from the jug. I once asked her for this zucchini flower recipe and she told me, “you add a little bit of this and a little bit of that“, nothing very precise but it works. It definitely works and with out any leavening these delicate little fritters are light and airy. I don’t know about the sex life of zucchini plants but evidently only the females produce the flower and the squash and the males just the flowers which you can cut while very fresh and use for this recipe. While not sold in most retail markets I believe you could possibly find the zucchini flower at a farmer’s market, if you’re lucky.

The recipe as told to me by Laura Ciffolillo:

A handful of very fresh Zucchini Flowers- (I used about 6)

Gently wash the flowers and cut open and remove the pollen. Slice into small pieces. In a bowl mix up

1 or 2 eggs

Chopped fresh parsley- a small handful

Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese-about a tablespoon

Add a little bit of flour until a bit thick, can thin with water. Add flowers and mix with a fork. Mixture should have the consistency of a pancake batter.

Cooking oil- a few tablespoons to coat a skillet

Add a spoonful of batter to hot oil in the skillet, cooking about 3-4 Zucchini Flower appetizers at a time. Turn over when golden brown and cook other side. I used my favorite cast iron pan and it worked well. Watch over pan while cooking with hot oil and don’t over cook. Remove Zucchini Flower Fritters when golden on both sides. Serve hot or warm, these actually keep well and are delicious served at room temperature. Watch them disappear quickly when served, everyone will love them. Happy Gardens from Jenn at The Antique Garden

Canning Fest 101 Pickled Pepperoncini Peppers (or any kind)

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So I made this recipe yesterday and my husband declared that I was the first person in America to can peppers this early in the season! I don’t know about that but I do know this canning recipe is a winner.  (I know this because I scarfed down half a jar already.) Here is the recipe from eHOW for Pickled Pepperoncini. I especially like this  recipe because I wanted my peppers to be like those jarred Italian peppers you buy in the supermarket. This recipe has NO sugar, is low in salt and has  just 4 ingredients. You don’t even have to seed small peppers or take off the tops, just slit the sides and they will be as tender as can be. Perfect for a bruccheta with a little olive oil and salt. If you don’t grow these small, mildly spicy peppers check your local farmer’s market, plant your  own, or stop by for a taste. Very easy canning recipe is suitable for the beginner and the finished product will make a wonderful gift  for the pepper lover. Recommended reading is the canner’s Bible, the Ball Blue Book. 

Instructions

Things You’ll Need

2 quarts small pepperoncini peppers (1 quart =4 cups so about 8 cups)

Sterilized canning jars with new lids and rings-yes! ALWAYS use NEW lids.

Kitchen towel

Knife

2 cups vinegar

2 cups water

2 tsp. salt

Water bath canner

 

Rinse the pepperoncini thoroughly under cool running water. Gently rub off any dirt or dust. Dry the peppers gently with a kitchen towel, then cut them into your preferred shape. You can leave the peppers whole if you wish, but make two slits in each if you do so. This will allow the liquid you use to pickle the peppers to get inside. Place the peppers into your sterilized canning jars, packing them in fairly tightly. Do not pack the peppers in forcefully.

Mix the vinegar and water into a saucepan. Heat the saucepan over medium heat until the liquid begins to simmer gently. Pour the hot liquid into the jars, filling each jar to ½ inch from the top. Tap firmly on the jar several times to get out excess air, then top up the jars with more brine if necessary to leave only ½ inch of air at the top. Add the salt, dividing it evenly between the jars. Place a lid onto each canning jar and screw into place with the accompanying ring.summer vegetable garden julia child book 008 garden duck pond 009  peppers 003 peppers 004 peppers 006 peppers 007 peppers 009

Process the closed jars for 15 minutes in your water bath canner. Remove and cool undisturbed. Store in a cool dark closet and refrigerate after opening.  If you enjoy peppers then you will love these. Perfect for salads, sandwiches, pizzas and bruccheta. PS I got about 4 pints from this recipe.  Enjoy!  Happy Gardens….

Jenn at The Antique Garden

Weekend Breakfast Strata

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Well it’s back to work after a super dreamy week-end in Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  Lots of chores to catch up on in the garden and kitchen.  The raspberries are turning red a full two weeks early this year and I already have enough pepperocini peppers to start off my canning fest.  It’s not even summer officially yet but the solstice will be here before you know it. 

Here is the recipe for that delicious breakfast casserole my friend Vicky made for us in her galley kitchen while docked at Kent Island, Maryland. Perfect to bring on an overnight trip as it is a make ahead recipe and is super yummy. 

14-15 slices whole grain bread thin sliced
3 c. diced cooked ham
2 c. shredded montery jack and cheddar cheese blend

1/2 cup diced onion

1/2 cup diced green pepper, optional

1/2  tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
6 eggs
3 c. milk

 Cut bread into small cubes. In a large bowl, combine bread cubes, ham, cheese,green pepper, onion, salt, and pepper. Stir well. Beat eggs until foamy; stir in milk. Add egg mixture to ham mixture, stirring well. Pour into a lightly greased 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan; cover and refrigerate overnight.

Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 1 hour or until golden brown. Serve immediately. Garnish with a slice of tomato or fresh fruit. Cheers!

Makes 10-12 servings.                     

Dream Week-end on the Eastern Shore

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Dream Week-end on the Eastern Shore

 We usually don’t get to take a week-long summer vacation as spring and summer is prime plant and flower season at our shop, The Antique Garden. But the long week-end, a mini vacation, is almost as good, and I highly recommend it if you can get away. So when long time friends Jimmy and Vicky invited us to spend a week-end with them on their boat we said heck yes! Actually I haven’t spent too much time on boats at all, let alone get to spend two nights on one, and the prospect was pretty exciting. My dream of sleeping on a water craft was about to take place, check one-off the bucket list! Plus this was actually a lux yacht that has the same name as what Queen Elizabeth wears on her head sometimes.

One of the great things about living in Maryland is the access to the Chesapeake and the Atlantic Ocean. Just a few hours from our home in Western Maryland, we boarded the boat in Annapolis. We got a fantastic view and went under the Bay Bridge that leads to the Eastern Shore to our destination of Kent Island. Barges from all over the world waited in line to get into the harbor of Baltimore.

I love Vicky’s fish table.We arrived at our slip at Kent Island and had a little of this delicious organic vino. ….Later after a wonderful dinner at Annie’s steak house, we rearranged the cabin and voila a bed was created. The galley kitchen was another dream, with everything compactly in its place. In the morning we awoke to a delicious Breakfast Strata and ate on the deck. I will post this excellent casserole soon.

Am I still dreaming?? No I’m back to reality and potting up sedums, although my legs are a little wobbly, a reminder that our trip was indeed real-pinch me!  Where do you like to go to get away for a quick get-away? There are so many great places to travel that are close to home.  Let me know on my Facebook page and feel free to “like” it if you get a chance. http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Antique-Garden/130855370269292

Gardening: Sedums, Succulents & Other Chicks and Hens

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Some times you just love a plant.   With names like Vera Johnson, Angelina and Chicks and Hens you would think you were watching a really good feature film.  Wrong, we are talking sedums and succulents, no offence intended.  True SEXangulare is a  variety of Sedum that is a perennial in my zone, that needs very little watering. That is the nice thing about sedums and succulents, they need little water making them drought tolerant as they hold water in their leaves.  While some need to be brought in for the winter others thrive in the mid-Atlantic states, spread and come back every year.  They also help choke out those nasty weeds (don’t get me started).  I just spent the better half of my Sunday morning pulling especially aggressive Spring weeds from my herb garden and around the foundation of my house. Sedums can actually help you with this tedium. Take a look at the wonderful varieties of sedums we have in stock at The Antique Garden.   Priced from $4.00 and up, they make a wonderful addition to the garden and also fair well and thrive when potted. 


Fresh Holiday Arrangements

Plant a live Winterberry shrub in your garden.

 

 

 

 

 

We have beautiful fresh arrangements for your home or as a gift.

Homestead Happenings in the Garden

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September is like one of those whirlwind months that  just seem to fly by.  With summer almost over, the fall beckons us with new activity, especially in the garden.  We need to harvest and preserve what we have successfully grown, plant tender fall crops and clean up any spent plants.  We also have an additional project going,  building a duck pond out back in the old dog run. I am exhausted just thinking about it! But heck, instead of having to go to the produce aisle of the supermarket weekly, I can shop right in my back yard.

Peppers Gone Wild!

We have so many peppers that I need to come up with new recipes, I’m thinking Mexican Chilis stuffed with cheese and lots of jalapeno poppers.

The herbs are also very happy in the garden.  I planted my kitchen herb garden close to the backdoor for convenient picking. Time to freeze batches of delicious pesto sauce and dry my oregano and dill.

My basil was planted near the backdoor for convenient picking.

The beets are exploding out of the ground but still are tender and delicious.  Let’s see, I’ve pickled the beets, made beet relish, eggs and beets, boiled beets and roasted them….do YOU need any beets?!  They are sale priced to go at our farm stand.

We have Italian Candied Striped Beets and…..

Detroit Red Beets, four rows of them, did I mention that we sell beets at our farm stand?

New crops include chinese cabbage, mustard greens, radishes and fall lettuce.

Lush herbs thrive in the autumn sunshine.

Pole beans still have plenty of tender pods on the plants, meaning more picking, pickling, and freezing…..

The flowering hydrangea shrubs, also like the cooler weather, and are producing gorgeous flowers.  These blossoms dry beautifully for fall arrangements.

The self sowed pumpkin plant from last year’s discards, may never bear a squash, but it has a lovely bloom.  Also ready for harvest are the carrots, swiss chard, arugula, red and white potatoes and sweet potatoes, that I will be saving for our Thanksgiving Day Feast. Harvest time in the garden is challenging but well worth the effort.  Does anyone have any more beet recipes??? Please send them our way, asap!


Best Zucchini Bread

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Here is an easy, one bowl recipe, that everyone even non-squash eaters enjoy.

Zucchini Bread

2 heaping cups of shredded squash                

3 eggs

1  1/2 cups sugar-can reduce to 1 cup if y0u like less sweet

3/4  cup vegetable oil

1 cup white flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon                                                 

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup walnuts or raisins-or a mix of both, can also omit if desired

Beat eggs, sugar and oil together.  Add flours, baking powder, soda, cinnamon,salt, walnuts & raisin, if using. Mix together by hand. Add the zucchini or other summer squash. Pour into 2 greased and floured standard loaf pans.  I like to sprinkle a few shredded pieces on top of loaf before baking. Bake 55 minutes to 65 minutes at 350 degrees, or until a knife or toothpick comes out with very little cake clinging on it. I like to use mini loaf pans and this makes about 3 small loaves, just reduce baking time by 10 minutes to 45 minutes.  Recipe can also be used for muffins, again reduce cooking time and start checking with a pick after 25 minutes.

Even finicky vegetable eaters will gobble up this Zucchini Bread.

The Zucchini Are Coming the Zucchini are Coming! BEST RECIPES

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                                                                                                                    Zucchini 101-preparation is key

                                                                                                           It took only two little plants and

                                                                                                            Lots of little squash babies were born.

Now I better get cooking ’cause the zucchini are exploding in the garden.  I mean they are rapidly producing cute  little squashes, that turn into big huge monsters. They multiply like rabbits if you don’t watch out.   Luckily I have several wonderful recipes that I depend on for my bounty. 

This bowl in my kitchen is filled with zucchini and Peter Pan squash. (I sent my husband to the nursery to select zucchini seedlings and he brought home a Peter Pan varietal!)

This Peter Pan squash can be used just like the zucchini squash.  Dixie is hypnotised by this curiosity.

No Dixie, this is not a food for doggies! 

Wash and dry a bunch of summer squash.  No need to peel. Chop into food processor size chunks.  You can remove any large seeds that look tough, especially in large squash.

Insert the shredding disc into a food processor or use an old-fashioned box grater on largest side. My Cuisinart is more than 20 years old and still works like a charm. Start grating squash, emptying bowl as it fills up with shreds, several batches should do it.

The shredded squash should look like this.

My large metal bowl is full of shredded zucchini and can be used in my recipes.  It is nice to have a bowl of this, on hand, in the refrigerator for lots of great recipes. From stir fry, soups, breads and my favorite savory appetizer, zucchini  pancakes, you’ll be actually glad you have so much squash. And yes, Dixie does eat raw zucchini and I can get my son, John to eat it too, if it’s hidden in these recipes. 

Now we are cooking.  Coming soon, the recipes, stay posted!