Sunday, April 30, 2006

Potatoes and Parsnips in Four Cheese Herb Sauce


I made the most delicious sauce today!
Seriously, I almost cried.

It was getting late and I needed to make something for dinner. I didn't have time to look for a recipe, so I just decided to totally wing it.

I needed to use up some sweet onions. I've been compulsively buying them every time I go to the store. I even bought some when I went up to my parents - it is THAT bad.

I chopped up and sauteed a whole medium size onion in olive oil. While it was cooking I thought a little garlic would be good so I added three minced cloves.

I thought potatoes would go good with it, so I sliced a bunch of potatoes into 1/2" slices and put them in a baking dish.

I remembered that I had bought some parsnips a while back meaning to try them, so I peeled one and tried it. It was kind of like a spicy carrot. Yeah, that will go with potatoes, so I chopped up two and threw them in with the potatoes.

For the sauce, I threw 3TBS butter into the onions over medium heat. Once it was melted, I mixed in about 1/8-1/4 cup flour. Once the flour was thoroughly mixed in with the butter, I mixed in about a pint of half and half. I added 2TBS thyme and sea salt and pepper. Then I remembered that I had bought an Italian four cheese mix and sprinkled some of that in too.

O.M.G!! It was YUMMMMMY!!! I wanted to eat it right then.

But I poured it over the potatoes and parsnips instead, mixed it in, and baked the whole thing at 350 degrees for an hour.
It was delicious!! I will definitely make this again. My son and husband weren't so sure about the parsnips (although they each had two huge servings), so I may omit them in the future. I think they just weren't expecting them.

In any case, I definitely have big plans for that sauce!

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Just one month after I took the pictures of the snow storm, I took these pictures of my garden finally waking up for another season of color.

I planted these Pickwick crocuses about five or six years ago. There were just twenty of them then, now they are filling in just I had hoped that they would. I like the way that they brighten the front of the house.

I love crocuses because they mulitply so well and are the first thing to bloom in the spring. I tend to not buy them though because I get too caught up in tulips. This fall, though, I am going to make an effort to get more.

These King Alfred daffodils are to the left of all the crocuses (when facing the house) in my "woodland" bed. I am trying to create a light woodland area where I can have tea and read. I planted these daffodils about six years ago. There were just three of them then. I had piled leaves over this entire area about a foot deep, because I am trying to widen the bed, wanted to protect some of the plants that I planted last year, and really was just too lazy to bag the leaves up. I hadn't had time yet to rake them away, but that isn't stopping these daffodils.
I like daffodils, but they are another victim to the tulip mania that hits every time I go bulb shopping.

I can't remember the name of these tulips, but I think they are Kaufmanniana. They are species tulips. Species tulips are good for naturalizing since they multiply well and maintain their vigor. Many species tulips also have beautiful patterning on the leaves, which you can just make out in this picture. They are low growing, though, so they are best for the front of the bed and look really fantastic in rock gardens. I like to use the species tulips under larger tulips. The species tulips tend to bloom first and by the time they are dwindling, the larger tulips are starting to bloom.

I'm not sure what these are called. I looked them up a couple of times, but I keep forgetting what they are called. They came with the house. They naturalized wonderfully in the yard. Before my son got older and we got the dogs, they would bloom in a great swath across the yard. Now they get trampled too much, and so have contented themselves to taking over my garden instead. That is fine by me. They bloom very early so the only thing that they compete with really are the crocuses. Their blooms outlast the crocuses easily. And they are just so darn cheery!

And, yes, I even got my first dandelion of the season. It is a bit early for them, so I'm hoping that means that I can get an early start on planting too.