"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

Hello Friends!

Friends, Romans, countrymen...y'all. Foodies, gardeners, artists and collectors - let's gather together to share and possibly learn a thing or two in the mix.

Donna Baker

Monday, December 30, 2013


Here is one of the first posts I ever wrote.  I can't believe it has been this long since I started blogging (this post is from December 2008).  My lemons, blood oranges, limes, oranges, grapefruits and on and on are ready once again and the kinds of citrus I grow has grown exponentially. I haven't made this in years as we rarely drink. Nevertheless, here it goes again...

Well, it's that time again. My Meyer lemons are ripening and it's time to make hooch.  I have had this on a beach in Italy and my own concoction, but to tell the truth, I think limoncello tastes like lemon gasoline.  Whew!  The Italians say they drink it after meals as a digestive. This will grow hair on your chest, clear up allergies, coughs; a real magic potion for whatever ails you or maybe you just won't care and get a little limon-mellow. I think I made 4 gallons of the stuff last year. It really tastes best on hot summer days but what the heck, have it drizzled over a mango sorbet or whatever your preference might be. It is also good mixed with tonic or my personal fave, mixed with champagne. So, enough said. Here is the recipe.

17 large lemons
2 750 milliliter bottles grain alcohol
51/2 cups water
6 cups sugar
Wash and dry the lemons. With a good vegetable peeler, remove only the yellow rind of the lemon. Do not get any of the white pith as this will make your limoncello bitter. Place the lemon peels in a 4 quart Mason jar with a rubber-seal lid. Add the grain alcohol. Store in a cool dark place swirling the mixture daily for approximately 2 weeks. When you can hear the peels making a funny noise, check the peels and if they break just like a potato chip, it is ready for the next step. All of the essential oil will have been extracted into the alcohol. Place a colander over a large bowl and line with a paper towel or coffee filters. Pour the alcohol and peels into the colander and let drain. Discard the peels. Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a large saucepan, stirring until it is dissolved. Cover and let cool to room temperature. Transfer the alcohol mixture back to the mason jar and add the cooled sugar water stirring to combine. Store for a month in a cool dark place. After a month, transfer the limoncello to smaller bottles that can be sealed with rubber stoppers or corks. Store the bottles in the freezer. Serve directly from the freezer.
The longer the limoncello sits, the mellower it becomes. It will last in the freezer for at least a year and I've read indefinitely. The internet has many many recipes for limoncello and sites where you can even buy supplies. Make sure that all your equipment is clean ( I know you wouldn't use dirty equipment) but there are airborne yeasts and other little thingys that you need to be aware of so clean is the watchword. I read that the best limoncello is made with the lemons that have green rinds so I experimented last winter and the only thing I could tell is that the limoncello was green instead of yellow. I certainly am not a connoisseur of limoncello so you can read up and let me know. Just in case someone out there might not know, grain alcohol is like 100 proof and this limoncello is very potent so remember, just a little drinky winky.
I thought since I was at it, I would share one more recipe for Crema di limoncello. To a liter of limoncello, stir in 1 tablespoon of vanilla and 21/2 cups of heavy cream. Store in refrigerator for a few days. You can certainly experiment if you please -add more sugar or less cream; this is just a basic recipe for the Crema. Chin chin, y'all.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Found A New Home

I recently did a kitchen remodel in my little house in Tulsa.  It hadn't been remodeled in at least 50 years.  My hats off to all the designers and decorators out there.  What a hard job you have.  Though I have been subscribing to all the design and decorating magazines for about 40 years, (I was only 2 when I started), choosing colors, tiles, appliances, lighting and even hinges and floor registers is stressful to me.  And, doing it from long distance at the farm  made it even harder. And, on a budget, I might add.  My head was swimming to put it nicely.  

I do love it now.  I bought this box of Parisian dishware two years ago; it has Saint Germain des Pres printed on the side (which is where we stayed last time in Paris), but I really didn't have anywhere to put them. They remained closeted.  After the remodel, the dishes finally found a new home on a little white cafe table under a window.
I have told my husband he can't use them.  In fact, I wasn't happy when I went up this past weekend and saw his coffee machine out on top of the counter. Oh well...

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Happy Holidays

I have always loved silver dragees.  Nowadays, you can find them in all sizes and colors, but for some reason, I have a hard time finding the silver ones.  The last bottle I bought said something about them not being edible.  What?  What are you supposed to do with them?  Spit them out?  Ridiculous. 
This year my middle daughter is selling decorated sugar cookies on her facebook page.  I'm glad this tradition of iced sugar cookies will go on.  

Happiest holidays!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Saving Grace

Well, I guess you can see where I am going with this.  No decorations, nor wreaths. No tableaux of holiday refinements. 

Bah Humbug!

Why would anyone in their right mind want to live where it does this in the winter?  I must not be in my right mind because it has been freezing for days on end now, yet here I am. Jack Nicholson in The Shining?  Cabin fever?  I know of what they speak.  Roads impassable.  Feeding the animals is horrible.  Part of the greenhouse caved in.  Winter is my hell.  Guess the damn persimmon was right.

Chekhov writes about "grief" to describe cold weather.  Don't  like the Russian writers, but he got that right. 

The only saving graces are birdwatching -

and this pic of my little snagglepuss snow angel, Bella.

Here is a line from Hans Christian Anderson's THE SNOW QUEEN  -  "The flake of snow grew larger and larger; and at last it was like a young lady dressed in the finest white gauze, made of a million little flakes like stars."

Doesn't take very long to make me feel better.