There are some dishes that are best enjoyed during the summer months, like corn on the cob, vine ripe watermelon, greens from the garden, and homegrown tomatoes. I could eat a tomato caprese everyday.
I looked for a roadside vegetable stand as we neared Rolla and found one just minutes from the farm. Robin jumped out and selected several from the unmanned booth that operated on the honor system. The sign read: “Take what you want; leave what you can in the box.” Trust brings out the best in people and I suspect most overpay.
A Birthday Weekend
This was Robin’s birthday weekend—a date and year she shares with Barack Obama and one that he always recalls each time they meet. At the farm, we celebrated the day with a dinner and two cakes. (More on the dinner later; I’m a dessert first kind of person 🙂 ) One cake made by my cake baking buddy was a summery, lemon, layer cake; the other a Colombian specialty, Torta Negra. The tasty cake, loaded with dried fruits, spices, and eggs, was made by JC, my son-in-law.
Creating this delicacy is a bigger commitment than making pickles (I once made Thirty-Day Pickles. . . just once.) Before starting the cake, you soak the fruit for 2 to 3 weeks in rum! Making such a labor-intensive recipe is, indeed, an act of love. JC’s mother always mixes the batter with her hands, which is where the love comes in.
Lemon Chicken: The Freshness of Summer
The simple chicken dish we had for dinner was also laced with lemon freshness. The hardest part was chopping the shallots and garlic and squeezing and zesting the lemons. But I got that done earlier in the afternoon and sauteed the boneless chicken breasts nearer to meal time.
But when I tasted the lemon sauce, it was a bit mouth-puckering. Obviously, Pierre Franey, the chef who published the recipe in the New York Times was more into tartness than my kitchen tasters. So we added sugar until we got the flavor we preferred. And because we wanted a bit thicker sauce, we added a cornstarch mixture as well. This is what you have to do to a recipe, occasionally, to tailor it to your taste. Despite the tampering (or maybe because of it), the dish turned out to be light, elegant, and delicious. Thumbs up on this one!
Birthday Fun Stuff
How better to celebrate a birthday than enjoying the things you love with the people you love. The beautiful weekend was perfect for a horseback ride and a romp with Russ and Deb’s five-month-old Newfoundland. Bella was making her debut at the farm with a “pond jumping party” of her own. By nature Newfies are rescue dogs and love the water. Now if we can just teach her to catch fish!