I love getting mail the old fashioned way—in envelopes. And I’m not referring to the bills and advertisements that fill my mailbox daily. I’m talking about letters, written by hand.
My mom alone seems to be keeping the art of letter-writing alive. Our kids are the usual beneficiaries of her predilection for writing. Every couple of weeks they receive a letter from her—“news” from her neck of the woods, stories about life when she was a kid, or a drawing. Sometimes she throws in a few bucks or a stick of gum.
She write letters to me once in a while as well, and what she sends is always a sweet surprise—photos from recent visits (real photos on paper!), a clipped article (with titles like “Storing Your Wedding Dress” or “Easy Crafts for Kids”), a fun recipe or just bits of news about her garden or latest house remodeling project.
Maybe that’s what makes opening an envelope so divine—the mystery of what awaits inside never grows old. For a recent dinner, I decided to stuff some envelopes and surprise my family. Not with letters or photos, but with dinner—chicken breast and vegetables seasoned with lemon, olive oil and garlic scapes en papillote.
A good ol’ fashioned family meal! I hope that never goes by the wayside.
4 chicken breasts
4 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. lemon juice, plus 4 wedges lemon
1/4 cup chopped garlic scapes (or 3 cloves garlic, minced)
Chopped vegetables (Feel free to use what you have!)
1/3 cup chopped red onion
20 cherry tomatoes
1 summer squash
1 cup mushrooms
Coat chicken breasts in olive oil, salt, garlic scapes/garlic, lemon juice and black pepper. Set aside while you prep vegetables.
Chop vegetables into bite size pieces and toss with chicken.
Heat grill* to 375 degrees. Cut two 20-inch long pieces of parchment paper and lay them on the counter in a cross shape.
Place a chicken breast and a quarter of the vegetables in the center of the top layer of parchment. Place a lemon wedge on top. Fold the edges of the parchment to seal in the chicken and vegetables. Tuck the sides under.
Take the bottom layer of the parchment and fold around the inside “envelope” securing by folding.
Repeat with each chicken breast.
Place on grill or in oven, folded side down (the parchment facing up should not have any seams showing. The seams should be underneath).
Cook for 15 minutes on first side, then flip the “envelope” and cook another 10 minutes.
To serve, remove outer parchment layer, and pull back the inner seam to reveal chicken and vegetables. Add salt and lemon squeeze if desired.
*This can be made on the grill in the summer or in the oven in the winter.