A day off from any makeup or photography work, plus beautiful weather equals a day in the garden. This day, I had the company of our neighbor's free ranging chickens. Their clucks and sounds I'm beginning to learn. From the high-pitched questioning to the lower-pitched "I'm happy to be in the sunshine digging up your worms and eating your lovely compost" voice.
I dug. They dug. Dirt got scooped. Dirt got flung. Almost onto the camera lens a few times....those girls have serious talons.
I planted spinach, they followed me.
We have known these chickens since they were one day old. We chicken-sat when our neighbors left town and now we're eating their eggs. Green Aracauna, brown Orpington, gorgeous, thick-yolked, free range eggs.
On the deck, plant starts seek sun and with wind and temperature changes, prepare for the garden life. A jug of Sumac tea might be found steeping.
Ok, in actuality this is my first time making Sumac tea. It looks amazing in the sunlight...those red, punctuated berries. That pink-golden, wild edible, free-for-the-taking drink. There is something most empowering about learning to forage from the wild foods right under our noses. When the zombie apocalypse comes, we will have our berry tea!
On this day, I foraged from last year's planted crops. Amazingly, the winter has been mild enough to leave several plants either intact or re-emerging early.
I gathered new spears of mint, rosemary, chives, parsley, oregeno and swiss chard. Here is what happened to them.....
Please understand, that when I tell people how to cook most anything, I expect you to have a basic understanding of cooking and adjust the amounts to fit your own crew. So no measurements here.
Chop the swiss chard, oregeno, chives and parsley and mix into some already-cooked macaroni.
Make a cheese sauce, leaving several sprigs of rosemary in the sauce the entire time it's cooking (lightly crush the leaves to extract more flavor before dropping into the milk), always adding more cheese than any cheese sauce recipe ever calls for. Probably a bit more salt too.
Pour cheese sauce over the pan of veggie/herb/pasta mix.
Sprinkle more cheese on top (hey, I never said I was into low-fat ANYthing people!) and bake until bubbly and lightly browned.
Serve to household of hungry people and a boyfriend that bakes bread. Ok, those aren't required but the bread making thing just made the entire feast even better.
Serve with the steeped mint leaves (cold water steep for several hours) or the aforementioned Sumac tea. Because you're that cool. Yes, you are.