Monday, September 11, 2023

Blue and White Chinoiserie Outdoors

Todd Richesin Interiors

I love this garden vignette with blue and white stripes and a pair of blue and white Chinese porcelain garden stools. I have had Chinese garden stools outside for decades and they do not deteriorate in the least. They were in my garden in Alexandria, Virginia in rain and snow and freezing temps and here in South Florida in scorching sun and tropical storms. I did move them into the garage for cat 5 Hurricane Ian though! 

I have a dining set in my lanai just like this bench that I got years ago from Smith & Hawken. There were two Smith & Hawken stores where I lived and I miss them still. I have blue and white striped Sunbrella cushions on the chairs from The Company Store. Their quality is great and they come in lots of sizes, colors, and patterns. I have them in the boxed style in the Cabana Navy. They are having their Semi - Annual Sale right now.

Sunbrella Chair Replacement Cushions

As far as garden stools outdoors, I would not use very expensive antique ones, but there are lots of great well priced new ones. These all have free delivery.

Cherry Blossom Garden Stool

Camellia Garden Stool

Flora Glazed Ceramic Garden Stool

Gateless Mist Garden Stool

Floral Vine Square Garden Stool

Double Happiness Garden Stool

I had several requests for the recipe I made this weekend - here it is -

Andrea Nyugen's Chicken Stir Fried with Lemongrass and Chiles


1 1/3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons Madras curry powder

2 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 large shallot, finely chopped (about ⅓ cup)

1 to 2 Thai chiles or serranos, finely chopped

1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed, and finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons)

1 small red bell pepper, stemmed and seeded, cut into ¾-inch squares

1/2 cup coconut milk

3 to 4 sprigs fresh cilantro, leaves coarsely chopped


In a large bowl, add the chicken, salt, sugar, curry powder, and fish sauce. Toss until the chicken pieces are evenly coated. Set aside in the fridge to marinate for at least 15 minutes and as much as an hour – whatever you have time for.

When chicken is done marinating, remove from the fridge. Pour the oil into a large wok or skillet set over high heat. When just about ready to smoke, add the shallot, chiles, and lemongrass. Stir-fry until very fragrant, about one minute. Add the chicken and red bell pepper. Stir well, and then let the chicken pieces cook undisturbed until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Using a spatula, flip the chicken pieces, and cook until lightly browned on the other side, about another minute.

Pour in the coconut milk and reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the coconut milk has almost completely evaporated, 6 to 8 minutes. The fat in the coconut milk will just start to separate.

Transfer to a serving plate, and garnish with cilantro. Serve with white rice.

If you have a hard time finding fresh lemongrass stalks, I substituted lemongrass paste from the produce section and it worked beautifully. 

Today is of course the anniversary of 9/11. I'm sure none of us will ever forget that terrible day. I lived quite close to the Pentagon and when it was hit all the windows of my house shook violently like it was an earthquake and I could see the plumes of smoke in the sky. We will always remember.


  1. I am so sorry you experienced 9/11 in this way. For most of us, seeing it on TV and knowing it is far different than actually being as close as you were. No person living today will ever forget it. As for me, it was my mother's last birthday, and I had taken her out of the nursing home for a day out. The van brought her to my house instead, and when I thought she was asleep in her wheelchair, I turned on the TV with the sound very low. At one point I looked over, she had awakened, and there were tears running down her face. "What happened?" she whispered. I debated before I carefully said, "The United States has been attacked, but this is happening in New York, and you don't have to worry because we are way down here in Alabama. I turned off the TV and by the time the van came to pick her up, she had forgotten all about it. The nursing home disabled all the TVs there, and suspended newspaper delivery for a while. They also sent out a letter requesting that visitors not discuss it with the residents. I am sure that for people like my mother who lived through WW2, such a thing was incomprehensible. For once I was glad she had dementia.

  2. I've been so caught up in other things, I had forgotten until I just read your post that today is 911. I only witnessed it on TV, as I am three hours away from the east coast. It was 5:45 a.m. here. My father called me on the phone and said, "Turn on the TV. Something happened". I turned it on in time to see the second tower get hit. I went to work as if it were any other day, but of course, we were all sent home.

  3. You can easily grow lemongrass where you live. I have grown lemongrass forever and it takes no care whatsoever. Just stick it in the ground and let it grow!