I woke up to beautiful, quiet world of white, where snow-covered bare tree branches look soft as feathers against gray sky. I hear the scrape of the plow against my driveway, clearing our way through last night’s snowstorm. Everything is hushed and heavy and monochromatic in the most elegant of ways.
Of course, it is also late March. We are beginning to chafe for sunshine and grass. The joy of snow angels has waned, and what was cozy in January is beginning to feel stale. This is the real test for us Northerners. All that “hygge” comes so easily in December, but can we keep it up in late March, while the rest of the world enjoys the first bursts of daffodil-yellow and azalea-pinks?
If you’re needing a bit of a boost, try candles, soup, and delicious homemade bread. A little mini tulip in an even mini-er pot helps, too. Hope springs eternal and all that jazz.
My Favorite Roast Chicken
a wee bit adapted from Jamie Oliver
1. Heat oven to 375 and get out your dutch oven.
2. Season a whole chicken (theirs are the best, and BIG!) with salt and pepper (generously!)
3. In dutch oven, brown chicken in butter or olive oil or coconut oil over medium high heat until it’s a bit golden on all sides.
4. Add 10 unpeeled garlic cloves, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp sage, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, juice of two lemons (or equivalent from a bottle — shhh, I won’t tell), 2 cans coconut milk (or 1 can, and make up the difference with whole milk.) Don’t need to stir, just dump it in.
5. Put on the lid and bake for 45 minutes. Take the lid off and bake for 45 more.
6. Take the chicken out of the amazing sauce, pick meat off bones, and stir the meat back into the saucy pot. Serve over basmati rice. Heaven.
7. Save leftover chicken and sauce for tomorrow.
Soup The Next Day
1. Fill the pot you used yesterday with the chicken carcass you saved and cold water to cover. Simmer for HOURS.
2. Strain resulting broth (if you’re like me, it’ll be about 3 cups because you let it all evaporate — oops!), and pick any meat off of bones before discarding. Be thorough! This is a good chicken you’re dealing with!
3. Saute 1 medium onion in coconut milk until translucent. Add about 4 cloves of chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.
4. Pour in reserved broth + enough water to equal about 4-6 cups of liquid. Add a can of coconut milk.
5. Stir in 3 chopped carrots and the leftover chicken and sauce.
6. Season with 1 tsp coriander, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1-2 tsp salt, and pepper. Simmer until carrots are soft (or longer!)
7. Add half a bag of frozen peas, a generous squeeze of lemon, and Israeli couscous towards the end — when I add pasta, I like to simmer for a few minutes, and then just lid the pot off the heat to let the pasta keep cooking while the soup simultaneously cools.
Easy and Delicious French Bread!
seriously the best bread recipe I’ve ever found — makes 4 loaves
1. Mix 4 1/2 cups flour, 1 Tablespoon salt, 3 Tablespoons sugar, and 6 3/4 tsp active dry yeast in mixing bowl.
2. Stir in 3 cups warm water (120*F) with wooden spoon until smooth.
3. Add 2 – 3 cups more flour, until sticky dough forms. Turn out onto well-floured surface and knead until smooth and springy, about 5 minutes. (Keep sprinkling flour as needed — I like to not add too much at the beginning, knowing I’ll likely need it as I knead.)
4. Put in oiled bowl and cover. Let rise for about an hour till doubled.
5. Preheat oven to 400*. Turn dough out onto counter and divide into 4 equal amounts. Shape each ball into a rectangle about 8″x10″. Roll tightly (the long way), and place seam-side down on greased pan (or silpat.) Repeat for others, using two baking sheets with two loaves each. Cover with clean towel and let rise 45 minutes or so.
6. Brush with egg wash for extra fancy, and then make three slashes with sharp knife on an angle. Pop into the oven for 20 minutes or so, rotating baking sheets halfway through for even baking.