white laminate

[tell me to spit my sadness to
the ground like poison and
still grow around it]

-Darshana Suresh

I woke to rain awhile back and there was something in the gray skies that begged to feel settled. That reminded my buzzing brain to sit. To let it all be. Sometimes I write phrases on my bathroom mirror in green dry-erase, tokens of reminders I hope to hold for the next few days. Nothing of note has happened, and yet, one of the starkest lessons from the past few months is simply: sit with it. 

We celebrated my birthday a few days early, nestled into a long communal table at Erika Burke’s Chop Shop on Capitol Hill. Two orders of burrata with fresh apricots and house-made crackers, a charcuterie board with coppa, prosciutto, and a pork rillettes that simply sang. King salmon and morels. At our first toast, I found myself emotional with all of the love and care in one place. Smiling faces gathered to welcome my new year around the sun. How did I ever get to be so lucky? To find home in faces? I am a better person for it.

A work week I felt nervous about flew by. Monday evening was grilled halloumi piled high with ribbons of yellow squash tossed in a parsley and cilantro chimichurri. Rosé on the rooftop. Tuesday was a happy hour to explore Matt Dillon’s new spot, Ciudad in Georgetown. A beautifully designed and unique space in a neighborhood not used to such clean lines—I am curious to see how it does, to see if it has the rough and genuine edges necessary to be a community hotspot. 

My family, always the largest supporters of my food endeavors, helped me break new ground with an All-Clad pan. I am utterly smitten and cannot wait for the countless meals that will spring from it

The weeks have jumped forward faster than I care to admit. Whole days lost to sunlight and beaches. Grilled peaches and salmon. Flaky sea salt and balsamic. Sunburns and floating on lakes. Cold toes in Puget Sound. I know it won’t last forever, but can it? This summer has been nothing but fresh starts. I am grateful. 

For dinner this week, try an easy dish that is sure to please and so, so simple. Chicken thighs slathered in a miso butter and baked until golden. While they reach decadence, turn on the rice cooker and chop a few veggies. In forty minutes of hands-off time, you have a meal that will beg you to sit down. To just let it be. To say hello to yourself, maybe for the first time in far too long.

Ginger Miso Chicken
Lightly adapted from Nerds with Knives

4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, about 1 ¾ lbs
3 T. butter, softened
3 T. yellow miso
1 ½ T. maple syrup
½ inch piece of ginger, finely grated
1 t. sambal
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled and smashed
1 T. rice vinegar
1 bunch scallions, finely sliced
½ bunch of radishes, finely sliced
1 T. toasted sesame seeds
½ c. finely chopped cilantro

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, combine butter, miso, maple syrup, rice vinegar, ginger, and sambal until smooth. Thoroughly coat chicken thighs in ginger miso mixture, making sure to really get underneath the skin.

Arrange the chicken in an oven-safe skillet and scatter the garlic cloves over the top. It will feel weird to not grease the pan, but there is enough fat. Trust me. Place chicken in the oven and roast for 30-35 minutes, basting the chicken with the pan juices halfway through. Once the chicken reaches 160 degrees, turn the broiler on to brown the tops. It will happen quickly, so don’t walk away!
While chicken roasts, make your favorite rice or grain. I used brown basmati, but anything will do.
Once chicken is done, scatter scallions, sesame seeds, radishes and cilantro over the top. Serve with rice to soak up all of the juices and remember to eat the garlic cloves—they will have mellow out considerably and will slide out of their paper skins.