Bree and I go way back. Like, wayyyy back. We did not meet in a parking lot like I did with two of the other Moss women. Bree and I met before we even knew of the Moss men. Before we were even thinking about marriage. Before we were even in college. Bree and I met at good ol’ Shawnee Mission South High School.
That’s right. The childhood fantasy of you and your best friend marrying brothers actually came true for us. And yes, it’s ok to think it’s weird. All of our friends do. And frequently remind us.
Bree and I headed to the University of Missouri after high school. Little did we know two brothers were waiting for us in Columbia. Bree and Michael started dating first. I studied abroad during our second semester junior year of college.
On Valentine’s Day of my semester abroad, I received an email from Bree:
“I’m going on a date today. It’s Valentine’s Day. It’s either going to be really good or really bad.”
I didn’t hear much back, probably because I was a horrible friend and didn’t ask since I was all wrapped up in my life overseas.
About a month later, while sitting in my London flat perusing Facebook, I came across some recently posted photos of Bree frolicking on the beach with some dude. Some dude who I had never met. Some dude who’s name I didn’t know. Some dude who’s face I didn’t recognize.
I quickly fired off an email:
“Dear Bree. Who is this boy? We are officially fighting until you respond. Thank you for your time and consideration. Libby”
Very soon after, I learned his name was Michael. And very soon after that I connected dots. Michael was Valentine’s Boy. Guess it went well.
Upon my return to the States and to Columbia, Mo., my first stop was to Bree’s house to reunite with my best friend. And lo and behold, here comes Michael waltzing out of the house behind Bree. My inner monologue went a lil’ somthin’ like this: “Excuse me? I haven’t seen my best friend in four months. I don’t even know you. Please go away.” However, Michael and I quickly bonded as we waited inside for Bree to finish getting ready. For the record, Bree has become much more punctual over the years. Michael and I spent more time together, he bought me a My Little Pony toy for my 21st birthday (He asked me what I wanted. I said a pony. He bought me the toy. Clever.) and we became fast friends. I approved.
I distinctly remember sitting in the McDonald’s drive-thru line (go ahead, judge) during the summer before our senior year of college when I received the fateful call from Bree.
Bree: Michael and I think you should meet his brother, Patrick.
Me: What? No, that’s weird.
Bree: No, we think you two would be great.
Me. What? No, that’s weird.
Bree: Will you meet him?
Me: What? No, that’s weird.
Long story short, P and I met. We fell in love. Bree and I became sisters. And yes, it’s weird. Weirdly awesome!
Married almost exactly a year apart, the four of us are on parallel paths of life and enjoying all the ups and downs together. She gets me. I get her. We get the Moss men. Family time is friend time. Friend time is family time. It’s great.
And I’m for sure going to request this recipe is made during one of our next Sunday night dinners.
“Hi, I’m Bree. Married to Moss #5”
Since marrying my husband Michael in July, this has become my new go-to introduction. He’s the youngest of the Moss clan, and so far, it’s proven to be the most effective way to make the association with which brother I’m connected to. There are so many of them, after all.
As Libby mentioned in kicking off this Moss Women Week, our mother-in-law is a saint. One of the many reasons she deserves that label is while raising all 5 boys, she was kind enough to customize each meal to fit the desires of her pickiest eaters. (You know, for the ones who didn’t like vegetables in their soup. Patsy didn’t name names, but I’m going to let the cat out of the bag: Michael is one of the pickiest eaters I’ve ever met. It’s ok; he has lots of other redeeming qualities.) “You don’t like onions? Ok. We’ll make a version of the dish without onions. You like things spicy? Ok, we’ll make a hot version, too.” I’m reminded of the Friends episode where Monica makes 3 different kinds of mashed potatoes to make sure each of her guests has the “perfect Thanksgiving.” (Season 1, Episode 9. I know, I know, it’s an addiction). Patsy’s service to her boys in this regard never ceases to amaze me. Because there have always been so many delicious options to eat, a couple of the boys have developed some pretty particular eating preferences – and as the youngest, Michael is probably the pickiest.
So began our adventures in cooking as a married couple. I have to admit, I was a bit nervous we might only eat macaroni & cheese, boxed jambalaya, and frozen pizzas for the rest of our lives. If you remember from Amy’s post, Libby and Michael have very similar palettes. Hence why Patrick & I can never let the two of them go to Costco alone (I predict a post about the Moss Costco Co-op sometime in the future). I am happy to report I’ve been pleasantly surprised. My husband has graciously tried each and every dish I’ve attempted in our fledgling marriage (he’s a smart one) – and has even admitted to liking some fairly unique ones. Progress, my friends!
Thus far, our biggest hit (aside from classics from our parents’ kitchens we both know and love) has been a breaded chicken recipe from the Barefoot Contessa “Foolproof” Cookbook that was gifted to us by a friend. We’ve made it a few times and it just keeps getting better each time. The chicken is so tender and flavorful, plus it’s an easy one to make. I’ll definitely be keeping it on the short list of trusted recipes.
Pair it with some mashed potatoes and enjoy!
Crispy Mustard-Roasted Chicken
4 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups panko (Japanese bread flakes)
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
2 tablespoons good olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ cup Dijon mustard, such as Grey Poupon
½ cup dry white wine
1 (3½- to 4-pound) chicken, cut in eighths
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the garlic, thyme, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until the garlic is finely minced. Add the panko, lemon zest, olive oil, and butter and pulse a few times to moisten the bread flakes. Pour the mixture onto a large plate. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the mustard and wine.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Sprinkle generously all over with salt and pepper. Dip each piece in the mustard mixture to coat on all sides, and then place skin-side down only into the crumb mixture, pressing gently to make the crumbs adhere. Place the chicken on a sheet pan crumb-side up. Press the remaining crumbs on the chicken pieces.
Bake the chicken for 40 minutes. Raise the heat to 400 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes, until the crumbs are browned and the chicken is cooked through. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.