I have been covered in a rash for the last three days. An angry, itchy rash.
On my stomach, you jerks. Get your mind out of the gutter.
Yesterday, I was insanely ill with some sort of GI issue. I also had two bloody noses. I blamed the illness on bad sushi, but coupled with the rash and a bloody nose? Maybe an allergic reaction to something?
I cannot really pinpoint what I would be reacting too, though. Could have been something funky in the funnel cake? Food bought from a booth on a sidewalk is the most clean of all the cuisines.
Maybe it is just stress. As I have alluded here lately, I am feeling a bit down. I don’t feel I am living up to my potential or being the person I know I am capable of being. My career path is vexing me, I have made a few reckless personal decisions, and some upsetting family stuff has been going on, dredging up some feelings I long thought I had reconciled. This causes crying jags, binge eating-which quickly leads to manic workout sessions– and the most lovely elements of my personality to rear their ugly head. Why, when you need people the most, do you act your worst?
Oh, and I have been making many trips to the wine store. The neighborhood liquor store loves it when I am in a spiral.
(Gentleman, have I mentioned I am single? How do you not want a piece of this?)
So, let me reflect on some constants in my life that are reassuring in times like these:
- My strong friendships
- A knowledge that I will come through this
- My ability to laugh at myself, even in the hardest of times
- Knowing I have a knack for something, i.e. cooking
All four of these constants collided this weekend. Pagina came over, I cooked us diner, and we talked for hours about all that ails us. Let me tell you, you all need a friend like Pagina. She is the baddest bitch: smart, funny and honest. I love her. When she left, I felt just a tad more reassured that things will work out. It is nice to know I have some good friends on hand as I try to come through all this nonsense.
I must say, the dinner I made us came out supremely well. I have been lacking some cooking mojo, so this was a well timed success. I have been eyeing this chicken and cashew recipe for some time and this was the perfect occasion to add it to the arsenal. It had a touch of heat, but was not overpoweringly spicy. The mushrooms and onions kept it all moist and it reheats like a dream. I am stumped as to why the original recipe did not call for garlic, a given in Chinese recipes, but this is why it is good to have a cooking baseline. I just added it and I cannot imagine it without. Served over brown rice, you really cannot go wrong.
So, yes, some things are sucking lately, but this chicken softens the blow. Also, maybe it is time for me to stop the navel gazing and get myself some cortisone cream.
Chinese Chicken and Cashews
Adapted from: Simply Recipes
4 chicken breasts, cut into 1″ cubes
2 TBS Vegetable or Peanut Oil (I used vegetable as it was what I had on hand)
2 ½ TBSP Chili Powder
½ cup Tamari or Soy Sauce (I used Tamari)
½ cup Honey
2 cloves garlic
1 TBSP fresh ginger, chopped
2 cups cashews
3 cups onions, chopped
2 cups mushrooms, chopped
Put the chicken cubes in a dish. Cover the chicken with oil. Add tamari until the marinade turns brown (about 2 Tbsp per breast). Sprinkle the chili powder all over the top of the chicken. Stir, and sprinkle again. Stir and sprinkle again, stir. You should be able to see each piece of chicken with lots of sprinkles of chili powder. Add the honey, garlic and ginger. Marinate from anywhere from a half an hour to several hours, the longer the better. Put cashews into a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until they are soft, (a couple of minutes – the water will get foamy.) Remove from heat. Strain and set aside. In the same skillet sauté onions on medium high to high heat with reserved marinade for several of minutes. Add mushrooms and continue to sauté until onions are translucent and mushrooms are cooked, several minutes more. Add additional marinade ingredients if necessary – peanut oil, tamari, chili powder, honey. Combine chicken, mushrooms, onions, with the cashews. Serves 5-6 people.