Friday, April 27, 2012

Food I'm Eating: Fresh Pesto (April 27, 2012)

Nothing beats fresh pesto. Just basil, garlic, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese, ground coarsely with olive oil--add more olive oil and salt to taste at the table. It'll be even better in a month or two, when I can make it from fresh basil grown in the garden. Great with a flavorful but delicate Italian white wine like Gavi or Soave, or Roero Arneis, a good Verdicchio, or so many others....

Thursday, April 26, 2012

2010 Quelle Estate South Eastern Australia Semillon/Chardonnay

I tried an interesting Semillon/Chardonnay blend from Australia tonight. I know nothing about this producer, but this is a solid, inexpensive wine that I enjoyed very much. The blend is 66% Semillon, 34% Chardonnay. Excellent with a garlic, lemon, and butter sauce pasta with prawns. Brief tasting notes follow.

Medium straw color. Tinged with green. Fairly closed on the nose at first, but gradually suggestive of straw or new tatami mats. Something then put me in mind of guava nectar. Maybe a hint of passion fruit, and perhaps a little caramel somewhere in the background? Has presence on the palate. Meyer lemons at first, but not just citrus tartness. The acidity is nicely balanced by a gritty, fruity sweetness. Good length. Lingering, slightly bitter flavors on the finish--even a suggestion of tannin. None of the waxiness that often comes with a healthy dose of Semillon, but a substantial cut above generic Chardonnay. I liked this wine. Very attractively priced at $4.99 a bottle at Grocery Outlet. I will go back for more of this to keep on hand for everyday consumption during the warmer weather ahead.

Plants I'm Growing: First Blooms--Cistus "Sunset," Phlomis Lanata

First blooms of 2012 today on the rock rose called "Sunset." I love its cheerful magenta blooms. This has been among the most successful of the rock roses I've tried to grow here. Once established, it can pretty well be ignored. First blooms today also on Phlomis lanata, a close relative of the better known Phlomis known as Jerusalem sage. Another tough plant that does well in Santa Rosa with virtually no supplemental water once established.

Rain: Overnight Drizzle Adds 0.10 Inches

A little rain overnight. The rain gauge shows 0.10 inches fell. That brings the 2011-2012 total to 26.15 inches--still well below normal, but not enough below to be too alarming. Average annual rainfall in Santa Rosa is just under 32 inches.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Found Art: Road Stripe and Cut Marks (April 22, 2012)

A composition in roadway stripes. The white is part of a lane line. The red stripes appear to be marks indicating where cuts were to be made for a repair. Found art. Art is everywhere--just look down.

For more found art, see my blog Serendipitous Art.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Plants I'm Growing: First Blooms--More New Flowers (April 22, 2012)

A mini-heat wave has accelerated activity in the garden. New plants are coming into bloom daily. Yesterday saw the first blooms on the large white-flowered Rock Rose called "Elma," and on Rosa mutabilis--which, as it's name suggests is a rose. This one is notable for the way the color of the flowers change. The buds are deep pink. The flowers open pink but quickly fade to yellow and then almost white. Today some of the helianthemums started blooming and I noticed the first flowers also on the Jerusalem sage (Phlomis fruiticosa), a real stalwart that blooms reliably year after year with almost no attention (photo). The first German irises in the garden have begun to bloom in the past few days as well.
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