The morning after.
Even the dogs are exhausted.
"Anyone want to go to the farm?" I ask the prostrate hounds, expecting the usual calamitous tangle of wagging tails and scrambling paws.
Nothing. They look up at me with weary eyes, just the tips of their tails tapping the cloth of their bed. Its the human equivalent of a shrug.
"Okay." I say to them, as though they can understand, "but don't expect a mid-afternoon run later." Ensuing silence, punctuated by gentle snores, is all the answer I get.
Darn. That means I have no excuse not to clean up.
The 4th of July is fun for everyone. As a family, we've always given ourselves free reign to throw an epic meat bash with all the trimmings. It's one of the few days of the year I take pleasure in making desserts I know no one will eat. Baskets of rolls and cornbread spill off the tables, and even the sides have sides. We eat, we play, we laugh.
Then we crash.
...and all the rubble left in the wake of Independence Day merry-making, a daunting sight for any fastidious home-maker, to be sure. The scattered trash and recycling is an easy fix. It's the sorting of abandoned clothing, dirty dishes, and assorted containers with clumps of leftover potato salad and cream cheese dip still clinging to the inside, that stymies me. I know I'll get it done, but it's not exactly creative work, which is never a good thing, if you're a Leigh.
The sink is still full of herbs harvested during the festivities. (All play and no work makes Leigh a wack-o). I transfer everything to large strainers and set them in the bathtub to drain. (Yes, the bathtub- a story for another day). Most of the fragrant stalks are basil, but there's quite a lot of dill too. I happen to love dill. It speaks to my inner Scandinavian, and elevates the personality of even the most boring main dish protein, or dull starchy side. An advocate of seasonal eating, my mind goes immediately to dilly-dinner ideas. It's a good thing I've got my Rediscovered Recipe Box lurking in the next room. Maybe there's a good dill recipe in there...
I guess the cleaning will have to wait. Darn it.
The Rediscovered Recipe Box #24- The Riverwood's Dill Chicken
Dill Butter (recipe follows)
4 (6-ounce skinless, boneless chicken strips
2 tablespoons flour
1 small carrot, sliced in julienne strips
2 scallions, sliced diagonally
1 cup red seedless grapes, sliced in half
1 small can whole water chestnuts, sliced in half
1/3 cup vegetable stock
1/3 cup dry white wine
4 tablespoons butter-margarine blend, melted (please use butter)
1 tablespoon walnut oil
1 tablespoon dill
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Mix together well. Refrigerate until ready to use. Mixture will separate. Stir well while heating to remix.
Heat Dill Butter over medium-high heat. Lightly flour chicken strips and add to hot butter. Saute for 2-3 minutes until chicken is almost done. Add carrots and scallions. Saute for another minute or two. Add grapes and water chestnuts and continue to saute until chicken is done. Combine stock and wine and add to chicken mixture. Cook an additional minute. Serve immediately over a bed of rice.