Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Garden party 2: The centerpieces

This is a continuation of my series of posts about the garden party. Since the garden has lots of color, I decided to keep the centerpieces understated. I bought small potted plants to make the centerpieces. I brought African violets, maiden heir fern, and other greenery to complete the arrangements. The containers for these arrangements are nothing but simple dark wooden planters. 










For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes),please check out my books, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen and Trader Joe's Simply Indian at my website komalinunna.com.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Garden party 1: The harvest

This past weekend was my annual garden party. I thought I should do a series of posts about the party from the planning to the end. I am having a wonderful growing season in the kitchen garden this year.  My family enjoys all the vegetables from the garden throughout the growing season. Since the kitchen garden is at its peak, I wanted to plan my annual garden party. I wanted all my friends to enjoy the garden and its bounty. This is the time I entertain with farm to table dinners. My annual garden party begins with planning the menu using the bounty from the garden. 

The first task of the party begins with harvesting all the vegetables.


This vegetable is called tindoora. They do look like miniature watermelons. I fried them with spicy powder.


The following vegetable is called bitter melon. Like the name suggests, it is bitter. But it is a delicacy for many Indians. This vegetable is popular in many Asian countries. It also a very healthy vegetable to eat for people with diabetes. Even the leaves are edible in stir fry.


This is called ridge gourd. It tastes more like zucchini with a little harder skin. I made curry with chana dal. Very tasty!


I harvested many baskets of tomatoes



I harvested gongura, a sour leaf vegetable which is very popular where I come from. I made chutney with it. Calyces from this plant are used to make herbal teas. 



I harvested many baskets of jewel-toned cherry tomatoes.


This is called opo squash, also known as loki in India. I made koftas with tomato gravy.


 I also harvested butternut squash and made curry with it. I forgot to take a picture (not a good blogger).
After harvesting all the vegetables and planning the menu, it was time to plan the centerpieces. The next post is all about centerpieces. 


For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes),please check out my books, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen and Trader Joe's Simply Indian at my website komalinunna.com.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Miniature flower arrangements

If you are a regular reader of my blog you know how much I like to make flower arrangements for the house. Even though I have plenty of flowers to cut and arrange from garden, due to time constraints, I am not always able to make big arrangements. But no matter what, I have to have flowers around the house. These are the times that I make miniature arrangements using one or two flowers.

 One beautiful, vibrant dahlia will make a big statement.


David Austin Roses

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For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes),please check out my books, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen and Trader Joe's Simply Indian at my website komalinunna.com.
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                                                                                        Tablescape Thursday

Monday, July 17, 2017

Summer orchard tour

My garden-orchard is constantly changing.  Whenever I  think I am done with planting trees, there is always one more thing to plant. Now, I've realized I should accept that I will never be done with the garden. There is always something to add or delete. I've decided that I have enough fruit trees (over seventy) in the orchard. Now my goal is to add a few flowering trees in the orchard to bring color in the spring and summer. In the fall, the ripening fruit provides plenty of color in the orchard.

Summer is the most exciting time in the garden. Everything looks so luscious!

This is the site from the side entrance



Fig tree is filled with candy striped figs








This particular apple tree never fails to produce a bumper crop year after year.


Jujubes


This corner is filled with avocados to the left, bananas, strawberry guavas and papayas






For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes),please check out my books, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen and Trader Joe's Simply Indian at my website komalinunna.com.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Obsessing over David Austin Roses

Well, from time to time my obsession changes with plants. At the moment, I am obsessed with David Austin roses. I love them for their visual appeal and for their aroma. All of my arbors are filled with these beauties. I think my garden has been enhanced with the addition on these roses. Whenever I am in the garden, I gravitate towards the intoxicating aroma of these old-fashioned roses. If you have never tried growing them, give it a try. You will see why I am addicted to these roses. 

  











For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes),please check out my books, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen and Trader Joe's Simply Indian at my website komalinunna.com.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Alstroemerias galore!

Gardens are living things, constantly changing the color pallet through out the year. Every season I have different flowers that are blooming in the garden. Most of the protea bushes are taking a break and roses are done their peak, now that alstroemerias are at their peak. Different colored alstroemerias are blooming throughout the garden in pink, purple, white, red and gold. My favorite color is gold.

Vibrant gold colored alstroemerias cheer me up every time I walk by this part of my perennial garden.  It is hard not to smile when looking at them.





My entrance table showcases what is at peak in the garden



For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes),please check out my books, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen and Trader Joe's Simply Indian at my website komalinunna.com.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Desgning and planting a kitchen garden

Spring is the most exciting time in the garden for me. It is the time to design and plant my kitchen garden. In southern California, we get to start the kitchen garden in March itself. How wonderful is that! 
As I always say, a good garden begins with good soil. It is very important to improve the soil before planting. I mixed the soil with homemade compost. The second most important thing is to rotate the crops. That is the reason I maintain a journal so that I won't plant the tomatoes in the same bed for the next three years. 

Kale and arugula 


I like sit at the patio table with a cup of tea to plan the garden


I have a triangular plot for the kitchen garden. In that plot, we built sixteen raised beds. A lot of planning goes into designing the kitchen garden. With sixteen raised beds, I still feel like I don't have enough space to grow everything I want to.


All cool weathered crops are thriving at the moment.

Cucumbers 


Swiss chard



Perennial Ivy gourd


Tomatoes




Zucchini






 Hot peppers

Colored peppers


Beets


Moringa Tree


Curry leaf plant


Part of the kitchen garden



For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes),please check out my books, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen and Trader Joe's Simply Indian at my website komalinunna.com.

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