I began writing this post over a cup of coffee and a headache from a wee bit too much wine last night, having had a celebratory meal with my husband and refilled my glass with a lovely Ken Wright pinot noir a time too many.
I am starting a new job on Monday. Yesterday afternoon, I concluded my obligations at my previous position. I carried my wall-hangings and office plant down to my car, gave hugs and said my good-byes, and departed for Whole Foods to purchase some items for dinner.
Driving away from my office building, I smiled. We always miss certain things when we leave jobs, don't we? I do, even when I am looking forward to an exciting new opportunity. I have been fortunate to have many colleagues whose company I enjoy. I'll miss seeing them, and the pretty orchids in the lobby of my building, and the way all of the security guards know my name and smile when they see me. I'll even miss that darn candy box in the kitchen outside my office.
But, Monday brings enticing new responsibilities, new colleagues, and probably a new candy box. Until then, I will relax and enjoy a little time off.
The next few days will be filled with cooking and some neglected home improvement projects. Maybe I will paint our guest room. That room really deserves to be a warm caramel color. Maybe I will do some gardening; read a book; enjoy a spa treatment.
The best part about this mini-vacation of mine is that I have no fixed plans. That's the best part about having some time off: being able to succumb to your whims. I'll see what I feel like doing tomorrow, when I wake up with the sun already high in the sky.
Chicken Piccata with Artichokes and Olives
Adapted from this recipe at Food and Wine
1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 6-ounce chicken cutlets, pounded to about 1/8 inch thick
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
8 pitted Kalamata olives, drained and coarsely chopped
1 15-ounce can of artichoke hearts packed in water, well-drained and quartered
1/2 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon drained capers
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
In a large, shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs with the salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken cutlets in the seasoned bread crumbs and shake off the excess.
Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat and melt the butter. When the foam subsides, increase the heat to medium-heat and add the chicken. Cooke the chicken, turning once, until golden brown outside and white throughout, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the cutlets to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.
In the same skillet, add the olives and artichoke hearts. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock, lemon juice and capers and boil for 2 minutes, stirring. Spoon the artichoke and olive sauce over the chicken, sprinkle with the parsley and serve.