Sometimes I get to thinking.
Thinking about work and friends and family, and all sorts of other things that keep me energized and happy. Like this blog, for example. This blog makes me happy, even though my relationship with it is a complicated one.
For starters, most posts take some serious head scratching, pointer-and-thumb-on-chin pondering, and back spacing. Then there’s the photograph-taking aspect. I’ve just prepared dinner, but before I can dig in, I need to set up a little photography studio on the corner of our desk by the windows, click click click away, and hope that one photo turns out decently.
But, oh, what a wonderful creative outlet this is. I get to write, which makes my English major heart smile. And it keeps me trying new dishes–over 170 in the past year and a half that this blog has been in existence. The best result being that I am slowly but surely becoming a decent cook. A cook who, though she may follow recipes, can usually tell before she even considers pre-heating the oven that the recipe will be a winner or a failure. Someday, I hope to be the kind of cook who can put together her own dishes and love them every bit as much as the ones she dutifully creates from tried-and-true recipes. But until then, I’m happy to be responsible for choosing and making dishes that are delicious and nutritious for me and my beau.
Which brings me to the point of this long, rambling post–the other night, Nate and I made Chicken Breasts with Tomato-Herb Pan Sauce, a recipe I found in the July issue of Bon Appetit. And it was so easy to make, it was almost comical. You add some herbs and garlic to butter. Then you toss half of that butter into a pan with your chicken breasts. Cook the chicken until it’s done, and set it aside. In the pan, toss in a bunch of cherry tomatoes and cook them until they char and burst. Add in the rest of the butter, then pour the whole thing over your chicken.
Easy, right? Absolutely. But, honestly, I would’ve stood by the hot stove for a day for the phenomenal meal this recipe produced. The chicken is perfectly moist. The tomato sauce is fresh and flavorful and herbaceous. It’s the kind of dinner that makes you remember that real, good cooking is about balancing flavors, not ingredient lists a mile long, and that fresh trumps processed any time, any day, any place.
I can’t guarantee that you’ll have the sort of revelations I had after you eat this. I can guarantee that you’ll walk away from the dinner table full and happy. Which, at the end of the day, is what cooking (and life) is all about.