I have really been enjoying my day. It's a warm one, but I like that. I've spent some time sitting on the deck and reading my book (which is becoming very intriguing), and watching the turkeys (a tom and his harem of two hens) and other birds. To top it all off, when I retrieved the mail, I had a bona fide letter in there, from a friend. How cool is that? I actually got a little choked up when I read it. (Of course, I also got choked up at Target when I picked out a Father's Day card for my Dad. It said, "When I was a little girl, you were always my hero." On the inside it said, "Some things never change." Jeez, I'm getting choked up all over again....)
I've also enjoyed the quiet of the day. Haven't turned on the TV or the stereo, just enjoying the peace. My Dad and I were talking about that the other day--he said that it seems like there's always so much going ON, and that we basically lead "noisy" lives. I completely got what he was trying to say, and I said that it seems that there are so many stimuli coming at us, and sometimes it feels good to just be quiet. My Dad and I--my Mom, too, for that matter--are sympatico. A word I don't often get to use, but I like it. I'm sure my pal Indigo sees the irony in forced silence versus voluntary silence. I wish I could somehow let her hear what I'm hearing: multiple cardinals singing out in the woods, a Downy woodpecker scolding the feeder, a gentle breeze blowing the leaves of the trees. I would if I could, my friend.
Dad was also telling me about how he was hoeing the little patch of garden he and Mom put in this year. They just planted a few radishes and green onions, and he was out there with the hoe. He said he got to thinking about when he was a kid on the farm, and he had to go out and hoe the corn rows. I'm not sure how many acres his family planted, but part of the way his Dad made a living was as a farmer (also a blacksmith--isn't that neat?--a barn builder, and anything else he could do to make ends meet and put food on the table), so it was a lot more than a large garden. Dad said he remembered going down those rows on a hot summer day, with the corn tall enough to block any breeze he might have gotten. He said, "Believe me...those were some pretty long rows." So my Dad can honestly say that he knows the full meaning of, and understands completely, the phrase "a long row to hoe."
Speaking of food, I made my chicken dish last night. I had gotten some fresh raspberries at the store the other day, so I decided to do Raspberry Chicken! I'm usually not a fan of fruit+meat, but I love raspberries enough that I thought it might be interesting. It turned out well, and Ken liked it, too! It was quite tangy, enough so that a little honey or brown sugar might make a nice addition. I'm not sure if I'll make this again in the future--it was just a fun experiment. Although I DO have some blueberries in the freezer, and that might be interesting, too! A little sweeter than raspberries. Hmm! But not tonight. I'll use up the stuff leftover from Nacho Monday and make quesadillas. Here's the Raspberry Chicken recipe:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used 2 large ones)
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 tablespoon oil
1/4 cup dry white wine (drink the rest with dinner later!)
2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar or champagne vinegar (I used red wine vinegar)
1 cup fresh raspberries
Pound the chicken breasts to a half-inch thickness. (Have I mentioned that I love my meat mallet? I think I have.) Season with salt and pepper.
Warm the butter in skillet, just till lightly browned. Add oil to pan and heat.
Add chicken breasts and cook 5-6 minutes on each side, or until browned and cooked through. Remove chicken breasts to platter and keep warm.
Add white wine and vinegar to pan; deglaze, and be sure to scrape up all the browned bits. Add raspberries to pan and increase heat to high. Cook until sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.
Pour sauce over chicken and serve.
I think I'll hang on to this recipe, because I bet I could easily substitute blueberries. I bet balsamic vinegar would also make a nice substitution. Oh, and if raspberry seeds drive you crazy, I think you could probably strain the sauce before pouring over the chicken. They don't bother me, so I didn't worry about 'em.
I think I'll go outside and read some more.