James the Tenor, impressed by Markâ€™s invitation to dinner, arrived bang on time and carrying a bag bulging with wine, a bunch of tiny black grapes from the Union Square farmerâ€™s market and an artisanal goat cheese wrapped in a vine leaf
â€œWeâ€™re having chicken. Itâ€™s a Marthaâ€ said Mark as he opened the door to his Gramercy walk up – white rug, white sofa, Jonathan Adler cross stitch throw pillows, Ella on the iPod, Ikea peace lily on the bookshelf.
â€œCan I do anything to help?â€
â€œSure, thanksâ€ said Mark, heading into the kitchen.
James smiled. Date number 4, and things were looking promising. In mere moments heâ€™d be sitting in the kitchen, perched on a counter, watching Mark bending down to get the chicken out of the oven, sipping a chilled glass of pinot, watching Mark bending down to pick up a dropped dish cloth, nibbling a kettle chip or two, watching Mark bending down to get plates out of a cupboard, and maybe giving a green salad a light tossing. It would be a living metaphor perhaps for things to come.
Mark pointed to a flaccid, pale and glistening chicken corpse on the counter.
â€œCan you joint this? I never did one before and the skin is totally freaking me out!â€
Meanwhile, uptown, Grace, Amazing Grace, was enjoying an unexpectedly good 4th date of her own.
Unexpected, because she had planned in telling Alex, as gently as possible, that things were not quite working out. It wasnâ€™t that he was bad-looking, not really, though the white socks were kind of an issue, and he wasnâ€™t bad company, not really, though he could probably try to mention his Literally Crazy Ex-Girlfriend a little less often. Itâ€™s just that there was no spark, and Grace, though beginning to wonder whether she was walking a sensible path as 35 loomed ever closer, was holding out for spark.
There was a chicken roasting in the oven.
She could smell it as soon as he opened the door of his Upper Eastside railroad â€“ blue rug, blue sofa, magazine rack made out of a wine crate, Ella on the iPod, Ikea peace lily on the bookshelf.
He handed her a glass of chilled chardonnay.
â€œCan I do anything to help?â€
â€œSure. Iâ€™m just going to finish off the polenta, but if you could toss the salad â€¦â€
She couldnâ€™t possibly end things after that.
Two weeks later Alex bumped into his Literally Crazy Ex-Girlfriend in Duane Reed. She was even more beautiful than he remembered. He realized that missed her with all his heart. Enough to get over his slight feather allergy and learn to live with her parakeet.
He dumped Amazing Grace the following morning. Unceremoniously. On Facebook. Which just goes to show that you never can tell.
Roast Chicken with Lemon1 chicken (buy it ready to roast, lifeâ€™s too short to de-giblet a chicken) 4 onions 2 lemons Â½ cup dry white wine Butter / olive oil Salt and pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 325
- Peel and quarter the onions and lay them in the middle of a roasting tin
- Rinse the chicken (inside the cavity too) then pat the skin dry with a paper towel
- Rub olive oil or butter onto the skin and sprinkle with salt (I use about 1tbsp of oil or 2 of soft butter)
- Season the cavity with salt and pepper
- Chop the lemons into quarters and stuff inside the chicken
- Pour the wine into the tray
- Put the chicken on top of the onions â€“ this acts as a sort of natural trivet keeping it out of the liquid â€“ and roast for an hour or so, depending on the size of the chicken. Start checking the temp after Â¾ of an hour. It must be 180 in the thigh.
- Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes then serve with the gravy thatâ€™s in the tin. (The lemons are delicious to eat too, BTW)
- Serve with a green salad with just a squeeze of lemon and some French bread
- Or the green salad with cous cous instead of bread (make the cous cous ahead of time if itâ€™s easier for you to get it done and out of the way), with some parsley sprinkled over everything
- Or with some blanched asparagus spears spritzed with lemon, and some boiled new potatoes
- Cook some fresh gnocchi and frozen peas in the juices that are left in the pan (you might have to add another tbsp of wine) and finish with a tbsp of cream and some shaved parmesan