Such a good, good dinner

My darling T has a wonderful new job. We are all terribly proud but it does require longer hours, and I miss him sometimes. Our nightly dinners together won't be quite so reliable anymore, he will surely see the kids less during the week, and his commute is longer too. Still, I am so happy for him and eager to see how he flies on these new wings. I had quite a nice day but was totally pooped by the time I got the kids in bed. I scurried downstairs to make some dinner, hungry and excited for T to get home. Midway through roasting carrots, searing cauliflower and prepping chicken, T called to say he'd be extremely late tonight and not to wait. Not to worry, tired me decided the next best thing was a marvelous meal for one. Yes, my trivet was an old cloth diaper (never used for diapering, mind you, just as a burp cloth; everyone should use cloth diapers as burp cloths and then repurpose them as children's napkins because they are indestructible and never let you down.), my placemat and napkin didn't match and the rest of the table looked (still looks) like an all-purpose office repository, but still, or perhaps because of all that, this meal was divine, and I simply must tell you all about it.

For starters, my boys were darlings this afternoon. Sure, Ol had five minutes of crazy before bedtime, but he was overtired from a seriously energetic and fun Valentine's Day party plus lots of cookies and sugar (I just had to make Ming Tsai's shortbread again! Mon dieu!). Ultimately, he was as dreamy and sweet as Jack, and I've already been in to each of their rooms once to cast a loving eye over them, taking them in in all their sleeping, quiet, precious glory.

When your kids are good, you really always start any subsequent venture -no matter how minuscule- extremely ahead of the curve. So perhaps I should have known dinner would turn out so well.

Anyway, I definitely wanted to make some lemon roasted carrots, trying my hand for the umpteenth time at perfecting Whole Foods' lemon roasted carrots recipe which, though always good, has eluded me. Until tonight. Haha, I've done it! How delightful. And how delicious. Perseverance, friends.

While those roasted, I sliced a cauliflower into thick steaks and seasoned each hunk with olive oil, salt and pepper. Naturally, I also heated my Lodge skillet over a high heat. Seared cauliflower steaks would also be mine.

The fresh farm chicken I'd thawed throughout today gave me pause. What to do with it to maximize its extraordinary natural flavor but also make things interesting, i.e. not the Seinfeld girlfriend who only ate plain chicken breasts. A quick glance around my kitchen brought me to terms with the number of dishes I'd already dirtied so I decided the chicken must return to one of them so as to make clean-up even slightly less onerous. The Lodge!

Meanwhile, those beautiful carrot tops were just lounging in lonely fashion next to the sink. "I can't compost you" I thought, "it's too cold and you are too pretty." So, a carrot top pesto to dollop over the chicken started taking shape in my mind. Hmm...walnuts just cuz, garlic, yada, yada. A first taste begged for some tang. Lemon! A second swipe of the finger suggested a depth of flavor and smell was needed. I don't know why, and I'm damn thankful for this, but the stinky Brie in my fridge, leftover from last Friday's mom's party, came to mind. A wedge of that flew into the food processor, and I swear it was love at first taste. This pesto is off the charts good. And with the chicken?? Which by the way I seared in hot butter? Amazing.

I could die. I am so damn satisfied right now, that I've decided not to clean up tonight. Not least because it's 9:30, T is still not home, I'm tired as get-out and have a meeting at 8:30 tomorrow morning PLUS Jack's return to the dentist at 11:30. Keep me in your thoughts, people, because if he gnaws another wound into his cheek and we then get the "ice storm of the century" that's being threatened, well, I just don't know if a happy Em that all will make.

For tonight, however, I remain cheerful and bid you bonsoir.