Not every farmer stands in the middle of a field and dances to the rhythm of The Gypsy Kings.
But I do.
Our plants appreciate a little groove now and then; they tell me it helps their roots develop. The Boogie Fertilizer System at Winter'Rest Farm is a little known secret in the Ag business. I'm sure there are a few renegade growers who've tapped into the eternal secret too, but generally, I try to keep the knowledge classified. Besides, I don't want people to think I'm nuts.
Or do I?
Mid-summer is time for certain harvesting, transplanting, thinning, and seeding. There are still many weeks before Autumn arrives to achieve a second harvest on some plants. In our region, we can get killing frosts as early as the first part of October; our farm, which is at the top of a ridge, can fall victim to the harbinger of winter even earlier. Countering this imminent handicap, however, is the powerful northeastern sun. Summer months are intense here. Short, with a tendency for cold nights and heavy rain, the growing season in central New York can be mercurial to the point of disheartening. But when the sun is out, it's strong. Plants respond in kind, and an amazing amount of production is possible.
Finishing my chores and packing up, I snap a few action shots of blooms, fruit, and other progress to post on the farm's Facebook page, ( https://goo.gl/bBu32R ) and upload some to Instagram. I'm new to this photo-sharing social media platform, but I love it. As a Photography major in college, I welcome and appreciate a place to enjoy, and be included among other talented enthusiasts in the art of the camera. Many of those I follow are based overseas, and I relish the images they post- especially those taken in rural settings. It seems quite a lot of folks are traveling in the French countryside this summer; I've seen countless shots of castles and lavender fields, along with al fresco bistro tables loaded with classic French goodies. It makes me hungry to travel internationally again, as I did years ago, tasting my way through the Old World, savoring every delicious, regional bite.
Older now, and more cautious, I eschew traveling abroad, opting for a closer-to-home lifestyle instead. I can, however, still assemble meals with an international flair, using classic French ingredients and technique; enjoying them here in my valley. I can't recall where I got today's recipe selection. Possibly Bon Appetite magazine, certainly published in the early 90s. The champagne, mustard and cream are all ubiquitous European ingredients, and poaching is a common foundational skill found in every archetypical culinary tome. I wouldn't hesitate to add a lovely leaf lettuce salad, some creamy camembert cheese and a fresh baguette.
Perhaps it's sad that I've bowed to the dangers of international travel. I try not to let fear dictate my footsteps. For now, though, I'll content myself with the fearlessness I find while dancing among the plants...
The Rediscovered Recipe Box #30- Champagne-Poached Chicken With
Creamy Mustard Sauce
1 cup champagne or sparkling wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
4 skinned and boned chicken breast halves
1 cup whipping cream
1 to 2 teaspoons stone-ground mustard
1/4 teapoon ground red pepper
Combine champagne and chicken broth in a large heavy skillet; bring to a boil. Add chicken; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10-12 minutes or until done.
Remove chicken from skillet; set aside.
Stir whipping cream and remaining ingredients into skillet. Cook, stirring occaisionally, over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until thickened.
Add chicken to skillet and cook until thoroughly heated. Yield: 4 servings.