Flour + Water Slurry (for optional gravy thickening)
Chicken broth / bullion (maybe need it for sauce)
Trim the excess fat off the chicken thighs,
Season the 4 chicken thighs on all sides with salt, pepper, and thyme (or any other spices/herbs you think might go well)
Heat a large skillet or cast iron pan over high heat to get it nice and hot (but not all the way to smoking in the case of cast iron). The pan will be going into the oven, so keep that in mind. If you don’t have an oven-safe pan then you could use a baking dish or whatever.
Place the 4 chicken thighs into the pan, skin side down
While the chicken thighs brown, cut the onion into 4 large slices like you’re making large onion rings, but keep them together in one piece.
When the chicken thighs are browned, remove them from the pan, place the 4 onion rounds into the pan, and then place a chicken thigh, skin side up, on each. (you can also do this without having to remove the chicken from the pan bu stacking them all together and working your way around the pan building the onion+chicken stacks – I always save creating a dirty dish when I can!).
While the chicken and onions cook, start some rice.
Remove the chicken when it reaches whatever temperature you like your chicken at (165 degrees fahrenheight is the official temp, but I usually go a tad higher since my gauge might be in a weird spot, and chicken thighs are much more forgiving to a little more heat than breasts).
Place the chicken and onion rounds (carefully! They will want to fall apart) on a plate under some foil to let it rest / stay warm).
Pan Sauce / Gravy
Place the pan the chicken was in back on the stove with high heat. It should have plenty of juices and fat from the chicken.
Add about a cup of orange juice and a tablespoon of mustard (this is relative, the actual amounts will depend on how much juice you have in the pan).
Mix these together and then taste it. You may have to:
Add more salt and pepper
Add more orange juice or mustard if one or the other is overpowering
Add some chicken bouillon / broth if there’s not enough chicken flavor.
When it tastes right you can now optionally add some flour/water slurry to thicken it up, or leave it the way it is.
I like to serve it on a bed of rice, then the chicken, topped with one of the onion rounds, with sauce over the top. You can also go rice > onion > chicken > sauce if you want to show off the chicken more and make sure the skin stays crispier, but in my experience both will result in the skin not staying “crispy”, so why not put the large onion slice on top since it’s really almost more of a feature of this recipe – it’s the thing that’s “a little different”.
Serve with a side salad, or whatever vegetables you want.
My dad, some other people, and I were on a trans-Atlantic crossing in the 48 foot sailboat the Betty Ann, a boat we’ve sailed many times before. We were out in the middle of the Atlantic when some huge waves appeared on the horizon. As the waves got closer we could see that they were easily 100 feet tall, and were about to break. “We’re screwed” someone said.
Unknown to us we had stumbled upon a part of the ocean where it was only 20 feet deep, some undiscovered mid-Atlantic shoals, and these giant ocean swells were being kicked up into huge beasts. When the first wave was a few hundred feet off our bow, and our capsize imminent, a part appeared in the wave’s base. The wave turned into an arch, a half doughnut of water connected by a wall of water at both ends, and we sailed right through it.
We all stared at each other in disbelief. We had no time to wait though because the next wave was already upon us. And the same thing happened.
This repeated a few more times as this unnaturally large set of waves came through, and each time we were amazed as we looked up and saw the arch of water pass well over our mast and then re-form into a wave behind us. Only one of the waves, a smaller one thankfully, did not do the arch thing and we had to ride up its face and then down the backside. It was tricky, but we handled it.
Later on in the trip we were sitting in the Betty Ann’s cockpit talking about the amazing arch-waves when I looked up and saw a red stoplight ahead with tons of cars parked on a road. I realized we had full sail set, and were also motoring at cruise throttle. I jumped up off the seat and ran to the wheel which was on auto-pilot. I shifted into reverse and pinned the throttle. The engine screamed, and the prop cavitated, but just in time the boat came to a stop right at the end of a large traffic jam of cars on a road.
The whole crew got out and walked around (since were on dry ground now) trying to figure out what was going on and how this could happen? How does the open ocean and nothing in sight except the horizon suddenly turn into a road full of stopped cars? Then I saw it it. A large sign on the side of the road proclaimed: Welcome to Massachusetts.
I’m playing around with new painting software on the computer
I realize the software can paint whatever I’m thinking
As I touch the stylus pen to the screen, the part of the image that I’m thinking appears
I create a house, windows, a shingled roof, tress outside, a red sunset behind it.
I use another tool in the software menu and the image morphs into something completely different. I use undo and the original image appears. I realize I can navigate between images using the undo and redo menus items.
The computer monitor gets bigger and bigger, and soon completely envelops me and everyone in the room.
My mother and father are with me inside this image that I’ve created. It’s a completely new reality.
We decide to let the images do whatever they want, to see where they go.
Every few seconds a new scene appears, and it gets more and more real. I realize there are other elements you can control by touching things in certain scenes. It’s like a video game. Touching a rock in one scene activates the “Undo” feature and brings back the scene before it. We realize that with enough time would could learn how to navigate back and forth between scenes / realities.
At one point we are sitting in a cafe, outside is a city street like in one of those cyberpunk rainy city images:
We walk outside and there is a wall of tv screens each playing a different possible scene.
My dad points at one and a white neon line appears around it, the others dim.
The scene envelops us and becomes the new reality.
We watch as a young boy is playing video games in his bedroom.
His mother calls from somewhere else in the house, “You you like your new video game?”
“No, it’s scary.” the boy replies.
Behind the boy is the tv the game was being played on. A grim reaper in ragged black clothes appears on the screen, comes half way out of the TV, grabs the boy and drags him backwards into the TV.
The two disappear. We hear the boy crying for help and wailing that “This isn’t fair.” The last thing we see is the reaper flying from left to right across the screen, carrying the boy underneath him.
Running down a road to go do laps a the park I normally run at in the mornings
Foggy out and I think how it would make a good photograph the way the fog is flowing through the trees
I keep running down the trail and start to get worried that nothing looks familiar
I was carrying something and wanted to put it down on the benches that were normally about half way into this park, but the benches were gone.
I run past a boat launch that is dilapidated, and then another angled roadway covered in brown slippery mud. I slide down it as I try to run across. Other people are around now.
I finally get to a park at the end of a peninsula where there are lots of people, a lighthouse, and the ocean beyond. A steep set of steps goes down around the base of the lighthouse to the edge of the water. I run down through here and then up the other side.
At the top of the other side of the hill I find a place to rent small powered boats, so I get one.
I drive the boat down canals that are at first empty, but soon get crowded with other boat traffic. Some boats are small like mine, some large. It’s like a street in India with the mass of cars going every direction.
I get to an opening where I stop and meet some friends. Just past where we stopped the waterway opens up into a large bay which I realize is Newport.
But it’s getting late and we have to get back.
I jump on someone else’s smaller boat that’s more like a motorcycle, and she begins riding fast back up the canal through the heavy boat traffic, weaving around other boats and narrowly missing head-on collisions.
We stop at a large marina and water park where there are more people I know.
We stay there for a while eating and drinking but I get separated from my group.
When I can’t find them and I realize it’s almost time to leave, I sneak onto a large boat that docked there.
Soon after I crouch down on a set of benches on top of the boat, a cover starts coming down over the top. I am nearly crushed when I see a girl to my right who is operating the controls on this weird fiberglass cover that’s covering the whole top of the boat. She is right next to me so I don’t understand how she will get out either.
“I’m sorry, I snuck on and I’d like to get out now, but I’m stuck.” I say.
“No, you are not,” she says. “Turn around.”
I turn and realize that by my feet there is an opening which I go through and she follows.
I talk with her as the boat makes its way back out into the canal and up through other canals that I didn’t know about.
It makes its way into a city and we pass bridges, buildings, fields with people playing games.
Finally the boat stops again and I realize the girl I was talking with is gone. I look around and see she is down on the bow of the ship which is flooding with water. The entire ship is settling deeper into the water and the bow is going under.
I run to find someone and point out what’s happening. I am afraid she’ll drown, or be swept off the ship since the water coming over the railing is so strong.
I find another, older woman and point out what’s happening.
“Just watch” she says.
Two more girls join the girl at the bow. The ship moves in front of three tubes, they look like the opening to a waterslide, but a strong current of water is entering them, filling them completely with rushing water.
When the ship is finally in front of them. The three girls walk up to the tubes, and dive in head first.
I look around for where the exit of the tubes might be, but I cannot find it.
I turn to the woman next to me, “Where do they exit?”
“Back at the start.” is her reply.
I don’t understand at first and then realize she means the water park where we were docked hours ago. I think back on how far the ship traveled to get to this spot from there. It’s miles! “They will drown!” I say.
“Perhaps. They are ready, we must go to them if they are to live.”
The boat turns and begins its way back down the canals. We pass the same places on the way out as on the way in. At one of the fields there are people playing with these balls that are illuminated from the inside from some sort of power source. They kick them at people on the ship and they are kicked or swatted back like a vollyball. I can’t tell if this is a friendly game or the people on the ship are being taunted.
On the way the woman explains to me that while the girls who make the journey through the water tubes train for it, there is more. She is their mother, and she must get to the exit tubes before sunset or the girls will be lost forever.
I begin to notice that I do not recognize where we are, the ship is going a different way.
“There are those who would like to see us fail, and they have blocked the way for the ship.” the woman says, “We are going to have to swim also.”
The ship begins to flood itself again to bring the bow under water. I am taken with the woman to a forward compartment. I can hear the water outside surround the compartment as the ship sinks further.
“How long am I going to have to hold my breath?” I ask. “I’m not one of you.”
The woman looks at me, smiles, but says nothing.
I am waiting for the water to come rushing in, or to be spat out of the ship underwater like a torpedo, but it never happens. The sound of water fades and I realize the ship is surfacing.
“You said we were going to swim!” I say to the woman.
“The ship swims too.”
We go back to the top of the ship and we are docked next to a set of stairs that lead up and around an old building. I realize that the ship must have descended under the water and gone through some underwater passages to get here because this is a completely different part of the city. There are high metal fences around the buildings and the edge of the waterway where we are docked.
I follow the mother and a few other people up the stairs. I sense they are worried. I look up at the sky and see that the clouds have turned a fire-red. Sunset is almost here.
We take a brisk pace up and around a series of steps, the sound of water running becomes louder. We must be nearing the exit of the tubes where the girls will be.
After another turn we come to a gate. It is locked, and there is no way around. The fences are too tall and too strong to get past.
On the locked gate door is a sticker that I recognize to be from the local mayor, who is generally regarded to be evil. he has locked this gate to make sure that we will not be able to get in, and that the girls will die.
“We must find another way!” the woman says with some panic.
We run back down the steps and take another path. We exit onto a beach and find some bicycles. Everyone in the group grabs a bike and begins riding off down the beach towards the tube exits.
I am about to leave as well and then notice a pair of dive flippers. Thinking that there might be more swimming I take them.
[this is where the dream ended, but I’m thinking something like:]
We all ride down the beach. We turn a corner and the tube exits are visible, but are surrounded by a large lake / pond. We will have to swim the last leg, and get to the tube exits before sunset which is rapidly approaching.
I will put on the dive flippers which makes me faster than everyone else, even though the other people in this group are all part of this “Swimmers” race. Maybe they’re all older and have made “the swim” earlier in their lives but now they’re not as good. In any case, having the dive flippers makes me faster and I get there first, just before the last bit of sun falls under the horizon.
Maybe the woman will have realized this was the outcome, and earlier in the story gave me a “gift” which is really some sort of amulet that I need to use to open the tube exits and get the girls out.
I use the amulet, the girls appear out of the water that is rushing out of the tube exits.