Deborah DeLong:

A wonderful blog and recipe!!

Originally posted on life, in recipes:

First, let me just say that we’re not big on terms of endearment in our house.  We don’t call each other Sweetheart or Babycakes or Darlin’.  Or, god forbid, Lover (I think I just threw up in my mouth a little). Sometimes I’ll call my husband stinky, but that’s mostly a descriptor and not so much a term of endearment.

But today’s his birthday, so I’m throwing caution to the wind.

Honey, this cake’s for you.

Happy Birthday, Loverboy.

I married a man whose ideal dessert is yellow cake with white icing, so sometimes I like to change things up a bit in the flavor department.  This year’s cake is a variation on a basic buttermilk cake, but it uses honey granules in place of granulated sugar, and raw honey and honey granules in the cream cheese frosting.  It’s a honey cake.  For my honey.

I think what I…

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Haricots Verts Salad With Honey Balsamic Reduction

For the dressing:

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:

2 tablespoons honey
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/4 pounds haricots verts, stem end trimmed
3 ounces prosciutto, julienned
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
6 ounces aged goat cheese or feta, crumbled

Preparation

Combine oil, shallot, garlic and herbs in a small nonreactive pan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and cool. Strain and discard the solids. Set aside.

In a food processor, combine the vinegar and mustard. With the motor running, very slowly pour in the oil. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Place the balsamic vinegar and honey in a small stainless-steel pan. Simmer slowly until very syrupy and reduced to 1/3 cup. Set aside.
Parboil the haricots verts in a large pot of salted water until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, refresh in ice water and dry.

Toss beans with the prosciutto and pine nuts and then add enough dressing to coat the ingredients. Transfer to a platter, top with the cheese and drizzle the reduced vinegar over all.

YIELD
6 servings

Honey Brownies

These are perfect to bring to Labor Day picnics. As I always say, honey makes everything taste better!

INGREDIENTS
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
6 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Dash salt
1 cup chopped walnuts

PREPARATION:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 8-inch square baking pan. Melt chocolate chips and butter in medium heavy saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Stir in eggs, honey and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and walnuts in small bowl. Stir into chocolate mixture. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or just until center feels springy. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into 2-inch squares.

Covering Old Ground

Not that anyone has asked me, but I thought I would weigh in on my personal choices of ground cover/underplanting.

I am a traditionalist.  I like four plants for covering those awkward spaces under roses, hydrangea and other flowering shrubs.

My number one choice is Nepeta, specifically Walkers’ Low.  I love this plant. It is hearty, beautiful, fragrant and voluminous.  Its only downside is that if you have cats, they like to nap right in the middle of them. It’s also known as catmint.

Nepeta Walkers Low and Pink Roses

My second choice is hosta.  There are so many smaller cultivars these days, and they are  mostly all fabulous.

Hosta Underplanting

My third choice is stachys, or lambs ears.  They add texture and a beautiful grey color that blends with everything.

Lambs Ears Underplanting

My fourth choice is lavender.  It’s a bit hard to get started, but once it gets going, it is just about perfect.

Lavender and Boxwood

And they are all great bee plants!

Beautiful Things

There are so many beautiful things!  Bees, flowers, food, music, poetry…

Here is another one of my most favorite beautiful things.  Edward Elgar’s Nimrod, from the Enigma Variations.  Enjoy!

Jerusalem – William Blake

I’m having trouble leaving my favorite poets and poems behind…

This is not only one of my favorite poems, but also one of my favorite hymns.

It’s the unofficial anthem of England, and my personal anthem forever.

 

Jerusalem

William Blake

ND did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
 
And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic Mills?
 
Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
 
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.                     

Stuffed Mushrooms With Honey

I love stuffed mushrooms!  These are good hot or cold.

Ingredients:

Large mushrooms for stuffing 5-6
1 anchovy fillet in oil (optional)
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 handful fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and pepper
parmesan reggiano

Directions:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees
Gently wipe the mushrooms with a damp paper towel to clean them. Remove the stems and reserve.
Chop the mushroom stems, anchovy and garlic. Place in a bowl with the bread mixture, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the mushroom stems and bread mixture and saute for 5 minutes.
Lay the mushroom caps on an oiled tray, hollowed side up. Lightly salt and fill with the bread mixture. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and drizzle each with honey and olive oil.
You can sprinkle with a little parmesan reggiano if you like. Bake about 15 minutes until soft and they are ready to serve.

Rudolf Steiner And The Bees

Deutsch: Rudolf Steiner im Jahre 1900 (Angabe ...

Deutsch: Rudolf Steiner im Jahre 1900 (Angabe siehe Quelle) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), was a highly trained scientist and respected philosopher. Long before many of his contemporaries, Steiner came to the conclusion that western civilization would increasingly bring destruction to itself and the earth if it did not begin to incorporate an objective understanding of the spiritual world and its interrelationship with the physical world.

Steiner’s spiritual scientific methods and insights have given birth to practical holistic innovations in many fields including education, banking, medicine, psychology, the arts and, not least, agriculture.

In 1923, Steiner predicted that if humanity continued to cultivate the honeybees by artificial means, we would, within eighty years, witness the mass disappearance of the bees.  He warned against both meddling with the natural process of hive society and artificially manipulation of queen bees.

Since then, mankind has developed a wealth of artificial means to interfere with the natural activities of bees.  And the bees are disappearing.

Perhaps Steiner was right that beekeepers should acquire a metaphysical understanding of bees and the complex masterpiece of the hive.

Mystery lives in the hive, and within the golden elixir that is honey, mystery we have yet to, or may never, discover.

Spiritual ecology holds that the first step in addressing an issue pertaining to the realm of nature is to deepen our understanding of the overall synergy of the particular eco-community in question.

Maybe then we will be able to save the bees.

Yeats’ Week – The Second Coming

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Welcome to the Apocalypse. The Second Coming is appropriate for 2012, viewed by some as the End Time.

This is my favorite of Yeats’ poems, less for its dark view of history than its amazing language and imagery. I also interpret it as a metaphor for the conflict within an individual personality in the modern world.

The word gyre in the poem’s first line comes from a theory of history and metaphysics Yeats claimed to have received from spirits. (I love that!!)  It centers on a diagram composed of two conic helixes (“gyres”), overlapping each other, so that the widest part of one cone occupies the same plane as the tip of the other cone, and vice versa.

Yeats claimed that this image captured contrary motions inherent within the process of history, and he divided each gyre into different regions that represented particular kinds of historical periods (and could also represent the psychological phases of an individual’s development).

The poem was written in 1919 in the aftermath of the First World War. Yeats believed that in 1921 the world was on the threshold of an apocalyptic moment, as history reached the end of the outer gyre and began moving along the inner gyre. A good argument can be made that he was correct, in light of the subsequent rise of Hitler and the Second World War.

The Second Coming of Christ referred to in the Biblical Book of Revelation is here described as an approaching dark force with a ghastly and dangerous purpose. Yeats’s description of a ‘rough beast’ has more in common with The Beast (Revelation) than the Christian concept of the Second Coming of Christ. This image points rather to the sinister figure of Antichrist that precedes the Second Coming of Christ.

The manticore or sphinx-like beast described in the poem had long captivated Yeats’s imagination. He wrote, “I began to imagine [around 1904], as always at my left side just out of the range of sight, a brazen winged beast which I associated with laughing, ecstatic destruction”, noting that the beast was “Afterwards described in my poem ‘The Second Coming”.

This is the end of Yeats’ week. I hope I have included a few of your favorites!

Yeats’ Week – Sailing To Byzantium

We are more than our physical bodies. That is the heart of this poem.

We humans are indeed paltry things unless our souls clap their hands and sing!

And there are worse things than spending our afterlives as beautiful golden artifacts bringing joy and knowledge to others.

This poem is complex.  It’s also fully capable of being enjoyed on an almost musical level.

And, really…

Everyone should know where the title of that movie comes from!   :-)

Sailing To Byzantium

THAT is no country for old men. The young
In one another’s arms, birds in the trees
– Those dying generations – at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

O sages standing in God’s holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.