Step One: Roast a chicken. Use the easiest method known to man—simply drying, trussing, salting, then cooking for an hour, no big deal, barely a blip in your day. Get so excited about this process that you have your picture taken with the bird. (Tell yourself that’s not weird at all.)
Step Two: Share the chicken with a friend for dinner, and share the recipe with everyone you know on your blog. Talk about it, Tweet about it, brag about it over and over again. (Tell yourself that’s not weird at all either.)
Step Three: Because of the serendipity of timing and Twitter and blog connections, have your friend Jacqui over to do the whole thing over again. Times three. Find her at the front door carrying a bag full of snacks and groceries, ready to cook, and thank your lucky stars you know her. (And that she’s someone who gets the excitement of roasting a chicken completely.)
Step Four: Eat. Eat while the chickens roast (hummus, red grapes, crackers topped by goat cheese and fig jam). Eat after the chickens roast (sliced meat fresh off the bird, whole wheat bread, sauteed dandelion greens with ramps and raisins and pistachios). Eat for days and days after (sandwiches and salads and anything else with chicken! chicken! chicken!).
Step Five: Think to yourself, amidst all this eating, how nice it is that something small like roasting a chicken for dinner one night can lead to something awesome like roasting three with Jacqui. Remember every day our small things—words of kindness to a friend, evenings spent in meaningful conversation, asking someone a question instead of assuming you know the answer—push towards patterns and reactions and changes that become big and, while in themselves seem simple or inconsequential, put together can change the course of our days and so our lives.
Think about this while you eat salads at your work desk. Think about this while you make paninis for dinner. Think about this as you plan to roast another chicken sometime very soon.
Adapted from My Recipes
After learning of my great love of fig jam, Jacqui sent me this recipe, which I have now made twice!
1/4 cup fig jam
Slices of your favorite bread (I used sprouted Ezekiel bread)
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
2 Tablespoons butter, softened
8 ounces chopped roasted chicken
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups greens (I used leftover dandelion greens, but they’re a bit bitter)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Assemble each panini in this way: spread fig jam on cut side of one slice of bread. In a small bowl, combine goat cheese and butter, stirring until smooth, and spread over cut side of other slice of bread. Arrange chicken evenly over cheese mixture; sprinkle with pepper. Place top half of bread, jam side down, over chicken.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add sandwich to pan. You can top it with a cast-iron skillet to help press it, but this made me burn the first time. Basically, you want to brown it and flip, browning the other side.
Place greens in a bowl and drizzle lemon juice on top of them, tossing gently. When panini is browned, remove top piece of bread and add some greens into the sandwich before putting the bread back on top.
There’s nothing really important about this recipe other than the fact that I made it something like FOUR DAYS IN A ROW, with slight variations, because that’s how much I liked it. All you really need to know is: add a bunch of stuff you like and enjoy. But here’s what that meant for me.
Greens (I mixed Trader Joe’s Champs Elysees mix with dandelion greens)
Chopped roast chicken
Nuts (Almonds or pecans or walnuts, for example)
Dried fruit (Raisins or apricots work nicely)
Combine everything but the lemon juice, balsamic and oil in a large container and then add the dressings as you like. Enjoy!