Wild Roses, Bobolinks and Crispy Cauliflower ala Siciliana!

Wild Rose: Buttercup Farm Audubon Sanctuary- Standfordville, New York

Yellow Billed Cuckoo, Indigo Bunting, American Redstart, Yellow Warbler, Wood Thrush, Emerson Collard Dove, Gray Catbird, Red Wing Blackbird; strolling through the gentle hills and meadows of the Buttercup Farm Audubon Sanctuary in Stanfordville, New York; we were serenaded by a symphony of bird song.

Buttercup Farm Audubon Sanctuary- Stanfordville, New York

A friend had told us about an app created by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology called Merlin. It quickly identifies the bird call and a picture appears next to the name of the bird. For the amateur birder, this is simply quite amazing!

Buttercup Farm Audubon Sanctuary- Stanfordville, Vermont

The Buttercup Sanctuary is a haven for the many species of birds that flourish in the tall grasses and meadows.

Buttercup Farm Audubon Sanctuary

Buttercup Farm Audubon Sanctuary

We stand still and listen carefully to the delicate bird calls; breathing in the lightly perfumed air, is that wild honey suckle? We are drawn into the beauty that surrounds us.

Buttercup Farm Audubon Sanctuary

Buttercup Farm Audubon Sanctuary

Buttercup Farm Audubon Sanctuary

At the top of Kite Hill in Ancram, New York, we sat in the rustic gazebo that over looks the Catskills and the Taconic Range. We turned on the merlin app and there it was; a bobolink with its reverse tuxedo and light yellow capped head, singing its distinctive throaty song!

On another cloudy day at Kite Hill, we caught a quick glimpse of a bobolink sitting on a bird house.

Wikepedia mentions that an old species name for Bobolinks is Rice Bird, because of the grain that they like to eat. The English “Bobolink” is from Bob o’ Lincoln, describing the call. I came across this lovely poem written by William Cullen Bryant titled Robert of Lincoln.

Robert of Lincoln

Merrily swinging on briar and weed,
Near to the nest of his little dame,
Over the mountain-side or mead,
Robert of Lincoln is telling his name:
Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,
Spink, spank, spink;
Snug and safe is that nest of ours,
Hidden among the summer flowers;
Chee, chee, chee.

Robert of Lincoln is gaily drest,
Wearing a bright black wedding-coat;
White are his shoulders, and white his crest;
Hear him call in his merry note:
Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,
Spink, spank, spink;
Look what a nice new coat is mine,
Sure there was never a bird so fine.
Chee, chee, chee.

Robert of Lincoln’s Quaker wife,
Pretty and quiet, with plain brown wings,
Passing at home a patient life,
Broods in the grass while her husband sings:
Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,
Spink, spank, spink;
Brood, kind creature; you need not fear
Thieves and robbers while I am here.
Chee, chee, chee.

Modest and shy as a nun is she;
One weak chirp is her only note,
Braggart and prince of braggarts is he,
Pouring boasts from his little throat:
Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,
Spink, spank, spink;
Never was I afraid of man;
Catch me cowardly knaves, if you can !
Chee, chee, chee.

Six white eggs on a bed of hay,
Flecked with purple, a pretty sight!
There as the mother sits all day,
Robert is singing with all his might:
Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,
Spink, spank, spink;
Nice good wife, that never goes out,
Keeping house while I frolic about.
Chee, chee, chee.

Soon as the little ones chip the shell,
Six wide mouths are open for food;
Robert of Lincoln bestirs him well,
Gathering seeds for the hungry brood.
Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,
Spink, spank, spink;
This new life is likely to be
Hard for a gay young fellow like me.
Chee, chee, chee.

Robert of Lincoln at length is made
Sober with work, and silent with care;
Off is his holiday garment laid,
Half forgotten that merry air:
Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,
Spink, spank, spink;
Nobody knows but my mate and I
Where our nest and our nestlings lie.
Chee, chee, chee.

Summer wanes; the children are grown;
Fun and frolic no more he knows;
Robert of Lincoln’s a humdrum crone;
Off he flies, and we sing as he goes :
“Bob-o’-link, bob-o’-link,
Spink, spank, spink;
When you can pipe that merry old strain,
Robert of Lincoln, come back again.
Chee, chee, chee.

– William Cullen Bryant

Kite Hill- Ancram, New York

Kite Hill-Ancram, New York

Kite Hill- Ancram, New York

Organic cauliflower was on sale at our local food coop and I thought it would be nice to try to recreate the Sicilian cauliflower from Gigi’s Trattoria an excellent Italian restaurant in Rhinebeck, New York. I cut the cauliflower into small florets and parboiled them for a few minutes. I sliced some onion thinly, heated some extra virgin olive oil in a heavy cast iron pan and caramalized the onion. I tossed the drained cauliflower in a bit of flour and then added this to the onions along with some lemon juice, capers, salt and pepper. You can also add a handful of golden raisins. I put the pan into a hot oven and let the mixture cook until the cauliflower was crispy and nicely browned. The dish is good as a side with roast chicken or served over whole wheat pasta sprinkled with grated pecorino cheese and more freshly ground pepper.

ENJOY!!

Crispy Cauliflower ala Siciliana

Ingredients:

1 small parboiled organic cauliflower cut into small florets

1/2 medium onion sliced thinly crosswise

1/2 lemon

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup capers

1/4 cup golden raisins (optional)

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 tablespoon flour

To Make Cauliflower:

Pre heat oven to 425 Degrees

Cut cauliflower into small florets and add to a medium pot of boiling water. Cook for a few minutes and softened a bit and then drain well. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a heavy cast iron pan. Add sliced onion and cook until the onions start to color and caramalize.

Toss cauliflower with 1 tablespoon flour and add to pan. Add fresh lemon juice, capers and salt and pepper to taste.

Place pan in hot oven and cook stirring occasionally about 1/2 hour until mixture is crispy and nicely browned.

AND: Here is the “Tree of the Week”!

“Humph”!

Happy Summer and Stay Safe!

Author: Judith Dansker

Professional oboist and chamber musician- member of Hevreh Ensemble and Winds in the Wilderness, Professor of Oboe Hofstra University; observer of people, art and nature; passionate food and travel explorer.

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