update from flower world - spring planning


it has been quite a while since I wrote on the flower farm blog.  After the summer/fall season I just needed to decompress and prepare for Spring.  It was great just not having to really deal with any major flower related issues other than planning for this coming spring.  This fall I planted a trial garden with Angelique and Apricot Parrot tulips, as well as Pink Champagne daffodils and a Landscaper's Mix of daffodils.  I am super excited about these blooming.

And this Spring, I am starting some new flowers-- sweet pea and poppies-- from seed.  I am always hesitant starting plants from seed because I do not have the setup for it in our current house, but I am going to give these a try.  At the worst, I loose a packet of seeds. I looked at many sites and ended up ordering the seeds from Floret Flower Farm in Washington.  I started with the China Aster Tower Chamois Apricot-- a gorgeous aster that reminds me of a puffy peony.

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They really have become the go-to place for certain varieties and I really fell in love with a few.  For sweet peas I went with 'Spring Sunshine Champagne' and 'Mollie Rilstone' varieties. I really love their romantic Victorian demure look.

 Photo Credit:  Floret Flowers (Shop)

Photo Credit: Floret Flowers (Shop)

 Photo Credit:  Floret Flowers (Shop)

Photo Credit: Floret Flowers (Shop)

I also picked up some poppies; these, along with sweet peas ave always intimidated me but I think it is time to take the plunge and grab this bull by the horns.  I picked up four different varieties: Breadseed Poppy 'Black Beauty' and 'Rattle Poppy' as well as 'Iceland Poppies Sherbet Mix' and 'Shirley Poppy Supreme'.

 Photo Credit:  Floret Flowers (Shop)

Photo Credit: Floret Flowers (Shop)

 Photo Credit:  Floret Flowers (Shop)

Photo Credit: Floret Flowers (Shop)

 Photo Credit:  Floret Flowers (Shop)

Photo Credit: Floret Flowers (Shop)

 Photo Credit:  Floret Flowers (Shop)

Photo Credit: Floret Flowers (Shop)

I started with the China Aster Tower Chamois Apricot-- a gorgeous aster that reminds me of a puffy peony. How gorgeous is this?

 Photo Credit:  Floret Flowers (Shop)

Photo Credit: Floret Flowers (Shop)

 Photo Credit:  Floret Flowers (Shop)

Photo Credit: Floret Flowers (Shop)

This week I will be finishing my purchases after I check last season's tubers and their condition.  Honestly I'm kind of scared because we had some below freezing temperatures and I am hoping they will be ok when I inspect them. 

Do you have big plans for spring planting? Did you do any fall planting?

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the pitchfork kitchen - flourless chocolate coffee torte


One of my all time favorite cooking shows was French Food at Home with Laura Calder on the Cooking Channel.  Laura, is the coolest chef I ever knew (after the Barefoot Contesa, of course).  The Canadian born was culinary trained in France and her show was about making French food less intimidating.  I learned much from her cooking shows and if you ask me what my favorite recipe of her was, I would have to say her "Craggy Chocolate Cake" which inspired this dessert I am sharing with you today. 

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This deliciousness of a cake to me is really more of a torte.  Rich and decadent, its is full of light fudgy goodness.  The more I made it, the more convinced I became that the recipe, for my taste, needed something more.  It is a lot of chocolate and sugar, and I felt coffee would really counterbalance all of that.  I also added crushed vanilla bean to really bring it all together and give it another delicate layer of flavor.  The results were delicious and this has become my go to dessert when I want to surprise people.  Why? Because the cracked appearance veils a decadent and amazing dessert (if I say so myself).  Check the recipe below! You will not regret it!

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 Serious fudgy yumminess!

Serious fudgy yumminess!

FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE COFFEE TORTE

Ingredients

  • 7 ounces of 70 % chocolate, chopped
  • 7 ounces softened butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed vanilla bean (powder)
  • 1-2 tablespoon brewed coffee
  • 4 eggs (separate yolks and whites)
  • 1 cup sugar

Steps

Heat the oven to 375F.

Line with parchment, grease, and flour an 8-inch/22 cm springform pan.

Using a water bath, melt the chocolate gently, then beat in the butter a piece at a time until smooth.  Add the crushed vanilla bean and brewed coffee, and gently mix again until smooth.

In a separate bowl, beat the yolks with 1/2-cup sugar until they are like thick and pale ribbons.

In another bowl, beat the whites to soft peaks. Scatter over the remaining 1/2-cup sugar and beat to a stiff meringue.  Slowly whisk the chocolate mixture into the yolk mixture. 

Stir in a spoonful of beaten egg whites, then pour the chocolate mixture over the egg whites and gently fold together with a spatula.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 50 minutes.

Remove from the oven. Run a knife around the outside edge, then let sit until cool. This torte will sink and crack on the top.  Serve and enjoy with a big dollop of whipped cream, if you wish.  I prefer mine by itself. :)