Monday, January 24, 2011
Having an infant around has changed a lot of things in my life including when I sleep, how high my heels are, and the apps on my iphone. For me, however, one of the biggest adjustments was the sudden absence of friends crowded around my coffee table for weekly dinner parties. Over the past few months my early bedtime and exhaustion have made it impossible to muster up the enthusiasm to poke around recipe websites let alone get my act together enough to chop garlic and shallots.
Surprisingly, I have missed these evenings and the satisfaction that comes with a well-prepared meal far more than crazy late nights out in the east village. (Give me a few weeks for the latter!) Thankfully, last night – 3 months to the day from when this whole journey started – I broke the trend of dining on frozen tamales before diving deliriously into bed.
To celebrate the occasion, Ian and PWT came over at 6 pm. (I still knew I would be diving deliriously into bed before 10). Ryan and I picked a recipe that was new and challenging but not too complicated in case at least three of our four hands were tied up bouncing the bambino.
The recipe is called Chicken in Almond Sauce on Epicurious and it goes something like this:
1. Grind one cup of almonds in a food processor until coarse but not pasty.
2. Mix with 2 teaspoons oregano, 1 teaspoon cinnamon or a cinnamon stick, and 4 bay leaves or some juniper berries. Toast mixture in a large skillet until almonds are golden. Remove and set aside.
3. Add a few tbsp of oil to the same pan and sear 6 chicken breast halves (2 lbs). Remove and set aside.
4. Again, using the same pan (my dishwasher is small), fry up 3-5 slices of bacon until crispy. Add two chopped onions and 6 cloves of garlic. Sautee until soft. Add almond mixture and 2 cups of chicken broth. Stir for one minute scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan.
5. Add chicken back to the skillet and simmer for 5 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Salt and pepper to taste.
6. Serve with rice, bulgur wheat, or some other grain and some simple greens.
7. Jump into bed.
Monday, January 10, 2011
One of the last trips that Ryan and I took before Xavier was born was to Stockholm where I bought a moose cookie cutter in anticipation of my annual Christmas cookie bake off with my godmother. During the first few weeks following Xavier’s birth, I clung to the memories of Sweden as a way to remind myself that my world wasn’t going to revolve around a nursing pillow forever.
Xavier is ten weeks old today and while I’m still not out exploring the streets of northern Europe, I venture beyond the confines of our tiny apartment at least once a day regardless of the January winds. Over Christmas I trudged through two feet of snow to spend a few peaceful hours (alone!) with my godmother baking cookies using our favorite recipe from a 2003 Bon Appetit. We have caught up every year over cookie dough since I was old enough to hold a cookie cutter. This year among the familiar lopsided Santas and angels with missing wings of years past was the moose.