I'm a very touchy-feely sort of person. From a young age, I have always felt quite comfortable offering someone that I know a little rub or pat on the back, or a quick peck on the cheek, if I'm more familiar with them.
I love hugs, kisses and the radiating warmth of a caring touch on my own shoulder or arm, or even a playful tousle of my hair; I appreciate my hands meeting with someone else's and being clasped together in a friendly grip in combination with a deep, soft smile that communicates through the eyes, “I'm really happy to see you”.
All of these wonderful gestures show me the kind feelings that someone has towards me, and for the connection, if ever-so-brief, that they seek to experience with me. They show me that someone cares and that I matter to them. These precious little affirming moments make me feel acknowledged, and remind me that I exist to other people, and that it does, indeed, matter to them that I feel special and loved.
I see all of the tender little touches that we share with each other and the kind words and moments of genuine connection that we exchange as little pieces of love that over time get woven together to become the beautiful and shiny armor that we wear on a daily basis; that we put on and take out with us into the world to help protect and buffer us just a little from not-so-touchy-feely elements out there in our daily lives. They coat us in a sort of proverbial glossy, sweet and sticky “sauce”, one that protects and tastes oh-so satisfying and sweetly delicious, and makes all the difference in the world.
To acknowledge another human being in a kind and caring way is to confirm that their very existence counts. And it seems to me that at the very core of things, what each and every one of us is after is to feel that we exist and matter. Don't all of our pursuits in life, if broken down to their very essence, seem to point to that, ultimately?
The sweetness that we provide one another has a deep effect on us; the “coating” that we can give in the form of acknowledgment and purposeful connection makes a difference; it's a salve that makes for a more richly flavored life, one with a hint of warm sweetness that adheres to our heart and soul, and gently perfumes and cascades over all else we come in contact with.
I love being a touchy-feely kind of person; I love receiving, as well as giving, those seemingly-insignificant little love taps and glossy-sweet acknowledgments that confirm that we're all inter-connected on a deeper level, and that our existence depends on one another.
I love the taste of a kind gesture; the flavor of a meaningful and uplifting word. And I can't think of anything better to be slathered or glossed up in than the genuine kindness, concern and care that comes from a fellow human being.
Taste what's good and pass it on.
Apricot-Pineapple “Sticky” Chicken over Toasted-Green Onion Rice
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves about 4
• 2 large skin-on and bone-in chicken breasts
• Canola oil
• Cracked black pepper
• 2 teaspoons paprika, divided use
• 2 small white onions, sliced into thin semi-circles
• 2 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 1 cup warm chicken stock
• 1 cup all-natural apricot preserves
• 1 cup canned organic pineapple chunks, drained and juice reserved (about 6 fluid ounces juice)
• 1 tablespoon BBQ sauce
• 2 tablespoons cold butter
• 2 tablespoon chopped green onion
• Toasted-Green Onion Rice (recipe below)
-Place a large, heavy-bottom pan such as a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
-While the pan heats, drizzle about 1 tablespoon of oil over the chicken breasts, and season with a couple of good pinches of salt and pepper, plus 1 teaspoon of the paprika; rub the seasoning in.
-Once the pan is hot, drizzle a little oil in, then add the breasts skin-side down into the pan; allow them to sear on that first side for about 4-5 minutes, or until golden and browned, then flip and sear on the bone-side for another 3 minutes, or so; remove the breasts and set aside for a few moments.
-Reduce the heat under the pan to medium-low, and if needed, drizzle in a little more of the oil; add in the sliced onions, and allow them to caramelize and soften for about 10-12 minutes, stirring them frequently to prevent burning.
-Once the onions are well caramelized, sprinkle in the remaining 1 teaspoon of paprika, plus the garlic cloves, an stir to combine and cook for a moment or two, until aromatic.
-Next, add in the chicken stock, the apricot preserves, the pineapple chunks, all of the reserved pineapple juice plus the BBQ sauce, and stir/whisk together until blended and the preserves melt into the sauce; bring to the simmer.
-Add the chicken breasts back into the pan, bone-side down, and reduce the heat to low or medium/low; allow the chicken and sauce to gently simmer, uncovered, for about 35 minutes, turning the chicken over in the sauce the last ten minutes or cooking.
-Remove the chicken from the pan, and set aside for a moment; turn the heat up to medium-high, and simmer the sauce for about 5-7 minutes to reduce and slightly thicken it; turn off the heat.
-Finish the sauce by whisking in the cold butter until the sauce is glossy, and sprinkling in 1 tablespoon of the chopped green onion.
-Slice the chicken meat from the bone (it may need to cool slightly first), and add it back into the pan.
-Serve the chicken liberally glazed with the sauce over Toasted-Green Onion Rice with a few dashed of hot sauce or sriracha for added heat, if desired, plus garnished with a little extra green onion.
Toasted-Green Onion Rice Ingredients:
• Canola oil
• 4 green onions, white parts and green parts separated, and chopped
• 1 clove garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 1 ½ cups uncooked jasmine rice
• Black pepper
• 2 ½ cups water
-Place a medium-size non-stick pot over medium-high heat, and drizzle in a little oil; once hot, add in the chopped white parts of the green onion, and allow them to saute/toast for a few moments until golden-brown.
-Next, stir in the garlic; once it becomes aromatic, add in the rice, plus a couple of pinches of salt and black pepper, and toast the rice in the oil/green onion/garlic mixture for about 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
-Add the water in, and gently stir; then, cover and reduce the heat to low, and allow the rice to gently simmer and cook for about 18-20 minutes, or until tender.
-Allow rice to stand for 5 minutes, then fluff with fork; add in the chopped green part of the onions, stir to incorporate, and serve.