The lady had no teeth… but boy could she grow vegetables. I couldn’t wait to get my hands dirty in the farmhouse kitchen of the house we were staying in, and use some of the vegetables that were growing on the vegetable farm just down the road.
The window over the sink in our farmhouse looked out over the Russian River Valley,
with grapevines standing as far as the eye could see. As a bonus, I couldn’t wait to visit the lady with no teeth down the road, who would pick what I needed for dinner right out of the garden. Fresh. No, don’t get me wrong, I do love to sit in restaurants when I travel to see what the chefs
and cooks do with the locally-grown produce. Then, there is a time, if you’re lucky, and you have a farmhouse kitchen, to go home and
experiment. We were cooking for a
crowd of athletes. So that gave me an excuse — plus, that crowd included a fine gentelman who was just as excited as I was to create something out of whatever we could find. He actually found a patch of blackberries growing outside of the front road, and we gobbled those up for breakfast every morning. That was pure gold to us. Or should I say… candy.
After I got over my envy that the leeks I planted in April are about 4 inches tall now, and these leeks planted at the same time at Windmill Farm were this many feet,
(it was like cooking with a giant squid)
we set to work. Pasta was what the athletes wanted, so we went crazy braising vegetables and adding them to the pasta.
for the protein… the chicken, we had this fabulous idea to throw in some of the fresh rosemary (growing everywhere, like a weed) red wine vinegar and FRESH BLACKBERRIES. We marinated the chicken in this concoction for at least 8 hours. The result was just incredible.
And yes, those are fried daylilies garnishing the chicken. Those were growing all over the property too.
And no, we did not measure our ingredients exactly. But here’s a good estimate of what we did… and I do highly suggest you try this with any berry you have on-hand this summer.
- 1.5 cups fresh blackberries
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 4 springs of fresh Rosemary, leaves removed
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 8 chicken breasts
Combine marinade ingredients, pour into ziplock bag and add chicken, and place in refrigerator for at least four hours — or longer.
Pre-heat grill. Brush the chicken with marinade, and place and cook for 6 to 7 minutes, until golden brown. Turn over and continue cooking for 5 to 6 minutes.
Didn’t think of it at the time, but it would have been nice to have a side of blackberry sauce to serve along with the chicken.
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