Big News In Boston Metro Area!

Within the pages of The Boston Globe on Sunday came a lovely “Extra Insert” a special Issue called “The Gardner Grows” it is about The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum which re-opens this week (Jan 19-21 are Free Opening Days!) with what looks like  spectacular new, and innovated new wing. For those that know about “who” and names, Renzo Piano designed it. Another exciting tidbit is the reopening of a restored Tapestry Room.  There is a cool new café (Café G) with a hip upscale urban menu. A new feature of the Café is ” the restaurant will offer special menus inspired by History, collections, special exhibits, and horticultural. In the first, Crowley (Chef) has reinterpreted a Christmas meal Gardner once served, handwritten in the recipe book her mother gave her as wedding present.” * – pg 8 of Special section Magazine of “The Gardner Grows

Concerts were originally in the  famous Tapestry Room with an annual 10,000 listeners and The Museums New Wing holds a new concert Hall. It is a modern and striking Cube shape design.  On Jan 1,1903 Isabella Stewart Gardner opened her museum with a concert by members of The Boston Symphony Orchestra and singers from the Cecillia Society.  Again, the Read all about the new wing, old customs, get your hands on the insert or dig around on-line (see links below) .The Music hall and the whole museum  is a wonderful story and is a great part of  Boston’s Cultural side.

Other cool features of the new wing are:

  • Green Spaces as in true Greenhouses and newly designed gardens to reflect Isabella’s love/passion for horticultural and Landscape Art.
  • Visiting Artist accommodations.  Two beautiful and glass fronted apartments available for artist-in-residence.
  • Special Exhibition Gallery. “A soaring space includes an antegallery for light-sensitive objects.  A movable translucent ceiling can be positioned to fit the size of specific art exhibits.” * (pg 24 Special section Magazine of “The Gardner Grows)
  • Living Room. Inspired by a project from an artist in residence in 2000. A blend of personal and public spaces with the essence of Isabella Stewart Gardner’s palazzo.

More Good News: You would never know it but, under the museum are Eight Geothermal wells. The Museum is going for a gold LEED certification. A cert granted by the US Green Building Council. They are well on their way with the wells expected to save them 28% reduction in energy use. The site itself, near public transport. For employees alternative fuel vehicles are given parking preference and bike storage is available. Water efforts include drought tolerant plantings, rainwater reclamation, and low-flow fixtures.  Inside the museum is a cool system that sensors and detect a certain level of sunlight filtering through the windows which automatically turns off electric lighting! Very Cool! Another inside feature is low-emission materials from paint to sealants to help over all air indoor air quality.

So lets all help support the Arts, Culture and great ideas by visiting the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum if you can.

Visit the Gardner – Art comes to Life

map to The Gardner

280 The Fenway
Boston, MA 02115
Purchase Museum Tickets

The Gardner is closed temporarily until Jan. 19, 2012
in preparation for the opening of the new wing.

Information 617 566 1401
Box Office 617 278 5156

It’s National Soup Month! It’s Friday. It’s Pho-day!

It’s friday and Julia and I love Pho from my head to my toes!

Julia and Pho Soup

So here is a recipe that is fairly easy to make. You can adjust as desired. THis one is veggie only. Traditional Pho has thin sliced beef, that works too! So would Chicken or tofu!

This recipe is from a website called The Kitchn. I like their ideas and philosophies of food and planet.  Here is a little bite (ha ha) about them.

“The Kitchn is a site for people who like to get their hands dirty while they cook.
It is for those who care about the quality of their food, and how it affects the health of themselves and the planet. It is also for those who want to cook more, but are shy in the kitchen. It’s a place to dive in deep, and embrace the joy of one of our basic needs: food.”


Now- on to the Pho! – the rest of this post is from their page. To see some wonderful photos to tempt you even further – go to the page they posted with the directions!

“There are few better comfort foods than Vietnamese phở. When I’m on the verge of a cold or in need of a culinary pick-me-up, I sit down to a restorative bowl of aromatic broth, slippery rice noodles, and fresh, customizable garnishes.

Between the broth, noodles, and assorted garnishes like onions, herbs, chiles, and lime, phở (pronounced “fuh” not “foe”) is a wonderful interplay of textures and flavors. Traditionally, the soup is made with beef or chicken bones. Vegetarian versions, called phở chay, may be found at Buddhist establishments or restaurants catering to contemporary, Western clientele but, sadly, these often leave much to be desired.

In the interest of making vegetarian phở at home, I consulted my mother, who recalled her experience living in a Vietnamese Buddhist community that made meat-free phở broth with a medley of spices, ginger, and lots of carrots. This recipe is my interpretation. While it admittedly lacks the richness of meat-based phở, it’s still quite fragrant and filling without being heavy. There’s also room to make it your own by adding different proteins or vegetables. I continue to work on perfecting the broth, so let me know what you think!

Vegetarian Phở (Vietnamese Noodle Soup)
Serves 2

1 large onion, peeled and halved
2-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and halved lengthwise
3-inch cinnamon stick, preferably Vietnamese cassia-cinnamon
1 star anise
2 cloves
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
4 cups unsalted vegetable stock
2 teaspoons soy sauce
4 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped

1/2 pound dried flat rice noodles (known as bánh phở; use 1/16″, 1/8″, or 1/4″ width depending on availability and preference)

Toppings (optional)
Protein such as fried or baked tofu, bean curd skin, or seitan
Vegetables such as bok choy, napa cabbage, or broccoli

1/2 onion, very thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 chile pepper (Thai bird, serrano, or jalapeño), sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges
1/2 cup bean sprouts
Large handful of herbs: cilantro, Thai basil, culantro/saw-leaf herb
Hoisin sauce, sriracha (optional)

For the broth
Char onion and ginger over an open flame (holding with tongs) or directly under a broiler until slightly blackened, about 5 minutes on each side. Rinse with water.

In a large pot, dry roast cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and coriander over medium-low heat, stirring to prevent burning. When spices are aromatic, add vegetable stock, soy sauce, carrots, and charred onion and ginger.

Bring broth to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Strain and keep hot until ready to serve.

For the noodles
While broth is simmering, place noodles in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Let stand for 20-30 minutes or until tender but still chewy. Drain. (If soaking does not soften the noodles enough, blanch them in a pot of boiling water for a few seconds.)

For the toppings (optional)
While broth is simmering, prepare toppings as desired – slice and cook tofu, lightly steam or blanch vegetables, etc. Toppings should be unseasoned or only lightly seasoned so as not to interfere with the flavor of the broth.

To serve
Divide noodles between two bowls. Arrange toppings over noodles. Ladle about 2 cups of broth into each bowl. Serve with garnishes on the side, which diners should add to taste.

A way to help some others…

Food Pantry
I know many, most, of you are not local but I wanted to offer you the opportunity to help a little if you so choose. If you need a “little something” for someone, or yourself, this is a way to order on-line and help a local Food Pantry at the same time. Here again are the directions for on-line ordering to make it easier for you. You oder and The People First Food Panty gets 24% of the sales ticket price. Thanks.

If you are unable to make the event, please place an order online to help our cause.
To view the entire catalog online and place an order:
2) Click on SHOP ONLINE at the top right
3) You will see #1. Already invited to a show & would like to place an order?”  – YES! You have been invited…
4) Type in Uxbridge into the 1st box, and Food Bank into the 2nd box.  This insures the proper credit with your purchase, and so the Food Pantry will get their part!
5) When our name appears click on it to open the catalog, browse and shop.
Any order will help our cause.
6) Have your order shipped directly to you when you check out.
Thank you so much.
If you have any problems ordering – contact Barb Mann at 978-270-3594.
She is The Pampered Chef lady.    [email protected]
If you have any questions and would like to join in the fun you can email me at [email protected] 

To find out more about The People First Panty

We have moved our “host”!

Hi everyone- wanted to let you all know we have moved. Progress marchers on!

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Magic Dog
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