About 347 years ago Aaron and I obtained a rather urban lifestyle. Freshly married, we lived in a warehouse loft downtown. We played regularly in an indie band together. We gallivanted with the city folk from social event to event. I wore high heels ‘round the clock.
In short, we were hip.
During those days we weren’t often seen without our floor neighbors, KR and JR. From progressive dinner parties to weekend City Market visits, we knew how to have fun, and we had it often. This of course was before our priorities were exterior latex paint, Huggies vs. Pampers, and eco-friendly lawn mowers.
One memory that stands out in vivid form is a random summer Saturday we spent lounging at a local park. With blankets, booze, magazines, a kite, snacks and a boom box, we spent a handful of lazy hours soaking up the outdoor life. Later on, we made it back to our lofts, famished and exhausted. My girlfriend took on cooking obligations while I sat on her counter, chattering away and refilling our wine glasses. Roughly an hour later we all sat down to a show-stopping dinner. The rest of the meal was quiet; eyes closed, bite after bite. Nods shared between the couples at the satisfaction of the food, of the day we’d just spent together, of our friendship.
I’ll never forget it.
So, after years of change, growth and new life direction for all of us, I’m bringing it back to life. Here, in my ranch home, with my mortgage, tennis shoes, dog, husband, vegetable garden and 10pm bedtime.
And do you know what? It tastes just as good.
Bistro Chicken Twist:
What it takes for 4:
* 3 chicken breasts, boiled and shredded
* 1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
* 2 cups baby spinach, chopped
* 4 large basil leaves, torn
* 1/4th cup (plus 2 Tbs.) freshly grated parmesan cheese
* 1/2 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese
* 1/2 cup low-fat mayo
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 tubes refrigerated french bread dough (or make your own, Martha)
* 1 egg white, beaten
* 1 tsp total of dried oregano, dried thyme and dried parsley (mixed together)
* coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 375.
In a bowl, combine chopped chicken, bell pepper, basil, spinach, the cheeses, mayo and the minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
Place the bread dough, seam side up on a work surface. Using a serrated knife, slice each loaf from end to end. Then, using whatever tool you have, like a baker’s roller, create a 4-inch well down the center of each loaf. Where they look like canoes. Get it? Okay, then spoon the chicken mixture down the center of each loaf. Using your fingers, take the dough and pinch it over the chicken mixture to seal. Turn each loaf seam-side down in an X pattern. Crisscross the ends of each loaf, creating a figure 8.
Combine the egg white and the dried herbs in a small bowl. Lightly brush mixture over the top of the dough. Make little slits across the top of the dough, for pretty factor. Then sprinkle the last of the parmesan cheese over the loaf.
Bake roughly 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown on top. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving!
Delish, I tell you.