Sunday, July 16, 2017

A short week- July 16, 2017

We have been in Springfield, Missouri for the long weekend, to visit my mother. That means I only had 4 days of pictures of the garden this week. In addition on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, it rained a fair amount each day. This is not the best for daylilies. Then it became miserably humid for several days. It was so humid that I had to keep the camera in the garage. If I did not do that, the lens would completely fog over when I would take it out looking for pictures.
As you will see, I still found a few.

In last weeks voting the picture with the most votes was...
the hoya, a truly remarkable flower, or more accurately, cluster of flowers.

The full voting was
Hoya 14
Pink Orchid Cactus 11
Blackberry lily 6
Red Ribbons daylily 4
Red Orchid cactus 3
Lily Anastasia 1
Clivia 1

Here are pictures from this short week for your consideration. Please remember you can vote for two.

#1  Magic Amethyst

Daylilies with frilly edges and nice centers are always good.

I like the quiet colors of this flower. What a contrast with something like Ruby Spider, which has appeared the last few weeks and appears again in the bonus section.

A closeup of the center appears in the bonus section.

#2 White Cattleya
This pretty orchid has its second set of flowers this summer.
It really must feel at home in this weather.

#3  Surprise- a hellebore in July

What? A hellebore. These are called the Christmas Rose or the Lenten Rose. They are not called the Fourth of July Rose.
We had that rather cool spell a few weeks back. It has left its calling care all around. There are flowers on some of the saucer magnolias in the neighborhood. The cool-ish spell seems to have triggered something in some of these plants.

This flower gets points for the plant providing the biggest surprise this week. I had no idea it was going to flower. It has several more blooms coming.

It is not the prettiest picture this week. It is probably the most remarkable. Can you vote for remarkable?

#4 Banned in Boston

This is another favorite daylily of mine. The pink and white goes so nicely with the greenish center.

#5 Air Plant- tillandsia

It has grown quite a bit in ten days since it arrived. There are now blue highlights.

#6 Gingerland - the caladium
I am just getting around to planting the rest of the caladium. They have been so slow this year. Gingerland is perhaps my favorite. It has such patterns.
I predict the caladium will own the August garden.

#7  Ruby Spider

This daylily has been blooming since June 25. It still has a few more flowers left.

Bonus section

This is the center of Magic Amethyst, picture #1 in the voting group.

Sometimes pairs just show up, illustrating the diversity in the daylily world.

I love this simple color. I am not sure of the name. I made progress this year on finding names of plants whose labels have gone missing. There are still some gaps.

Last weekend we cleared out this bed under the Buckeye tree. The plants, including the caladium, jumped in.

Primal Scream continues to impress.

This plant is a pineapple plant. A what? A pineapple. We got one at the grocery store last summer. I put the cut off top in the ground. It rooted. I didn't have the heart to leave it out in the cold. So it got potted up and spent the winter under lights in the basement. It was fine. I took it outside in April, and promptly lost it. I found it last week. It is now out where it can be seen.

Another plant that had its system shocked by the cool weather was this lupine. That are not suppose to be rebloomers.

This lily would be in a voting contest with better light.

That is the same with this flower. Sometimes I think I have to remove some of the other flowers to get that one nice pictures. Mostly I do not do that.

It is coming soon. It is the Night Blooming Cereus. There is a dangling bud in the foreground of this ptcture.

More caladium

I give you this picture so you can see what I have to put up with in late July. The Sycamore tree, which is in the middle of the backyard drops its bark...all over the place. I once had an tree guy describe it as a "dirty tree."
Cleaning up after that tree wasn't on the to do list at the beginning of the week.

The flowers from the Sum and Substance hosta are just peeking out.

Julia's Recipe
Potato/Corn/Fish Chowder

It's about to be sweet corn season here, and so I checked out my freezer to see about space and to see what I had on hand that needed to be used. I found a quart of corn from late last summer and a piece of pacific cod from late this winter from the winter farmer's market. One booth at the winter farmer's market was a community supported fishery (CFS) from Sitka, Alaska. Really. Great fish, a little pricier than the grocery but worth it. So a quart of corn and a piece of cod put me in mind of chowder.

This is not exactly a summer dish, although it is pretty quick to make and so it does not heat up the kitchen much. And it's good.

I started with about 1/2 cup of bacon, cut up in little pieces (the width of the bacon, in 1/2" strips). I cooked the bacon over low heat in a big enamelware pot. While it was cooking, I cut up some onion - about 3/4 cup.

When the bacon was crisp, I drained it and poured out the bacon fat. I had about 1/4-1/3 cup. I put 2 tablespoons of bacon fat back into the pot, turned the heat up to medium and added the onions. They should cook gently; if you get a lot of sizzling, the heat is too high.

Here are the onions cooking away. I added 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.

While the onions were cooking, I peeled and cubed 2 russet potatoes (use russets, not red or yukon gold or other white potatoes - it's a starch thing). I had 2 cups of little potato cubes - mine were about 1/2" cubes, but exact size is not critical, as will be clear below.

The onions cooked for about 5-7 minutes, and then they were limp and translucent. At that point, I added the potatoes and 4 cups of chicken stock and 2 cups of water.

I cooked this mixture until the potatoes gave up. I did not time this, but I think it took 20 - 30 minutes.

Next, I whirred up the soup with my stick blender. I like the stick blender - it turns vegetable soup into cream of vegetable soup in short order.

If you don't have a stick blender, you could carefully ladle the soup into a regular blender in batches. Or mash the potatoes with a hand masher, for a coarser but kind of smooth texture. Or leave it alone and have chunky soup.

Then I added 4 cups of frozen corn (a 16 ounce bag if you're using store-bought) and the whole piece of thawed cod and cooked the soup on medium heat. No boiling. In about 10 minutes, I could flake the fish apart, and I did.

When the fish can be flaked, the soup is done. I used to cut fish up for chowder, until Katie reminded me that the fish would cook quickly in one piece and then I could flake it apart. So true.

While the fish and corn were cooking, I chopped up some scallion tops, about 1/4 cup. One could use chives or garlic scapes.

I stirred in 1 cup of half and half, because I like a little dairy in my fish soup and then stirred in 1 teaspoon of rice wine vinegar (could also use lemon juice or cider vinegar). Then I sprinkled on the bacon bits and the chopped scallion tops.

I think it looks very pretty in the bowl.

Note: If you don't have cod, any mild white fish will work, like tilapia or sole or flounder. You will want about 1 pound of fish. Or you could use little scallops - 1 pint. Scallops cook even more quickly than fish. If using scallops, add them a few minutes after the corn.

You will observe there is no gluten! If you are dairy-averse, leave out the half-and-half, and the soup will still be delicious.

Odds and Ends

The Clivia continues.

I love my crotons.

Stay as cool as possible.
Find the breeze.

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