Knee High by the 4th of July!!
July 4th weekend was spent at the Brandywine Valley Summer Series II Horse Show at The Devon Showgrounds. Juliette and Lila went down earlier in the week with their trainer Patty Miller. They slept over Patty's house the night before and were up at 3:15 AM to help load the horses and drive to the show. I drove down on Friday. to spend the weekend with them. At the end of the day I asked Patty, what time we had to be at the show in the morning. I knew what the answer would be but I was hoping for a late morning. She answered 7AM, with a smile. We were staying at a hotel just down the road from the show and the girls had their own room and I just hoped they would get to bed at a reasonable time. If you are not familiar with horse show timing, here is a helpful hint, there is none. Unlike most other sports, where the game has a specific start time and you can usually calculate a reasonable end time, horse shows can be endless. They bring a new meaning to hurry up and wait. Lila was showing around 10 AM and Juliette not until late in the afternoon. J and L have a certain amount of pride in waking up at these ridiculous hours when it comes to anything horse related. I on the other hand do not....but when I am old and incontinent, you can be sure I will remind them of my sacrifices.
There is plenty of downtime and while I may be found reading, working or napping, the kids are constantly busy. Most of it is taking care of the ponies and horses but there is plenty of time to have fun. They have made lots of horse show friends from all over the east coast and when not following Patty around or helping at the stables they are alongside the ring cheering them on.
Juliette and Lila never tire from jumping, horses or themselves, especially Lila, who is always creating courses in the house jumping over pillows, books and bags. Luckily the Devon Showgrounds had set up some mini jumps for the kids. Where Lila spent a good part of each day. This was also July 4th and every one had to show their patriotic spirit. Lila who still wears braids when showing wore red, white and blue bows. The horses are no exception and their manes were braided with red, white and blue yarn and the tails with pom poms.
Lila had a great first day of showing with a first, second and a third. Sunday was a different story. On the first trip, Iparty was spooked by two large dogs outside the ring while heading into the last jump. Lila jumped beautifully but this set the tone for her other trips. She still held on for Champion but was very disappointed with her riding. We spent some time talking about the positives from each trip, finding the right distances to the jumps and her lead changes. The talk and a promise of an ice cream milk shake got her spirits back in check.
Juliette was showing her horse, Prestigious, in the Junior Hunter 3' 3" 15 and Under, for the first time. She is a very strong technical rider and a real student of the sport. Preston has been giving her trouble recently getting his lead changes, not listening to her leg cues, something he wasn't doing during the winter indoor season or down in Florida. It has been frustrating for her and today was no different. I was watching from the stands and as I have learned over the years to give them their space while showing. Several years ago when Juliette was on her schools gymnastics team, she asked that I not watch her compete in her first meet because it made her nervous. I went to the meet anyway and watched from outside, through the gym door windows. A story of which I am constantly reminded of to the delight of the other school parents.
She jumped beautifully but sensing Preston not getting the lead change Juliette was twisting her body to force it. After this continued on through the second and final day of showing, she was visibly upset and frustrated. I am appreciative of her relationship with her mom and how they can talk through her feelings and since her mom also rides she brings an insiders perspective. It was hard to watch her this upset and wish I could have helped more. I sat on the ground next to her giving as much support as I could. I know it means a lot to her to have the silent hugs and the offer of a lifesaver mint. I still wish I could have done more. They worked out a plan to get the help needed and this helped restore her mood.
Sunday late afternoon we drove back to the farm and passed a local farm stand that had some early sweet white summer corn, red spring onions and potatoes. The local butcher, Haring Brothers, was still open and I was able to buy some fresh bacon. Monday morning, before I headed back to the city and the girls to the barn, we had poached eggs with roasted corn and bacon hash. Seriously yum! on so many levels. The sizzling bacon smell had Juliette and Lila standing around the stove waiting to eat some. They helped with shucking the corn and slicing the kernels off the cob. The beautifully golden roasted potatoes and the sweet corn, which could be eaten right off the cob raw, made this hash the perfect American dish to help celebrate the end of the Independence Day weekend. All the flavors and textures are brought to life with the perfectly poached egg on top. I used a well seasoned cast iron skillet and saved the bacon fat for later use. You can also use any leftover corn roasted from the night before. Just toss in when you add the bacon , off heat, to warm up. Any leftover hash can be eaten later that evening with dinner.
Poached Eggs with Roasted Corn and bacon Hash
- 6 fresh eggs
- 1tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 lb potatoes diced - 3 cups
- 1 red onion diced - 1 cup
- 1/2 lb thick cut bacon (at least 1/4 inch) diced
- teaspoon salt
- 3 large ears of corn. Kernels cut from the cob - 2 1/2 cups
- 3 scallions thinly sliced
- Place diced bacon in large skillet and heat to medium. Let cook, stirring occasionally until browned and crispy about 10 minutes.
- Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and let drain on a paper towel. Leave bacon fat in skillet.
- Heat bacon fat to medium high. Add diced potatoes to skillet in a single layer and add salt and pepper. Stirring occasionally to brown on all sides, about 20 minutes.
- Add the onions and let saute until onions are clear.
- Spoon off most of the bacon fat leaving about 2 - 3 tablespoons.
- Add the corn and mix with the potatoes and onions. Cook until corn starts to brown about 5 minutes.
- Add the bacon back to the skillet and cook for an additional minute.
- Remove from heat, salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle the scallions over the top.
- Bring water to a steady simmer in a large skillet. If it starts to boil lower temperature.
- Add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Stir water to create a gentle whirlpool. This will help the egg whites to wrap around yolk and create that desired tear drop form.
- Crack egg into a ramekin, not necessary but does make it easier to pour into skillet. Add eggs one at a time to skillet. The size of your pan will determine how many you can poach at a time. I generally poach three at a time.
- With a slotted spoon gently cover each egg with water from skillet until tops are white. Then gently agitate the the water near each egg to keep them from sticking to bottom.
- Cook for 3 minutes. remove each egg with slotted spoon and gently dip in a bowl of water. This helps remove any lingering vinegar flavor and place on a paper towel. This will soak up any excess water and keep the hash from getting soggy. Teenage taste buds are acutely aware to the taste of vinegar on their eggs.
Spoon a mound of hash on a plate and press down in the center with the back of the spoon to create a space for the egg. Place poached egg on top, sprinkle with chopped scallion. Salt and pepper to taste.