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Archive for the ‘Poultry’ Category

Cinnabombed

I spent 15 minutes Saturday night trying to convince some lunk that I am not Italian. Now I know I have dark hair and dark eyes, but I am pretty fair. His drunken insistence wore on my last nerve. I know I should have shooed him away then and there, but he was from Boston and I am a sucker for the accent. He pitifully orbited around me for the rest of the evening. I tried to be kind, but when he tried to kiss me as I left I had just about had it.

I ambled home, talking to a friend on the phone. Once in my apartment I decided now was the perfect time for a cinnamon roll. I had lugged back a bag from a beloved bakery in RI and it seemed like a delicious treat. In my haze I placed the frozen hockey puck on a plate to defrost.

A non microwave safe plate.

For 90 seconds.

As I type this out I am reminded of my idiocy with every key stroke; a shiny blister resides on my right ring finger. Not only did I manage to injure myself in those wee hours, I passed out in bed with a plate and a potholder. I woke up with the plate next to my head and laying on top of the potholder. Now this may not be my proudest moment, but it is a better option than waking up with a vodka bottle near my head and laying in top of a drunken Bostonian, no? Baby steps here, kids. I am growing as a person.

I mean, who the hell makes a cinnamon roll when they are drunk?  Isn’t it pizza time? Or falafel time? I mean hell, I have even been known the shamelessly wolf down a sandwich in those wee hours.  Nothing as good as this chicken cheesesteak, but it would be hard to match.  Lightened up, these has far less oil and fat than the traditional cheesesteak and tastes really good.  I made a tactical error toasting the bread; it made it a bit dry, but that is my own damn fault. The picture here blows (big surprise), but is there really anyway to make a sandwich look really awesome?  Probably, but I was too hungry and this was snapped in a rush.

Maybe I will go for this next time; the baked goods have not treated me kindly.

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Chicken Philly Cheesesteaks
Slightly adapted from Cooking Light

Cooking spray
3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into (1-inch-thick) strips
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup red bell pepper strips
1 cup green bell pepper strips
1 cup vertically sliced onion
1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
4 (3-ounce) submarine rolls (such as Cobblestone Mill brand)
4 (1-ounce) slices provolone cheese

Preparation
Spray pan that has been over over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Sauté 5 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken from pan. Add red bell pepper and next 5 ingredients (red bell pepper through garlic) to pan; sauté 6 minutes or until tender. Stir in chicken and pepper sauce; remove from heat.

Slice each roll in half horizontally, cutting to, but not through, other side. Place 1 cheese slice and 1 cup chicken mixture on bottom half of each roll, and gently press roll halves together.

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Vanilla

Prologue: I hate to do this because I think it is my prerogative to be a bit of a cunt sometimes if I feel like it, but I assure you, this is not about you.  Yes, you.  Really.  Not about you.  And hey, maybe this isn’t the most flattering picture of me, but seriously, I will buy you a beer if you email me and tell me you have never once done a double take at the partnering of a friend…or thought a nasty thought.  Maybe I am judgmental, but hopefully I can work through that in therapy.

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I met a friend for dinner the other night and we got on the topic of another of our friends who has fallen off the map. It is a pretty common tale; he met a girl and we have been left in the dust.

Now, I get it. I am old enough to understand and accept that things change when someone is in a relationship. Hell, they should within reason. Priorities shift, love is grand and all this. This is in not that kind of bitter rant.

But this girl, Christ almighty. Over the past year I have referred to her as “Cream of Wheat”, “Khaki”, “Missionary”, and “WhatsHersFace”. Being around this girl is a fate crueler than watching paint dry, a slow and painful torture of boredom. I would much rather this girl be a bitch or a nutter than the reality. She bores us all to tears and frankly, I think less of my friend for being with her.

This is not to say I think I am the world’s most interesting person. As much as we all want to think we are smart and funny and charming, no one is all that special. But this girl? I can scarcely be around her, which actually works out okay since my friend has all but dissapeared since meeting this wet blanket; I actually don’t have to see her that often.

There is a part of me, the charitable part that wants my friend to be happy, that hopes I am totally wrong.  Perhaps this woman is some sort of comic genius or can pontificate for hours about sustainable energy when I am not around.  I hope, for his case and the case of humanity, that this is the situation.  I mean sometimes things appear to be really vanilla, but they surprise you.

Take this chicken dish.  I added a few tweaks to my friend MakeOut Bandit’s lemon chicken and it turned out shockingly well.  This is just an amalgam of leftovers and things I had kicking around in the fridge and I could not be happier with how this turned out.  Now, it doesn’t look the prettiest (the brown rice and yellow bowl surely don’t help either) but it was really good.  The sauce is thickened by the cornstarch and it is highly reminiscent of Chinese lemon chicken, but way healthier.  The vinegar adds a nice contrast to the curd and the green onions are a lovely compliment to the whole dish. Oh, and it is easy…I threw it together in less than 15 minutes.  Really, you cannot go wrong here.

Here is to hoping my friend’s girlfriend has some hidden surprises as well.

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Lemon Chicken

Adapted from my friend Makeout Bandit

Pam/Cooking spray

1 packet chicken tenders, cubed

Salt and pepper

2 green onions, chopped (if you have chives on hand, you could sub those in)

1 cup lemon curd

2 TBS white wine vinegar

1/4 cup chicken broth

1/2 tsp corn starch

Preheat large skillet over medium heat. Spray pan. Salt and pepper cubed chicken and add to skillet. Cook chicken for about 8 minutes and then add green onions. Cook for an additional 2 minutes. Mix together vinegar, curd, broth and cornstarch. Add to pan and cook for about 2 minutes (sauce will thicken). Serve over brown rice.

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Feeling Feelings

I’ve had a secret shame buried deep inside me for a few weeks.

I watched “Twilight”. I watched “Twilight” and I liked it.

Now, everyone is carrying on and on about the dreaminess of Edward Cullen and I do feel a bit superior when I proclaim I did not find him the least bit attractive. Now this is not to say there haven’t been a few young men I have taken a shine to; I feel a special kind of flutter every time I see Joe Jonas. Say what you will but that boy really does look like he needs his purity ring tarnished and I am happy to take on that job.  Also, I find his floppy brown hair lovely.

But Edward Cullen? Too pale, skinny, hairless and far, far too blond for me. I do not handle emotional boys well and our dear Edward feels far too many feelings for my liking. He seems a young man that would be scared of hurting me, only wants to make love and would talk incessantly about what a deep connection he feels. I do not care for this one bit.

Oh, and he is a vegetarian. I know plenty of lovely men who are vegetarians, but really? Nothing produces a pile of sawdust in my panties faster than a man who won’t eat a steak.

What I think got me about the movie was the sort of wide eyed faith Bella has in what she is feeling. She is in awe he loves her and doesn’t quite understand it, but she just goes with it.  She is young and unscathed by heartbreak.  There are no “what ifs” and she doesn’t hold back scared of the possibility of being hurt.  The movie reminded me of the free fall of first love and made me wish I was 14 again.  Well, 14-years-old minus the acne and the disproportionately large rack.

Except in my 14-year-old fantasies, it was not Edward Cullen…it was Anthony Kiedis.  There will be no pale vegetarians on my watch, no propping of of weak men who are far too emotive.  The only thing I am ready to handle on a regular basis is raves about my cooking  and Mr. Cullen would not be able to even eat my food and that’s just too bad.  Not to say their aren’t some misses but I like the accolades when they are deserved.  For instance I threw this meal together totally last minutes and it came out really well.  Sure, it is just pasta, but it is flavorful and I managed to get a ton of vegetables in here.  For a fast week night dinner that will leave you a ton of leftovers you really cannot go wrong. The whole wheat pasta adds a nice depth and the sauce, more chunky than a normal sauce, manages to stay light(er) thanks to the turkey and artichokes.  Hey, this isn’t going to change your life but it is way better than a jar of Ragu.

And how do you feel about that, Edward?

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Summer Pasta

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, minced

1 pound mushrooms, chopped finely

2 teaspoons dried basil

1.5 teaspoons dried oregano

1 package (about 1.5 lbs) ground turkey

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 8 0z. can tomato sauce

1 14.5 oz. can chopped tomatoes

1 14.5 oz. can artichokes, drained

Salt and pepper

1 box whole wheat pasta

Parmesan for sprinkling

Boil salted water and cook pasta while preparing sauce.

Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and cook for about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms,a pinch of salt and some pepper and cook for another 3 minutes. Drain off some of the liquid from the mushrooms with a spoon. Add basil, oregano, balsamic and turkey and cook for 8 minutes. (You may need to spoon off some more liquid.)Pour in tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes and artichokes. Cook for an additional 7 minutes. Salt and pepper and mix with pasta. Top with parmesan.

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Baller, Shot Caller

I have probably seen the movie “Jackass” about 10 times. I own way more Lil’ Wayne and T.I. than is socially acceptable for a grown woman. I can watch “$240 Worth of Pudding” (thanks for the tip off, Hammer) and laugh hysterically while other people roll their eyes.  I slap asses often and with inappropriate zeal.

All and all I can be shockingly immature…well, at least until the bathroom humor begins. You know how I feel about that.

So I have to tell you that I am itching to make a big balls joke here…but I won’t. It would not be very lady like.

There isn’t really anything funny about big balls anyway. Am I right ladies and 11% of the men?

Now there is nothing wrong with big balls per se, but sometimes they can be overwhelming.  This weekend I decided to try a new matzo balls soup recipe.  My old recipe was pretty perfect but I was itching to try a recipe that didn’t call for seltzer.  I never have seltzer around and it always seems a waste when I purchase it.  I loved how this recipe came out; whipping the whites and the yolks of the eggs separately as does the use of the baking soda. But there is the rub; the baking soda really makes these matzo balls puff up.  They almost doubled in size when I cooked them.  Now, they still tasted good but they were some overwhelmingly large balls.  Make sure to keep them pretty small–about ping pong ball sized–when making them.  Despite the overwhelmingly large balls this was some seriously good soup.  Salty and flavorful and hearty, I could eat it every day.

Big balls happen…I will hope for better luck next time.

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Matzo Ball Soup

Inspired from Food Fashionista

Matzo Balls
4 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon shmaltz (chicken fat) — you can sub in vegetable oil
1 cup unsalted matzoh meal
1/2 teapsoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Soup
5 cups chicken stock/broth
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1/2 cup finely diced onion
Salt to taste

Beat egg whites in a bowl until fluffy (not stiff, just fluffy) and beat egg yolks and shmaltz in a separate bowl. Add yolk mixture to whites and stir well. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Place mixture in refrigerator for an hour.

Form about 2 dozen balls and drop in to salted boiling water. Cook for about 40 minutes.

While matzo balls cook, add all soup ingredients to a large pot and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cover.
Yields about 20 matzoh balls.

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She’s So Lucky

A few summers back I was out with a few friends. I was wearing a floatier halter top, not typically my style, but it was the summer after I lost all the weight and I was trying to embrace the new me…or whatever. Who the hell knows why I chose this top as I felt supremely uncomfortable wearing it, but I suspect it had something to do with how awesome it made my cleavage look and the fact that the tag had a “S” on it. I am fairly predictable.

l-and-l1The evening ended with me staggering around the streets of Adam’s Morgan with my friend Cindarella and a few other folks. This was probably the most boozy period of my life; I was fresh out of a relationship that crashed and burned with a spectacular brightness and I still hadn’t figured out how much liquor my new, smaller body could actually handle. I could have made Betty Ford blush with the amount of beer I was consuming on the regular and while I wish my staggering was merely a metaphor sadly it was not. I could barely stand up, but a much more sober Cindarella stood by my side, told me I looked pretty in my shirt, talked smack about my ex and generally watched after me.

As we crossed 18th Street, a crowd of clearly strung out riff raff had congregated around the McDonald’s. One man, unshowered and barely coherent, looked at me and screamed “You shouldn’t be drinking when you are pregnant.”

I lost it.  This man had touched on a deep insecurity when I was already in a vulnerable place. I absolutely came unhinged on that corner. Crying in public probably ranks just above eating coconut and just below dating a blond on the list of things I aim not to do, so you know it had to be bad. Cindarella yelled at the guy but largely tended to me; she hugged me tight and got me in the nearest cab, fully knowing I could never bounce back from that. The evening was a wash.

Little did I know that after I left Cindarella chased that man down, fixing to give him a piece of her mind. He was nowhere to be found and this is probably for the best.  Cindarella is a force and not to be messed with but even I was surprised to hear she chased a CRACKHEAD IN TO AN ALLY for me. Of course when I heard this story I immediately thought about how afterschool special it would have been had she been shanked in that ally. (Kids, this will happen to you if you move in to the big city…) Praise Allah that I have somewhat cleaned up my act, that I haven’t cried in public since, that I have largely forgotten about the guy.  I also trashed the shirt.  Still, I can’t help and think of that story and still smile to this day. Screw “Chicken Soup for the Soul”; I had someone way better to turn to when the chips were down.

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(Chicken stock is super easy to make and can be adapted to what you have on hand. Just throw some root vegetables in a pot with some chicken backs and necks, or in this instance a chicken carcass. All the measurements here are guesses; I promise you cannot screw this up.)

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Chicken Stock

1 chicken carcass (I threw the left over carcass from the last chicken I roasted in the freezer and pulled it out for this purpose)

water

2 carrots, roughly chopped (I threw in a big handful of baby carrots instead)

3 celery stalks, roughly chopped

1 onion, quartered

Handful of flat leaf parsley

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon peppercorns (or a teaspoon ground pepper)

2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)

Put chicken in large stock pot and cover with water. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for about 3 hours. Strain through a mesh strainer and skim off fat. Freeze or use within 5 days.

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The Mouth

I don’t really know where the mouth came from truth be told.

As a kid we were not allowed to watch anything our parents’ believed could corrupt our young minds; “Three’s Company”, “90210” and “Beavis and Butthead” were banned in my house.  I think I have heard my mother swear twice my whole life.

Now I do remember the first time I said a naughty word.  I was in the woods, sitting on a monstrous rock, with my childhood best friend, Jennie.  (Isn’t every girl’s childhood best friend Jennie?)  We were 8-years-old and about an acre away from my house.  I wanted to be absolutely certain no one heard us.  Holding hands we both uttered the word “shit” and giggled.

It has gotten progressively worse over the years.  Readers and real life friends have witnessed my dirty verbal gems.  At times I don’t even know where they come from…I am beginning to think I am just inherently depraved.  At work I can hold it together, but in my day to day life I find it getting harder.  It is just a habit, like moisturizing or worrying about Britney Spears’ mental stability.  I do my best to respect my mother but I hear the phrase “Alexandra! Language!” with more and more frequency. She calls me Alexandra when she means business. The other day the “f word” slipped out when I was around my 6-year-old cousin.  He didn’t hear me, but I was really disappointed.  I try to be the best version of myself around him.

I’ve decided I am going to make an effort to be better.  While I do think the taboo regarding swearing is a bit ridiculous, I think I could benefit from using my words more.  I mean, I am not an idiot.  Not every sentence needs to make a sailor cringe.  This being said, a perfectly placed naughty word? Divine.

For instance, this chicken was fucking good.  Seriously. Fucking. Good.  Now I have made some roasted chicken in my day and this is hands down one of the best.  A friend of mine loves to make chicken breasts with lemon curd and I got the idea that I should roast a whole chicken using the same method.  Lo and behold, Cooking Light had beat me to the idea.  I have pasted their recipe below but I was really laid back about the whole thing.  I rinsed the chicken, patted it dry and stuffed a bunch of garlic, herbs, salt and pepper under the skin.  I threw a few lemons halves in the pan and stuffed a handful of herbs and a lemon half in the cavity.  After piercing the chicken a few times, I slathered the whole bird with some lemon curd. While it cooked I basted it several times.  After removing it from the oven, I made sure to let the bird sit for 15 minutes before carving.  This is an essential step for moist meat. What I love about this recipe is it does not require lubing up the chicken with fatty oil or butter; all the moisture comes from the tangy lemon curd.

I mean, doesn’t it look pretty fucking good?

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Roasted Chicken with Lemon Curd
Adapted from Cooking Light

1 (3 1/2-pound) chicken
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, crushed
Cooking spray
1/2 cup Lemon Curd
3 large lemons, halved
Fresh rosemary sprigs (optional)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 450°.

Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken. Rinse chicken with cold water; pat dry. Trim excess fat. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat.

Combine the rosemary and the next 4 ingredients (rosemary through garlic). Rub mixture under loosened skin, and rub over breast and drumsticks. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under chicken.

Place the chicken, breast side up, on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Pierce the skin several times with a meat fork. Insert a meat thermometer into the meaty part of thigh, making sure not to touch bone; brush chicken with Lemon Curd. Arrange lemons around chicken. (Note: I stuck half a lemon and some thyme sprigs, salt, and pepper in the cavity.) Bake at 450° for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350° (do not remove chicken from oven), and bake for an additional 1 hour or until thermometer registers 180°. (Cover the chicken loosely with foil if it gets too brown.) Remove the chicken from the oven. Cover the chicken loosely with foil, and let stand for 10 minutes. Discard skin. Serve with lemon halves, and garnish with rosemary, if desired.

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Identity Politics

When I was a little girl my grandmother would bring me to the library on the weekends. She actually brought me to this library:

woonsocket-fail

Perhaps this explains all the typos and my grammatical foibles?

I was way in to grimy puppets and the coloring and, of course, the books. I would always chat up the children’s librarian– there was never a shy fiber in my being. She and I were buddies, but she did one thing that always bothered me: she always jacked up my name. She tried to make it cutsey and, well, this annoyed me. One day I turned to her and said: “My name is Lemmy. L-E-M-M-Y. Lemmy.” I was three years old; I was also a live wire.  When I was in high school, I stopped in to this library with now close friend/then boyfriend B and the woman told him this story.  He was not at all surprised.

This is why it pains me so to call this chowder; a name is a serious thing. Chowder, at least to me, means something thick, heavy, and super creamy. This chowder, while hearty, is none of these things.  Skim milk keeps it healthy and the chipotle peppers keep it interesting.  It warms and fills you without making you feel leaden.  I had some odds and ends kicking around and this was the perfect meal to throw together to clean the fridge.  If you don’t have chipotles on hand, a jalapeno would be a good substitute; just throw it in when you sautee the peppers and scallions.  I have been eating this all week for lunch and it has been the perfect remedy to the cold and dreary weather.

So call it whatever you want; just know that it is good.

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Southewestern Chicken Corn Chowder

1 TBSP olive oil

1 chicken breast diced

1 strip bacon, chopped finely

1 small red bell pepper, diced finely

6 scallions, white parts thinly sliced

2 TBSP flour

1 16 oz bag corn, thawed

1 3/4 cups (or a 14 oz can) chicken stock/broth

1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, diced, plus 2 tsps adobo sauce

1 cup skim milk

Salt and pepper

In large soup pot over medium heat, heat oil and then cook chicken for about54 minutes (It does not need to be brown). Add bacon to pan and cook for about 3 minutes. (Note: by this point the chicken should be brown.) Remove chicken and bacon from pan. Add peppers and scallions to pan and cook for about 4 minutes. Add the flour in and cook for about a minute, while stirring. Add the corn, milk, broth, chipotle pepper and sauce, salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes and puree some of the mixture with an immersion blender-just stick it in the pot for about a minute (or scoop out about 2 cups and blend in blender). Add chicken, bacon and juices back to the soup. Cook for an additional 15 minutes. Serve with cheddar cheese.

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