Monday, May 10, 2010

Un jardin potager in Durham

The BFF and I are now officially gardeners.  We have our very own vegetable garden or jardin potager, as the French say.  We were roaming around the Saturday morning farmers' market in Durham when her husband sent a text to ask us if we would like to plant a garden.  We suppressed a scream (I think...) and immediately said (or texted, rather) yes.  Why hadn't we thought of that?  They have a perfect backyard for it.  No little boys running around back there any more to step on the plants (don't cry, BFF).  Only Radar, the dog.
By the time we got home from the market, the ground was all tilled and ready for us to plant.  (Go Daddy-O!)

We bought zucchini, cantaloupe, green and banana peppers, tomatoes, lavender, rosemary and French (of course) tarragon.  We very lovingly placed them in the ground and watered them.  Daddy-O has requested okra and the Un-Ex wants watermelon.  I think we need eggplant (to go with the zucchini and tomatoes to make ratatouille!!).
I already have a very nice herb garden, lettuces and tomatoes on my deck at home.  My deck is perfect-- morning sun only.  It is very pleasant back there in the evenings.  This is my second year of herb-tending.   The satisfaction I derive from them is indescribable.

Today, for instance, my lunch was a salad of greens from my deck with tilapia that I grilled last night.

I helped make dinner last night for a friend whose wife is recovering from surgery.  It gave me great pleasure to chop up my fresh basil to add to the parmesan cheese coating.
I've bought all of my plants at the Durham Farmers' Market.  I wonder if the fact that I sit out there in the evening and talk to them makes them happy?  I hope the neighbors don't think I am nuts...  Oh, who cares?

Parmesan Chicken
(serves 4)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced in half horizontally
1/4 c. flour
5 oz. shredded parmesan cheese
1-2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
2 egg whites
2/3 c. water
2-4 Tbsp. olive oil

Mix the flour, cheese and basil in a shallow bowl.
In another shallow bowl, mix the egg whites and water until slightly frothy.
Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet.  Working quickly, place half the chicken breasts in the water-egg white mixture, then in the flour-cheese mixture and coat.  Cook about 3 minutes per side and remove to a plate to keep warm.  Repeat the process with the remaining breasts.  Serve immediately.

Bon appétit, mon jardin potager!

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