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Johnnie’s Maryland Crab Cakes

A perfect Maryland crab cake is prepared with Old Bay Spice.


A perfect Maryland crab cake is prepared with Old Bay Spice.

When I first moved to Maryland from New York about six years ago, I discovered the true meaning of a crab cake. I’d had my share of New England lobster and clams, vacationing on the Cape and in Maine but Maryland is all about crab. My first memorable crab cake was at the beach in Ocean City, Maryland and Rehobeth Beach at a family party. Maryland crab soup is served all over the state in corner pubs and rivals Manhattan Clam Chowder any day. Dare I say it is even better?! Sorry  to all my New York friends and family, but this soup rocks.   Chesapeake Bay crab is just about the best shell-fish to be had.  My husband, John, is an accomplished cook and makes the best crab cakes around.  This is his version of Maryland Crab Cakes, a true mid-atlantic classic.

Mix ingredients gently with spoon.

Ingredient List:

1 pound LUMP, back fin crab–no substitutions please, no claw meat either

1/2  cup bread crumbs

1/2 cup good mayonnaise

2 teaspoons mustard

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon parsley

1 teaspoon Old Bay brand seasoning*

John bakes his crab cakes so they stay together, it is a beautiful thing!

* all Marylanders have this seafood seasoning on hand

a pinch or salt and pepper

Blend all ingredients together with a spoon.  Form 4 crab patties  gently with hands.  Spray cookie sheet with a non-stick spray, like Pam.  Place crab cakes on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees until heated through, about 25 minutes, then broil 5 minutes until golden.  John prefers baking over frying because they tend to fall apart when pan-fried. No need to flip when crab cakes are baked.  Serve with tartar or cocktail sauce.  Great served with homemade coleslaw.  We are having ours served on a nest of romaine with homemade  sweet potato fries. Yum, don’t you wish you were here?  They are awesome and easy to make at home. Enjoy!

Summer at The Antique Garden



It is almost August and the summer is literally flying by! Here are some sights from our store The Antique Garden in the square of Leitersburg Maryland. Located in an 1895 General Store, our selves are filled with the bounty of the season, plus pots, containers, collectibles and great plants. Take a visual tour of the store, the outbuildings and our newest feathered friends. We specialize in garden design and installation plus a whole lot more….039038Willow chairs

030Our front porch and gardens are stocked with plants from sedums and succulents to terrariums……

Welcome to the potting shed!

Welcome to the potting shed!


Beautiful hydrangea standard trees in full bloom.

Beautiful hydrangea standard trees in full bloom.


 Meet our flock of silkies, bantams, wyndottes and red chicks!


We are located at 21501 Leitersburg-Smithsburg Rd., Hagerstown, Maryland. Open Monday through Saturday 10-4 and Sundays by appointment or chance.

Terrarium Gardening


DSCN7865Miniature gardening is a wonderful project for any plant enthusiast and creating an interesting terrarium can be an easy way to start. Did you know that originally terrariums were invented as a way of transporting living plants from far away lands? Traveling by ship often took months or years and terrariums were used to bring rare and exotic plants back home. It has been documented that Captain Cook and Captain Bligh brought home plants in glass containers! Who knew?! While not without care a terrarium becomes a microcosm of nature. Deciding which type of plants to use is the fun part. Choose either moisture loving plants, like ferns or dry cacti and succulents, but don’t mix the two. I also have found that if you choose sedums it is better not to cover the containers as it becomes too wet and the plants wither away. Most terrariums need a few hours of sun light outside or in a sunny area indoors. More sunlight is needed if you use cacti and succulents. I’ve had my terrariums outside all summer under a porch roof and they are thriving.We have used an assortment of moisture loving plants in our terrariums and conservatories. Choose a roomy glass vessel or bottle. 293294Add some charcoal chips at bottom to keep your growing medium smelling fresh and add a few inches of potting soil. If making a desertscape use a sandy soil mix. I especially like all types of small ferns, like the maiden fern, dwarf parlor palm, cadieri and P. “Moon Valley”, hypoestes, babies tears and moss. Water only occasionally when soil dries out, about once every week or two. Any glass jar will work just make sure it is big enough for growth. I’ve used mason jars, compotes, fish tanks, and apothecary jars successfully. Open the lids once in a while to let in fresh air.  Enjoy your mini world of plants.240

Spring at The Antique Garden


Spring at The Antique Gardenforsethia 010004006008009johns camera 478004007464


The lily pads in the pond are huge this year with lots of blooms.  These hearty lilies come back every year and are not planted in the pond but sit in their submerged large pots.013

This is an “Endless Summer” trademark hydrangea plant.  Perfected, these plants bloom all summer. Above notice the pink flowers which can turn blue depending on your soil conditions.  I’ve fertilized it with an acid loving food and hopefully this will bring out the blue.012

Did I mention that we have succulents and cacti? We love these plants which make great house plants too.  Just place in a sunny room and water sparingly.008

This hibiscus tree is doing great!007

I finally finished the coop and attended the Chicken Swap in Sharpsburg, Maryland several weeks ago. I purchased my new chickens, seven in all, and am waiting patiently for eggs…..h


Sun wind chime is beckoning warm sunny days.468

In our shop we have a large collection of hand crafted pottery by former Maryland resident Jan Richardson. These little cottages and houses are so cute.

With summer arriving in a few days, it seems like for the first time in many years that we’ve had a real spring.  The weather has been not too hot, with mild days, rainy spells, and pleasant evenings. We had later than normal frosts, so the vegetable gardens are late but cool weather crops like lettuce is going wild. 

This spring starting in April, we have been busy doing lots of landscaping and container gardening.  We  still have a nice inventory of planters, cast iron pots and conservatories, a fancy word for terrariums and of course plants and flowers.  Vertical gardens are easy to set up and your animals can’t get to them.  Inside the store we are filling up the canned goods section with things like local, raw honey, pickled carrots, aged herbal vinegars and a new batch of organic raspberry jam.

We even did the flowers for a friend’s daughters wedding this spring.  No that’s not a cake but one of 15 arrangements featuring roses, hydrangeas and carnations.

Our shop is open Monday to Saturdays, 10-4 and some Sundays 1-4 and we are located at 21501 Leitersburg-Smithsburg Road, Hagerstown, Maryland.  We hope to see you soon!  Like us at Facebook

Italian Stuffed Mushrooms




Happy New Year! What a better way to kick off  2013, than by cooking up a storm in the kitchen.  This recipe came to me from a friend who grew up cooking by her Italian-American mother and Italian Grandmother’s side. The best way to learn how to cook, in my opinion. Adding a little bit of this and a little bit of that, a more instinctive way of cooking and way more delicious. Here is my version of her classic recipe. It is an Italian stuffed mushroom 101 appetizer recipe that lends itself to add-ins. I added-in cooked sausage, but crab, spinach or your special ingredient could be added at the final stages.043


1 Large package or two small packs of very fresh mushrooms-about 15029


Fresh Parsley: ½ cup

Lots of garlic:4-5 cloves or 1 large clove of elephant garlic

 1 Cup of Italian bread crumbs-store bought or homemade

 1 medium onion

 1 cup of add-in of your choice- sausage, chopped cooked spinach, crabmeat- diced, totally optional and can be left out completely

 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

 Black pepper to taste

 1/2 teaspoon  dried Basil

 ½ Cup grated cheese:  parmesan or your choice-finely grated

 Salt to taste

 1 cup white wine or water

 1. Clean mushrooms, which ever way you feel comfortable. Some people argue that you should only lightly dust them off. I wash mine and towel dry, removing any soil, that clings to them. Separate caps from stems, reserving stems.027


2. In food processor: finely dice onion, garlic, mushroom stems and fresh parsley, about 20 seconds.031


3. Saute mixture in skillet with olive oil. Season with pepper, basil, ½ cup of the white wine. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes or until vegetables and herbs are tender. Turn off heat.034

 4. In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, cheese ,and cooked filling and any add-in of your choice. I added cooked diced Italian sausage. Filling should have the texture of stuffing.036

 5. Fill caps with a generous, mounting teaspoon or two of stuffing, slightly over filling caps. Can refrigerate at this point, if serving later.038

 6. On a baking tray, or serving casserole dish , place mushroom caps. Add ½ cup of the reserved white wine to the bottom of the bakeware, bake 35-40 minutes depending on size of caps, at 350 degrees until hot and golden.041

 7. Serve hot and enjoy. Stuffed mushrooms will shrink  as they cook.046


044Totally delicious, after making these I had trouble stopping eating them! There has been new scientific research stating the benefits of eating mushrooms.  Check out this link to learn more about mushrooms. These are guaranteed to disappear at your next party or even as a part of a light dinner. What are you cooking in the kitchen this winter??? Let us know.

Jenn at The Antique Garden




Collecting Farmhouse Primitives

tea pot 042


I don’t know why exactly, but I love primitives. Grungy is good, the older the better. Use marks, rusty gold, cast iron and farmyard finds are just what I am drawn to! Plus, most primitives are affordable and sometimes a steal at flea markets, yard sales, thrift stores and even antique malls. If I had to categorize this lot, I would call this collection farmhouse kitchen primitives. Someone else must like them too, because most of these items have sold, usually within a week or two of me finding them! More visuals from my 2012 files as we wind down the year and look forward to a promising 2013!

Woodenware mortar and pestle, I always buy these when I spot them at a sale. Totally usable for crushing herbs and peppercorns.

I like old crocks, this brown and tan, has some age. Always check for cracks and chips which brings the value down.

I found this old wood measure at the Goodwill for a couple bucks! SOLD!!!

I am attracted to outsider, tramp art and prison art. This is a matchstick cross. Most are a bargain, purchase if it is in good condition, with little breakage as the matches can be brittle. Usually found in shops for under $5.00 they resell for about $20.00.

Always, always, always  buy your baskets at  yardsales.  Prices range from 25 cents to a few bucks.  Look for handwoven “buttocks” baskets.

Used cutting boards, look great displayed in a country kitchen.

Serving tray with great lines, found at the Salvation Army.

Early candle box

Eldreth pottery cat, while not old, the salt glaze gives it that primitive feel and I love the cobalt blue.

With colorful graphics, this is an original early can of tomatoes with removable lid.

Old beat up galvanized watering pail may not be water tight, but is perfect for dried flowers.

Old kitchen scales-one green and an amazing orange scale.









Wood spoons, used of course!

Early Asian Rice Measure

I love enamel ware and buy it whenever the price is right. Perfect for many uses. I predict the value will go up as supply of the vintage pieces decline.

Handmade farm wheelbarrow

Metalware teapots-I found this lot of 6 matching pieces.

Toleware -look for hand painting, good design, and not too many scratches.

Kitchen brooms-this one has a witchy twisted handle

Yup, I bought this lot of pitchfork tines and sold them as folk art. What are some of your primitive collections?  Drop us a line at antiquegarden@myactv.net we’d love to hear from you! Jenn at The Antique Garden.

2012 A Year of Flowers & Gardens Part 2


After editing lots of photographs and cleaning out my computer files I realized how many photos we’ve taken this year. As the year 2012 draws to a close, we are taking stock of many projects from the past year, including container gardens, landscapes, vegetable gardens, floral arrangements and more. Sit back, relax and enjoy some of  the sights  from The Antique Garden and remember Spring 2013 is just around the corner.  Take some  time to dream of next year’s gardens…..

This rooftop garden is all about containers filled with herbs, vegetables and flowers. Perfect for those with a compact yard or urban space.

We changed out the Black Eyed Susan plants for the autumn to a Pumpkin Planter Box.

More Planters….

Washington County Museum of Fine Arts Urn

Dried Pepper Wreath, SOLD, a creation of our abundant veggie garden!

Winter Urn Garden

Holiday Arrangement

More Thanksgiving planters full of the bounty of our harvest….

Winter Arrangement with fresh pineapples, artichokes, chili peppers and winter berries.  A neo-modern  twist with inspiration from classic, traditional Williamsburg,  Virginia.  This is Christmas decorating, using fresh, real fruits and vegetables. 

Near the street, we have two  urns decked out with pine, magnolia, boxwood and other “cuts” from our yard. 

Here is our front  rocking chair porch, at  the Parsonage, decorated with festive greens and winter berry sprigs in the window boxes.

 From our porch to yours, happy gardens to all!

Jenn at The Antique Garden

21501 Leitersburg-Smithsburg Rd

Hagerstown, Maryland

Email: antiquegarden@myactv.net  We would love to hear from you!

2012 A Year of Flowers & Gardens: Part One



After editing lots of photographs and cleaning out my computer files I realized how many photos we’ve taken this year. As the year 2012 draws to a close, I thought we’d take a stroll down memory lane and show the highlights of the year. From one of my favorite flowering shrubs the hydrangea to the wonderful “Fairy Garden” we made last spring and the countless others, sit back and enjoy this visual recap of the gardens we created in 2012 at The Antique Garden.

Hydrangea Madness in March!

Sedum wall hanging and new water feature

Bogart’s Container Garden

Arts in Bloom, Hagerstown Garden Club members Betsy Hardinge, Margaret Waltersdorf and I created a floral replica of this piece of Murano Art Glass in the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in March. 

Formal Urn Arrangement for Prep School Alumni Week-end

Whimsical Fairy Garden

Blooming Garlic is a beautiful sight in the garden!

Daylilies and lots of them in the garden border~~~

Pond Frog!

Wild Flower Queen’s Anne Lace looking elegant in the alley behind the store!  Mother Nature is awesome.

 The incredible Moon Flower, a night-blooming plant,  is closing up for the day.

We said good-bye to dozens of our fish in 2012,  as a wicked Blue Heron ate most of them.  I know they aren’t flowers, but I’m still venting….ah Mother Nature….

 Small Container Water Garden

Our front porch planter box is filled with Black Eyed Susan’s, the Maryland State flower.

Part 2 to be continued tomorrow,  as we wrap up the year with holiday flowering arrangements.   Happy Gardens Everyone and may 2013 be blooming!

Jenn at The Antique Garden

21501 Leitersburg-Smithsburg Rd

Hagerstown, Maryland

Email:  antiquegarden@myactv.net  we would love to hear from you!

The Best of Summer


Here is my recap or gratitude list, of what’s been going on this summer. Although some may complain about the dog-days of summer, and it has been awfully hot, I’m trying to enjoy each and every moment of this season as it seems to fly by every year. Summer doldrums be gone!

Here is my list of what we’ve accomplished from the end of May through July and some events to look forward to next month including the onslaught of the zucchini! Think positive my friends….

1. Enjoying the beauty of our pond (with Dixie).

2. We gardened with lots of sedums this summer, a smart choice for the heat.

3. My canning fest has started and I’ve made raspberry jam, canned peppers, and made relishes. When the tomatoes are ripe you won’t even see me for a few weeks. Very satisfying indeed!

4. The bounty of our organic pesticide free garden is amazing. On a small plot we have more veggies than we can possibly consume, ergo the canning…

5. Zucchini bread to be made when the zucchini plants explode with supernatural abundance.

6. My fairy garden was so fun to make.

7. We are looking forward to the Leitersburg Peach Festival August 11th & 12th. This is what our store looked like last year.

8. Flowers

9. New water-feature

10. Vegetable Garden and new hen house-soon to be completed….

11. Strolling on the boardwalk in Rehoboth Beach Delaware

12. Golf

13. Boating with friends on the Chesapeake Bay.

14. Spending time with family

15. Sand in my toes and sunburned feet.

Quit yer complaining and make a gratitude list, it truly is the simple things that make one happy, don’t you think?

PS I made an incredible cold soup yesterday featuring beets, that I want to share. It was a Julia recipe so how could that be bad? Julia knew how to cook for sure!

Happy Gardens, Jenn from The Antique Garden

Name That Plant?


Can you identify this strange-looking plant? No it’s not a strange mutation or genetically engineered vegetable. To give you a hint, yes it is in the onion family. Did you guess? According to www.jungseed.com it is called a Multiplier Onion. Friend, artist and fellow gardener Harold Shapiro gave me a few plants several years ago. The Multiplier Onion is a top setting onion that is a perennial heirloom variety. Also called ‘tree onions or ‘walking onions’, they form clusters of small bulbs or sets on the tips of the stalk. An established plant looks like a clump of scallions. Harvest the sweet scallion part in spring and small ‘pickling onion’ tops in the summer. Remember to leave a few bulbs to reseed for a permanent onion bed. Hmmm… I’m going to have to try to pickle my onion tops, sounds like another canning project in the works. For more information on the Multiplier Onion  check out this site, which has all the details. There are so many unusual plants, I’m thinking of doing Name That Plant occasionally, what do you think???

Happy Gardening!


Jenn at The Antique Garden