To Wrap or Not

January 7, 2018

While the jury is still out on the efficacy of protecting the garden by wrapping it in burlap, the practice continues, primarily among the affluent due to its significant cost. There are two schools of thought as to the application; one more closely wrapped, draped and sewn into place, the other, attached to a wooden framework leaving a bit of breathing room between the “protection” and the plant itself. Both add a Cristo-like quality to the landscape …one minimalist and architectural, the other more like garden couture. While my preference is the minimalist architectural approach, especially given the neutral quality of the jute fabric itself, I can’t help imagining that burlap in color against the dismal winter landscape. A singular pop of hot pink, orange or chartreuse might be the visual spark needed to get us through the next couple of months. Couldn’t hurt.

 

All photos: David La Spina for The New York Times

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L’s Plum Torte

September 12, 2013

For years I have waited for the late summer harvest of Italian plums ( or prune plums if you know them that way) and the annual treat that has become tradition…Plum Torte. I’m not sure where the original recipe came from ( I suspect the New York Times) but my friend  L  has been baking them up, wrapping them up and freezing them up for more years than I care to count. I remember on many  night  flights back home to Los Angeles I would be guarding one of these…frozen solid, double wrapped for travel..in my carry on duffel. Upon arrival it was conveniently thawed. I would brew up a pot of Cafe Verona, cut myself a slice ( or two ) and watch the California sunrise. I’m not sure I have even made this more than once or twice because I am always blessed from L’s September stash. But today, as I haven’t run into any choice  plums at the market I am trying it with figs as my substitute. They may lack the sweet tartness that is characteristic of the plums but with a squeeze of lemon juice I think they will fill in nicely.rpfigFbasketoffigsFtortebwlFcrpfigtort3FfgtortwoodF

For the original New York Times recipe: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/21/dining/216frex.html?_r=0

OK… I will admit that while this fig version is good, keep an eye out for the plums and hold out if you can. Sometimes there is really nothing better than the original.italplums5F

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