Sunday, August 19, 2012

There has been only one thing that I have been trying to accomplish ever since I moved out of my parents house. One goal that I have set for myself every place I have lived. 

To make wherever I'm living feel like home.

And tonight, for the first time in the past 4 years that I've lived on my own, I accomplished that goal.

Let me start from the beginning. 

These past two weeks have been among the most stressful weeks of my life. Planning a wedding, working full time, budgets, and then finding out my fiance is leaving for 5 months, are just a few reasons for the stress. So I had been looking forward to this Sunday since two weeks ago. Sunday, the day that was completely blank on my day planner. The day that held no expectations, no deadlines, no future in-laws, nothing. One whole day, all to myself. 
I woke up at 11:45am to rain falling on my windows. I made myself some coffee and crawled back into bed. I spent the remainder of the morning blissfully unaware of anything. I drank my coffee in bed, watched a movie and smiled the whole time. My fiance called to let me know he would be coming over for dinner, so I lazily started scrolling through the internet looking for some interesting new recipes. Once I dragged myself out of bed, I made some brunch. I got to FaceTime with an old friend in Georgia, I made a list of things I needed to make dinner. No expectations. Complete freedom for one day. While running to the grocery store, I stopped off at Kirklins. A little home goods store, with candles and pillows and mirrors, the kind of place I could blow an entire pay check at. I allowed myself to buy a big mirror and some scented air fresheners. I chose a pumpkin, fall scent. 
For dinner I decided to make a new dish I found off of Pinterest for my Fiance. Lemon, garlic chicken, roasted with potatoes. The results exceeded my expectations. Here is the recipe. 

  • 2 pounds
  • chicken thighs, boneless, trimmed
  • lemons
  • 3 large
  • garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon
  • brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 pounds
  • potatoes, Yukon gold or red bliss
  • a few twigs
  • fresh thyme
  • 1 cup
  • chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon
  • Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon
  • flour
  • 3 tablespoons
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  1. Cut the chicken thighs in half lengthwise, pat them dry, drop them in a bowl and grate the garlic and the rind of 2 lemons over them, then toss with the brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Put the bowl into the fridge and marinate for 10 minutes or so.
  1. Meanwhile slice the potatoes into thin slices, lightly toss with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and put into an oiled, medium sized baking pan. Put the potatoes into the oven to roast for about 15 minutes.
  1. While the potatoes are roasting, take your chicken out of the fridge and drain off any moisture. With paper towels, pat the chicken dry (this prevents the chicken from splattering quite as much and really helps it brown much nicer). Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, drizzle in a bit of olive oil to cover the bottom. Sauté the chicken until the skin is golden and crispy (cooks hint, don’t move the chicken pieces around a lot). You will probably have to do this in 2 batches. Do not crowd the chicken, crowds make it pale and sweaty (just like some of us).
  1. Put the flour into a small bowl and mix with a bit of the chicken stock until a smooth paste forms, stir in the mustard and remaining stock.
  1. Take the potatoes out of the oven, pour the chicken stock mixture into the pan with the potatoes. Pile the chicken on top, sprinkle on the chopped thyme. Slice one lemon and tuck among the chicken and potatoes, squeeze the juice of the other lemon all over the chicken.
  1. Pop back into the oven for 20 minutes until the sauce is furiously bubbling and has thickened. Taste for seasonings! Does it need more salt, pepper or lemon? When it is perfect, dance your dish to the table.
Instead of using a baking pan, I used a ceramic dish. I think it made the potatoes crispier and the chicken juicy. I also did not use flour because of my gluten allergy. 

The dish was fantastic and my Fiance loved it!
As I looked across the dining room table, absently listening to my fiance tell a story about a footchase he recently got into (he is a police office)  I swirled around my half finished glass of Zinfindel, and thought about the day. I looked around at my tiny one bedroom apartment. My walls are bare from having just recently moved in, my living room is completely empty because my living room furniture hasn't been delivered yet. Frank Sinatra was crooning in the back ground, and what few candles I have, were lit. This is home. The smell of fall from my air freshener, the smell of freshly made dinner, the lazy conversation between my love and I, the sound of the ratpack in the background. I finally feel that I have accomplished what my mother spent her life building. A home. 

Home isin't a perfectly decorated house, its not expensive furniture or fancy appliances. Home to me, is good food, being with the ones you love, the feeling of complete satisfaction and comfort just being where you are. Home is where your heart is. My heart is with my fiance, with the pleasure in making him a dinner he loves. As long as I have him, food to cook, Frank Sinatra to listen to, and some candles to light. Ill always be at home.