Secret Ingredients: Time and Attention

Josie outside tweaking one of her recipes.

Josie outside tweaking one of her recipes.

My husband, Jesse LOVES anything and everything to do with cooking. He’s happiest when he’s outside at the grill or smoker or dicing and chopping in our kitchen. Luckily, he has passed this trait down to our daughter, Josie. Over the past couple of years, Josie has become his fearless sous-chef. If Jesse is cooking, she can be found beside him with her own set of mixing bowls and knives. I am convinced that her love of cooking and baking has just as much to do with the process as it does with the time she gets to spend with her dad. The food they create together is always delicious, healthy and satisfying. When you use simple and honest ingredients you’re going to end up with a dynamite meal. But, I also believe that the food they create together tastes so good because of a couple of secret ingredients: TIME and ATTENTION.

Time and attention are two qualities that we don’t seem to have enough of these days. Ever feel rushed and frazzled because your to-do lists are growing longer by the minute? Do you find yourself checking texts or emails while your kids are hurling question after question at you but you don’t really even hear them? You’re not alone! Some nights I have gone to bed and thought, I could have done this day better. I could have given my kids more of me, more of my undivided attention. I could have let the laundry pile up, the dishes sit and just talked with them. I could have shown them more attention.

When Jesse and Josie are cooking together, it’s one of my favorite things to watch. They chat and interact in a way that is not hurried, not orchestrated and is unaffected by screens or gadgets. By giving Josie his time in an un-rushed, un-interrupted way, he is showing her how important she is to him. Yes, he is teaching her how to cook, but that just seems like a byproduct. He is teaching her that she is worthy, she is loved and she is valued. She knows she has his full attention, that what she has to say is being heard.

When the two of them team up, they create some amazing feasts! Over the past year, Josie has started to create her own recipes, she’s adventurous and confident in the kitchen. Josie has started a journal of all her own recipes. She tweaks and re-tweaks as she learns more and more. My most recent favorite: Chicken and Potatoes with Lemon and Rosemary in a Packet.

If you have the chance to make this, try doing it with someone you love and give them your full attention! We think you’ll taste the difference!

CHICKEN AND POTATOES WITH LEMON AND ROSEMARY IN A PACKET

(serves 6-8 people and can be prepared and cooked in about 30-45 minutes)

  • 1-2 T extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 large lemon, zested and then sliced thinly (zest before slicing), save a few for the garnish

  • Juice from 1 large lemon

  • 1 T fresh rosemary, minced

  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and minced

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

  • pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste

  • 1 T Dijon mustard

  • 5-6 boneless and skinless chicken breasts, pierce each breast a few times with a fork to make tiny holes in it (this will help the marinate get into the meat)

  • large piece of aluminum foil

  • large ziploc bag

  • About 2 pounds of baby yukon gold potatoes, diced.

    1. . Put the first 9 ingredients in a Ziploc bag. Seal and mix well. Open back up and put the chicken breast in. Seal well and toss around so that each chicken breast is coated.

    2. Put in the fridge for no longer than 30 minutes, as the acid from the lemons will start to cook the chicken.

    3. Preheat the oven to 375.

    4. Line a large roasting pain with aluminum foil. Make sure that you use a big enough piece that the ends can be folded back over the top to form a pouch.

    5. Put drizzle the foil with a bit of olive oil, put the potatoes down next. On top of the potatoes, arrange the chicken, making sure that you pour the marinade over everything.

    6. Fold the sides of the foil over the potatoes and chicken, making a big pouch.

    7. Cook for about 20-30 minutes. The potatoes should be fork tender and when an internal thermometer is placed in the fattest part of the breast, it reads 165 degrees.

    8. If you want, for the remaining 3 minutes of the baking, open the packets and turn on the broiler to caramelize the chicken and potatoes.

    9. Garnish with fresh lemon slices and whole sprigs of rosemary.

With Love,

Jane