Monday, July 21, 2014

Those Sweet Little Patty Pans PLUS A Patty Cake Recipe Card!

"It is all ready to put into the oven. Such lovely pie-crust; 
and I put in a little tin patty-pan to hold up the crust; 
and I made a hole in the middle with a fork to let 
out the steam - Oh I do wish I could eat my own pie,
 instead of a pie made of mouse!"
 The Tale of the Pie and The Patty Pan by Beatrix Potter


In Miss Potter's amusing tale a little dog called "Duchess" inserts a small patty pan inside a large meat pie to "hold up the crust".  But what exactly are patty pans? 

sparrowsalvage on Etsy
Image courtesy of SparrowSalvage's Etsy Shop

Well, it appears that patty pans, also called petty pans and queen cake tins, are darling little molds used to make such delicacies as madelines, teacakes, petit fours and meat pies. They can also be made from glass or china, but more often they are made from tin. 

Image courtesy of Johnnys Selected Seeds

Thus we can now see how the sweet little patty pan squash came by its name! And today I have a delightfully yummy recipe for a Patty Cake that I'm happy to share. My favorite way to use patty pan squash!

Patty Cake - so yummy! Click to enlarge.
I found my little scallop-edged patty pan mold on the cheap at a Big Lots or someplace like that, can't quite remember, but I know it wasn't from an expensive specialty shop.


Image size is 4 x 10 inches. Click to enlarge/download.

Very few ingredients and very easy to make! Just click the recipe image and download to your computer. I recommend printing on cardstock using landscape setting.

New porcelain creations! (click to enlarge)

I even painted a ceramic platter with chipmunk and bunny playing Pat-A-Cake. Looks like some birds are about to swoop down for some of that Patty Cake!

New veggies! (click to enlarge)

And remember my EARLIER POST which included a sneak peak of my bisqued veggies? Well I finally glazed them and they came out of the kiln this morning looking just yummy!!! The pieces with the swirl designs are actually a sliced Tri-Color Beet and I blogged about them HERE. I grew them one year and that post also has a link to a great recipe for BEETS WITH ORANGE JUICE.

Listing all of the above ceramics and more tomorrow in my Etsy shop!

I hope you enjoy my recipe - won't you please share your favorite patty pan squash recipes?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

I'd Rather Be Gardening: A Mid-Summer Cutting Garden

"Most of us [....] pass through a flowery doldrums 
toward the end of July. The great Spring 
procession has gone. A gap comes in the 
parade before the big division of Summer appears."
The Gardener's Bed-Book by Richardson Wright

Zinnia 'Northern Lights Blend' and Purple Coneflower (click to enlarge)



There may still be a little truth in the quote above from Mr. Wright's 1929 publication, but today we are fortunate to have an endless variety of flowers to beautify our gardens throughout the summer. Today I'm going to share with you some of my favorites - both annuals and perennials - all of which are great for cutting to bring indoors where they can be enjoyed in the comfort of your home.

Cutting garden early July 2014 (click to enlarge)

The photo above shows my cutting garden as it is today, and this is its very first summer. We prepared the bed last fall by tilling and adding a composted soil mix from a local supplier. Our primary purpose for creating this garden initially was to address an issue with stormwater runoff from a nearby downspout. 

Dry creek bed ready for small bridge. (click to enlarge)

So this was a perfect spot for a rain garden (a huge subject for a future blog post) prompting us to create a dry creek bed. Future plans include constructing a small footbridge here.

Clockwise from top left: Russian Sage 'Little Spire', Yarrow 'Pink Grapefruit', Coneflower 'Bravado' and 'White Swan', Bee Balm 'Petite Delight' (click to enlarge)

Then around about April or May this year I transplanted numerous amounts of existing perennials from areas in the backyard where the previous owners had planted them. 

Transplanted Liatris 'Kobold' (click to enlarge)

Just a few weeks ago I found some Liatris 'Kobold' popping up among a huge bed of yarrow and have transplanted it to my new cutting garden. Its so much fun gardening at a new home and finding these "little surprises". The previous owner left me a folder with all of the plant tags so that's how I know what all these perennials are.

 Clockwise from upper left: Spirea 'Little Princess', Veronica 'Tickled Pink', Shasta Daisy 'Silver Princess', Stachys 'Hummelo' (click to enlarge)

Above are a few other lovely "surprises" that I have growing elsewhere on my property, which are also great cutting flowers. Who knew Spirea would make such a great cut flower! They are actually drying in my vases and still look nearly as lovely as when they were freshly cut.


Ornamental oregano (click to enlarge)
Verbena bonariensis (Mexican Verbena) (click to enlarge)

It's been wonderful to have so many existing perennials to divide and transplant from other areas in my yard, but I did purchase a few new things. In addition to the Ornamental Oregano and Mexican Verbena shown above, I found a great buy on my favorite lavender - 'Fat Spike'. 


Ready for stone walkway and lavender borders. (click to enlarge)

Future plans for my cutting garden include installing a natural stone pathway and my 'Fat Spike' lavender will make a lovely border. I've grown it before and I can attest to its hardy nature. I couldn't believe I found it at a nursery here, seems most of them only carry 'Hidcote' or 'Munstead', both of which I have growing elsewhere already and have nearly lived out their days. 'Fat Spike' is far superior, in my opinion.


Seeded zinnias around transplanted perennials.  (click to enlarge)

Clockwise from top left: Lilliput, Northern Lights Blend, Envy, Fantasy

Then in early June I filled in the gaps around the perennials by seeding zinnias. I also seeded cosmos and Mexican verbena in late June but had no luck with germination on those, most likely because I failed to keep them moist.






So....here we are...what the fuss is all about. I found that the Daisies and the Coneflower were the first to droop, but then I did nothing except change the water a few times. I know there are things you can to do to prolong the bloom, but I've never done any of them.


cynthiacranespottery.etsy.com -  More new creations coming in mid-late July!

And it surely comes as no surprise that the lovely colors, and the birds, the bees and the butterflies in my new cutting garden, all come together to inspire my porcelain ceramic art!


I would love to know your favorite cutting garden flowers, be they annual or perennial.

So please do comment and let me know your thoughts as well as how you keep your blooms lasting in the vase. Feel free to include your own blog address in your comment, too!


Happy gardening everyone! I'm off to check on my cutting garden now because, well, you know -

I'd Rather Be Gardening!


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