My New Year’s Gift To You
Reflecting on a year that brought such hardship to so many, I’m sheepish to admit that my 2020 was not without its blessings.
The opportunity, or government order, to pause and spend time at home – with loads of unstructured time – is an introvert’s dream. Weekends when the only thing on my “to do” list was to plan, shop for, create, and savor an elaborate dinner for my family is nothing short of a gift, no matter the cause. I am similarly thankful for the opportunity to work from home (and a job that permits this flexibility), where I could take a mid-morning break to marinate a flank steak for dinner, dash to the market at lunchtime for salad ingredients, and sip a glass of wine while answering end-of-day emails. Have you heard of the ‘pomodoro technique’ form of time management? It works! But I digress.
Standing on January 3, my octogenarian parents will receive the vaccine this Friday, and my fear of infecting them when we spend time together will decrease by 90%. The timing feels right for me to return to my in person office, and I’ll welcome the routine, even if it’s accompanied by that 5:30 pm weekday dread of “what nutritious and delicious meal can I scramble to create and have on the table inside an hour?”
You’re familiar with the feeling. So, here’s my New Year’s gift to you: a sheet-pan supper. Fortify your pantry with the staple ingredients the first time you make this, and all you’ll have to retrieve from the grocery is chicken thighs and fresh broccoli when you doubtless go to make it again next week and the next.
The chicken isn’t fried but feels every bit as decadent. Mustardy, crusty and juicy, “my favorite chicken” is what Jack calls it. Paul concurs. Everyone picks up the bones, rotating them to suck off the last tender bits of meat. Finger-lickin’ good.
As for the broccoli, I struggle not to wolf down too many of the crispy, garlicky and spicy roasted broccoli florets, hot from the oven, before plating them. Broccoli that’s as crispy and cravable as snack food? Yes, please!
Try these recipes together, as they cook at the same temperature, and everything’s ready at the same time. Start making the broccoli – you can use the same bowl – after you put the chicken in the oven. Pair these items with a loaf of French bread, or a box of couscous (I like Near East’s Toasted Pine Nut flavor, ready in 5 minutes), and you’ve got Tuesday supper that’s delicious enough to serve to guests, as I have many times.
Here’s hoping that your 2021 means a journey back to normalcy, health, and lots of good eating with loved ones.