Do you remember that one episode of Boy Meets World where Cory pushes his friends down the elevator shaft? He shoves Shawn, Jack, and Rachel – Eric follows, then Angela. Lastly, this girl shows up and she represents everything Cory is giving up by marrying Topanga. She too falls down the elevator shaft – the last remnants of what could have been. Topanga appears in a wedding dress and Cory awakens from his dream. I am 3 months out from my own wedding, and I have a similar dream. Except my eyes are wide open and everything happens in real-time.
“When I walk downtown pass the corner restaurant, I think about you and that first lychee martini you ordered for me. When I stroll through the weekend farmer’s market and smile at the cannoli woman, I think about the cannoli we shared and how the powdered sugar covered your nose. When I reach for my favorite imported chocolate bar, I think about you and the care package you hand delivered when I was sick – complete with my chocolate, a box of tissues, and a chick flick on DVD. When I make tomato soup, I think about the time I dropped your camera into a simmering pot of tomatoes, while trying to take a photo. And when I drive down the El Camino pass that fateful cafe and told you that we couldn’t be friends – I think about you too. But when I see you in the flesh, I hardly recognize you – you are a stranger, a will-o-the-wisp, just another face in the crowd. Time has changed you. Marriage has changed you. Med school changed you. Wall Street changed you. Even you wouldn’t recognize yourself anymore.”
Chicken Pot Pie
My friend N calls this the husband dish – as in, she will only make this for a boyfriend if he is potential husband material. What I find funny is – after eating this, you’d be dumb not to want to be her husband!
Source: loosely adapted from my favorite and the lovely Ina Garten
1 lb cooked chicken meat, cubed [I prefer dark meat, but breast meat is fine]
3 c chicken stock, hot
1/2 stick of butter
1 onion, small diced
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
3-4 stalks of celery, diced
2-3 carrots, diced
1 c small broccoli and/or cauliflower florets [or any other vegetable you like]
1/3 c all purpose flour
3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed
1 bay leaf
handful of parsley, roughly chopped
2-3 tbs heavy cream [half and half or full fat milk for a less creamy sauce is an OK sub]
salt and pepper to taste
1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed and lightly rolled out
In a large pot or pan with tall sides, melt butter on medium-high heat with a splash of olive oil to prevent the butter from burning. Add onion and garlic and allow to sweat. Add the remaining veggies and essentially stir-fry for just a few minutes until the veggies are bright in color and warmed through, but not quite tender. This will continue to cook. Add the fresh thyme and bay leaf (or any other herb – oregano is great here too). Sprinkle in the flour, and let the flour absorb the liquid in the pot and begin to brown slightly. Once the flour has crusted a bit, add the hot chicken stock and simmer until the pie filling has thickened. Add the cooked chicken meat and stir in the heavy cream. Season the sauce with salt and pepper as needed. As a cheat, I also like to add a few splashes of fish sauce for some added umami. Remove the pot from the stove, and add the fresh parsley.
Spoon the pie filling into individual ramekins or into a pie tin. Drape the puff pastry over the ramekins or pie tin, and cut off the excess. Brush a light eggwash over the pastry dough. Bake in oven at 400*F (or follow the puff pastry package instructions) until the puff pastry lid has puffed up and is golden brown. Serve right out of the oven (and try not to burn your tongue!) and enjoy!
I frequently think about the what-ifs and could-have-beens. These flashbacks occur really abruptly, and are triggered by the most inconsequential and mundane things. I don’t necessarily mind the mental inconvenience – to a certain extent, they serve as good reminders. They make me think about the things I passed to get to where I am now. And what’s hopeful here is that I don’t feel like I am giving up anything. Instead, I feel that all these experiences and memories have very acutely shaped me, and I do not regret a single one. I also do not regret letting them all go – to pave way for more new and better experiences and adventures.
Here’s a slightly more cooked/browned version – look at that puff pastry!