How were all your Thanksgivings? Were they good and filled with amazing food and not too many awkward/uncomfortable conversations? Our two Thanksgivings were a healthy mix of heartwarming and stressful, just as I’m learning most holidays are now that I’m an adult. Luckily, the food was out of this world.
We dove right from our Thanksgiving food coma (which admittedly lasted for almost a full week because of the heaping amounts of leftovers in our fridge) into full Christmas mode. I used to laugh at the people who put up their trees and bought all their presents before December had even begun but now I get it. Once all the holidays “requirements” are complete you can dive full force into the more spontaneous activities like gingerbread house parties and family cookie bakes and trips to Zoo Lights with your Carrot family and visits to the world’s cutest cheese store with your mama and your annual Harry Potter marathon that is probably going to happen twice this December and any other fun thing that someone suggests because hello, my house is already decorated and my presents are already purchased.
But although my event schedule is jam packed with holiday cheer over the next three weeks, my actual brain seems to be fully preoccupied with farm planning and entrepreneur things. I had a conversation with one of the founders of Yumbutter this past August for a piece I was writing for Madison Magazine and his vision for conscious capitalism kind of shook me up and transformed my whole approach to doing business. For better or worse, I just can’t seem to turn my business mind off. (The wine helps. )
Right now I’m prepping for our first ever Farm Founders’ Retreat where my Carrot and I will hopefully make decisions on all kinds of (probably boring to you but actually really big) things like our 2018 budget and longer-term investment strategy, starting our rebranding process, discussing the kinds of income streams we want to add to our growing business, and figuring out whether or not we should do a Kickstarter next year. We’re going to talk and hike and talk and watch foodie documentaries and talk and eat good food and hike and talk and hopefully come out the other side better, smarter, more dynamic business partners. I’m probably thinking about the farm way too much for December but I just feel so happy to be in a place of rest where my body isn’t so spent that I can’t think deeply about anything.
I’m also busy getting ready for my first ever presentation as a farmer at the upcoming Wisconsin Farmer’s Union Midwest CSA Conference. (Read all about my feels on “becoming an expert” over at Edible Madison). I’m so nervous but also absolutely honored to be considered a person with wisdom to share.
Somehow between all the holiday-ing and farm thinking, I’ve still found time to eat (and eat well). My strategy remains the same as it was a month ago: focus on good food, cooked simply and effortlessly.
This week’s creation: sheet pan chicken with cabbage and leeks adapted ever so slightly from the brilliant Alexandra Stafford. I love this recipe for a lot of reasons: because it’s simple, because it uses a seriously small amount of dishes, because it’s healthy, spicy, savory and just rich enough, and because it uses veggies we’ve still got in the fridge from the farm! If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can make a batch of mashed potatoes (I am partial to these ridiculously rich ones ala Bon Appetit) or some brown rice and easily have enough for 2-3 meals.
P.S. Like this simple dinner recipe? You’ll love my recipe for Red Cabbage Salad with Squash, Beets & Rotisserie Chicken.
SHEET PAN CHICKEN WITH CABBAGE & LEEKS
Very barely adapted from Food 52
Takes 1 hour
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup olive oil + more for drizzling
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sriracha, optional
Freshly ground black pepper
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
6-8 bone-in, skin-on drumsticks
1 head cabbage
1 head garlic, separated and peeled
3 leeks, white and pale green parts only, cut int 1-inch thick slices
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- In a large bowl combine oils, soy sauce, vinegar and sriracha. Place chicken in a second bowl. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and then pour 1/4 cup of the oil mixture over the chicken. Let it sit while you prep the veggies.
- Cut the cabbage in half through it’s core. Keep halving and slicing the whole head of cabbage until you wind up with lots and lots of wedges (all no thicker than 1-inch). Some pieces of cabbage will shred and fall apart as you cut the cabbage, but it will be fine. Add cabbage to first large bowl (the one with the remaining sauce not the chicken) along with peeled garlic cloves and sliced leeks. Toss to coat veggies with sauce and season with a bit of salt and pepper.
- Add chicken to large baking sheet and roast in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and nestle chicken with vegetables. It will feel like a lot and you’ll need to nestle the vegetables under the chicken a bit. That’s fine! Roast for 35-40 minutes longer until juices have reduced, veggies begin to caramelize and the skin on the chicken begins to crisp.
- Serve veggies and chicken together (atop mashed potatoes) with any residual sauce. Season with salt and pepper as desired.