So, once upon a time in college I decided I wanted to be an RA. Coincidentally, this was the year that I was not guaranteed housing on campus. While I went through the application and interview process, convinced I would be overseeing a floor in my dorm the following year as a school-appointed-peer-authority figure (which my advisers assured me I'd be IDEAL for), my college friend group secured an apartment for the next year.
As fate often does for me, it threw me a serious curveball when I discovered that I was not hired for the position. All of my friends were securely housed with no extra space, and I was denied housing by the campus lottery system. It was time to freak out.
|Brookasaurus girls all ready for St. Patrick's Day Parade|
I was nervous to move in, in recent years I've found it hard to step out of my comfort zone and make new friends. However, despite never hanging out before and only knowing a tiny bit about each other, my new roommates soon became some of my most treasured friends from college. Jessye (other blog here), Steph, Sarah (other blog here) and I had so many adventures in our apartment, lovingly dubbed Brookasaurus, including late night impromptu dance parties, suggestively frosted Christmas cookies, sing-a-longs in the livingroom to either Disney movies or Jessye playing guitar, many tipsy nights off box wine, and many, many cooking adventures. It was here that my first serious experiments with food began, two years before I would begin to actually blog about them.
|Dance Party at midnight. I think one of our neighbors came to see the|
commotion and took this picture.
I look back on my year with these roommates with much love and nostalgia. Now these friends all live in NYC, and if I'm lucky I get to see them about once a year. It's just amazing how well we all got along, being strangers who happened to live together by chance. I will always remember them and I hope we always keep in touch.
|Our Christmas Party and awesome tiny Charlie Brown Tree in the|
This chicken recipe was in a little booklet of handwritten recipes that Jessye brought with her when we all moved in. It was one of the first recipes I made myself after breaking my vegetarian streak, and one of the most flavorful and delicious chicken dishes I've ever made. For some reason it reminds me of a 50's Housewife type recipe, probably because it involves mixing together a bunch of seemingly random food products (mostly processed--to my organic/localvore friends, I apologize) to make a family-friendly dish. I've had to adapt it a bit, since some of the suggested ingredients no longer exist (Polar all-fruit apricot soda, for one), but I'm sure it's just as good as the original. I paired it with the Cheesy Risotto and some asparagus I roasted and drizzled with truffle oil.
- 4 chicken breasts (bone in keeps them nice and moist, but boneless also works fine)
- 1 large onion
- 1 envelope French onion soup mix
- 1 small jar apricot preserves (about a cup. Pureed fresh apricot also works)
- 2 cups Polar Orange Dry Soda (I think this is a New England brand of soda, if you cannot find it then Orangina is very similar)
- 1/2 bottle French dressing
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Chop onion and arrange on the bottom of a casserole dish. Place chicken on top of onions and sprinkle with soup mix. Slather apricot preserves on top, and pour soda around the chicken. Top with the French dressing.
-Bake for about 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Check often, if the top of the chicken is getting dry, spoon some of the liquid mixture over the top. Serve immediately with a hefty scoop of the sauce on top.
-Note, if you would like the sauce to be thicker, scoop some out of the casserole dish and place in a saucepan over low heat. Mix one teaspoon of cornstarch with one tablespoon cold water and slowly add to the sauce. It should thicken up a bit.