Tuesday, August 11, 2009

August August

This is certainly one of my favorite months. In Minnesota, August is absolutely summer; warm, green, bountiful and established. July was the third coolest in Minnesota history, a month that saw no readings of 90 degrees or higher anywhere in the state, which lead to slowly ripening crops, but fewer mosquitoes and certainly better sleeping. True to itself, August has brought back the warmer temperatures, more rain and our need for the oscillating fan.

The foals are all growing well. I was surprised that Mara’s colt, Marrakech, born a chestnut like the others, is beginning to turn grey. There is an entire genetic science that I don’t confess to understand, devoted to equine coat colors. The following explanation comes from the UC Davis Veterinary Medicine site:

“The Gray gene causes progressive depigmentation of the hair, often resulting in a coat color that is almost completely white by the age of 6-8 years. Horses that inherit progressive Gray can be born any color, then begin gradually to show white hairs mixed with the colored throughout the body. Usually the first signs of gray hair can be found on the head, particularly around the eyes. Gray is dominant; therefore a single copy of this gene will cause a horse to turn gray."

Mara and her full sister Eve (both are grey colored) had Renoir colts this year, yet, Eve’s colt, Memphis, remains his sire’s deep chestnut. As I said, I don’t begin to understand, but I’m happy to have the diversity.

Something else I noticed is my “grey” versus “gray.” I am positive I grew up spelling this color with an ‘e’, but apparently, gray is a color and grey is a colour. Who knew? I’m chalking it up to osmosis, which like equine coat genetics I barely understand.

Ian and I share many passions; horses, love of travel, writing, and food! We eat well, and like many residents on this continent ways too much, but that is subject for a completely different blog. However, there are times when we get into foodie ruts; serving up salmon, shrimp, chicken, pasta, homemade pizza or salad in enough varieties to publish our own cookbook. Last week, we freed ourselves and made delicious wontons stuffed with a mixture of crabmeat, cream cheese, minced water chestnuts and Chinese chili sauce. Ian put together the mixture and handled the pan frying.

I did the wonton stuffing and folding, which took a few tries to find the correct amount that did not seep out the water-slicked edges or burst the delicate wonton pasta square when I folded it into a triangle pocket. I am glad the end product was tasty, because assembling them went from adventurous to tedious with amazing quickness. At one point, as Ian was patiently waiting for me, I remarked that I wouldn’t like to be trying this at speed with someone like Chef Gordon Ramsay of TV’s Hell’s Kitchen yelling at me. We tossed a salad and dipped these bronzed beauties in a mixture of sweet duck sauce and Chinese mustard. Delightful! For brunch, I spread the remaining mixture on open-faced hot dog buns and put them under the broiler. Nice, and much easier than stuffing wonton squares!