chicken in a pot

Between working on a manuscript, following the Kavanaugh hearings, and fretting about whether Hurricane Michael was going to hit Pensacola (have you seen the video from poor, devastated Mexico Beach and Panama City?), I realized yesterday that I’ve gotten myself into a state of sleep deprivation. Never good. So last night I brought out the big guns: a beautiful whole chicken, carrots, onion, celery, broth and a generous splash of dry vermouth. Settled down with Buck for our usual evening cocktail — a Manhattan for him and scotch and water for me while the ingredients simmered into heavenly medicine. It worked its magic and I got the first really great night’s sleep I’ve had in days, if not weeks. Woke up feeling like a tigress and ready for a dash to the gate with Lula Belle. We dashed because a cool front had rolled in, at last, and the temp at seven was 54 degrees, a tiny bit cool for gym shorts and tank top.

Soft Clothes and Comfort Food

Thursday was a busy day, filled with work and errands. The next-to-last stop was at Parker Custom Built Homes, where Celeste, who makes the trains run on time, needed a signature for the Notice of Commencement for our home.

We spent a few pleasant minutes, then I raced on to the grocery store to throw some supper ingredients in a hand-held basket, anxious to get home and into my soft clothes. “Soft clothes” are the best clothes in the world. Sweats, or a cotton nightgown, or whatever is most comfortable in your drawer or closet. You know what I mean. Usually it’s old. Very soft, and no tight elastic, underwire brassieres or anything else that might bind or poke.

The best suppers seem to emerge from that blind instinct for comfort. This invented, hurry-up job was no different.

1-chicken thighs in wok

I pulled out my old wok, pressed a large clove of garlic and chopped an onion into a bit of warm olive oil in the wok. Just as they were beginning to smell fabulous, I added some chicken thighs sprinkled with pepper and herbes de Provence. After browning, a few splashes of white wine and some chicken broth made a nice simmer bath. Just before serving, I removed the chicken, then added a little bit of cream to smooth out the sauce and seriously yummify it.

To go with the chicken, I fixed a box of Mediterranean curry couscous (Near East brand, I think), and sauteed some sweet red pepper and zucchini.

2-chicken and couscous

Buck and I took our plates to the couch and ate in our soft clothes by the light of the fireplace, a sweet prescription for a good night’s sleep.

 

Foraging for Supper

I haven’t felt like planning ahead for meals this week.

Tonight, we foraged. My sweet man says, “Our leftovers are better than most peoples’ firstovers.” After a couple of drinks, Goldfish crackers and a sliced apple, pbjs and a glass of milk seemed like it might be just the ticket.

But then, we foraged in the fridge and found some leftover braised beef with garlic and tomatoes. Oh my.  Two individual interpretations emerged:

Buck: Lightly nuked leftover braised beef with garlic and tomatoes, bread and butter pickles, and Saltine crackers.

Beth: Lightly nuked leftover braised beef with garlic and tomatoes, sandwiched into flour tortillas, pickled jalapeno peppers scattered across the top, sprinkled with shredded pizza-mix cheese toasted in the toaster oven and garnished with sour cream. Oh my God, was it ever one fabulous quesadilla.

See here for the original Oven-Braised Beef with Tomato Sauce and Garlic recipe. It’s based on a recipe from the late author, Laurie Colwin, called Aunt Gladys’s Beef.  Be sure to read all of the review comments. It’s a real pot roast soap opera. (Naturally, I think my version– which adds a generous pour of dry red and a bunch of fresh basil draped over the top —  is the best!)