Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Visitor

My niece from New Jersey visited recently. She's doing graduate work at Rutgers and visits occasionally. Her family (my sister & brother-in-law) live in Canada so it‘s hard to go home weekends to visit. She gets a break and some home cooking here. I made chicken Caprese - chicken breasts topped with tomato, basil, mozzarella and wrapped in bacon - what's not to like? She was impressed that the chicken was so moist. I use an old restaurant trick - soak the chicken in milk all day before draining and cooking. You‘re supposed to use buttermilk, and I do if I have it on hand for a particular recipe. otherwise, I use just regular low-fat milk and that works fine. Often, I'll add mustard, salt & pepper and herbs for added flavor.

She also went hone with a basil and a lavender plant. She lives in an apartment but has a small outdoor space and missed having some plants. She loves to go to the thrift store in Mount Joy run by the MCC. Loads of bargains there.

I‘m slowly making the transition from summer to fall. I enjoy the moderating weather - lower humidity and even on warm days, it's cool start in the morning. I grew up in Mt. Gretna, so the end of summer was always bittersweet. Summer was the big season and it was fading. I'm old enough that the idea of starting school before Labor Day is strange to me.

All my seasons seem to overlap in some ways. I‘ve already placed orders for starter plants for next spring. And I‘m doing a lot of work in the shop, so it will be ready for the holidays. Also working on the fall newsletter and will soon start ordering seeds for the spring. All this while summer slowly fades.

Finish up large harvests (up to one third) on woody stemmed perennials like thyme, sage, thyme and rosemary (borderline hardy). Since they don't die back, the remaining foliage provides some protection for the crown of the plant over Winter.

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