I attribute a great deal of meaning and follow a number of rituals related to the behavior of birds. And I’m afraid I’ve passed this somewhat psychotic, but arguably charming affectation to my daughter. Here are some examples:
~A certain type of red-tail hawk sighting signifies the success of an upcoming trip. This is known as a “hawk blessing.”
~Other raptors, like bald eagles, give blessings on projects and life events.
~The safe arrival of phoebes in March means it is officially spring.
~Hearing the call of a barred owl means you run outside even if you are naked.
~When the goldfinches turn yellow, it is time to clean the grill.
~Brian’s birthday, May 2, brings hummingbirds to Warwick.
~A pair of Baltimore Orioles shows up on Four Corners Road on May 10; this is cause for loitering near a particular tree.
~Bob: “What kind of bird is that on top of the bluebird house”? This is clearly a Deep Existential Question or a Zen Koan. I plan to begin contemplating it when I stop laughing. It’s been 5 years; I need more time.
Megan is in Baltimore studying dolphins. And ducks. Visit her Facebook page to read a recent story about a family of mallards. She thinks deeply about all creatures, especially birds. It has yet to be determined whether this is a blessing or a curse.
My parents have become honorary birds, as has their cat, Socrates. Snowbirds. And as such, they have recently made the migration from their winter home in Florida, to their lake perch here in the Northeast, specifically New Jersey. Anticipating that they would be exhausted from all the flying, I cooked a meal for them, which was kindly delivered by Bob, who passes near their house on his way to work.
I don’t remember the origin of this dish; I have been making it for many years. It is the perfect thing for when you are feeding a crowd or you want something to reheat over the course of a few days. It is completely unfussy and utterly delicious
Roasting Pan Supper
Do your best to source meat that is humanly raised, organic, and local. Likewise for the other ingredients, as much as possible.
This is gluten free. It’s paleo if you sub sweet potatoes.
3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 ½ lbs sausage
2 lbs. tiny potatoes, halved*
1 very large or two small onions, peeled, cut in rough chunks
2 small bell peppers, peeled, cut in chunks (red, yellow, orange are best)
10 oz. cremini mushrooms, cleaned and halved
2 cups dry white wine
½ cup grated parm
optional: as many whole cloves of garlic as you feel like peeling.
*I like the tiny, new yukon golds. You may use any potato you like, including sweet potatoes. If you use large potatoes, cut then into bite size chunks.
Preheat oven to 400°. Place everything except the parm in a large roasting pan. Roast until the sausage just firms up and then cut it into chunks and return to the pan. Roast for 45 minutes or so, moving everything around from time to time. Add the parm and roast for another 10 minutes until everything is browned and the potatoes are cooked through. Serve with extra parm.