Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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Desserts! And Some Gardening

I've been trying a lot of dessert recipes lately. My dinner efforts have subsided (hopefully temporarily) into routine repetition of already familiar recipes, but my desserts have been adventurous. First, a few weeks ago, I tried Claudia Roden's orange almond cake recipe, which is a very strange cake recipe because, first, it does not contain any flour (which means I can serve it to my gluten-free friends!) and second, it does contain two entire oranges . . . including the peels. You're supposed to remove the seeds, but I used homegrown oranges that didn't have any seeds. Also, I substituted homegrown pecans for almonds, so what I made was actually orange pecan cake. It turned out quite well. Grinding the pecans into tiny bits was a lot of work, though. In the future, I should probably just buy pre-ground nuts rather than grinding my own.

orange pecan cake

Next, I followed a recipe called Impossible Pie. The recipe claims that although you just mix all the ingredients together, the "flour will settle to form crust" while the "coconut forms the topping." The different ingredients didn't really look to me like they separated much at all though, nor do they look to me in the pictures online like they separated much for anyone else either. I don't think it deserves to be called either impossible or pie. It turned out to be a perfectly delicious custard, though, and very easy to make.

coconut cream custard

Then yesterday I followed a recipe for Nutella cheesecake, except that as with the orange almond cake recipe, I didn't actually follow it. I substituted a Nutella-equivalent chocolate-almond spread for the chocolate-hazelnut that the recipe called for, and I substituted chopped homegrown pecans for the chopped hazelnuts on top. (I never miss an opportunity to use up some of my pecans.) It turned out extremely well.

nutella cheesecake

I also gardened a bit this weekend. It will be interesting to see what sort of results I get from my garden this spring, considering that I spent all last summer taking obsessively good care of it in anticipation of a backyard wedding, then completely ignored it from late September through late November while dealing with having the wedding called off, managed to pay more attention to it in December when I was starting to feel better again, and then promptly resumed completely ignoring it for the next month and a half due to being diagnosed with breast cancer. And then there's the drought; I provided absolutely no supplemental water, not so much due to eco-consciousness as due to being completely distracted from the garden. Hopefully my two huge 60-year-old trees (pecan and southern magnolia) will forgive me for leaving them to suffer through the drought without help. They seem all right. A few of the smaller plants I put in last summer are dead, but all things considered, the garden is in much better shape (and a lot less hopelessly overrun by weeds) than it easily could be - my December efforts must have helped.

A few of the plants are starting to suspect now that spring is on the way, but they're mostly the non-natives that came with the house. The primroses, for example. I think this is probably Primula acaulis 'Primera Wine Flame.' The foliage surrounding it is from native woodland strawberries and California poppies that I planted.

Primula acaulis 'Primera Wine Flame' (primrose)

And this is . . . some sort of white daffodil. Might be Narcissus 'Mount Hood.'

Narcissus (daffodil)

And I have no idea what this one is; I don't even remember it blooming last year.

unidentified pink-flowering shrub

Meanwhile, the garden beds that I installed and planted myself still look like winter.

Muhlenbergia capillaris (pink muhly grass)

There are two native plants blooming, actually - a bit of bird's eye gilia in the back yard and a single miner's lettuce plant in the front yard. But I haven't gotten a good picture of either of them.
Tags: native plants, photographs
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