I saw the sign

Thanks for your thoughts. I’ve appreciated them.

Here’s what’s happened in the (almost) two days since that conversation: Two quesadillas. Made by Tito. A two-hour nap. Lots of very productive work time. A long, luxuriously slow dinner at El Gaucho, which I’ll tell you about later. Ate some chocolate. (But, um, not in that order.) Egg burrito for breakfast. Made by Tito. Two articles came out; I finished three others. Turned two small pieces down, took on one bigger article. (Notice: I didn’t take all three.) Leftovers for lunch. Trip to the gym today, followed by another nap. More writing. No cooking. No recipes written. Some thinking.

As is almost always the case, the best thoughts come to me when pen and paper are the farthest away. I jumped onto the ellyptical machine and S.O.S. came blasting through my ear buds. S.O.S. indeed, I thought. I gave myself thirty minutes to make up my mind. I turned the machine to an easy setting and felt its gentle motion begin to loosen up my spine.

I opened Arthritis Today (yes, I’m a faithful A.T. reader, no laughing) to a piece that caught my eye: Express Yourself, said the header. Ease pain and boost immune function with expressive journaling. A whole article on how writing about your feelings can ease your symptoms. Well hey, isn’t that what I’ve been doing? Might explain why I get so dang verbose when I’m not feeling great. Hogwash is good for my health. I turned the page. Rihanna crooned.

I could care less about losing those last ten pounds or finding the right slingbacks for summer, but A.T. can sure drag me in with their headlines. Bounce back after a setback, it said. Don’t get sidelined by a good flare. I started reading, the words wobbling up and down with my cadence, and sure enough, an achievement psychologist from nowhere other than Seattle named Dan Tripps had something to say about setting and reassessing goals. Is this a sign? I wondered.

“Goals should be adaptable,” said Dr. Tripps. And “continuity is critical for sustaining momentum.” Oh, and “stick to your schedule.”

Adaptability. Continuity. Oh, Dr. T., how did you know? Both of these things are important. So I’ll continue. But I’ll adapt. I’ll keep going, but allow more silly things. Cocktails. Leftovers. The perfect grilled cheese sandwich. And I’m going to take help, if you want to give it.

It turns out my husband has a thing or two he needs to get off his chest in the recipe department, too. I may share a recipe or two of his for beer – “Seattleite” was his latest, a good pale ale – or perhaps slugs, the lumpy mounds of baked dough he likes to make with leftover pie crust. The recipe starts, “Have your wife make a pie. Ask her to save the extra dough for you.”

See? That’ll be two for one. Adapting.

I did like hearing from you.

You pointed out things I hadn’t thought of, like the fact that I seemed to have set up an equation where I either did Project or Proposal, never considering that part of the reason my enthusiasm for this project might be flagging is that I have the wrong equation to begin with. Health-wise, pulling the proverbial throttle back on hogwash and replacing it with something else would be, well, not exactly forward progress, in spoon terms. I admit, you’re right.

Arthritis Today gave me a few more pointers, too. (Except SOCK SCIENCE: In Pursuit of the Perfect Sock. I skipped that one.) That I’m young, for example. Sure, it’s a goal, but there is no ticking time bomb on a cookbook, and I doubt I’ll become measurably less creative in the next ten years, much less in the next six months.

I also read a piece about a woman my age with rheumatoid arthritis, about her struggles with her dream to complete a marathon. To my absolute horror, I felt a tear trickle down my face. In the gym. Thank goodness no one does cardio on sunny Friday afternoons.

I guess the other thing that’s occurred to me is that I don’t necessarily have to have an answer: Why am I doing this? Who cares? I’m doing it.

Yes, I’m doing it. If I hiccup somewhere along the way, so be it. You’ll forgive me. If you have an original recipe to send me, meaning YOU wrote it, by all means, send it along. You never know when I’ll have another bout of self-doubt.

Plus, I just got this new lens for my camera (way on sale!) . . . and you’ll only stand for so many photos of my dog.

Chicken with Rosemary-Garlic Cream

Recipe for Chicken with Rosemary-Garlic Cream
Recipe 180 of 365

I once had an instructor in culinary school who said, “fat equals flavor,” over and over in each class. “Fat equals flavah, people!” This recipe isn’t short on either. And it’s a good test for your toothpaste.

TIME: 15 minutes
MAKES: 2 servings

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
2 large garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup heavy cream

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. When the pan is hot, add the oil, and swirl to coat. Add the chicken, and cook for 4 to 6 minutes per side (undisturbed), depending on the thickness of the meat.

Scoot the chicken to the sides of the pan, and place the butter in the center. When melted, stir the garlic and rosemary into the butter, and let cook for about a minute, stirring. Add the cream, season with salt and pepper, increase the heat to high, and simmer the cream until thick enough to coat the chicken, about 2 or 3 minutes, turning the chicken in the sauce as it cooks down.

Serve the chicken hot, topped with the remaining sauce.


Filed under chinese, commentary, recipe

8 responses to “I saw the sign

  1. What IS the definition of “the perfect sock?”

    BTW, my favorite Jess recipes are your cookies. If you’re looking to go on a binge, I’d love it to be cocentric on sweets.

  2. Oooh. Sock-shaped cookies.

  3. I’m impressed that you turned down two pieces. I mean it. Congrats on the published articles!

  4. PS Can you tell the Barking Dog to reprint their dang beer lists? Last time we went there, they said “we don’t have a beer list” and had reorganized the menu–we ended up feeling overcharged (for dinner) and under-beered, whereas beer was previously the highlight.

  5. Thanks for deciding to continue. I love your site and it is really inspiring me especially now with farmers’ market season. Comfort food recipes are fine by me. I don’t want to you to use too many spoons at once since I selfishly want to enjoy your writing and food for a long time to come.

  6. Hmm, I’ll see what I can do with the Barking Dog . . .maybe it’ll have to be a team effort!

  7. Kyle

    I understand that the point of this recipe is that it’s rich and fatty, but how could I tone down the fat? Half/half?

  8. Half and half doesn’t do so well in sauces – try substituting 1 tablespoon dijon mustard and 1/3 cup white wine for the cream – simmer until it thickens a bit, and add a teeny bit of heavy cream in (or a little bit of butter) at the end, if you wish. Slightly different flavor, but much better for you.

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