“Get some rest. Don’t stress over the weekend about anything. That’s what Mondays are for,” my co-worker said with a giggle and her usual twinkle as I walked out of the office this evening. I had filled a manilla folder full of what I had hoped to check off my to do list today, packed it up with my computer, stuffed it all in my briefcase and sighed. We closed on Mom and Dad’s condo this week. So the place I would go for comfort, encouragement and unabiding “wonderfuls”, has been sold.
It was an emotional week. It’s really over. My parents are gone. No one can love me like they did.
What do you do…?
I walk in the backdoor. Look in the freezer. Check out the shelves. See what interesting packages surface with a little reshuffling. Greek chicken breasts. That will do. They will lift me out of my funk, my fatigue, my blues. I’ll cook dinner.
I find an eggplant in the vegetable drawer along with half a red onion and a really big green pepper, lay them out on the counter and feel the theme. Greek.
I wrap the frozen breasts in a towel and stick them in the microwave, then, I most definately, yes, open a bottle of wine (even Jesus would), change into jeans, my old brown sweater and a pair of dad’s socks, grab my book (The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend) off the nightstand and head back to the kitchen.
It’s Friday night.
Not fancy by any means. No need for big plans or any plans. Just a time to bond at home with a dog named Sam, a cat named Mary and a husband name Todd.
I add about a cup of rice to a pan with a little more than a cup of water to boil, turn the oven on to 450, slice the breasts thin–its best when they’re still a bit frozen so don’t worry if they are–heat some coconut oil then brown the breasts while I chunk the eggplant, onion and half of that honkin’ pepper (I’ll use the other half in an omelet). I really prefer using coconut oil so I lay a cookie sheet over the frying pan to melt the oil, mix the vegetables in, open the oven to roast them and discover I’ve drawn some liquid out of the chicken. Huh. I drizzle it on the eggplant.
This is when I take a glass of wine–or is it my second?–to the couch with my book and wait until an aroma of roasted goodness wafts through the air. I get up and head back to the kitchen, sprinkle the eggplant with garlic powder, cayenne and Alice’s Garden Mediterranean sea salt and mix it altogether with the chicken. As I stir, the eggplant transforms into a deep caramely richness I could never have planned. I’ve learned to trust food to do it’s own thing.
We make our plates and instead of sitting down at the table, return to the couch to eat our dinner. “This is good,” I hear Todd say as I open my book.
I realize I’ve beat the blues. It’s a good life.
(In case your breasts aren’t Greek I googled this for you:
Mix salt, garlic powder, basil, oregano, cinnamon, black pepper, parsley rosemary, dill, marjoram, cornstarch, thyme, and nutmeg in a bowl. Store in an airtight container. Alternately, blend spices in a spice grinder for a finer texture. Allrecipes.com)