Spring Is Here

by ....RaeDi

Yesterday I was taking my annual walk about in my gardens to see what needed to be done and to make a list of the things I will need to get everything up and running this year.  I have five acres that are dedicated as a hummingbird habitat.  We have a half dozen or so Anna’s that always winter over with us, they love it that they do not have to share the space and more importantly the nectar syrup with the other Anna’s, Rufus, Calliope and Allen Hummingbirds that call our home theirs.  I note that last week the Rufus showed up first and I saw a couple of Calliopes yesterday, they are about a week late coming home, the deserts must have been in heavy bloom, that is the only thing that delays their arrival.

Our place is called ‘Hummingbird Hollow,’ because we have a hundred or so hummers that call our home theirs during the season.  It can get very lively at times especially after the nestling periods twice a season. There is never a dull or quiet moment.  I am in the process of completing several hummingbird books, and I have been working on a botanical coffee table book of the Northwest Hummingbirds that I hope to finish in the next few years.

It was a wonderful walk about with spring showing her colors of the season with the daffodils in full bloom and the early tulips buds ready to open.  The crocus, hyacinths and magnolia are all in bloom.  Spring has so many wonderful scents that fill the air.  The apple blossoms are swollen and ready to flower in the next few days, I need to make sure I have my extra battery pact is ready for my picture taking.

After having spent most of the day walking the property and making lists, I took the opportunity to walk the beach and a quick walk through the woods.  I returned home famished and still had to make a trip to the market.  I sometime wished I had the market within walking distance, but then I tell myself if I had that I would not have the beach, mountain views, my woods, the habitat, the drive in to the market is worth all that I have at my back door.

I decided that a spring salad would be a splendid treat; I had not had a ‘complete’ salad in months.  A salad that is the dinner itself, that would be easy and just the right setting for a day like the one I had today out in the beautiful spring weather.  I would take inventory and make a quick list, and hope to get in and out of the store without any interruptions.

A quick trip to the market and home again with everything I would need to complete my spring salad for our dinner.  Before my market run I put dinner rolls in the heated oven (preheated to 200 degrees and add rolls then immediately turn off oven) with a pan of boiling water  on lower shelf and allow to rise for  one hour or until double in size.  They were ready to bake by the time I got home.  For these quick dinners when I want fresh rolls I use the frozen dinner rolls, they are easy and quick for dinners like tonight.  When they are done, I brush on soft butter mixed with fresh thyme and sage what a nice treat.

The salad is simple:

Two Skinned Chicken Breasts cut into cubes and marinated in:

One-tablespoon brown sugar

One-tablespoon Lite Soy Sauce

One-teaspoon red pepper flakes

Freshly ground Pepper

¼ cup 7up

Marinate the cubed chicken for at least one hour.   I used this to make the salad, you can use whatever you like or have on hand:

Simple Spring Salad:

Kalaamari Olives Stuffed with garlic

Black Olives

Hot Jalapeno Peppers Grape Tomatoes

Portobello Mushrooms

Red Onion

English Cucumber

Romaine Heart

Baby Spinach

Feta Cheese

Put one tablespoon of olive oil in skillet.  I use big tongs to put the chicken pieces in the skillet.  I leave just a little of the marinating sauce on the chicken and cook on low, the sugar will caramelize too soon if you cook on hot heat.  Once I know the chicken is just about done (usually around 4~6 minutes, they should be cooked through, these are small bite size pieces), I increase the heat and stir until the sauce has caramelized.  Put on plate to cool.

Plate the salad, put half the chicken on each plate, and then sprinkle on the feta cheese.  Serve with the hot dinner rolls.  It was as refreshing as was my day! Enjoy….