One Year Later

One year ago today, on 11-11-11, my dog Maya was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.  My Pirate and I were warned that she would live a maximum of two months if we pursued surgery and chemotherapy.  So, we opted to let her live out her final days comfortably.  I scribbled out a life list for Maya in my notebook and started knocking them out with her.  And now the list is completely scratched out, and she is still here, an old lady at 13 years old. The vet is baffled and I am so grateful that I could break out into song at any moment.     

Today, we enjoyed a cozy Sunday afternoon, scrubbing out the dishwasher filter, which was completely caked in dog hair, food particles, and detergent.  And while we laughed and chipped away at it, chicken thighs were roasting in the oven for a delicious lunch.  After we reassembled the dishwasher, I made gravy from the pan drippings.  We sat down to our celebratory lunch and shared nibbles with Maya and The Assistant, who greedily gobbled them down.  

This is how we made our roasted chicken thighs and gravy.

We took 12 chicken thighs and dried them thoroughly with paper towels.  Then we seasoned the bottom side with salt and laid them out on an olive oil rubbed cookie sheet.  We seasoned the tops of the chicken thighs with more kosher salt, pepper, and a few shakes of red cayenne pepper. We sat them on the counter for thirty or so minutes until they reached room temperature.  We slid them into a 430-degree oven for 55 minutes until the skin was crunchy and brown.

We moved the chicken onto a platter and poured the oil off of the cookie sheet into the sink, being careful not to lose the good brown drippings.  Added some hot water, not too much, into the cookie sheet and let it sit for a couple of minutes to soak, while we sampled some crispy chicken skin. Then scraped out the cookie sheet drippings and water into a small saucepan.  Tasted the liquid.  Added water and chicken stock until it tasted just right and poured in a slosh of heavy cream.  Brought the saucepan mixture to a simmer and whisked in Wondra until the mixture thickened.  We added three drops of lemon juice. Tasted it and served it up. 

Maya’s Life List 

Take a long car ride
Chew on a meaty T-bone in the backyard
Nap in the sun
Bark at the talking animals in the movie Babe
Watch sci-fi and bark at the aliens
Bath day followed by the blow drier and tail chase
Eat cookies—the human kind
Slow walks to stop and smell everything
Drink Corona on the back porch
 Chase pinecones in backyard