It's no secret - our family's dream is a move out to the country, build our dream house in the midst of tall trees (which is far from a mansion, but a humble home, using creativity and simple materials, not high end expensive finishes - a house should feel like home, after all), grow fruit and vegetables to feed a crowd, swing in hammocks while reading good books, finishing days with guitars and bon fires and friends. Most of us have dreams, too many of us never dare to pursue them. As I watch my children grow, and their eyes light up whilst doing things they love, when we have that typical grown-up to child conversation about what to become one day, it brings joy to my heart when they have big dreams, when they don't say silly things like, "well, that would be nice, but that's impossible, so I won't dare try". I wonder if God sees dreams passed over, dreams let go by us, the same way I do when I see a child's can't do outlook? Dreams usually have purpose, and when they are beautiful dreams, they extend past ourselves and include those around us, often many more, people we may never know. So please, allow yourself to follow your dream, don't be too humble to brush God off, thinking it's not for you. He's in the dream business, His dreams came true when He created you.
Allowing myself to take the time to learn to cook, without being so hard on myself when I fail, has been a dream for me. I want my legacy to be memory evoking recipes left behind to generations after me, for people to enjoy them and to smile and perhaps shed a few little tears, when they remember the times we spent around the kitchen island. I refuse to let anything stand in it's way.
Still there is something to be said about efficient cooking, so more time can be spent sitting together, enjoying each other's stories and thoughts. During cold winters, we love spending time near the oven, it keeps us warm(er), and the beautiful aromas evoke comfort in so many ways. Summers are short, cooking outdoors a special treat, and I do embrace it any chance I get. This dinner is a perfect example of this, the house remains cool, and post-cooking wash up is sparse.
I started with skinless, boneless chicken thighs, about 2 per person (plus extra for lunch the next day, or course). I grabbed a large bowl, and combined these seasonings in it:
2 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp turbinado or brown sugar
1 tsp coarse kosher salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 - 3 tbsp olive oil
Pat your chicken dry, then add it to the bowl, using your hands, coat with the seasoning rub. Set aside.
Now, grab a large head of broccoli, cut it into medium florets. Using a large length of aluminum foil, make a pouch for the broccoli by laying it in a 2 inch line in down the center. Crimp both ends of the foil to make a pouch, but leave the top open. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Time to heat the BBQ to high.
Meanwhile, scrub 4 russet potatoes, then place in the microwave (yes, I know... but do you really want the oven on for an hour right now??!), and cook on high for about 15 minutes. Check for doneness, adjust cooking time if necessary.
When the BBQ is good and hot, place the broccoli pouch on one end, and the chicken, presentation side down first, on the other. Turn the BBQ to medium. The broccoli (which I love cooked rather than raw but with a good crunch left in it) and chicken will be ready in about the same time, roughly 10 - 15 minutes. Turn the chicken as little as possible. I like to cook it about 3/4 of the way on one side, then almost to done on the second. At this time I add my favourite BBQ sauce to both sides and let it caramelize, turning it once or twice.
A few chives snipped from the garden, chopped and stirred into thick sour cream with a little salt and pepper completes the dish. (By the way, read your ingredients even on basic foods like sour cream, you might be surprise what you find. I only buy Western sour cream, it's entirely natural and tastes so much better for it.)
Voila - dinner is ready, just 20 minutes later, and the kitchen is still refreshingly cool.