Curried Chicken Pan Roast, or, coping with failure

This week has been so, so stressful. I keep thinking things will calm down, but they just keep escalating. My opportunities to work on my dissertation (I’m on my fourth and final chapter) keep getting curtailed (this week I got more time than usual, but I only managed to get a sentence or two written yesterday due to the kids being home for a snow day), and this causes me a lot of anxiety. I would really like to get an April defense date on the books, but there are people who have had my three other chapter drafts for MONTHS and I’ve gotten no feedback. I don’t know how to interpret this silence, but my default setting is OMG THEY HATE MY CHAPTERS AND THEY HATE ME. MIGHT AS WELL GO GET THAT APPLICATION IN AT McDONALDS. (I’m sorry. I know that I just went all Dooce on you with the all caps. I need to find a more creative way to be emphatic.) But I just keep plugging away under the impression (delusion?) that I’ll have all of my committee stuff ironed out and a defensible draft by April 15. I haven’t entertained the other prospect.

Additionally, back in the summer, I signed up to run a half-marathon, which is now two weeks away. I have yet to do a 13.1-mile run. In fact, I haven’t run in more than a week. The weather here has been quite cold and blustery and while I don’t really have an issue with running in the cold (because you don’t stay cold for long!), but when that 30 degrees is accented by frigid 20mph winds, no deal. And I can’t stand running on a treadmill or on an indoor track. I’m a very fussy exerciser in that regard. (That’s also why I stopped doing Zumba and Total Body workouts on campus, because I also can’t stand to work out among a bunch of 20-year-olds who weigh 100 pounds soaking wet and all of their body fat is in all the right places.) The weather is supposed to improve this coming week (apart from another cold, wet blast on Wednesday), so I can get back out on the trail and bust out some miles, but I am very, very, VERY anxious about what I’ve committed to do two weeks from tomorrow. In fact, there’s still a possibility I’ll chicken out and sell my bib to someone who failed to register before all the spots sold out.

And we won’t even talk here about all of the unfinished craft projects I’ve got floating around here, the disaster area that is my sewing room, and so on. There are so many loose ends flapping in the breeze over here, the only way I’ve found to cope with it is inertia. I was in bed last night at 8pm, watching bad stand-up comedy until I finally succumbed to sleep.

One thing, though, that I’ve found satisfaction in is cooking dinner, especially with my forays into roasting chicken. I’ve gotten it into my head that I want to have some variation of roast chicken for Sunday dinners. My first outing was a recipe from the Lee Brothers that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. It turned out pretty well, except that I didn’t adjust the cook time for the larger chicken and it was a bit undercooked when I attempted to carve it. Which resulted in a roast chicken that was a bit dry in spots once it was totally cooked through, but it was tasty.

Last Sunday, I tried this recipe, despite the fact that my husband was in the Flu Cave and wasn’t eating anything but applesauce (he finally emerged on Tuesday, but he’s still fairly low energy). I had gotten two bone-in chicken breasts and four drumsticks, with the plan to pack those in Harrison’s lunch box. I was particularly excited about the winter veg that would roast with the meat; I adore Brussels sprouts and butternut squash is the only squash I’ll eat (I hate zucchini and I have a mild allergy to summer squash). I used “Punjab” curry instead of the Madras the recipe calls for; I’m not sure what the difference is between the blends, although I’m sure they both feature coriander, turmeric, and cumin.

I thought this chicken was delicious, and the way the veg caramelized in the pan was just delightful. The next time I make this (and there WILL be a next time), I’ll probably halve the oil and maybe use some chicken broth to moisten the veg because 4T of oil just makes me uneasy (oh, hey! I forgot to mention how I’ve totally been cheating on my diet and have stopped losing weight as a result! Yay!). Sadly, I was the only one who ate any of this meal. Harrison roundly rejected the chicken because the skin was yellow (from the turmeric). Laurel doesn’t eat any meat, and Matt was, as previously mentioned, on an all-applesauce diet. I did my best to work through the leftovers, but ended up tipping three of the drumsticks into the garbage (the breasts were HUGE, and I didn’t get the rest of the meat into the freezer before it was too late).

So, I’ll keep plugging ahead with my roast chicken project because it really is so simple, hearty, and pleasing. And these days, I need to take the small victories where I can get them.

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  1. Betsy

     /  February 5, 2011

    Could you walk the half-marathon?

    And, hang in there! I’d like to start an “It Gets Better” project for grad students, because it really does get better once you’re out of the grad school factory.

  2. I can’t imagine writing a dissertation and parenting — hang in there!!


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