I’ve often used the expression, “once in a blue moon” but never knew its origin. I only knew that it implied infrequency, as in, “My husband cooks only once in a blue moon,” a complaint I have made a thousand times.
When I heard that there would be an actual blue moon on this past New Year’s Eve, I did a little research. Now I know: a blue moon is the second of two full moons in one month, and you only get one about every two and a half years.
I told Tom about this, and suggested that since we were having a blue moon, it might be a fitting time for him to cook dinner. This led to a discussion of his cooking repertoire, a list which includes only cream cheese and olive sandwiches, tuna melts, grilled hamburgers, and Campbell’s soup. He also claims to be proficient at scrambling eggs (although I’ve never seen him do it) and he admits that, as a bachelor, he was able to cook chicken in the oven, a practice he gave up the minute we exchanged vows. (I didn’t realize that when I said, “I do,” it was short for “I do the cooking.”) His recipe is as follows:
“Oh, you know, you just put the chicken in a pan and stick it in the oven until it’s done.”
Salt? Pepper? “Nah.”
Oven temperature? “I don’t know, medium, I guess.”
Cooking time? “Like I said, till it’s done.”
He did not end up cooking on New Year’s Eve, and, I’m happy to say, neither did I. But the next day, when I was making grilled chicken, I thought, this is a good bacherlor’s recipe: minimum effort required. Maybe I’ll get Tom to cook it for me, next time there’s a blue moon.
½ cup lemon juice
¼ cup mustard
1 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme (or rosemary)
1 tablespoon olive oil (plus extra for the grill pan)
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 chicken breasts, skinned, boned and split in half
1. In a bowl large enough to hold all the chicken, combine the lemon juice, mustard, thyme, oil, salt and pepper. Add the chicken breasts and turn them so they’re coated on all sides with the marinade. Cover the chicken and marinate it in the refrigerator for 1-4 hours.
2. About thirty minutes before you’re ready to serve the chicken, lightly oil a grill pan and heat it over medium heat. When the pan is hot, grill the chicken for about 7-8 minutes on each side, or until the juices run clear.
Serves eight, or 4 today and 4 tomorrow.