Broken Record

September 2, 2009

I’m a broken record– more flowers!  My mother came to visit a couple weeks ago and she and my honey attended one of my theatre performances.  While sitting in the audience she whispered, “oh,  I wish I had brought flowers for her!”.  He casually replied, “Christen lives in a WORLD of flowers.  She is up to her ears in flowers.”  While I personally would ALWAYs welcome more flowers, I guess he was right.  I will not complain.  So here are some more shots from work.

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blackberries and figs

blackberries and figs

artichokes, succulents, and lemons

artichokes, succulents, and lemons

sunflowers, dahlias, and lilies

sunflowers, dahlias, and lilies

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MARQUEE

July 11, 2009

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For those of you in San Francisco, my next performance will be on July 18th and 24th as part of the Bay Area Playwrights Festival.  I’m diving into a challenging, intelligent, and hysterical play by a wonderful playwright.  It’s the second time I’ve had the pleasure of working on this piece and I can’t wait to get started.  All info follows:

Julia Jarcho (bio): American Treasure
Director: Julia Jarcho
Dramaturg: Maryanne Olson
A real History Detective gets a hot tip from a young vagabond with a harrowing past, while the Hauntus keeps singing her sad song… This play is a genre bending comic thriller, mixing the American Western and Film Noir to dissect a classic American good guy/bad guy legend and our mythic relationship to American Indians.
Sat., July 18, 8 p.m. and Sat., July 25, 12 p.m.: Buy Tickets!

FLEUR*TING

July 10, 2009

So sorry to have disappeared for– yikes– more than a month. I don’t know where to begin. Since there is way too much to post, I’ll just try to get some things up in little spurts.  I’ve been quite busy at work so I’ll start with a few of my recent creations there.  Here are 3 of the 8 arrangements I made today.  These are all round, low, and sweet.  Stay tuned for some taller, 1 sided treats.  As always, thanks for stopping by!

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IN SEASON

May 27, 2009

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To ward off the post cheesecake sugar itches, here is a simple, light and delicious summer salad recipe. We received gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, a cucumber, and gypsy peppers with our weekly CSA delivery and I couldn’t resist mixing ’em all together.

2 large hierloom tomatoes

1 cucumber

1-2 gypsy peppers (or any sweet pepper or none at all– optional)

a bunch of fresh herbs, chopped (I used mint and thyme from our garden)

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Chop up the tomatoes, cucumber, and pepper to bite sized portions of your choosing. Chop the herbs. Mix all ingredients together with a couple splashes of oil and vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

WHIMSY

May 27, 2009

More windows into my day job…a peek-a-boo of frutzmade:

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CHEESECAKE

May 27, 2009

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I’m knee deep into my third book by Ruth Reichl– editor in chief of Gourmet magazine, former New York Times and LA Times food critic, and bestselling author. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading one of her memoirs, run out to your local library or bookstore and pick up a copy. Reading a Ruth Reichl book is like indulging in a blissful 7 course meal. Her first book (and my favorite), Tender at the Bone, is the best place to start. It is a quick, engaging, honest, and delicious look back on her childhood and coming of age in the gourmet world. We follow along as Ruth rambles through family dynamics, bungled relationships, travel, and most importantly– fortuitous food adventures. Interspersed throughout each chapter of her books are recipes which relate to specific moments in her life.  Reichl makes reading about food a playground for the senses. Case in point– after a long Ruth Reichl hiatus I recently picked up a copy of Garlic and Sapphires. Only one pleasurable evening of lulling myself to sleep with the initial few chapters and I woke in the morning bound and determined to cook, of all things, a cheese cake! Reichl had captured so well the sounds and smells of New York that I couldn’t get the recipe for “New York Cheesecake” out of my head. It seemed so pure, so simple, so indulgent, (so out-of-character for me to cook) and so New York.

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And so now I give you– New York Cheesecake, courtesy of Ruth Reichl from Garlic and Sapphires published by Penguin Press:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup melted unsalted butter

1 1/2 pounds creamcheese, preferably without gum, at room temperature

4 eggs

3 teaspoons vanilla

Grated zest of 1 lemon

2 cups sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the graham crackers with 1/4 cup sugar and the melted butter and press into bottom and sides of a 9 inch ungreased spring-form pan. Chill while preparing filling.

Beat the cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, eggs, 2 teaspoons of the vanilla, and lemon zest until smooth. Pour into chilled crust and bake 50 minutes to an hour, or until the cheese is set and starting to turn golden in spots. Remove from the oven (leave oven on) and cool for about 15 minutes on a wire rack.

Stir together the sour cream, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, remaining teaspoon of vanilla and spread over cooled cake. Return to oven fr 12 minutes until glossy and set.

Cool completely, cover, and chill at least 8 hrs.

Serves 8

HOW TO HOST A FELTING MYSTERY

May 14, 2009

It gives me great pleasure to announce the release of two creative, informative, and exciting new books by two first-time authors who are dear to my heart.

feltique

The first is entitled Feltique; Techniques and Projects for Wet Felting, Needle Felting, Fulling, and Working with Commercial Felt. It is a collaboration between Nikola Davidson and the fabulous Brookelynn Morris. I’m a bit biased, yes, because Brookelynn is a friend who never ceases to amaze me with her talents, inspiration, humor, and joi de vivre. I cannot wait to get my hands on the book and try out a new craft. For all of my N. California readers, Ms. Morris will be making two book launch appearances!

Feltique is published by Random House and all rights to the image posted above belongs to them. (Please don’t step on me Random House…I’m just trying to promote your phenomenal new book :)) So everyone, go pick up a copy!!

library mystery

The second equally exciting, unique, and inspiring book is….drum-roll please…Hosting a Library Mystery by Elizabeth M. Karle. I know I’m not alone in my viewpoint that, well, libraries ROCK. Sure, the computer screen will always beckon us with it’s wealth of reliable and unreliable resources, but nothing gives back more to a local community than a library. As the world looks more and more for quick answers via technology, it is very important to nurture our libraries as the crossroads of information and inspiration that they are. In Hosting a Library Mystery Ms. Karle puts all of her years as a dedicated Library goddess to work in a fun, creative, and interactive how-to book chalk-full of ways to excite and educate library patrons of all ages. The book is an absolute gift to libraries around the world looking to invigorate and connect with the people they serve and to help library goers realize the wealth of resources available just around the corner– in the pages of books and through the knowledgeable library staff themselves. What’s more, I can say from 30 years of looking up to Elizabeth M. Karle as my big sister and role model– you can’t find a more thoughtful, intelligent, unique, and fun-loving lady around. We are all so lucky to finally have a tiny sliver of her insight and essence on the page to share. So go get yourselves a copy and let the games begin!

(Hosting a Library Mystery is published by the American Library Association and all rights to the image posted above belongs to them.)

Congratulations, ladies, on these huge milestones in your lives and creative development! I cannot wait for your next book releases and to follow along on your exciting journeys. Thanks for always inspiring me!

DAILY DOSE

May 8, 2009

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What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not been discovered. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

The scope of frutz is expanding. On the heels of my last post’s title, I am inspired to share another facet of my interests and studies: holistic nutrition. I’ve added the category to my Category Cloud to the right and will try to post small snippets of nutrition wisdom upon occasion. Our backyard garden is shaping up quite nicely so I hope the summer can include some herbal and nutrition wisdom straight from my dirt to you.

Back to dandelions: the title of my last post was Spring Medicine. It was not a coincidence that I chose to include a photo of my darling niece Karle-bug holding teeming handfuls of dandelion heads. Dandelions, though regarded as one of the greatest pests to a suburban lawn (yes, they are unrelenting!), are packed with nutritional power and healing abilities. In fact, the dandelion has more nutritional value than most vegetables– it’s a rich source of vitamins, minerals, protein, choline, inulin, and pectin. It even has a higher vitamin A content than the carrot!

Dandelion’s nutrient and other compounds make it a wonderful bitter tonic for the spleen, stomach, kidney, and liver. Dandelions can stimulate liver function, reduce swelling and inflammation, and improve digestion. Dandelions are also antiviral and have been used to treat:

  • AIDS
  • Herpes
  • Jaundice
  • Cirrhosis
  • Edema due to high blood pressure
  • Acne
  • Breast and lung tumors
  • Premenstrual bloating

Dandelion can be foraged wild (beware of pesticides) or store bought. The greens are great in a salad, the flower heads can be used in a tea, and dandelion tinctures can be made at home or found at the store. Dandelion roots and greens can be chopped and sauteed with oil and garlic in any cooking recipe. What’s more, the dandelion makes a fashionable bracelet when tied around your wrist– just ask my nieces!

SPRING MEDICINE

May 5, 2009
dandelions

dandelions

If I had only one wish today it would be that one of the zeros in the the 2000 miles between San Francisco and Chicago would disappear. I’m filled with happy memories from a weekend of large meals, multi-generational kick-ball games, backyard bubbles and swings, stories spanning 60 years, and the ghost of an aunt who shows up in casinos and ice cream cakes.

As raindrops wiggle down my San Francisco window, my home is always with family– in the present or in the mind.

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spring medicine: a walk through the woods + 2 sets of sisters

2UESDAY

April 21, 2009

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As promised, here are some of the flower arrangements I’ve been creating at work. I keep forgetting my camera at home, but this is a little peak at what I do during the day. I made 6 of these refreshing little centerpieces today along with 6 other arrangements. Yes, I’m still pinching myself after just under 2 months. More to come…