Friday, September 10, 2010

If Only I Were a Prodigy Hoodlum From South Boston

In one of my early Pillow Book posts, I wrote something to the effect of "If I couldn't run 30, I chose not to walk 5." I then proceeded to talk about how I had grown, sidelined my perfectionist tendencies and embraced even relatively small measures of progress. Boy, did I lie. Even though I knew that writing made me feel more settled, that the Pillow Book community brought such interesting conversations into my life, I abandoned it. I was concerned that with less time available for writing, the entries would reflect haste, the thoughts, and pictures, and recipes, poorly-concealed apathy. Stagnation won out.

But, I'm growing again. Although I plan to do a more in-depth entry this weekend, this is me tying my tennis shoes.
Wendell Berry wrote a short essay in 2009 titled "In Memory: James Baker Hall" in which he describes the impact Hall had on his writing and on his life in general. Here is the excerpt that has been on my mind:

"In it [letter from Hall] you hear, not only his manner of speech, but his characteristic, passionate refusal to gloss over or leave out matters of difference. We certainly did have a journey together, and we certainly were not always going in tandem or in the same direction. But his candor about that gives a palpable verification to the letter's final words: 'with love, in friendship.'

When I try to reckon up my debt to Jim, as if to itemize the account and end with a sum, I always have to settle for 'immeasurable.' Our conversation, starting so early and lasting so long, I count as an immense gift in itself. But it also made Jim one of the people I have most frequently talked to in my thoughts. His presence in my mind has been one of the tests of whatever I have thought. And I have always read his writing and studied his photographs, looking through the work to the man, wondering, as his artistry grew, how it had grown, how he had come to know what he knew, how he had learned to do what he did."

Thank you Caroline, Lindsey, Melissa, and Andy for giving meaning to "with love, in friendship."

Since Caroline and I bought 842 apples at Jackson's Orchard, we decided that each meal on Sunday needed to contain them. Here is a recipe C scoped out on Simply Best friends, bottle of wine, good food = great night.

Chicken and Apples in Honey Mustard Sauce
Serves: 4
1/2 cup apple cider
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp mustard
2 Tbsp seasoned dry breadcrumbs
4 4oz chicken breasts
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 small unpeeled apples, cored and cut into eighths (we used Gala)
1/2 cup chicken broth
Fresh parsley

Whisk cider, cornstarch, mustard, honey, salt and pepper (to taste) in a bowl. Set aside.

Spread bread crumbs on a piece of wax paper, lightly coat chicken with crumbs.

In a large non-stick skillet, heat the oil and add the chicken breasts. Cook over medium heat until golden brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Turn chicken, add apples, and cook until browned on the other side.
Add chicken broth, cover and simmer until chicken is tender, about 15 minutes.

With slotted spoon, remove chicken and apples to serving plates.

Whisk cider mixture again and add to skillet. Cook and stir over high heat until lightly thickened and bubbly, 1 to 2 minutes. Spoon over chicken and apples, sprinkle with parsley.

1 comment:

  1. I don't really have much of a comment. Just happy to be reading your blog, happy to have been with the girls last weekend, happy to have friends I love. :)