Garden gloves on both hands and my trowel clutched firmly in one hand, I stopped digging in the potting soil and listened carefully.
It was early evening. The tiny little insects, gnats perhaps, were swirling like dust bunnies in the dying sunlight in and around the blossoming yellow plumaria on the West side of my Secret Garden. The noise came again, and I recognized the faint sound of jazz as it floated over the tall wooden fence in the gentle breeze. Intrigued, I stopped my pot planting and listened for a few minutes and I smiled to myself.
I continued with transplanting herbs into my herb basket atop my “new” potting bench ….while the faint strains of one of the most famous Jazz singers of all time, Louis Armstrong’s, gravel-y voice sang the lyrics to a more contemporary “It’s A Wonderful World”.
Actually, the potting bench is not new at all….it has just joined the other things at Villa de la Luna that have been getting a bit of sprucing up. I decided that my potting bench also needed a little love. I re-painted it a beautiful, bright, Royal Blue. Quite a change from the brownish green it had become as it sat through all the elements in the garden for the last 3 years. The next phase of this transformation is the addition of casters. The Captain promised to add them to the four legs, after he shores it up with a bit of re-enforcement first…you see, that is another task that has gone on the ever growing “honey do” list. 🙂 I will post pics when the potting bench project is completed.
But for now, the potting bench is working just fine with the glossy new color and I am especially enjoying being serenaded by a neighbor’s great choice of music. Not loud, just soft background music which allows me to finish my transplanting, cut a few sprigs of thyme and basil before heading into the house to add fresh asparagus spears to the potatoes and chicken roasting in the oven.
Did I mention that I am making chicken tonight?
And not just any chicken, a Roasted Lemon Chicken with Veggies. So simple and so good.
Don’t ya just love chicken? It is the go to…healthy…just plain good eatin’ meat of choice these days.
And the following recipe is great because everything roasts together.
Here is how it works…..you mix up a marinade of the garlic, dried herbs, lemon zest, honey and olive oil and brush it over the chicken while you prepare the Idaho white potatoes. You don’t have to peel them, just make them look like steak fries strips and give ’em a little salt and pepper and drizzle of olive oil. Add a few sprigs of fresh thyme and pop them in the oven for about 10 minutes and then add the marinaded chicken breasts along side the potatoes in the baking pan or dish, add a slice of lemon and give them a roast for about 20 more minutes.
Finally, take the asparagus spears and add them to the chicken and the potatoes and drizzle with olive oil and roast for about 10 more minutes.
Serve with a fresh garden salad and dinner rolls and you have a meal fit for a King…or at least the King in your household.
And perhaps you could put on a little background Jazz, grab yourself a bottle of wine and have dinner outside while listening to the crickets singing their own songs of the evening.
It’s A Wonderful World!!!
- 2 boneless chicken breasts
- 3 lemons (zest one, slice one and juice from one)
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Herbes de Provence (in the spice section of your supermarket, or you can make your own by using rosemary, marjoram, thyme and savory)
- 2 tablespoons Basil (dried or fresh chopped)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- salt and fresh ground black pepper
- sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 medium Idaho white new potatoes
- 12 spears of fresh asparagus
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees
- Make the marinade in a small bowl by combining the olive oil, grated garlic, lemon zest and juice, honey and dried herbs.
- Spread the marinade over the chicken and set aside
- Slice the new potatoes in half lengthwise and then slice again lengthwise as if making steak fries
- Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Lay a few fresh thyme sprigs over top and place in the oven for about 10 minutes
- Remove from oven and add the chicken breasts to the dish, top with a few lemon slices and place back in the oven for another 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven again and add the fresh asparagus spears to the roasting pan. Drizzle with some more olive oil and salt and pepper and refresh lemon slices if desired and add a few basil leaves.
- Return to the oven for 10 minutes.
- *Serve in the same baking dish if desired along with bread rolls and a garden salad.