Literally. It looks like I live on the set of Legend. The Hobbits are going wild in the flurries that are cascading down with each gust. Dog has grabbed the broom and is sweeping off the deck. Bug has appropriated the rake and is plowing through the yard. This all has the effect of trying to empty the ocean with a tea cup, but they mean well and are having fun. Plus they are outside. With cold weather coming, it gets harder and harder to pry them outside and so I encourage them to get as much outside time as they can before it gets really cold. Who am I kidding? I encourage them to get as much outside time as they can. Period. I wax lyrical about going out to be Christopher Robin and explore doing nothing. They don't always buy it. They're getting much too canny as they get older. Darn. Looks like I'm going to have to develop new strategies. So it is nice when there are exciting things that pull them out into the yard to enthrall their energy and attention, like finding newts in logs. And falling leaves.
Falling leaves mean it is time for the wardrobe flip. That foray into the recesses of the attic for boxes of seasonal clothing and marathons of trying on clothing to see what fits or what is ready to be passed on to another home. This is the twitchy time of year when winter clothes are too warm and summer clothes are too cool, so you have to have a little of both to get by. Meanwhile, there are piles of clothes that need a home in one place or another. After twelve season flips, you'd think I'd have this down into an efficient routine, but it ain't happening. I'm sure Fly Lady has a cure for all of this, but I've never been able to get past those daily emails to find out. I am, however, making a concerted effort to put my shoes on in the morning, even if I'm not going anywhere. There. That's enough of a baby step for now, eh?
With damp and chilly weather settling in for the week and we're not going anywhere, I've decided to take some time off. A stack of trashy novels piled up next to my bed along with a container of sunflower seeds, my current marginally tolerated snack. And a cup of coffee...decaf, natch. I snuggle down under flannel sheets and, being the coldest creature in the house, a ton of crocheted comforters. More cooler weather, more comfort food...warm and warming things that remind me of home and childhood. There's probably not a recipe that means all of that to me more than garlic chicken. It was a quintessential dish of my childhood, one that my grandmother taught my mom and she, in turn, taught me. Luckily, it's a Hobbit favorite.
1 whole chicken, quartered or 8-9 chicken pieces
2 T lard or olive oil
1 T sugar
1/2 vidalia onion, rough chopped
1-4 heads of garlic, minced
2-3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. red pepper
2 cups bone broth or 1 tsp. salt and 2 cups water
1/4 t. dried rosemary
1/4 t. dried sage
1 t. dried sweet basil
1 t. dried thyme
1/8 t. allspice
1/8 t. coriander
My mother tells me that my grandmother started every recipe by browning the meat in carmelized sugar and oil. So dump oil or lard in cast iron dutch oven and heat sugar until brown and bubbling, just to the point of smoking. Add meat pieces and allow to brown on each side, turning for even browning. Slice onion and allow onions to saute while the meat finishes browning. Add bone broth or salt and water, pepper, and minced garlic. Measure out optional spices into a coffee filter and staple closed, making an herbal sachet. Toss in and allow to soak in the liquid in the pot. After liquid comes to a boil, lower to a simmer and allow to cook for 45 min - 1 hour or until meat is done.
Serve over hot rice.
Yep. More leaves coming down. The turkeys are parading through the yard. They're supposed to be shy creatures, but apparently someone has failed to inform my particular flock, since my yard isn't exactly a quiet place. They dodge the Hobbits, who are building piles of leaves to leap into. Bug buries himself under a particularly large stack and Dog, the straight man, comes to enlist my "help" in finding him. I make loud mouth noises about needing to mow up all of these leaves before it rains and head for the lawn mower. Bug, ever the sucker, jumps up and nervously demands to know if I was serious. Then they dash off down the hill to run and tumble into another pile. Next week, there will be a soggy blanket for me to peel up from the surface of the yard and compost. But today the leaves keep falling.