What the Boss Likes – Longwood Gardens (and a quick recipe)

and a bee on a lily

Across the first weekend in September, we went to Longwood Gardens, one of the estates that used to be owned by the DuPont family (the chemical people). This is one of the more famous gardens in the US and is quite beautiful. They just spent $90 million to refurbish the main fountain gardens and were having a series of fountain shows to celebrate. These shows were at night and included colored lights on the fountains, orchestral music and so many fireworks the smoke made the nearly full moon orange. That last salvo made me think of how the Battle of London must have been like.

We chose the night that was going to have the orchestral music we like, Night on Bald Mountain and other dramatic and slightly spooky pieces. I was going to write “No more shows like this for the summer” but they extended the shows! but I do hope they have similar ones next year. The gardens are supposedly fabulous at Christmas time with trees, poinsettias, and fountain shows, though I do suspect it depends on how cold it is to allow those to happen.

The gardens encompass 400 acres (lots of photos below), and some of it is just a grown over field and natural ponds, which amused both of us since we grew up on farms. We had plenty of those to walk through when we were young but they are probably pretty neat to someone who grew up in the city or suburbs. There were some bit that we couldn’t see because they had the fireworks set up in those areas and considering how the show was, it was a *LOT* of explosives.

They are definitely worth seeing if you are within a few hours of south-east/central PA, or come from father away and stay longer and see the cute town of Kennett Square, center of where a lot of mushrooms are grown in PA. We stayed in a very nice bed and breakfast, Inn at Whitewing Farm, a beautiful piece of property off the beaten path but only about 10 minutes from the gardens. We stayed in one of the rooms beside the pond. It did rain like hell for the Saturday we were there, thanks to the remnants of Hurricane Harvey, and they had to reschedule the fountain show. The Inn was able to accommodate us for an extra night and we thank them mightily for doing so! When we got up early to leave Monday morning, we scared the heck out of some deer helping themselves to the birdfeeders. Just up the road from the inn is Galer Estate Winery, which had some very nice wines, drier than the usual PA sweet ones. There was also this tiny French bakery right at the intersection of E. Doe Run Road and Folly Hill Road; alas they were sold out before we got to them.

Now, before I post the photos, the quick recipe. I discovered that the chimichurri sauce we make for steak is a wonderful base for a curry of all things; that’s handy since we always have some left over.  The chimichurri has cilantro, parsley, lime, garlic and hot pepper in it, it just took a little more to make it a curry. I took a half-cup of the sauce, just added a couple of shakes of powdered cinnamon and ginger (I do love Penzey’s for my spices since they do good things), a cup of milk mixed with a ¼ cup of coconut milk powder (I get mine here: importfood.com), threw in a few of frozen raw chicken legs and cooked it until the chicken was falling off the bones.   Damn but it was good, and reminded me of a good saag paneer curry but with cilantro taking the place of the spinach…. and chicken taking place of the paneer.

It’s our chimicurry!

Photos of Longwood Gardens

 

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What the Boss Likes – welcome to Easter, syncretic religion at its best

Welcome to Easter.   Based spring fertility worship, changed to a worship of blood sacrifice and then resurrection, we have a holiday that has many faces.  We’ve even had many dates for it, and the usual religious friction of who is “right”.

My favorite evidence of how religion changes is this:

Take this guinea pig and chica in remembrance of me.

Take this guinea pig and chicha in remembrance of me.

 

This is a painting by Marcos Zapata in 1753, where Jesus Christ and the apostles are enjoying Peruvian cuisine(more about the cathedral here).  If there’s a picture, it must have happened right?   This sure would have made my serving of communion a much more interesting experience.

This is how spring should be celebrated, flowers and a nice bock style beer.

From the Bar – Stonekeep Mead and a review of our local garden show

tasty fat-filled goodness

tasty fat-filled goodness

Here in central PA, we are known for the Pennsylvania Farm Show which is in January. Essentially a state fair in buildings, people bring their award winning farm animals in for judging, there are huge displays of the latest in farm equipment and the food is famous.  Of course, the reason it’s famous is that people aren’t paying attention to the fat content. There is a reason that milkshakes that have full fat milk and full fat ice cream taste *so* much better than anything else.  They go through around 10,000 gallons of milkshake mix in 8 days. 

The Farm Show is housed in a big complex of buildings to the east of the city that contain it and many other events through the year, most with a agricultural theme, from cow shows, to equestrian events and some other things thrown in like car shows, dog shows and this garden show.  The thing is huge with enough space in some of the arenas to have tractor pulls, etc.

This year, feeling definitely spring-feverish, my husband and I attended the garden show.  In one of the large areas (ceilings are probably around 25’, 7.5 meters or so), close to a dozen landscapers brought in dirt, rocks, trees and many bricks and liners to make life size dioramas of what they can do.  All were gorgeous and many had outdoor fireplaces with pergolas and shelters to allow one to live out side quite graciously.  My big favorites were the outdoor wood fired pizza ovens.  I just wish they weren’t so crazy expensive.  I guess I’ll have to be happy with my chimenea. We have a large cast-iron one.   Continue reading