Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Grilled Cornish Hens with Basil Butter (Page 392)

RECIPE #1221

  • Date: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 -- 6pm
  • Location: East Lansing, MI
  • Kitchen: Our House
  • Fellow Chef: Matty
  • Dining Companions: Vigleik, Shihchi, and Henrik
  • Recipe Rating: B+

Now that we have a grill I can make some of the grilled dishes from The Book that I haven't had a chance to make! I started this recipe by making a compound butter -- I combined butter, basil, garlic, salt, and pepper. I then flattened some Cornish hens (by removing their backbones and sticking the drumsticks through a slit between the thigh and the breast). I spread the compound butter both under and over the skin. I sprinkled the birds with salt and pepper and my special gentleman grilled them to perfection. These were good. I offer as proof the fact that I forgot to take a picture of them before we started chowing down! It didn't occur to me that I had forgotten until the meal was almost over, so the picture above is of a partially eaten hen. Whoops! I got distracted by the food! I typically enjoy poultry on the grill and this recipe was no exception. The skin came out crispy and flavorful, and the basil butter complemented the meat nicely. The dish could have supported even more flavor though. Either more basil in the butter, or a separate sauce to serve the birds with would have been nice. That said, the meat was cooked nicely and the dish was quick and tasty! Yum!

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I dated a number of people in college but there is one guy who I think of as my "college boyfriend." He and I were involved on and off for a year or two (depending on how you count). Much more so than most people, he made me nervous. We came from hugely different backgrounds. I'm from Wisconsin, where I grew up attending public school and going to 4-H meetings. He grew up in a wealthy family in Los Angeles. He went to prestigious private schools his whole life and drove a BMW as a college student. We were from different worlds. And in many ways he was more worldly than me. He had been places I had never been, done things I had never done. He knew things I didn't know. In short, he intimidated me. And although we spent a lot of time together over the course of our relationship and friendship, I was never able to relax around him. I was never able to just be myself. He made me nervous. Looking back, I can see that he never even knew me. What he got was a silly, intimidated, careful version of who I am. It wasn't until years later that I realized the way to be happy in a relationship is to relax and be myself. Anything else is much too exhausting.

This all came flooding back to me last week. I was biking to work one morning and I just felt really odd. It took me a while to put my finger on what the feeling was, but eventually I pinpointed it -- I felt extremely anxious. But why? There was nothing particularly stressful on my agenda that day, nor was anything going particularly wrong. It was then that I realized that I hadn't relaxed into my new life here yet. It's hard being the new person, and it is easy to feel intimidated. I am new at work, new in the neighborhood, new at church... All the newness has made me really careful. It's hard not to worry about the impression that you make when you are new. But it is also tiring to worry all the time. So I decided that morning to relax and not feel intimidated. A couple days into this week I can already say that I feel better -- like a weight has been lifted. Nothing external has changed, only my perspective. But that's all it took. Everything here is great and it was only my anxiety that was keeping me from enjoying it. Sometimes all it takes is a little attitude adjustment!

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