The other day I turned 34. I’ve never been one to dread birthdays or getting older, even if I’m dying my grey hair faster than I drive these days. 34 was the quietest birthday I’ve ever had and it was actually nice. I even had time to pour a bourbon (an experimental Buffalo Trace Hot Box Toasted Barrel) I had been saving for the occasion and reflect on what 34 years has taught me. At this time, I would like to share with you those life lessons… because you never know you, just might need them.
34 life lessons for 34 years
in no particular order
1. Sock monkey slippers are very comfortable but wear out fast, invest in multiple pairs.
2. Strive to be different. Choose duck fat instead of butter.
3. Accept yourself. That’s the true secret to happiness.
4. Never put lipstick on in front of a bear.
5. Putting yourself in “timeout” is a must — even if that “timeout” is at a small music venue, restaurant, or on the porch under the stars.
6. Thank your mother every day that she didn’t send you back.
7. That whole “don’t go to bed angry” thing is bs. It’s ok to sleep on it.
8. When your best friend says it doesn’t hurt, it will. Just get a professional to do your piercings.
9. Be adventurous. Also, never be too shy to dance in your underwear.
10. Always follow your gut. Seriously, sometimes it knows more than you.
11. Never, ever, ever leave food in your tent. Even if the park ranger says there are no bears around.
12. It’s ok to tell your husband he’s right — just don’t make a habit out of it.
13. Don’t chase feral chickens. You will not have a free dinner. It just makes your neighbors call you the crazy chicken lady.
14. Stuart Smally is not right in the head. Not everyone is going to like you but it’s their loss.
15. When in doubt, always pick a Wes Anderson movie.
16. Putting rubber cement on your brother while he’s sleeping and then making him think his skin is peeling off when he wakes up is an awesome prank but it will cause him to use you for karate practice in the future.
17. When your husband asks you to crew Western States 100-mile run, turn around and walk away.
18. Having friends you can say anything to is an absolute must.
19. Be awesome and then be aca-awesome — there’s no limit to how great you can be.
20. Blowing bubbles is an acceptable answer to anything.
21. When the room starts to sway, keep one foot on the floor.
22. Do spontaneous…a lot. Even if you end up getting married to a musician by an Irish priest in a bar in Canada.
23. If you want to be pretentious, wear a beret.
24. I CAN NOT REITERATE #11 ENOUGH.
25. Life is too short for cheap/inferior ingredients…or beer, or wine, or bourbon.
26. Laugh at your mistakes. Not everyone can sing the 12 days of Christmas in front of an audience.
27. Always dream…so far they’ve all come true. Well, except for the whole amazing singer thing.
28. Make sure you call first before showing up unannounced to a glass house.
29. Never shoot an intern.
30. Making paté at 3am can almost be therapeutic, especially when there’s alcohol involved.
31. “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child This also applies to everything in life. Julia was a genius.
32. Watching the sunrise in the dessert after being up all night dancing is a must at least once in your life.
33. If all you need to hear is, “You’re talented,” then your journey is finished.
34. Know how to roast a simple chicken — from there you can cook anything.
Which brings me to this recipe…
Roasted Chicken with Baby Artichokes and Olives
Tender lemony chicken roasted with bright baby artichokes and tangy olives is a simple and delicious one-pot meal for any night of the week. Roasted chicken is my 5-year-old’s favorite meal ever and this version is at the top of her list. I think it’s her favorite because she gets to eat it all with her hands.
Combine butter, salt, pepper, and lemon zest; rub on chicken.
Next, remove the hard outer leaves of the artichokes off, slicing them in half, and coring out the fine “hairs” or the choke from the artichokes. Leaves have not been removed from these artichokes yet in this picture.
Place the chicken in a cast iron skillet or rack of a roasting pan then place the artichokes, olives, and lemon slices around the chicken. Transfer to the oven and roast.
Once roasted, carve and serve. That’s all there is to it. Very simple but full of flavor.
Cheers and here’s to another 34 years!
Tender lemony chicken roasted with bright baby artichokes and tangy olives is a simple and delicious one-pot meal for any night of the week.
- 3 to 4 pound chicken, pasture or free-range prefferd
- 2 tablespoons duck fat or unsalted butter, softened
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 12 baby artichokes
- 1/2 cup pitted olives, such as Kalmata
- 1 lemon, sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped, optional
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Allow the chicken to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before roasting. With paper towels, pat dry the chicken as best as possible. This will help the skin to crisp.
- In a bowl, combine duck fat or butter, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Loosen the skin between the chicken and the breast meat with your fingers and place half of the butter mixture underneath the skin. Rub the remaining butter evenly over the entire chicken. Truss the chicken with cooking twine, optional. Place the chicken in the center of a large cast iron skillet or on the rack of a roasting pan.
- Remove the the tough outer leaves of each artichoke. This will be about half of the leaves. With a knife, slice about 1/2 inch off the top of the artichokes, removing the prickly tops of the leaves. Next, slice the artichokes in half and remove the fuzzy hair-like chokes from the center with a spoon. The choke is really small and easy to pop out. A grapefruit spoon works best. Place the artichokes in a bowl along with olives, lemon slices, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper; toss to combine. Place artichokes, olives, and lemons around the chicken. Pour water in bottom of pan.
- Transfer to the oven and roast for 1 hour 25 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165°F. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Toss artichokes and olives with fresh parsley, if desired. Carve and serve.
by Meredith Steele
- Baby artichokes can be found at most markets in the spring months.
- Wine pairing: a white Burgundy or lightly oaked chardonay