These days I welcome a release from the sky for I know no matter how rich the soil and weed free the ground nothing fully activates without water. So essential is this simple compound. I am always dumbfounded by the burst of growth that a gentle, soaking rain produces. I live fear of a wind swept torrent that will most likely topple my corn and those sunflowers that have survived the munching of the deer. Personally, I need the water not just for explosion of growth it facilitates but I need to keep hydrated, if not a bit over. In order to save what remains of the sunflowers and protect the adjacent corn I am peeing around the plants. I know you can buy Coyote urine as a deterrent though that seems a bit extreme, even for me. I am already relieving myself on fire ant mounds I will just add the sunflower/corn as one of my spots. I don’t think I can cajole Hokan in marking the spot, but as always I am hopeful. Pray I smell alpha enough to scare off that ravenous vegetarian.
I cannot seem to keep on top of the aerial beetle that just loves its daily nibbles of amaranth. However, I have so much of it that I am willing to share. I grew a couple of Red Hopi varieties last year that with the first frost immediately died off. And there I thought it would end. No, as spring returned so did those original two plus its progeny. I have never seen a plant want to flower and seed so quickly, and I thought I did a good job dead-heading it. Maybe I did, for instead of a shy dozen I would have a grove. Eating the leaves, and still plucking flowers as best as I can, but I think I will resign myself to be winnowing amaranth seeds come September.
Rolled Chicken Breast – yields 4 servings
4 boneless-skinless chicken breasts
8 large spinach, amaranth or mustard leaves (center rib removed)
4-ounces goat cheese
½-cup basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1-tablespoon olive oil
Cut each chicken breast in half along its outside edge, so you have the look of an opened book you don’t want them to separate. If the breasts seem still very thick lightly pound them down – ideally the halves will be about ¼-inch thick.
Lay the breasts cut side up. Season the breasts with salt and pepper. Place to leaves on each breast and along the lower third divide the goat cheese each breast. Then divide the basil as well placing it on top of the goat cheese.
Roll the chicken breasts up making sure to tuck the breast in to make sure the goat cheese is securely in place. Put the breast, seam-side down, on a cast iron skillet. Drizzle the olive oil over the breasts.
Pre-heat the oven to 475-degrees.
Place the chicken in the oven, and cook for about 20 to 25 minutes. Serve immediately.