Friday, September 17, 2010

Maple-glazed chicken thighs and bad days

Yesterday was a bad day. Or rather it started bad, got worse and then actually got better. 

As many of you know, being a working mom leaves you no other choice than to entrust people you don't know very well with what is most precious to you. I went through this with my first born and it was excruciating. This time it was a little easier. I knew I wouldn't miss out on the important things, I knew I would still be his number 1. And both times I was lucky to find people who cared. A few weeks ago emergency struck, so enter a new person. Not the perfect fit, I was aware at the time, but comfortable enough to help until day care started in a month. Or so I thought.


Something made me change my mind abruptly. Nothing involving my baby, I feel I must clarify, or I would  have given in to my worst animal instincts. But enough for me to wake up and realize I will not settle for second best when my flesh and blood (and heart and soul) are involved. Even if this causes total caos in my life and my job.

It was the busiest day of the past two months in the office. I was on deadline, practically typing with my toes and simultaneously calling everyone I know in town trying to find Mary Poppins to come and save the day. We made our deadline, I found two good substitutes and in the midst of it all our day care called to ask whether we were interested in pushing the starting date forward for our Monday. I have a guardian angel!

So it actually turned out to be good day in the end, I did what I felt was right as a parent. Still, it didn't make me feel good and by the time I got home after 12 hrs in the office I felt like I had been wrung in a spin dryer.

Thank goodness for Super F, who had gotten home early and had already started the bedtime routine. All I had to do was think about dinner. So here is a recipe for maple-glazed chicken thighs.

Which  I of course did not cook yesterday, because all I had the energy and time to make before my daughter fell asleep in her dinner plate was what the British call bangers and mash (I even substituted the gravy for plain mustard). And if you are wondering why I am distracting you with another recipe, suffice it to say that the mashed potatoes were made out of a bag that lingers in my cupboard for just such emergencies (just like the emergency recipes I keep in my computer for such occasions).

6 chicken thighs
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
a few drops of sesame oil
3 garlic cloves

I had a little maple syrup left over from the pancakes I made a few weeks ago. It was not enough to use on another batch, but maple syrup is a rare and valuable commodity here, so we do not waste a drop. I put the chicken thighs in a ziploc bag (which I carry over in my suitcase from the States) with the syrup, the soy sauce, the sesame oil, a few crushed cloves of garlic and a sprinkling of pepper. I closed the bag and squished the content around with my fingers for a bit, then placed in the fridge for about an hour (the more the better however), turning it a couple of times. In the meantime, I pre-heated the oven to 220°C. I then heated a heavy based pan and seared the thighs skin side down until it turned gloden and crispy. Then I turned the pieces of meat, cooked them for about a minute on the other side, poured over the marinade and roasted them in the oven until the meat was cooked through and the skin was crunchy and dark. Finger lickin' good! 

The raw cabbage salad on the side is dressed with toasted sesame seeds, sesame oil, fish sauce, rice vinegar  and a little soy sauce.


  1. Don't you just love it when you listen to that little voice inside & instantly another big old door opens.

  2. You're a great mother. I'm glad you set your priorities to your loved ones, and I'm sure they'll appreciate you for that. Esp when you whip up such freaking amazingly delicious-looking concoctions.

    I'm glad the day better! May the week turn out to be terrific for you.

  3. I don't have children so I can only imagine how you must feel. All the pressures of a working mom, the guilt of leaving your kids with strangers... It must be so tough. But working it out in the end must be amazing. It sounds like you're a great mom :)
    Your dish looks like just the dinner I wanna have tonight!

  4. Thank you all for your kind words. They really made my day. It is amazing how much warmth you can receive from people you have never met, although following your blogs daily makes me feel like I do know you.
    Magda - looove that feta-filled bread. Oh my goodness!

  5. What a day indeed! You have your priorities absolutely right and like a trooper you recovered greatly and triumphed with this masterpiece of a dish! :D


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