I have a confession to make: I’ve been a horrible vegetarian recently. The reason for this is kind of unknown to me. All I know is that my Grandfather died about a month ago and ever since then any semblance of discipline has gone out the window. I pride myself on being an incredibly disciplined person, so my sudden lack of self admonishment feels weird, but also liberating. It’s like the drill sergeant in my head has fallen into a deep asleep for awhile and I am gleefully running around doing what please my id with zero guilt. The other strange thing that’s been happening since Grandad died is that I feel angry/aggressive a lot of the time. I find myself fantasizing about totally out-of-character things, like hoping a random subway stranger will pick a fight with me (or pick on someone helpless!), so I can unleash my fury. This has not happened yet and I am sure if it did I’d be a total wuss… but for the “normal me” the mere thought of getting into a slight tiff or disagreement with someone else would put me into an anxiety spiral. But the new id-driven Elettra is just like “bring it” (at least for now). Yesterday while I was on the subway, I was trying to remember the last time I spontaneously and fully expressed my anger with zero shame, and I couldn’t remember a single event (I always apologize/feel extremely guilty for being angry), except for the time a random woman insulted my dog, Happy. Now, first of all, to frame this story, can we all please take a look at Happy?
Happy is the most loving little creature I have ever met and not only would he not hurt a fly, he is actually afraid of flies (seriously). So, about 4 years ago, I have Happy with me on the subway (in a little backpack), and this young woman (I’d say mid-20’s), who looks like she is RARING for a fight, keeps glaring at us. She’s making it abundantly clear with her facial expressions that she is fully disgusted by his presence. Now mind you, Happy was sleeping (cause that’s what he does 19 hours per day)/wasn’t panting/wasn’t barking/wasn’t even looking at her, so I am not sure what exactly was so bothersome, but I chose not to engage, not making eye contact and facing my body away from her. After a few minutes of staring daggers at us, she slowly walks up to me from across the subway car, gets a little too close to my face, and says, “That is one ugly dog.” I don’t know what came over me, but I suddenly had no fear – I just felt pure, calm rage. I looked at her straight in the eyes and this came out of my mouth in a stone cold tone: “Well, it takes an ugly dog to know an ugly dog, doesn’t it?” At that exact moment, the subway pulled into the station, the doors opened, and I got out walking backwards, maintaining eye contact with her the whole time. If I had a microphone, I would have done this:
She looked pretty stunned and didn’t follow me onto the platform (thank GOD), the doors closed and at that moment I realized it wasn’t my stop, so I had to pretend to walk out of the subway station to save face, only to walk down another flight of stairs to the same platform to wait for another train to come.
Why am I telling you this story?! I don’t know. But isn’t it more interesting/revealing than me telling you how much I love this easy one-pot chicken meal? (And I really do cause it’s delicious, fast, easy, AND has minimal clean up.) I’ll be eating this tonight and not feeling guilty about it at all. I suppose some part of me just needs comfort foods right now, so I will oblige and not put too much pressure on myself. Making a nice chicken dinner is probably better than getting into a fight with someone in the subway, right?
Chicken With Artichokes, Olives & Lemons
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 large chicken thighs about 1 3/4 pounds
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup chicken broth
5 lemon slices, seeds removed, preferably organic
1 10 ounce package frozen artichokes
3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper, then place them skin side down in the skillet. Cook for 6 minutes, until the skin turns brown. Turn the chicken thighs and brown on the flip side for 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and wipe out the skillet.
- Return the chicken to the skillet, add the chicken broth and lemon slices and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the artichoke hearts and olives and cover, simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer another 3-4 minutes or until the liquid is almost completely evaporated and chicken is cooked through.
Recipe by Amy Sherman for Impatient Foodie.