Hands to work . . . hearts to God
More rain is coming this morning. The air is cool and smells the tiniest bit like fall. The school bus just went by but in the garden everything is still absolutely summer. The magic of it all ~ that six seeds cover a twenty foot fence with gourd vines. Three dollars worth of plants give up dozens of cucumbers.
Food wise August is most definitely my favorite time of year. I've put up 3 gallons of shredded yellow squash and twelve pints of pickles. The freezer is full of pesto and I've another load to harvest. My tomatoes are slow but we'll buy what we need to can and freeze. Peppers too since they refuse to grow in my yard. What kind of gardener can't grow peppers? The chickens are in heaven with all the melon rind we toss them. Pumpkins are turning from green to orange. And the gourds! Oodles of gourds hanging on the fence. With flowers of course . . . . flowers everywhere with their attendant hummingbirds, yellow finches, bees and butterflies. Some of the zinnias are over six feet tall.
From home to church I drive past dozens of gardens and farms and think how all over town, all over the world people are tending their own ground, picking food and cutting flowers, writing down things to remember for next year. All these ordinary people stepping out of their ordinary lives to put heart and hand to this magic. Are we ever more true to God in us than when we tend and train and watch over fragile growing things? With simple tools in dirty hands we partner in creation itself shepherding life from seed to fruit to plate for another day of human strength. If not us then some farmer somewhere who, likely as not, is hard at it even now and deserves a nod in our mealtime blessing. ~peace & prayers, pastor annette
What I made for supper last night. The starchy pasta water melts the cheese, wilts the spinach and releases all the pungency from tomatoes to make it creamy, saucy, yummy. I don't have a name for it.
* 4 skinless chicken thighs, grilled
* medium shell pasta
* 1 bunch or big bag of fresh spinach, washed and stemmed
* 1 red bell pepper, sliced
* sundried tomatoes soaked in olive oil then drained
* 1/2 an onion, sliced
* 2 cups pecorino romano cheese, grated
Grill chicken and keep warm while plating the rest. Cook 1/2 box of pasta to aldente' but do not drain. Carmelize onions and half the peppers together in olive oil. Tear spinach and divide between 4 plates. Use lots because it will wilt and get little
On top of spinach on each plate layer:
1/4 the carmelized onions/peppers
1/4 the sun dried tomatoes
1/8 of the cheese
1/4 of the pasta, scooped out of pasta water with strainer
1 chicken thigh, sliced
1/8 of the cheese
Ladle a little less than 1/4 cup of pasta water over the whole plate
Garnish with remaining bell pepper