Praying Mantis Encounter – and a recipe for Grilled Chicken Marcellina

The garden is an exquisite jumble of greens and all of those coveted colors – red, orange, yellow, purple….and I’m harvesting, canning and freezing like mad whenever I get a few hours to spend. I love it of course!

exquisite jumble of the garden

a few lovely tomatoes

What is not to love about these tomatoes?

One of the most prolific vegetables this season have been my “Blue Lake” pole beans, which have produced amazingly well! So well, that I sent out a plea on Facebook for my friends to come help themselves to my bonanza of beans. It is a satisfying feeling, though, to poke among the lush plants winding their way all over the fences and find so many.

beautiful “Blue Lake” green beans and nasturtium flower

It seemed fitting to accompany my harvesting before dark with a little glass of hard cider, just when the light was pretty in the back yard, and it was cooling off.

bean picking with a glass of hard cider!

By the way, I’d like to share with you that I live in a region of many orchards, and thankfully lots of them organic. Delicious Orchards, on Highway 133 in between Paonia and Hotchkiss, is putting on the Colorado Cider Festival November 2-3, with music, an “everything local and organic bbq”, orchard tours, and cider from three cideries on tap. Check it out: www.DrinkLocally.com. One of the ciders I’ll be VERY happy to sample again will be this one –

Colorado Cider Company’s Pomme Mel – a honey apple cider with lavender and rosemary highlights!

which I picked up when I was visiting my son and daughter in law in Denver a few months ago… But, back to my tale at hand. I was out in the sun, sipping cider, picking green beans, when literally, I almost picked a praying mantis! Blending in with the surroundings, until I looked a bit closer!

Really quite a sight near the garden fence, in amongst the beans

And, as you can see, the mantis had captured and begun to dine on an unwary grasshopper. Though a bit graphic in this particular pose with the beheaded grasshopper, praying mantises are truly a gardener’s friend. As I craned in to get a closer look, the mantis swiveled it’s head slowly to look right back at me.

the praying mantis swiveled it’s head to eye me

I had to marvel at the cavalier look of it’s front leg thrown casually around the grasshopper, whom I must tell you was infrequently still limply kicking one leg. Oh my. Dinner was just a few thoughts in the back of my head then, but I have to say I cheered quietly for my mantis friend, and how it was contributing to the well-being of the garden. As the garden has the last word on what I am cooking these days, along with a little imagination, I’m offering you this recipe – Grilled Chicken Marcellina, named after one of the spectacular mountains we stood beneath on a hike with a friend over Kebler Pass towards Crested Butte today.

Grilled Chicken Marcellina

Not even truly a recipe – I throw things together as I see fit at dinner time – but it is so delicious with a quick pan stewing of home grown tomatoes, whatever the variety. I used Lemon Boy, with their beautiful yellow, slightly less acidic qualities, and San Marzano – a prime! tomato, really love this one, for its rich flavor.

after the chicken is grilled, simply saute tomatoes, chives, basil and olives right in the pan

  • organic chicken tenders, trimmed as needed
  • olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • a couple good handfuls of chopped tomatoes
  • minced chives
  • chopped basil
  •  a scattering of kalamata olives
  • green beans, de-stemmed, left whole
  • carrots, cut into thin wedges, peeled as you like or not
  • fresh lemon juice

Toss chicken with a little olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper in a bowl. Heat grill, (I used a grill pan, indoors) then place the chicken on the hot grill. Meanwhile, prepare a steamer, and place green beans and carrots in to steam, until just tender. Let chicken brown several minutes, turn with tongs when distinct marks are made. When chicken is cooked clear through, add tomatoes, herbs and olives to the pan, and allow tomatoes to break down until their juice has reduced somewhat, and everything is fragrant, several minutes. Drain vegetables, toss with a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice and a splash of olive oil, if desired. Plate it up and eat!

Grilled Chicken Marcellina

And here is the beautiful Mount Marcellina ~

Mount Marcellina on a day of gold

6 thoughts on “Praying Mantis Encounter – and a recipe for Grilled Chicken Marcellina

    • Yes, I LOVE these tenants! I spotted an egg case earlier in the summer, and have thrilled to spotting a few mantises here and there during the season. They really intrigue me! And thank you, the dinner was delicious thanks to the garden’s offerings.

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