Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese

With a sweet, earthy flavor, juicy texture, and beautiful ruby-red hue, beets make a salad into something sensational.  The key to making them the highlight of a simple yet elegant salad is roasting, making the beets juicy and tender with a concentrated sweetness.  Peeling is easier when the beets are still warm.  Also, tossing the sliced beets with the dressing […]

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So Many Reasons to Love London

“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” ~Samuel  Johnson   I first visited London when I was 21 years-old.  I was on a study abroad program while an undergraduate at Hollins College (now Hollins University)—a four-year, private women’s college in Roanoke, Virginia.  To this day, I believe that my time living and studying abroad had […]

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Force of Nature

  A few weeks ago, I decided to coax cuttings of a flowering cherry tree into an early performance in order to speed up spring. Persuading plants to flower out of season is known as forcing.  You can either trim branches from your yard or buy them from a florist.  There are a number of flowering trees and shrubs that you can choose for your trimmings.  I have a flowering cherry tree in my front yard.  So, that’s what I used. However, flowering dogwood, redbud, flowering dogwood, saucer magnolia, flowering quince, or forsythia work well, too. Here are a few tips to keep in mind: 1.  Prune on a mild, late-winter day.  Branches are more pliable when temperatures are above freezing.  Most spring bloomers form flower buds on the previous season’s growth. 2.  Look for crowded branches that are no more than 1/2 inch in diameter, with numerous round, plump flower buds.  Thinning is okay. 3.  Place branches in fairly hot tap water, and recut at an angle.  Next, place in a bucket of water with floral preservative.  Store in a cool, dimly lit area like a porch or garage to ease the transition indoors. 4.  When buds begin to swell, bring branches indoors.  Set arrangements in a bright area away from direct sunlight and heating vents.  Change water daily. 5.  Celebrate spring early!  After all, you just fooled Mother Nature.    

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