Every so often, the calendar delivers a little gift.
Wrapped in a cosmic bow is an elusive, corporate-recognized, paid national holiday landing on a weekend, resulting in either a Friday or a Monday off in observation of the day.
It's the mythical 3-day weekend.
The mythical 3-day weekend isn't only rare, its busy. Whether you choose to work or play, those days are valuable. For people like us, who's work is play, the time is even more golden.
I've just finished getting replacement hydrolic hoses made for the compact utility tractor, along with a trip to the mill for pig feed. The Ag store was the last stop for bales of pine shavings, muck boots, bags of 10-10-10, pasture seed, and 5-foot metal stakes. Among several other tasks laid out for this weekend is the expansion of the chicken enclosure, cleaning out the coop, and putting down fresh shavings . My husband is busy on the big John Deere, bush-hogging the apple orchard, and raking out areas to be seeded with pasture grass. When I return to the farm, my job is laying out weed barrier for the beans and beets in the big, main seasonal garden, and helping with the chicken fencing.
My husband is the Service Manager for an area John Deere dealership. So in his business, summertime is an all-hands-on-deck, 12-hour shift kind of job. Every now and then, he gets a day off. Farmers don't take days off in the growing season. Some operations- like Dairys- don't know what a day off is. Cows don't know about Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter or July 4th. To them, these precious American holidays are just another chance to chew. And chew some more.
We're not having a big July 4th bash this year. Its a deviation from the past 10 years, where we'd lay out a big spread, invite all our friends, play games, and shoot off fireworks. This year is all about gettin' it done. There's always something to do on a farm, and ours is no exception. We're in year 3 of carving out our little piece of heaven from old farmland, which hasn't been worked in decades. We've rebuilt the pond, cut in a driveway, built a 1000 foot driveway, put up a pole barn, and installed dozens of baby trees. Within 18 months, we hope to build a small log cabin, and move to the farm full time. Right now, we must be content with driving the 5 miles from our tiny village cottage to work, feed and maintain.
July 4th is still a meaningful holiday, however, and we want to have some fun. One dish I'm preparing is today's recipe, cut from a 1980's Southern Living magazine. Prosciutto was an exotic ingredient in the U.S. south 30 years ago. In fact, there is a small note at the top of the recipe: If proscuitto isn't available, substitute cooked, crumbled bacon and reduce butter to 1/4 cup.
Aren't vintage recipes fun? Today, the idea of proscuitto not being available is like scouring the grocery stores for canned tuna or peanut butter. Enjoy your 3-day weekend, try this recipe, and have fun no matter what you do!
The Rediscovered Recipe Box #23- Party Pasta With Proscuitto
1/2 cup butter, divided
2 cups thin proscuitto strips (about 1/3 pound)
1 (12 ounce) package spinach fettuccine, uncooked
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and cut in half
1/2 cup chopped fresh or frozen chives, divided
Melt 1/4 cup butter in a skillet. Add proscuitto, and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until browned; drain. Set aside.
Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
Melt remaining 1/4 cup butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add pasta, cream, cheese, artichoke hearts, and 1/4 cup chives; toss gently. Arrange on a serving platter.
Sprinkle with procuitto and remaining chives. Serve immediately.