Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Birthday Treat

I know that it's March and the big round number birthday was in February, but it's taken me a few days to process the photos from my birthday treat.

You're probably thinking that the treat was food related...after all this IS a food blog...but no, it was house and garden related and photo opportunity related and SPRING related.

Since the weather around here has been rainy for over a month, spring is late in showing up, but we had ONE lovely, springlike, blue sky day last week and it was, miraculously, on the day of the treat.

Sweetie, our daughter and I traveled a while and arrived at Filoli, a National Historic Trust property south of San Francisco, and directly south of the beautiful Crystal Springs Reservoir.

We were there for the first day of the season and for the Daffodil Days event. We had signed up for the Photography and Painting in the Garden segment, plus the house and garden tour, so had lots of opportunities for beautiful photos.

The first photo at the top of the post is from the gardens and this one is from one of the grand rooms in the house. Both are for Ruby Tuesday. You can see what it is all about over at Work of the Poet. Plenty of red in that flower. There is less on the figure, but that rich Chinese red is especially lovely.

Today's header is also from a photo taken of the meadow of daffodils at Filoli. If the weather had been warmer in the preceding days, there would likely have been more flower in the meadow, but it was still quite beautiful.

If you ever get the opportunity to visit this property, make the time if you love formal gardens, garden rooms, Georgian architecture, or a safe in the butler's pantry to store all the silverware. That safe is almost as big as my whole kitchen. Sigh. Imagine having that much money. Thankfully they got their tax write off and the public got a wonderful place to visit.

Just so you won't think that food has taken a vacation, too, here is a recipe for some Rosemary Knot Rolls that I made for dinner last night. They went very well with our pasta and turkey meatballs and salad.

Rosemary Knot Rolls
Makes 8 - 10 rolls

1 cup sourdough starter at room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 tablespoon olive oil (plus about the same to glaze the rolls before baking)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups spelt or whole wheat flour
1 1/2 to 2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh rosemary (about 2 stalks)
1 tablespoon sea salt

Put the sourdough starter in the bowl of a stand mixer. With a wooden spoon, mix in the buttermilk, olive oil, egg, and 1/2 cup each of the spelt and all-purpose flours. Attach the bowl to the mixer and attach the dough hook. On one or two, mix in the remaining flour, salt , and rosemary. Knead with the dough hook until the dough is fairly smooth and elastic, and cleans the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured smooth surface and knead another few minutes to fully incorporate the rosemary.

Cut the dough into eight or ten pieces. Roll each piece into a snake shape, then tie in a knot by crossing the length over itself about half way and tucking one of the ends through the hole. Lay the rolls on parchment or silicon mat lined baking sheet. Cover with a tea cloth and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Oil the tops of the rolls lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with the sea salt.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until rolls are slightly browned. Serve warm.

If these resemble a recipe from anywhere else, my subconscious must have retained it because I really didn't consult any recipe while making these.


  1. Elle, I think you are going to have to rename your blog to "Feeding My Bread Enthusiasms" ;-)

  2. ;) 'Feeding My Bread Enthusiasms' yes I think so too!
    Cute little rolls.
    You retained that in your subconscious!? That's why you can't really copyright a recipe. Buttermilk & rosemary are so wonderful together.

  3. Elle,
    I love the little red flower. everything is great...but, that little red flower just screams!!

    HRT on Wednesday!!:-)

  4. Anonymous3:53 PM

    Happy belated birthday. I love Filoli but haven't been there since I took my mom for Mothers Day brunch a couple of years ago.

  5. Breadchick, decided to do a new blog instead, called Bread Baker's Dog...there is a link at the top right corner of this blog...check it out.

    Tanna, ditto above. Yes, I guess I've been so immersed in bread baking and have started to understand the proportions that I just threw it together...and it wasn't perfect, but OK rolls. Great flavor, but another rising would have been better.

    Shinade, thanks! It was a really pretty flower.

    Mrs. L, I'd heard about it for years, but never found the time to go...glad I finally did. Bet your mom liked it, too.

  6. Happy Belated birthday! That bread looks so good and I think I have to go check your new blog now...