Mother’s Day

Spring + Gardening

May 4, 2015

Potato Frittata

I started gardening about 3 weeks ago. A neighbor and master gardener told me that Good Friday is a date worth noting for planting root and frost tolerant vegetables. I was about a week behind but still feeling ahead since last year I didn’t start working the ground until mid May. Veggies that can be started outside earlier than most are the root vegetables like potatoes, radishes, beets, carrots, turnips, kohlrabi and rutabaga with the addition of some frost tolerant veggies like peas, the cabbage-family and collards. So my first planting of the year included peas, radishes, beets, kale and spinach. I may have been on the cusp with my collards, so I am keeping my fingers crossed. The radishes were the first to germinate, followed by the peas and then beets. The weather has been favorable so I am hoping for a growing spurt.

I started my indoor seedlings about two weeks ago. This included an assortment of peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and melons. The cucumbers germinated first and the melons and tomatoes followed suit shortly after and the pepper family has been little slow. I think they may need a little more sun and warmth than what my home may be providing. I will keep you updated. I plan to transplant these starters outside around the end of May or early June. Basically once there is no chance of a frost, which in Montana, is a really hard date to predict!

I ordered all my seeds from Gurney’s and Rare Seeds and purchased some packets from Home Depot. If you haven’t flipped through a Rare Seeds catalog, I highly recommend you request a free catalog. It is a 200+ page color catalog that is sure to inspire you in the garden. Rare Seeds also pledges as a company that they do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants.

Goliath Spinach, Gurney’s
Black Magic Kale, Gurney’s
Chioggia and Golden Beets, Rare Seeds
Cherry Belle Radish, Home Depot
Sugar Ann Snap Pea, can’t remember where I purchased this seed packet. It was leftover from a year or two ago.

Heirloom Rainbow Blend, Gurney’s
Chocolate Cherry Tomato, Gurney’s (of favorite of mine)
Habanero Hot Pepper Blend, Home Depot
Big Thai Hot Pepper, Home Depot
Tangerine Sweet Pepper, Home Depot
Cucumber Muncher, Home Depot
Sugar Baby Watermelon, can’t remember where I purchased this seed packet. It was leftover from a year or two ago.

Note: It is important to store any leftover seeds in a cool, dry and dark place. I usually place them in my fridge but a cool basement would also work. The seeds must be dry so if you are concerned add a small packet of silica gel to the container or any other moisture absorbent like powdered milk or rice. Certain seeds have a longer shelf life than others. For example, corn and onions may only last 1 or 2 years at best while beans, carrots, lettuce, peas and radishes may keep in your fridge for multiple years. Below is a list of common vegetables and their respective shelf life.

5+ yrs…..Beets, cucumbers, tomatoes.
3 to 5 yrs…..Beans, peas, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, kohlrabi, carrots, lettuce, okra, peppers, radishes, spinach, turnips and watermelon.
1 to 2 yrs…..Sweet corn, leeks, onions, parsnips and parsley.

Above are some gardening essential from the Mercantile. Click to shop.

I used this boot tray from Target to hold my indoor starters so I wouldn’t ruin my wooden table when watering.
DIY chalkboard seed makers here or just buy these simple markers for $6 or these copper markets for $10.
These watering cans are worth showing off.
Dreaming of summer picnics with this handwoven tote.
Saving for this porcelain berry bowl.
Still looking for a great pair of gardening gloves that do not make my hands stink.


Baked Potato Frittata

I also thought I would share another asparagus recipe. This is my go to when I have a baked potato leftover from the night before. It might be a good addition to your Mother’s Day brunch menu!

Baked Potato Frittata with Asparagus & Lemon // Serves 2 or 3 as a meal or 8 to 10 as a side

6 eggs
1/2 c. whole milk
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Zest of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
Handful of asparagus spears (9 oz. or 25 skinny spears)
A baked potato from the night before
1/3 c. feta

Preheat broiler.

In a glass mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, whole milk, cayenne pepper, lemon zest and salt and pepper. Set aside.
Wash and snap off ends of asparagus spears. Cut into 1/4 inch pieces and add to egg mixture. Thinly slice potato.
Spray or butter a 10-inch nonstick skillet. Layer potato slices on bottom. Pour egg mixture over the top. On medium heat, cook until egg starts to set and you can run a spatula around the edge of skillet, about 5 minutes.
Sprinkle the top with feta and broil until the top is set and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let the frittata stand 2 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, loosen the frittata from the sillet and slide onto a plate or cutting board.

Note: If you do not have a leftover baked potato you can use one or two Yukon Gold potatoes. You will need to soften the potatoes by parboiling or sauteing prior to layering the slices on the bottom of the pan. If you choose to saute in olive oil, be sure to just soften the potatoes not fry. You don’t want crispy potatoes. The recipe turns out equally delicious but this step does add a little time to otherwise an incredibly quick recipe.


Rhubarb Raspberry Swirl Bread

June 24, 2014

Rhubarb Raspberry Braided Bread

I entered a baking challenge hosted by Joy the Baker and King Arthur Flour. The four part challenge is a way to bring bakers together. Fun right. So all I had to do was bake this Triple Berry Cinnamon Swirl Bread, take photos of the end product and then post them on Instagram using hashtag #bakingbootcamp. You can read more about the challenge here if you want to join in for the next three.

I didn’t have too many berries at home when I decided to make this sweet treat. But I still have, what seems, an endless supply of rhubarb. So I decided to make this a rhubarb raspberry swirl bread. I highly recommend trying this recipe. I can best describe it as a large rhubarb cinnamon roll. And since I love cinnamon rolls and by now you should know how much I love rhubarb, this is probably my favorite sweet treat to date. It basically gives you a reason to wake up in the mornings! You can find the recipe here.

Rhubarb Raspberry Twist Bread

Rhubarb and Raspberry

On a side note. Montana is looking stunning. Mother Nature has blessed us with ample moisture. The fields and hills are lush and green. The amount of feed available this year is exciting. The photos below were taken in what we call our dry land pasture. This means we do not irrigate it. Mother Nature does her work and we hope for the best. So far she is doing some of her best work for us.

It has been at least 1o years since I have spent an entire summer in Montana. And I rarely visited in June. I have no idea why not. Like I said it’s a gorgeous time of year and good energy vibes are everywhere with summer finally arriving. I recommend visiting this time of year. Just pack your rain slicker and boots.

Happy Summer Days!


2 in 1 Recipe. Rhubarb Rose Lemonade & Rhubarb Curd Tart

June 15, 2014

rhubarb curd tart and rhubarb-rose lemonade

One of my best friends, fourth sister really, was visiting from California for a long weekend. She requested I bake a sweet treat. Normally this is not a problem for me. I have endless options when it comes to baking sweet treats. But, she is gluten free. And if you haven’t tried gluten-free baking, let me tell you it is an art in itself. You cannot take any good old recipe, substitute the all-purpose flour for gluten-free flour and think you are going to retrieve a master piece from the oven. It just doesn’t work that way. You really have to spend time in the kitchen experimenting with gluten-free flour combinations or just refer to the experts. And even then, I still think it’s a challenge.

Since time was limited I decided to refer to an expert gluten free baker for a rhubarb cake recipe. Let me just tell you that the entire cake stuck to the bottom of the pan. Feeling defeated but determined, I decided it was nothing raspberries and powdered sugar could not fix. It tasted divine and looked homemade! But for this post, I am sticking to what I know and that’s gluten. I have made this pate sucree dough many times. It’s tried and true. You can find the recipe here posted under the lemony tartlets.

And since rhubarb is in full bounty and I love it so much, I decided to make this a 2 in 1 recipe. I am giving you recipes for Rhubarb-Rose Lemonade and a Rhubarb Curd Tart. You use the rhubarb simple syrup for the lemonade and the strained rhubarb for the curd. It’s perfect really!


Rhubarb-Rose Lemonade

8 rhubarb stalks
1 ½ c. sugar
½ tsp. rose water
3 lemons
1 sparkling water

Remove leaves from rhubarb. Wash and cut into 1 inch pieces. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, bring 3 cups of water, rhubarb, sugar and rose water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer stirring occasionally until sugar has dissolved. Approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow rhubarb to seep for approx 2 hours. Strain before serving.

In a 1 gallon glass jar, zest 2 lemons and juice 3. Add the rhubarb simple syrup and sparkling water and then fill remaining jar with tap water. Refrigerate until chilled. Garnish with a lemon twist.

rhubarb curd tart and rhubarb rose lemonade

Rhubarb Curd Tart

Strained rhubarb from above simple syrup
4 egg yolks
1 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. coconut milk

Preheat oven to 350. Follow pate sucree recipe here. Bake crust for 20-30 minutes until golden brown.
Puree rhubarb. I used a food processor. In a glass bowl, whisk together rhubarb puree and egg yolks. Place over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until thickened. About 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter and coconut milk. Stir until incorporated.

Spread rhubarb curd into 4″x14″ tart shell. Bake for another 15-20 minutes until curd is set in the middle.

Swiss Meringue / from SF Baking Institute

166 g of sugar
83 g of egg whites

Combine the egg white and sugar in a mixing bowl. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and mix until egg whites and sugar reach 120F. Transfer to a mixer and whip on medium high until full volume and the meringue has cooled to room temperature.

Apply meringue to cooled tart and toast carefully with a blowtorch.

cardamom pound cake and GF muffins

May 12, 2014

My sister, Kelsy, and I were busy baking and our Mother was the taste tester. She approved.
My sister, Natalie, who is a Mother to a wild 8 yr old cowboy found this quote. I think she may be right!
Happy belated Mother’s Day to all the slightly insane mothers out there!
muffins and pound cake
We tried three new recipes. A Cardamom Pound Cake. Recipe can be found here. And two different types of gluten free muffins. The Chocolate Coffee Peanut Butter Muffins and the Peach Coconut Almond Flour Muffins can be found here along with eight other healthy muffin recipes. Maybe you can try some of the others too and report back to me!

I made a couple slight adaptations to the Cardamom Pound Cake. Instead of Creme Fraiche and whole milk I used refrigerator staples, sour cream and 2%. And I substituted 1 cup of all-purpose flour for 1/2 cup of spelt flour and 1/2 cup of almond flour. Because it makes me feel healthier! The cake passed the taste test, but I forgot to serve it with some sort of cream. Clotted cream, whipped cream, ice cream…..You get the picture.

pound cake
Kelsy made a couple of adaptions too. Mostly to the flour combinations. For the Peach Coconut Almond Flour Muffins she used 1 cup of spelt flour, 1/4 cup of coconut flour, and a half cup of oat flour. She also used 1 whole banana and 4 peach halves from our canned peaches.
For the Chocolate Coffee Peanut Butter Muffins she used 1/4 cup of spelt flour, 1/4 cup of oat flour, 1/4 cup of coconut flour and 1/4 cup of ground flax seed. She also used 1 1/2 bananas. I am sure you could experiment with other gluten free flours too!

Puff Pastry with Kale, Chorizo and Chevre

February 24, 2014

This breakfast pastry is worth inviting friends and family over to enjoy on Sunday morning. I chose to top my pastry with a fried egg, because everything is better with a little yolk, and a little fix of olive tapenade. The olive tapenade adds a little ‘wow’ factor’ and compliments the pastry filling. I like to make the tapenade in advance, then refrigerate. If you really want to simplify your morning preparation, you can also make the puff pastries ahead of time and either refrigerate or freeze.

Puff Pastry with Kale Chorizo and Chevre



Pistachio Macarons with Lemon Swiss Buttercream

March 24, 2013

Easter Sunday is around the corner and I hope you find yourself remembering the joys of childhood while cultivating fresh and youthful traditions.

Baskets. Bunnies. Eggs. Fancy and frilly dresses. Jelly Beans. Peeps. Pastels. Tulips.


I thought I would share a couple photos from my first endeavor wearing the hat of French pastry chef. the confectionery. the macaron. Although there is much debate whether this sweet meringue-based cookie’s origin is French or Italian. To me, macarons and French Patisseries are synonymous with one another.


I hope these photos might inspire you before Easter Sunday. Provoke you in the kitchen or perhaps through the doors of a patisserie. Whether yours or theirs this cookie is mildly moist and can’t help to melt in your mouth. It should be shared across the table with friends and family. And known to be presented in so many shades of pinks, purples, blues and greens I can’t help to think it’s the perfect Easter treat. READ MORE

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