Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hello Sunshine!


Look who came out to play today! My first daffodil of the season opened up her frilly petticoat this afternoon. The rain, followed by the warm spring weather, has caused an eruption of sorts in the garden, and things are sprouting all over the place. It was very hard to resist the warm sunshine, I know, because I had a fantasy of spreading a blanket on the grass and reading a book...but I'll bet you can guess where I was instead...that's right, the baseball field! But that's okay, because it was a lovely day, not too hot, and my son got two hits and his first RBI of the season. And I got to nosh on some seeds and sip an icy cold coke...not half bad, really. And afterwards we wheeled out the barbecue, to grill our supper...but I'm not ready to talk about food yet.

Getting back to my garden...my apple trees are also leafing out. I planted their spindly bare roots just last month, and already they are springing into action. I have resisted planting fruit trees of any sort, because the house we live in was supposed to be our little starter house...and it takes so long for fruit trees to reach maturation and bear good fruit, so it seemed like a waste. But here we are, now eight years later. I keep telling myself that we are going to get the heck out of dodge, but with the housing market plunging into the toilet, it seems like we might be here for awhile. So I planted 2 lovely apple trees, and one nectarine tree...all of them "super mini dwarfs" which means that they should top out at five feet. I was also supposed to top out at five feet, according to some orthodontic x-rays, but I reached five foot five, so I am optimistic that these little beauties might also achieve a decent height. I am also optimistic that the future owners of this house will be here to enjoy them and not me. It's like the Murphy's Law of fruit trees, once you make a long term plan (like committing to fruit trees), you have to (get to) move! We'll see.


Tonight, as we were finishing up with the grill outside, I looked up to notice that the moon had a glowing ring around it, which according to folklore, means that it will rain soon and according to the weather report, seems to be true. This is such good news because California is in another year of drought, despite all our recent downpours. I hope it is a good drenching rain, and that my garden will continue to thrive for as long as possible without turning on my sprinklers, that we start to see even more bright petticoats dancing in the yard, and that our apple and nectarine trees will grow and thrive and produce many delicious fruits for us to enjoy...some years from now...


Like the daffodils in my garden, I saw many other signs of spring at the farmers market this morning, most notably asparagus. I bought a bunch, and grilled it tonight alongside some chicken. You really must try asparagus this way. We grill it for just a few minutes so it is still crisp, but tender too, with the tiniest hint of smokiness. Of course, if you live somewhere where you aren't quite ready to uncover the grill, you can roast it in a hot oven (475 degrees for about 10 minutes) with much the same effect. Before you cook it, toss it in a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper.


Grilled Coconut Chicken

The best part of this chicken is the sticky glaze that gets poured over the top when it comes off the grill. It is salty, spicy, sweet and sour...and delicious! This recipe, originally from Sunset Magazine, makes a lot of marinade, so it will feed a crowd, and is quite economical because I like to make it using thigh meat.




Marinade:

3/4 C coconut milk
1/4 C chopped ginger
1 t red pepper flakes
1 t black pepper
1 t salt
boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts

Marinate enough boneless, skinless chicken thighs to feed your crowd, for at least one hour and up to one day. Remove chicken from marinade and grill over high heat for about 5-7 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Serve with rice (you can use the left over coconut milk as a substitute for some of the cooking water) and topped with glaze and chopped green onions.

Glaze:

3/4 C rice vinegar
1/2 C sugar
3 T soy sauce
1 t chili flakes

Heat ingredients together in a small, heavy-bottomed sauce pan over high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, simmering until thickened and reduced to 1/2 C, about 10-15 minutes. Pour over chicken.

2 comments:

Cape Cod Baba said...

How lovely that you had your first daffodil on St David's Day! Saint David's Day (Welsh: Dydd Gŵyl Dewi) is the feast day of Saint David, the patron saint of Wales. The daffodil is the flower of Wales, and on Saint David's Day the Welsh celebrate by wearing daffodils.

About the asparagus - before serving you can also drizzle on a sauce of 2 Tbsp of slightly browned butter (cooked about three minutes in a saucepan) mixed with 1 tsp balsamic vinegar and 2 tsp of low sodium soy sauce. Yum!

Daffodils and asparagus - sure signs of spring!

(This household had coincidentally chicken and asparagus for dinner, too. Spring is in the air...in spite of the snow coming down)

Alison said...

Hi Baba,

How funny about St. David's Day...and of course you of all people would know about things like that, which makes you the most formidable Trivial Pursuit player ever! =)

Thanks for the reminder of your great asparagus glaze recipe. I will have to feature that soon!!