“No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at ones most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, and the wisdom of cookbook writers.”
My dad just got home from Newport and brought me a little tin box full of family recipes. They’re all written out by hand and spattered with pasta water and melted chocolate. Although I have never met any of the women behind these recipes, each one gives me a glimpse into the lives they led.
I know that Ms. E. M. Langley felt very strongly about adding extra cheddar to her stuffed peppers, and that Mrs. Pierce liked to dip her doughnuts not once, but three times in powdered sugar. Even though I don’t even know their first names, I think Ms. Langley, Mrs. Pierce are pretty cool, and I think we would all be very good friends. (I don’t joke around when it comes to powdered sugar)
This got me thinking — what recipes define my immediate family?
We don’t have many heirloom recipes. I don’t have a Greek grandmother who taught me how to roll a phyllo dough. I don’t come from a long line of bread-makers. We don’t even have a family recipe for lasagna.
Then realized that there are so many tastes that remind me of my family.
This rosemary chicken is one of them. It’s a recipe that’s always been there. It was simmering in the background when I learned how to ride a bike, when I broke my arm, when I thought bangs would be a good idea, when I went on my first date and when I got my first cavity. It will still be simmering on the back burner when I learn to drive, when I go off to college, and when I get my first job. It’s that good.
It’s a simple recipe — chicken breasts covered in a luscious rosemary cream sauce that fill the entire house with the warm, comforting smell of rosemary and caramelized onions.
Someday, I want to be the lady behind a family recipe. I’ll always add extra cheddar, and hopefully an aspiring cook someday will look at my recipes and think that I sounded like a pretty cool lady.
Do you have any family recipes?
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 chopped garlic clove
1 chopped onion
4 pieces of boneless chicken breast
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
1 pint heavy cream
1/4 cup cider vinegar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large skillet, saute the garlic and onions in olive oil.
Add chicken and brown.
Place browned chicken in a baking dish, leaving the browned onions and garlic in the pan.
Add cream to the skillet and mix with the onions and garlic. Add the cider vinegar.
Cook over medium heat, scraping up the brown bits, onions, and garlic from the pan. Add chopped rosemary. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce to about half.
Pour sauce over chicken in baking dish.
Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.
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This sounds absolutely wonderful! Can't go wrong with caramelized onions and fresh herbs 🙂 I don't really have any family recipes either…that are still around! I yell at my grandma all the time for never getting the recipes from the bakery that her grandparents owned in NYC wayyyy back in the day! Oh how I wish I had those!!
Thank you! I totally agree, those caramelized onions are to die for. They owned a bakery!? No way! I guess baking runs in the family!
Your writing is lovely! I won't even say "for a high school student" because that is unfair–your food writing is truly beautiful to read, period. I just discovered your blog and read back through all your posts. Very inspiring!
Thank you for the kind words 🙂 This comment made me smile 🙂
I have no doubt that you will be the lady behind LOTS of recipes in your family some day. In fact, you will be famous within your family due to this blog alone – this blog is a great gift that I'm sure your family will value one day. My all time favorite meal is an old family recipe from my mom's side of the family (the Italian side) – linguine with tuna sauce (it's a tomato sauce with tuna in it). Unfortunately, my now immediate family hates it and threatens to have plans for the evening if I suggest making it!! Haha…I guess it's an acquired taste. This chicken looks and sounds delicious ☺
Thank you! That is so sweet of you to say, and I really hope that I am the lady behind many recipes in the future :). This post truly warmed my heart. That sounds pretty yummy — oh well, I guess it is an acquired taste! Thanks again 🙂 E
Hmm I think the only real constant homemade food that defines my little family might be my mom’s coconut bread, they are so good with butter when they are fresh out the oven. My mom doesn’t follow a recipe for them either or any measurements, everything is measured by her eyes (and probably hands) so I don’t know how to make it myself. Though I think I do know most of the ingredients – coconut milk, flour, yeast, oil, water, and maybe sugar. The next time she makes it I’ll have to help out and takes notes so I can get it down.
Oh my god I'm drooling in my seat! Send me the recipe ASAP!
I'll try and get her to make some soon so I can get the recipe ^_^.
That would be great! I can't wait to try that (I love coconut and I love bread)
I just found ur blog. I think its fantastic what u r doing here. Im old (46 Heeheehee) and have been cooking LONG TIME but im in luv with your recipes. The rosemary chicken is already on this weeks menu my dear. Be sure and start typing all your recipes down. Get a cookbook published. I know I would certainly buy it. Thx for these AWESOME recipes. P.S. Sex in a pan is ALSO going on the menu for the week. Diet be damned at least for a day. Lol
Thank you so much for the sweet comment Susan! Please let me know what you think of my recipes (you can post pictures of them on my Facebook page if you would like!). Publishing a cookbook is definitely one of my dreams someday :). Oh and I am so jealous you are having Sex in a Pan this week! I might just have to throw that on my weekly menu as well 😉
I have made this a few times now- & it's amazing! But mine doesn't look like the photos- mine stays kinda creamy.. Kinda like a broken Alfredo sauce, & yours has a nice brine butter look to it. I have followed the instructions to a T so I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. It still tastes amazing (&Amy husband is happy with it) but I'm looking for that dark golden brown sauce instead of a broken cream sauce. Any ideas? All of your recipes are soooo amazing! 🙂
Creamy is good! That's how mine usually looks! These were leftovers photographed the next day, so that's why they look like this! So I think you are making the recipe correctly! I am so glad you gave it a try — this is truly one of my favorite recipes!
Made this again tonight & it was epic as usual! Nom Nom!
Will be making tonight as I have untouched rosemary growing on my balcony. Using thighs to sub breasts as breasts have sometimes disappointed in the juicy department. Very excited to see how it turns out.
Wonderful! I am growing an herb garden as well, but it's not big enough to use them yet! Let me know how it turns out! That sounds delicious!
This recipe is SO amazingly delicious! Thanks so, so much! I can't wait to browse through other recipes on your blog 🙂
I'm so glad you liked it! It is a family favorite in my house!