vegetables

Chicken-in-the-pot

Last night when I couldn't sleep I started going through pictures of myself on Facebook, which is narcissistic, but also, I guess it's in the perpetual attempt to try and figure out where I actually am, versus where I actually was, and actually how is it that anyone gets from Point A and arrives at Point NOW? 


I don't know. 

I've been thinking about the past year a lot, because years always seem to sort of roll themselves over in the summertime for me, and also I've been thinking about the future. 

I think I'm supposed to be thinking about my "career" and "the job market" and other imposing, adult, grey-sounding words that make me want to bury my head in the sand. 
Instead though, I just daydream about being home with my little brothers and making chicken-in-the-pot. 


I want to make this chicken every day for a week, because it smells like the actual smell of heaven, and I want to make it with bright sweet potatoes and fat sticks of celery and thin, translucent slices of yellow bell peppers and the rinds of pickled lemons. 

I want to make this more than almost anything else right now, but at the moment, I don't have a kitchen. 


I don't know what I'm supposed to do with all the past selves, that linger on various social media platforms, and I don't know what I'm supposed to do with the future cubicle that real adulthood sometimes appears to be. 
I'm trying to trust that even when I can't fall asleep, everything is still okay. 
I think this is what they call "faith." 
Besides, the future isn't here yet, and the past went. 
So I'm craving chicken-in-the-pot. And for the time being, I can't have it. 
It's okay. 
So I guess I'm here, at Point NOW. 
And really, it ain't so bad. 



Chicken-in-the-Pot Makes 4 servings (but you can multiply the recipe easily)
from cookbook goddess Dorie Greenspan 

Approximately 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 heads of garlic, broken into cloves, but not peeled
16 shallots, peeled and trimmed, or 4 onions, peeled, trimmed and quartered, or 4 leeks, white part only, halved lengthwise
8 carrots, peeled, trimmed and quartered
4 celery stalks, trimmed and quartered
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
Grated zest of 1 lemon
16 prunes, optional (apricots or dried apples are also good in this dish)
1 chicken, whole or cut-up
1/2 small (2 lbs or less) cabbage, green or red, cut into 4 wedges (try Savoy cabbage)
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine, or another 1/2 cup chicken broth
About 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, for the seal
About 3/4 cup hot water, for the seal

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Set a large skillet over high heat and add about 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Toss in the garlic cloves and all the vegetables, EXCEPT the cabbage - you might have to do this in two batches, you don't want to crowd the skillet - season generously with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are lightly browned on all sides. Spoon the vegetables into a large Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid - you'll need a pot that holds at least 5 quarts. Stir in the herbs, lemon zest and prunes, if you're using them.

Return the skillet to the heat and add another tablespoon or so of oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and brown the chicken on all sides. Put the chicken in the casserole, nestling it among the vegetables. Fit the cabbage wedges around the chicken.

Stir together the chicken broth, wine and 1/2 cup olive oil and pour the mixture over the chicken and vegetables.

Now you have a choice: you can cover the pot with a sheet of aluminum foil and the lid, or you can make a paste to seal the lid. To make the paste, stir the flour and water together, mixing until you have a soft, workable dough. Working on a floured surface, shape the dough into a long sausage, then press the sausage onto the rim of the casserole. Press the lid into the dough to seal the pot.

Slide the pot into the oven and bake for 70 minutes. If you need to keep it in the oven a little longer because you're not ready for it, don't worry - turn the heat down to 325 degrees F and you'll be good for another 30 minutes or so.

The easiest way to break the seal, is to wiggle the point of a screwdriver between the dough and the pot - being careful not to stand in the line of the escaping (and wildly aromatic) steam. If the chicken was whole, quarter it and return it to the pot, so that you can serve directly from the pot, or arrange the chicken and vegetables on a serving platter.

Chicken Curry with Cashews


My whole life I've struggled with self-doubt. 



I've wasted so much time asking myself "Am I worthy?" of work and love and questioning over and over and over again if I am enough or capable or deserving. 

So much doubt. 

I don't know why. 
I don't know where doubt comes from. 
Fear, I guess. 
And specifically the fear of failure and pain. 

I don't doubt myself when I cook. 
Because there is something to measuring, there is something to learning how to knead bread, and follow a recipe-- that makes my doubt melt away. 
Because all you have to do is whatever comes next, and that is enough. 
That's all you can do. 
And if the recipe is bad, or you mess something up, fundamentally, it doesn't really matter. 

So I like taking risks in the kitchen. 
Because why not? 
Because thinking that I'm not capable of cooking something is stupid and only leaves me hungry. 
So I made my first ever curry, because surprisingly, I had all the right ingredients.  
And I made it and I liked it. 

And making it made me feel capable. Like I was enough. 

Of course, doubt comes back to me, all the time. 
It's a problem that all the curries in the world probably can't solve. 
But maybe. 
Maybe with each new recipe,  I'll keeping doubting a little less, until all the doubt is finally gone. 
I hope so. 

I love you. 

XOXOXO




Chicken Curry with Cashews
from Gourmet Today by Ruth Reichl 

NB: Though the recipe calls for a cut-up whole chicken, you can use an equivalent amount of chicken parts or all thighs. 

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
3 tablespoons curry powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 (3 1/2 to 4 pound) chicken, rinsed, patted dry, and cut into 10 serving pieces (breasts cut crosswise in half) 
1 (14 to 15 ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro 
3/4 cup cashews (toasted or raw) 
2/3 cup whole-milk yogurt 
garnish: chopped fresh cilantro
accompaniment: basmati or jasmine rice

Heat butter in a 5 to 6-quart wide heavy pot over moderately low heat until foam subsides. Add onions, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder, salt, cumin, and cayeene and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add chicken and cook, stirring to coat, for 3 minutes. 
Add tomatoes with juice and cilantro and bring to a simmer; then cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes. 
Just before serving, pulse cashews in a food processor or electric coffee/spice grinder until very finely ground (do not grind to a paste). Add to curry, along with yogurt, and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring, until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. 
Serve chicken over rice, sprinkled with cilantro.  

Omelettes




I like my omelettes a little crisp and lacey, almost an eggy snowflake, folded over cheese and greens. With an extra grind of salt on top. 

I like the sameness of omelette making. The technique might vary, but in the end, you always get an omelette. 
Or hopefully you do. 

I talked to a friend today, I told him how much the transience of life has been scaring me lately. 
Change. 
And he looked at me and said simply, "That's the way it's always been."
He's right. 
But I can't shake the fact that most of the people I know now, I probably wont know in five years. 
Despite the aches and bruises, the same/dullness of school, that guy who never called me, the cruel thing she said, the times I cried in the shower, and all the breaking aching disappointments of growing up and living more, I love this now. 


I love these people and laughing until crying with them, the dreaminess of Friday afternoons, my neighborhood grocery store, the fact that I live above a doughnut shop, running in the quiet neighborhoods around the university, coffee shops and conversations that roll and unwind endlessly... 
These are things worth remembering. 
These are things to love. 

But five years from now it wont really matter. 
So I look forward and smile. 
Hopefully by then I'll be writing better songs and living in Brooklyn, with an apartment full of plants and twinkle lights. 
And it will be better




But five years from now, no matter the location, no matter who I still know, or who I am. 
I will still be making omelettes. 
They're the perfect comfort food for when you are hungry and maybe a little lonely and need a hot meal. 

Omelettes: a meal for every now and every future. 

XOXO
m

L'Omelette
from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

2 or 3 eggs
Big pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper

Beat the eggs and seasonings in the mixing bowl for 20 to 30 seconds until the whites and yolks are just blended.

1 tablespoon butter
An omelette pan 7 inches in diamete at the bottom

Place the butter in the pan and set over very high heat. As the butter melts, tilt the pan in all directions to film the sides. When you see that the foam has almost subsided in the pan and the butter is on the point of coloirng (indicating it's hot enough), pour in the eggs. It is of utmost importance in this method that the butter be the correct temperature.

Let the eggs settle in the pan for 2 or 3 seconds to form a film of coagulated egg in the bottom of the pan.
Giving the handle of the pan with both hands, thumbs on top, and immmediately begin jerking the pan vigorously and roughly toward you at an even, 20-degree angle over the heat, one jerk per second.
It is the sharp pull of the pan toward you which throws the eggs against the far lip of the pan, then back over its bottom surface. You must have the courage to be rough or the eggs will not loosen themselves from the bottom of the pan. After several jerks, the eggs will begin to thicken. (A filling goes in at this point, if using.)
Then increase the angle of the pan slightly, which will force the egg mass to roll over on itself with each jerk at teh far lip of the pan.
As sson as the omelette has shaped up, hold it in the angle of the pan to brown the bottom a pale golden color, but onlya second or two, for the eggs must not overcook. The center of the omelette should remina soft and creamy. If the omelette has not formed neatly, push it with the back of your fork.

Turn omelette onto a plate and rub the top witha bit of butter and serve as soon as possible.


Macaroni and Cheese and Roasted Broccoli


What College Has Given Me:



-4am
-The Smiths
-Sleeping until noon
-Ability to wear bright lipstick
-Mild  Severe coffee addiction
-Friends who are so smart and so kind
-Roommates who see me at worsts and bests and somehow still tolerate me
-Overall improvement in personal style
-More facebook friends
-Fewer real books read



-Ability to ignore mountains of homework to write this blog
-Realization that truly brilliant professors are few and far between
-Desire to be Better
-Late Night Doughnuts
-Lots  of knockout conversations
-Realization that everyone is basically the same and simultaneously very different and very weird
-Opportunity 
-Realization that just because someone is hip does not mean that they know what is actually good
-Appreciation of cheap-ass champagne
-Decreased fear of meeting new people
-Every Wes Anderson movie (other than Bottle Rocket)
-Mistakes



-Ability to use bed for studying, sleeping, eating, AND drunken jumping
-New understanding of the relationship between race and dance in America
-Twinkle lights
-Several tremendous, Vesuvius-like, emotional meltdowns
-Ability to wear a dress and heels while riding a bicycle
-Less socially awkward (kinda sorta)
-Emojis
-Sunroofs
-Coffeeshops
-Clouds



-Re-realization that life is not fair
-Letters, received and sent
-Lots of milkshakes
-Unintentional over-sharing
-Fake it till you make it

Also. 

College and cooking for myself has also instilled in me a deep appreciation for pasta.
 Specifically macaroni and cheese. 



Some days, when the daily grind begins to wear you down, all you want is macaroni and cheese. 
With some roasted broccoli. To make you feel better about all those late night doughnuts and milkshakes.


xoxo

Stovetop One Pot Macaroni and Cheese 
via whiteonericecouple.com

  • 2 cups large elbow Macaroni, uncooked (about 1/2 lb)
  • 2 cups low fat Milk (about 16 oz) , or more if needed
  • **if more milk is needed, additional 1/4 cup milk at a time for final cooking. **Macaroni pasta varies so much! have additional milk on hand, or be ready to increase the heat if your macaroni doesn't absorb fast enough.
  • 1 tablespoon Butter, for flavor
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt, plus additional for final season later
  • generous dash of Nutmeg
  • 1 cup Grated Cheese, any one or combination of  ( jack, cheddar, swiss, mozzarella, gouda)
  • black pepper to taste (optional)



Place raw pasta in colander and quickly rinse under water. Let it drain.In medium sauce pan add milk, raw elbow macaroni, salt, butter, mustard powder and nutmeg.On medium heat, slowly bring milk/macaroni mixture to a simmer, stirring the macaroni frequently as it comes up to a simmer. Stirring keeps macaroni from clumping together, keep an eye on things to make sure that mixture doesn't boil over. Once at a simmer, immediately turn to low (too high heat will evaporate milk) pasta will cook in milk.  Continue to stir the mixture frequently so that macaroni will cook and absorb milk. Keep stirring to prevent the pasta from clumping. It's a little bit like making risotto.  Cook for 15-20 minutes or until milk has been fully absorbed.
If macaroni is not fully cooked, add some extra milk or water, and anticipate spending about five more minutes stirring the macaroni to absorb the extra liquid. Once milk has evaporated, stir in grated cheese, and throughly combine. Turn off heat. Place lid on top of pan and cover for about 5 minutes. This lets the macaroni absorb liquid. Stir a final time and salt to taste. 
Serve immediately.
Roasted Broccoli 
via amateurgormet.com

Two large bunches broccoli (about four lbs)
Lemon
4 garlic cloves
Olive oil
pinenuts (optional)
parmesan (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 F. 
Put broccoli on a cookie sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. (She says 5 Tbs olive oil, 1 1/2 tsps kosher salt, 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper, but I just eyeballed it.) Now add 4 garlic cloves that are peeled and sliced and toss them in too. Roast in the oven 20 to 25 minutes, until “crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.”zest a lemon over the broccoli, squeeze the lemon juice over the broccoli, add 1 1/2 Tbs more olive oil, 3 Tbs toasted pine nuts (I left those out), and 1/3 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I left these out as well.)