The Storm that Never Came

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The storm that was supposed to arrive last night never materialized. It skirted us and headed south; a sad turn to be sure. Our rainfall this season has barely reached 6 inches and with our wet season almost over this can only mean one thing…we’ll be watering sooner and more often than usual this spring and summer.

Not music to my ears, I can tell you. Our water rates have already gone up 5 times in the last year and another rate hike is slated to begin next month. This coupled with an increase in property taxes, medical insurance premiums and of course gas prices have this farm girl looking down at a pretty thin pocket book. All will turn out well I know. It always does. Anytime I’ve needed answers, they come to me when and how they are suppose to.

But, I won’t just be sitting around waiting for Manna from Heaven though; we’ll hunker down, pair down and keep an eye on our spending until we weather the storm. But, I have to say, I’d rather be weathering a rain storm instead.

An early spring means getting seeds into the garden sooner which is happy news. Brianne and I are picking up a load of free composted manure on Friday. It will fill the new raised vegetable beds. Hard work shoveling and a morning in the sun is a small price to pay for rich soil and an early harvest of lettuce greens, beets, carrots, radishes and spinach. I’ll plant early maturing crops first, and if time permits, I’ll start cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower in 4 inch pots. The tomatoes I planted last month are almost 3 inches tall now. In another few weeks they’ll be transplanted into larger pots until they are big enough and strong enough to withstand being planted in the garden.

Our rainless day was cold and blustery with winds that howled and cold that seemed to blow right through you. We spent the day at home with a warm fire and a pot of soup bubbling on the stove. There’s no better smell to fill a warm house then that of a hearty soup simmering away; except maybe for bread baking. On days like these I feel like cooking more than usual. There’s just something about being in the kitchen, creating, cooking, feeding a family. I thumbed through my notebook of collected recipes, rumpled from use and splashed from exuberant cooking sessions, and found one I haven’t made in a long time.

It’s a wonderful Dijon mustard and herb chicken. I soaked the half home raised chicken in an emulsion of herbs and garlic and Dijon and white wine. The aroma of the concoction as it whirled around the blender reminded me of spring and the chopped parsley gave it a somewhat green tinge; perfect for the first days of March. I served it with fresh asparagus spears, wild herbed rice and a small spinach salad; the last remains of our potted patio salad garden.

It was the perfect meal to welcome in a new month.

Chicken recipe

Dijon Herb Marinated Chicken

1-1/2 cups white wine

¾ cup lemon juice

½ cup Dijon mustard

¼ cup scallions

2 tbsp. fresh thyme

2 tbsp. fresh parsley

5 cloves garlic

1 tbsp salt

½ tsp pepper

2-1/2 cups canola oil

2 whole fryer chickens, cut into quarters

Pour all ingredients, except oil and chicken into a blender. Blend on high and slowly drizzle in oil to make an emulsion. Place chicken in a large dish or refrigerator container and pour marinade over, making sure the chicken is well covered. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove chicken from marinade and roast on a baking sheet in a 350 oven until done or internal temp reaches 160. This chicken is also great grilled, but be careful; the oil in the marinade can make the grill flame.

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