I held it, ever-so-gently, between my thumb and first two fingers. I placed it on my hand, where it danced across my flesh, and I felt the innocent wonder of the wee girl I once was who chased monarch butterflies across the yard, holding them softly, then letting them flit away.
Visiting the Salt Creek Butterfly Farm Thursday afternoon. I had an exceptionally busy week of paperwork, weeding, planting, committee work, and life in general. The monarch butterfly, held briefly in my custody, was pure bliss. Just the simple touch of the monarch settled my soul and took my thoughts aloft to other places.
Have you ever held a butterfly or been to a butterfly garden or farm?
Before going to the butterfly farm, about 24 women met here on the Cutoff for lunch. We had been on a tour of an area nursery, The Hidden Gardens, and stopped by, in between nursery and farm for a little lunch. I made Ina Garten’s (Barefoot Contessa) Chicken Salad Veronique. There was just enough left over for dinner for Tom and I. Since there are no more leftovers to share with you, I thought I would share the recipe instead.
I’ve made this chicken salad several times. It is easy and best prepared several hours, or the day before, serving. I’ve used pecans, but, prefer cashews, and I cut back just a bit on the tarragon, which brings a delectable taste sensation to the salad. A few guests asked what the herb was, detecting something different in chicken salad. I also added a few spoon’s worth of sour cream.
Here it is, dear reader, my solstice gift to you whichever hemisphere you are reading this in.
Chicken Salad Veronique adapted from “Barefoot Contessa at Home”
4 split chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 c good mayonnaise (I use Hellman’s)
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1 cup small-diced celery
1 cup green grapes, cut in half
Preheat oven to 350° oven
Place chicken breasts, skin side up, on a sheet pan (I line the pan with parchment paper), rub with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste
Roast for 35-40 minutes (I kept mine in longer) until cooked through. Set aside and let cool.
Remove meat from bones. Discard skin and bones.
Cut chicken into 3/4 inch pieces.
Place in bowl.
Add mayonnaise, tarragon leaves, celery, grapes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper (I omitted the salt). Toss
Just before serving, add toasted pecans or walnuts. Enjoy!