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7 May: Thursday

San Diego, California: Another scorcher. Oh, wait, did I say that yesterday? The meteorologists were wrong. It was not 107 degrees in Indio today. It was 108. After our usual morning routine, we spent much of the afternoon inside the icy RV air conditioning, going-over a few of the houses for sale on our short-list. Will we ever make a decision? At least we have a place to stay, even if it is a RV in the desert heat, so there is no real rush. All our travel plans for the summer and fall have been cancelled (NCAAs, Olympic Trials), and so many RV parks (in cooler climes) are not yet accepting reservations - this RV resort included. We are in limbo.

This blog post would have been coming to you from San Diego tonight. This morning, Dave and I had plans to drive to San Diego (in the car) for a 5-night mini-vacay. We had tickets to see The Rolling Stones Saturday night! Had. Hmmm... not totally true. We still have the tickets, and have not yet been refunded because the concert has not been cancelled, only postponed. Jeesh, I can’t imagine sitting in a stadium with thousands of others for quite a long time in the future.

Thank goodness Keith Richards (age 76) stopped smoking!

There is exciting news to share: our three resort swimming pools opened this afternoon. There are social-distancing rules, of course, but Dave and I can sit next to each other in lounge chairs, and families can be in the pool together. Even more RVs left this morning, so I am not expecting a crowd at any of the pools in this resort... not to mention, about 20% of campsites have their own private pools.

At five o’clock, we shut-down the real estate websites and moved out to our covered pavilion to watch the news, relax with a cocktail, and view the few remaining neighbors drive by in their golf carts, or cruise by in their boats. Wave, wave. Not a lot of traffic in either mode of transportation.

Because we were basically having cheese for dinner, I again went minimalist and served corn chips as an appetizer. These treats look like Fritos, but they are not, but taste like a lighter/less salty version of Fritos - and they are organic. They are made by Garden of Eatin’. Yes, I know organic junk food is still junk food, but I gave up smoking 64 years ago, so splurge sometimes.

Before dinner, we had visitors - the five (remaining) ducklings. Hardly can call them ducklings any longer. Ducklings can fly at two months, so any minute now. In a month or so, the drakes will get a little up-ward curl to their tail feathers. Until the adult males get their colored feathers, the curled tip feathers, and that hens are more vocal, are usually the only ways to “sex” a duckling without turning them over. The drake is the only bird with a penis.

GO DUCKS!

Wild animals? Not so sure. When I approached the edge of the canal, they came right up to me. I suspect fellow campers are feeding the birds? The only hand-out on this lot is at our hummingbird feeder.

Another cold supper. If you recall, I poached chicken yesterday for this dish: Caprese Chicken Salad, embellished tonight with sliced avocado and roasted red peppers (from a jar). I served it over arugula, because, you know, vegetables.

Until my next update, I remain, your Gimme Shelter correspondent.


CAPRESE CHICKEN SALAD

I should call this chicken salad "Forgotten Salad" as I made it once to enjoy on a train trip and forgot it at home. Using the same ingredients as a Caprese Salad - with basil-infused chicken breasts added - this make-ahead-friendly salad is just right for dinner on a hot summer night and picnic perfect. Ciliegini are little balls of fresh mozzarella cheese - about the same size as cherry tomatoes. You can also skewer the cubed chicken, tomatoes and cheese balls for an appetizer/party.

FOR THE CHICKEN:
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
4 stems fresh basil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered

FOR THE DRESSING:
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar (or lemon juice)
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon Kosher Salt
Black pepper, to taste

FOR THE SALAD:
8 ounces fresh miniature mozzarella balls (ciliegini),
drained and rinsed
2 cups cherry (or grape) tomatoes, left whole
Handful fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

Place the chicken breasts in a medium sauce pan with the fresh basil (stems and all), salt and garlic. Add enough water to just cover the chicken and bring the pot to a boil. Stir and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for ten minutes, uncovered, then remove from heat, cover and let rest until the pot is cool enough to refrigerate, about one hour. Refrigerate the entire contents overnight.

Next day, make the salad dressing by combining the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside. Remove the chicken from the pot. Discard the cooking water, basil and garlic. Cut the chicken into dice-sized cubes. Place in salad bowl and toss with the salad dressing. Then add the ciliegini, tomatoes and fresh basil. Toss well to coat all ingredients with the salad dressing.

Serves 2 generously.