We had a short, violent storm two nights ago.
After three hot, hot days, the sky got very black just before sunset. Suddenly a strong wind came up and we ran around the house closing the windows that we had just opened to let some cooler air in. It blew and gusted fiercely for about twenty minutes. I had visions of the climbing green beans, which had finally started to produce, being flattened; the tomatoes, which were overburdened with large green fruits, being blown over; and the sweet corn ending up in the farmer’s field.
After it was over I grabbed a flashlight and went out to look.
We were lucky.
Apparently the wind direction was such that the house and barn offered some protection and most of the crop was fine. I lost a few tomato branches and half of one plant, but that was all.
I went out the next morning and did the repairs.
It’s been cool and damp since, which means that, as soon as I know we are free of rain for a few days I have to spray for blight or that will wipe out the rest of the tomatoes.
At which point I decided that the potager isn’t worth it.
All I do is work and worry.
At which point the sun came out, I went out to pick some lovely chard and beautifully ripe tomatoes.
Maybe I’ll do it one more year…….
Chard Polenta Rolls
TTotal time: 45 minutes
- 8 medium – large chard leaves
- 1 large red onion, finely chopped
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1/8 cup quick-cooking polenta
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp celery salt
- Blanch the chard leaves in boiling water for 20 seconds.
- Remove and refresh in cold water, separating the leaves from each other. Drain well.
- Cut the stem out by slicing on either side of the stem, about half way up the chard leaf. Discard or reserve for another use.
- Sauté red onion in olive oil until golden brown.
- Add smoked paprika and sauté briefly.
- Add chicken stock, polenta and stir until thick.
- Remove from heat ant divide into 8 portions.
- Place each portion on a chard leaf, about 1 inch from the tip.
- Roll the end of the leaf over, then roll the whole bundle over once.
- Tuck the sides of the leaf in, folding as necessary and continue rolling to make a neat bundle.
- Set aside.
- Purée remaining 6 ingredients in blender.
- Pour sauce into a skillet and heat to a simmer.
- Add chard bundles, cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
- To serve: spoon sauce onto 2 plates and add stuffed chard leaves.
There are a lot of churches in Bologna…. Big, old churches.
They are all beautiful.
We never pass up visiting a church – especially on a hot day as they are almost always cool.
This is the biggest church on the biggest square in the old part of Bologna.
It’s the Basilica de San Petronio. It was started over 600 years ago and meant to be the biggest church in the world. The Vatican frowned on that idea (St. Peter’s should be biggest, they thought) and construction was stopped. As you can see the front facade has never been finished.
They had an interesting take on photos…. Many churches forbid them, but, with the proliferation of camera phones I’m guessing it’s impossible to enforce.
Here one went to the ‘office’ which was in a side chapel:
And, for 2 euro, got a bright paper bracelet for one wrist which allowed photos, without flash.
Yes, there were guards watching
On the plaza, in front of the church, there was a big screen and a program of summer evening movies.
We peaked into this church during mass so we were properly quiet and didn’t do a lot of exploring.
The mass was in a side chapel, rather than the main chapel.
And, one more:
I really am fascinated by old churches and the labor and design that went into building them.
Maybe that’s what we are missing today….
Not the religion, but the effort and dedication to take on massive projects of art and beauty – to elevate the soul.