Summer Morning Rituals

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It’s early yet.  Though the day is building and quickly so.  Another cool day with another promise of low humidity here in the northern Midwest.  I’ve been concerned the tomatoes in the garden wouldn’t grow in this cool weather — don’t they just burst into fat jewels in the sweltering heat typical of July?

Every morning, I wake before six.  The breeze coming through my bedroom windows has been so soothing this past week, that it’s been a good half an hour before I’m actually ready to leave my cool sheets and cotton blanket.

Softly I walk into the kitchen, trying not to rouse the rest of the family, I get the coffee started and use the time to empty the dishwasher; put away what I left to dry on the sink overnight.

In the downstairs bathroom, I stand in front of the mirror, run the water cool, let it splash over my swollen fingers and in small handfuls of gratefulness, relieve the night’s sleep from my puffy eyes.

Then it’s into the garden, where I not only survey a new wildflower bloomed bright pink or iridescent purple over night, but I also notice the latest slight of the chipmunks and rabbits — a few tender buds of the rose bush I planted this year, chewed clean off (I finally put up some chicken wire.); one of the red head’s of yarrow — gone.

Back on the deck, the sun getting higher and feeling the weight of my sweatshirt now, I think of feeding my family.  Last night, I grilled chicken breasts and kept them absolutely naked.  Carrying over Marcella Hazan’s advice to drizzle olive oil on steaks only after they come off the grill, rather than before, because “the scorched oil imparts a taste of tallow to the meat…,” I reasoned I’d do the same with the chicken.  I made a lemon vinaigrette from the recipe I found in the recent issue of Cook’s Country.  The acidity of the lemon tempered by honey was just right.

I left the vinaigrette on the side, leaving the family to eat their chicken as they please, or as two of my children chose to do, grab their own bowls of cereal instead.

Lemon Vinaigrette, Cook’s Country, August/September 2014

  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus 2 1/2 tablespoons (about 1 lemon) juice
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil ( I used about 3 tablespoons because I like the flavor of a really good olive oil to stand out in a vinaigrette.)

Put all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid and give a good shake to bring it all together.

Voilà!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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