Sunday, May 11, 2014

11 May 2014 – Mothers Day










Recovery has been the operative word this weekend. After a week of coughing and the sudden onset of a very high fever, I spent last Wednesday night in the Emergency Room. After lung X-rays, breathing treatments, steroid shots and a few other tests, I was finally released with a diagnosis of bronchitis on the verge of pneumonia. It appears a lot of people around Canton have had the same crud, but my asthma seems to complicate the typical respiratory issues. Needless to say, the weekend did not involve a lot of strenuous activity, but that was okay. A little downtime at home can be a good thing.

One of the most disappointing things about the weekend was missing my nephew's graduation on Friday night. I am so proud of Nate Grant for graduating Cum Laude from UGA with a BA in Journalism and Minor in Film Studies! I have been so impressed with his education and drive, and I know we will see great things from him. I still remember and have some of the great film scripts he wrote in high school, and I have no doubt the universe has a lot in store for this talented young man. His plan is to move to San Francisco in the near future to be with his girlfriend, and I can't wait to visit him there. Just remember your Unc B when those Hollywood royalty checks start rolling in!

Although we were unable to attend Nate's graduation in Athens, I did manage to spend some quality time with some old friends that I have not seen in quite a long time. Most of the weekend involved the rediscovery of the TV series thirtysomething which ran from 1987-1991. I used to love this show, especially since it came out a couple of years before I started my first creative agency. Me and my semi-yuppy friends in Dalton could relate to the young adult angst and whining, but the cast of characters felt like an extended family. So, we are almost through Season One, and it has been comforting to watch this predecessor to Mad Men and so many other current series.

Of course, Mothers Day is always bittersweet for me and so many others who have lost their moms. I really enjoy reading all of the great posts on Facebook about the time everyone is spending with their mothers, and I could not be happier for them. As I posted on Facebook earlier today, my mother was one-of-a-kind, and like her idol, Elvis, she did it her way. Like me, she enjoyed good food and loved to cook, so I keep a photo of she and I on the counter in the kitchen. It is from the last trip I took her on to Savannah. She was on oxygen at the time, but she was still smoking every time I turned my back. In the photo, she is standing right beside me with the oxygen tank between us and inhaling in defiance. That is the way she rolled, and I miss her spirit and friendship.

So being under the weather, slightly depressed and nostalgic required some simple comfort food for Sunday Supper. Due to the sickness, I have been craving antioxidant foods such as lemons and garlic – in large amounts! I also wanted roasted chicken or chicken soup, but I did not feel like going to a lot of trouble. I did a little research and creative thinking and decided to combine all of my cravings into a single composed dish – Sorrento Lemon Chicken and Potatoes. One of my favorite dishes is a similar one from Gio's Chicken Amalfitano in Atlanta. It is a great restaurant, and the same people own the awesome Antico Pizza. The dish is very easy to make, and the flavor is out of this world. I served it with some crusty rosemary bread and sauteed spinach.

Now, back to thirtysomething and more recovery. Best wishes for a healthy and happy week ahead.

The Menu:

- Sorrento Lemon Chicken and Potatoes

- Sauteed Spinach and Garlic

- Crusty Rosemary and Olive Oil Bread


The Recipe – Sorrento Lemon Chicken and Potatoes

Ingredients:

• 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

• Olive oil, 2 tablespoons for the chicken, 2 tablespoons for the potatoes, 1/4 cup for the broth

• Salt and pepper

• Dry oregano, 1 teaspoon for the chicken, 1 teaspoon for the broth

• 4 lemons (1 quartered to go in with the chicken, 1 to be zested then juiced for the broth, 1 more to be juiced for the broth, and 1 to be sliced into thin rounds for garnish)

• 2 baking potatoes, rinsed and dried, sliced into 8 long wedges each

• 1 cup chicken stock (Homemade preferred, or I like the Better than Bouillon brand)

• 2 tablespoons grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

• 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

• 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, for garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Rub the chicken with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then sprinkle both sides generously with salt and pepper and 1 teaspoon oregano. Arrange chicken skin side up in a baking pan to cook. Throw in the quartered lemon. In a separate baking pan, toss the potato wedges with 2 tablespoons olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper.

Cook the chicken and potatoes until the chicken hits 165 degrees, roughly 50 minutes.

While the chicken and potatoes are cooking, whisk together the broth — zest of 1 lemon, juice of 2 lemons, 1/4 cup olive oil, chicken stock, grated cheese, chopped garlic, and 1 teaspoon oregano.

If you have a meat thermometer, check the chicken at 45 minutes to see if it has hit 165 degrees and has a light golden color to the skin. If not, give it a few more minutes then check again.

Once the chicken is ready, pull it out and switch the oven to broil. Leave the potatoes in for a few minutes as the broiler heats up to give them an extra crisp. Give the broth another quick whisk and pour over the chicken into the baking pan. Take the potatoes out of the oven, then broil the chicken for about 3 minutes, until the skin is well browned and the broth is bubbling a bit.

For each serving, place 4 wedges of potato and a chicken breast into a bowl, then spoon or pour in the sauce from the chicken pan. Garnish with chopped parsley and thin slices of lemon.
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