In the Garden of Jeweled Delights

Alexandria, Virginia…what a great place! Now having traveled there twice this year, I’m starting to feel as if it is a second home…namely because of my dear friends’ hospitality (they are from Georgia, dutifully noted!). So what does Mr. Farmer do when he heads to Washington? Well, besides seeing sights of DC, the fun times eating, talking about food, and writing about food take up a great deal of time! From cocktails to dinner parties, I am never without wonderfully delicious food and fellowship.

Combining food and flowers is just my cup of tea, or should I say glass of tea? Throw in beautiful jewelry, and a garden of jeweled delights was created as the tableau for a S. King Collection jewelry show hosted at the beautiful home of a sweet friend. With her gorgeous home as the backdrop, arranging flowers was going to be a breeze! Until Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull had something to say about it!

When we headed to florist, we were quite dismayed upon arrival, for the volcano had stopped all blooms (and people for that matter) in Holland from traveling to the States…luckily some Stateside blooms were available, and our arrangements began to take shape. Taking inspiration from the interiors of the home and the luscious jewel tones of the jewelry, peach, pearl and peridot became the color scheme. Branches of flowering quince with tinges of coral in the blooms broke through sprays of salmon tulips and mounds of antique, jewelry toned hydrangeas.

Stock, in meandering shades of pearly white, creamy yellow, and a frothy nectarine was pierced by towers of delphinium bells in enamel colored lapis, white, and lavender. The chartreuse of viburnum accented the blossoms and added to freshness that springtime blooms epitomize. With jewels literally abounding in shades of the flowers, a garden was now abloom atop the tables of the lovely home on Prince Street.

As for the food, jeweled morsels of Southern delicacies were on the menu and served the guests. The Farmer’s Garden Pimento Cheese atop cucumbers, Lemon and Pecan Crème on sourdough rounds, Zucchini Squares, and Rosemary Thyme Walnuts were passed by our most dutiful server and sous chef!

Whenever I stay in Alexandria, hometown touches abound at the abode of a precious friend from Hawkinsville…we Georgians are an important element to DC thus flavoring our nation’s capital with our Southern foodstuffs. Petit fours and cheese straws (from no other than the petit fours and cheese straw ladies, respectively) were hits at the party and perfect appetizers and desserts to give Washingtonians a taste of Georgia.

Guests nibbled on Southern gourmet morsels, perused fabulous jewelry, and admired the flowers – all bits and pieces of The Garden of Jeweled Delights! From Dixie to DC…what a treat!

Lemon and Pecan Crème

· 1 lemon juiced and strained

· Zest of two lemons

· 2 eggs yolks

· ½ cup of sugar

· 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened

· 1 cup chopped pecans

Combine the first four ingredients and cook them on medium heat until mixture thickens. Cool. Add the remaining, last two ingredients and mix thoroughly. Use as a spread on sourdough rounds, crackers, or even shortbread or gingerbread. Enjoy!

White Cheddar Pimento Cheese

· 1 1/2 cups of shredded sharp, or extra sharp white Vermont Cheddar cheese, use the small side of box grader

· 1/2 cup of Monterey Jack...good Pepper Jack if you want some kick.

· Jar of pimentos, diced and drained

· 1 tsp. of Worcestershire sauce

· 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. of cayenne or red pepper...add heat to taste...I like a little bit of heat so I use the 1/2 tsp.

· 1 tsp of Nature's Seasoning...more or less to taste.

· 1 to 1 1/2 cups of Hellman's or Duke's mayo...I use Hellman's and closer to a cup.

· A heaping cup of buttered, salted and toasted pecans

· Parsley from the garden as garnish

· Serve on cucumber rounds

Mix mayo, seasonings, and pimentos.

Shred and mix cheeses.

Combine together.

Fold in toasted pecans


Delicious! I even serve it with a splash of fresh lemon juice!