Rosemary roast chicken, squash, and spinach

Cooking, Food, Recipes No Comments

Made a really tasty dinner last night, so here it is, recipes in order of simplicity.

Steamed spinach
Take a package of baby spinach, wash it, stick it in a big bowl, cover loosely. Put it in the microwave for maybe 1-1.5 mins. Serve with butter, salt, and fresh ground pepper.

Roasted squash with butter and thyme
Preheat oven to 375. Peel and cube a butternut squash into 3/4″ pieces. Melt a couple of tablespoons of butter in a large skillet (if you’re smart, it’ll be the same skillet you use for the chicken below) and toss squash with melted butter. Add a few sprigs of thyme, salt, and pepper, and toss again. Pour it all into a baking dish and roast for 40-45mins. After it’s done, mix it all up again so redistribute the butter.

Rosemary roast chicken with shallots, vermouth, and butter

  • Bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2-3 tsp fresh, roughly chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 1/4c white vermouth (or wine, sherry, whatever)
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper

Melt butter in a large, oven-safe skillet or frypan over med-high heat. When bubbly, add chicken breast halves, skin side down, and cook undisturbed for 5-6 mins so the skin gets all nice and crispy brown. It will splatter, so if you have a splatter shield you might want to use it. Flip chicken over and cook for another 5-6 mins undisturbed. Again, back to skin-side down, for 2-3 mins, then back to skin side up.

Throw rosemary leaves and some fresh ground pepper on top of the chicken, then put in the oven, uncovered, along with the squash. The chicken should take 25-30 mins or so.

When the chicken is done, remove to a plate, and put the skillet back on a med-high burner. Add diced shallots and vermouth, and boil this off until the shallots are soft, all the brown stuff is scraped up into the sauce, and the liquid has reduced a bit. Yes it’s all vermouth and butter and chicken fat, and it’s awesome. Spoon sauce and shallots over chicken, serve with squash and spinach. Yum.

Death of a Nomad, or: Holy crap, we bought a house

House, Moncton 11 Comments

a house

According to my slighly fuzzy memory, I have moved thirteen times in three provinces in the last eighteen years. We’re about to move again, for a fourteenth and final move, to a fourth and final province. We’ve bought a house, you see, and it’s all quite the adventure. Exciting times, and all that.

There are four main drivers behind our decision to buy a house: 1) We’re sick to death of paying rent and dealing with landlords; 2) We’re sick to death of living in an apartment building and dealing with neighbours1; 3) We’re sick to death of being semi-nomadic; 4) It’s harder to build wealth while paying rent.

The primary motivator really is the “semi-nomadic” thing — while we’ve been in our current condo for three years, we’ve never bothered to do anything like paint or spend any time/effort on prettying the place up. Year to year we’ve never really been sure how much longer we’d be staying, so it never really seemed worthwhile to invest a lot of effort. We certainly weren’t going to spend any real money on real furniture since we really had no idea whether or not it would fit in whatever place we went next or ended up settling in eventually. I guess “we’re sick to death of Ikea” would be a valid fifth reason for wanting to get the hell out of Rent Town.

Anyhow, after pondering a host of possible places to move, we decided to look around in Moncton to see if there were any places we could live with within the price range we were willing to spend. We had looked around Ottawa and Toronto, but it turns out that these places are (in my opinion) ridiculously overpriced for what you get.

Since the next questions here are usually, “Moncton? Where the hell is that?” and “Moncton? Why the hell would you move there?”, here’s the rundown: Moncton is a city of around 126,000 people on the East coast of Canada in the province of New Brunswick. There’s a Wikipedia page all about it. As for why, there are a bunch of reasons, the primary of which are that we both love the Maritimes, and it turns out real estate isn’t criminally overpriced out there.

This is a good time for a short aside about telecommuting: Rob and I both work from home and love it. While telecommuting for work is awesome (so so awesome, it makes me happy every day), the downside is that you really do need a separate office in which to work, else you slowly start to lose your mind. And I mean an actual office — a separate room with a door and hopefully a window — not some cubby hole beneath the stairs or poorly insulated nook up in the loft2. A separate office usually means an additional bedroom, and two telecommuters means two additional bedrooms. Throw a proper guest room into the mix, and suddenly you’re looking at houses that most normal people think are at least twice as big as two people and two cats could ever possibly need. Big houses in big cities equal big money, and the math just wasn’t adding up.

Moncton’s real estate listings, however, were much more in bang-for-buck range of what we were looking for, so while visiting over Christmas we tootled around looking at neighbourhoods and combing through the MLS listings. Happily, we were able to find a local realtor who was willing to help us out (this was 2-3 days before Christmas, so the city was definitely in full-on holiday mode), and he showed us seven or eight houses over a couple of days. We were really under no illusions about finding a place so quickly and were fully expecting (and actively planning) to return for second or third househunting visits before spring. Mostly we were looking at places in hopes of getting a feel for what to expect for what money in what neighbourhoods so our expectations would be somewhat in line with reality.

Naturally we found a place on the second day, and made an offer less than 36 hours after we had started looking. So it seems to go.

That was two months ago. The moving truck will be here on Friday. All our stuff is in boxes for (theoretically) the last time.

We’ve already booked the painters.

  1. Our current, recently moved-in neighbours are actually awesome, which is sort of sad.
  2. This is what I’ve been living with for the past three years.
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