Flaky, buttery, tender…scrumptious biscuits

With gratitude to Chef Thomas Heller…I made the biscuits from his recipe with just a few changes…try making them tonight!

Combine in sifter: 2 cups flour, 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt, 1 tablespoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda…sift into good size mixing bowl

Use 2 sticks cold, REAL butter, cut into small pieces…with my hands, or a pastry blender, I work butter lightly into the flour mixture.

NEXT, pour 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk into dry mixture and work in with a wooden spoon until mixture  comes together, but do not over mix. I use my hands and then turn out mixture onto a floured board to lightly knead.

Preheat oven to 425

Roll out dough to about 3/4 inch thick…use biscuit cutter or glass dipped in flour to cut out biscuits. Arrange on baking sheet with parchment paper that has been buttered.

Brush tops of biscuits with buttermilk and bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Do not overcook!

Remove from oven and that’s when I spread MORE real butter over the top of biscuits.

Serve with butter and homemade jam, of course…ooooh, and maybe some “oven fried” chicken, too!

[See photo of biscuits]






Fruits and vegetables are not the only edibles grown in the garden…flowers provide tastes and textures for our plate and palate…a whole new culinary cornucopia. So why not brighten up your plate with some floral accents ?

Some people tend to think it rather odd to eat flowers and will leave them behind on the plate, but this skeptical attitude has only taken root in recent time. Flowers, with all their brilliant colors and scents, have been used in cooking and healing for thousands of years. In China and Japan, people have cultivated chrysanthemums, hibiscus, jasmine, lilies, orange blossoms and more, specifically for eating. The Romans loved lavender flowers, lilies, and almost all herb flowers and after sumptuous banquets would take a tonic made from violets to help tame a hangover. Pot marigolds, pinks, [or Dianthus] jasmine, lavender, hollyhocks and nasturtiums were essential plants grown in Elizabethan times, when huge salads, soups and cold dishes were lavishly decorated with these edible flowers.

Decorative and delectable, edible flowers have become a consuming passion once again for many gardeners. In my organic garden you’ll find a selection of edible flowers grown happily amongst herbs and vegetables and old roses:

Overflowing pots of peppery nasturtium flowers and foliage, both colorful and lush, are a natural addition to salad greens. For a fresh new appetizer, try these brightly colored blooms, stuffed with walnut goat cheese, egg salad or guacamole.

A simple fruit salad scattered with jasmine, lavender buds, and rose petals is a tasty delightful sight, while a pound cake with a simple white glaze can be transformed with crystallized rose petals and violets. I still have a precious jar of sugared violet blooms I found in a tiny shop in Paris that I use on special custard desserts. And, delicately flavored rose petal scones and herb tea are a grand favorite with friends attending my garden workshops.

The flowers of most herbs can be used in hot and cold dishes and in refreshing summer drinks: try borage flowers in ice cubes and ice bowls studded with brilliant flashes of blooms make dazzling serving dishes for summer desserts, such as flower petal sorbets and ice creams, or try amazing baked pineapple topped with rich red pineapple sage blossoms. And one of my special dishes for luncheon guests, delicious daylily blooms stuffed with chicken salad floating on a green bed of romaine garnished with the saffron-colored plucked petals of calendula.

Of course, some of the flowers I grow have much more flavor than others…the attractive mustard yellow flowers of fennel have a sweet anise flavor while blooms from jasmine, lavender, chives, roses, pot marigold, pansies, violets, rosemary and thyme have the strongest and most diverse flavors. But whatever the taste, all edible flowers look wonderful combined with food.


Housekeeping…the healthy, earth-friendly and organic way…


Cleaning and caring for your home is very simple and much healthier when using alternatives to chemical and antibacterial toxic mixtures being “sold” for home use today.

By using very few ingredients and materials, cleaning your home becomes easier, safer and much less expensive. Some of these magical, very effective alternatives are a part of the skills passed down from one generation to another.

For most housekeeping tasks, only two products are required…baking soda and white distilled vinegar! For other special cleaning jobs I add lemons and their juice, borax, beeswax, hydrogen peroxide, olive oil and essential herbal oils…especially lavender oil and tea tree oil.

I remember Grandmother washing down the wood floor in the kitchen with her homemade soap suffused with the aroma of fresh herbs…usually lavender or rosemary. She made her own dust cloths using the oil from lemon peel, washed clothes with her own homemade soap, cleaned windows with vinegar and muslin rags…no harsh synthetic chemical materials were used. AND, she grew her own produce organically, raised cows for milk, cream and making butter, raised chickens for eggs and meat, pigs for many uses, and made all the clothes and bedding for the family while raising 8 very healthy children on a huge working farm…and, the only thing she ever drove was a tractor!

Now I am fully aware that many young people today would find this type of housekeeping very time-consuming since it would be much easier to pick up a spray bottle and packages of meat and vegetables at the market. But, I love to take care of my home, even while working full-time.

At this point in my life, it is a joy to walk around my home, seeing my collections, reliving the memories of certain photos…touching objects…thinking of when I found that match striker in a PARIS antique shop or the pieces of Blue & White china collected traveling over 40 years, the stacks of marvelous books, the old silver box from a FRENCH client whose home I completely designed & furnished while living in Los Angeles, the patina of several old lap desks, flowers from my garden in crystal glasses, the oil painting of lavender fields he did for my birthday, Carl’s flag… so many things that still bring me a sigh and a smile.