Thursday, March 31, 2011

veggies: week 9

- swiss chard
- carrots
- easter egg radishes
- baby fennel
- spinach
- lettuce
- arugula
- parsley
- green onion

Going to Tahoe for the weekend! See you when we get back!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

um, yum: part the second



I have found THE chicken recipe to end all chicken recipes (and that's saying something, coming from a girl who could eat chicken every night of the week).

Ina, I've got a big kitchen crush on you.

Lemon Chicken Breasts

2010, Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That?, All Rights Reserved

Prep Time:
15 min
Inactive Prep Time:
10 min
Cook Time:
35 min
4 servings


  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic (9 cloves)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, skin on (6 to 8 ounces each)
  • 1 lemon


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and cook for just 1 minute but don't allow the garlic to turn brown. Off the heat, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt and pour into a 9 by 12-inch baking dish.

Pat the chicken breasts dry and place them skin side up over the sauce. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper. Cut the lemon in 8 wedges and tuck it among the pieces of chicken.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, until the chicken is done and the skin is lightly browned. If the chicken isn't browned enough, put it under the broiler for 2 minutes. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with the pan juices.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

racing pigs

Every year, I tell myself that I don't need to go to the fair. And every year, they put the racing pigs on the commercials, & with feigned reluctance, I plan a day at the fair.

I was offered a job in China working with kids. And even though it's not the best career move, I really, really want to go. For me, traveling is like racing pigs, but on such a bigger level. There is literally nothing I love more than getting off a plane in a foreign country & saying, "Alright, let's go." I love the feeling that everything is new & exciting. I love long flights & airplane food & figuring out new transportation systems.

And I wish I had some way to make a solid decision.

I have never been a girl who hears the voice of God in a Charlton Heston, Ten Commandments sort of way. More often than not, God has set roadblocks in my way to give me a "no" answer. If nothing interferes with what I want to do (go to college, go to Africa, change my major), than I take that as a "yes". I just wish I had a better system, one that makes me feel more at peace.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

veggies: week 8

- kohlrabi
- spinach
- more easter egg radishes (yuck)
- beets (yummmm)
- green garlic (also yummm)
- two of the biggest turnips I've ever seen
- lettuce
- swiss chard

And dinner was: chicken tacos with a roasted beet, kohlrabi, & feta salad with honey vinaigrette. Yum :)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

loving the freefall

Today, I had a really great day at work.

I got to take care of a baby with multiple physiological issues who just had major abdominal surgery. And all of those things make me SO stoked about doing what I do.

I've been letting go of a lot of trivial things this week & just living by a process of elimination. What do I enjoy doing? Who do I want to be? What sounds like an interesting thing to do for a year, even if it has nothing to do with my career?

I'm tired of labels & career tracks & worrying about disappointing my mom. Because when I think about starting a new job & moving to a foreign country for a limited engagement just because I can, that's when I get excited. And when I feel like things are falling into place. And when that ugly, empty fear that pervades all of my spare seconds starts to disappear.

So today, I know that I like working with babies who will always be chronically ill. I know that something that makes some other people uncomfortable makes me SO EXCITED about life because I have been able to see how much progress these extraordinary babies can make. It makes me laugh & cry & jump up & down to see junior high students respond appropriately to a history lesson, even if it looks something like this:

"Class, who was Adolph Hitler?"
"He had a famous goatee!"
"Yes, he had noteworthy facial hair. But what did he do?"
"He was Jewish."
"No, he wasn't Jewish. How was he involved with Jewish people?"
"He killed them. Anne Frank was Jewish, too. She hid in a basement."

I feel like such a lucky person to be able to see the humor & beauty in the kids that I work with. And even if it doesn't get me a step closer to figuring out where I want to work, it says volumes about who I am & how I want to live.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

veggies: week 7

- lettuce
- a delicious, large bunch of carrots (I really like seeing how some of the veggies get larger as the season goes on.)
- easter egg radishes
- kale
- parsley
- green onions
- spinach
- collards
- purple cabbage, which is much prettier than I ever thought it would be.

After mopping up the lake that forms in the bottom of our fridge (which we have tried to get our landlord to replace several times, but hey, c'est la vie) & cleaning out anything that looked funky, I am leaving the kitchen in the capable hands of my very Irish boyfriend & am excited to see what he comes up with.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

dear natalie dee,

I think we have a serious potential to be besties. Or to steal the other person's identity like in The Talented Mr. Ripley.

This post brought to you by & my complete inability to come home & sleep after working the night shift.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

veggies: week 6

- carrots
- kohlrabi
- turnips
- green garlic
- TONS of cilantro (awesome for me, not so awesome for Russell J)
- lettuce
- kale
- spinach
- swiss chard

Tonight, we went to Avant-Garden at the DBG and had a lovely time. I love that we can still make time for mid-week, put-your-Sunday-best-on, spend-too-much-for-dinner dates :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

oh, bobby

We've been doing this dance for a while now. Ever since Mariam decided that we needed to fall asleep to Iron Chef America. Every. Single. Night.

So you are way too similar to one of my ex-boyfriends. And you do that annoying thing on Iron Chef where you make your "signature chili oils". I hate it.

But I love your accent. And your hair. And every single episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay. And now...Brunch at Bobby's??? I don't think I can handle it. I really can't.

Bobby...Bob...Robert, if I may. I think I might love you. Please don't tell anyone. Especially not Mariam.

P.S. I also like your eyes. And your kitchen.

P.P.S. My super-hot boyfriend who lacks your accent, flowing locks & kitchen is up in MY kitchen making pan-fried chicken, sweet potato waffles & collard greens with bacon. WINNER.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

i hate your store, but i love your pudding

So. There is this restaurant/grocery store/pizza place/really hip joint for the Scottsdale moms to drink coffee & eat muffins. It is down the street from me. And every single time I go there, I end up leaving upset. They serve pizza at different times depending on the day. I always get elbowed by someone. I never end up ordering the correct item at the correct register. And last week, when I was going to tell the girl behind the counter that I loved her hair color, she seemed annoyed at having to ring up my purchases, so I didn't. BUT, they have the most amazing chocolate pudding I have ever eaten in my whole entire life. And for that, I keep going back, Pavlovian in my obsession. I keep telling myself that I'm going to find a similar recipe & make the same pudding. But part of me just wants to stop there every other day on my way home from work & buy it. Because it comes in a little plastic pudding cup with a snap-on top. And the whipped cream on top is perfect & thick, even the day after I buy it. And I am obsessed, I tell you.

I found a use for arugula. Thanks to Bekah, I tried to make an arugula pesto, which was a GREAT SUCCESS, so much so that I doubled the recipe, froze the extras, & am planning to eat them later.

I also pried the shepherd's pie recipe from the recesses of Russell's brain. It went something like this:
Me: Hey, where did you find that recipe?
R: On the internet somewhere. Shepherd's Pie for Dummies? 30 Minute Casseroles? Really Easy Shepherd's Pie?
Me (after recognizing the recipe by the photo): Okay, okay, so you subbed chicken & chicken broth. How many turnips did you add? Three? Okay. How long did you boil the broccoli?
R: I don't know. Until they were done? Four minutes? I also sassed up the potatoes.
Me: How?
R: I added butter & cream.
Me: How much?
R: However much you add to make them good.

We obviously come from different schools of cooking. But here it is, the famous recipe for Russell J's Shepherd's Pie, based very, very loosely off of this recipe:

- 1 1/2 lbs leftover rotisserie chicken
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 cup each celery, broccoli, & carrots (or whatever you have around)
- 3 potatoes
- 3 turnips
- 8 tablespoons of butter (1 stick)
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel & quarter potatoes & turnips, boil in salted water until tender (about 20 minutes). Drain.
2. While the potatoes are cooking, melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large frying pan.
3. Saute onion in butter onions in butter over medium heat (2 minutes). Add the carrots & celery & cook until onion is tender.
4. While onion, carrots, & celery, are cooking, bring some water to a boil in a saucepan. Boil broccoli about 4 minutes, until bright green. Drain.
5. Add chicken, salt & pepper, & 1/2 cup chicken broth to onion, carrots & celery. Cook, uncovered, over low heat for 10 minutes.
6. Mash potato/turnip mixture in bowl with butter & heavy cream. Season to taste. (If you are Russell J, you recommend blending them in a KitchenAid Pro 600 series. However, this is only a suggestion.)
7. Place chicken/onion mixture in a 9" x 13" baking dish. Distribute mashed potato/turnip evenly on top. Make peaks with a fork.
8. Cook until bubbling & brown, about 30 minutes. Broil for last few minutes if necessary to brown.

Finally, I need some swimsuit advice. After nearly fifteen years of wearing bikinis, I have to drag myself back to the land of the one-piece swimsuit for my job as a camp nurse this summer. If you were my supervisor (in a land where I can justify spending over $100 for a swimsuit), would these be too risque to wear in front of 7-to-15-year-olds?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

grief & all its intricacies


I really suck at it.

Some days, I cry by myself in my closet as I'm getting dressed. Others, I laugh all day long. Some days, I'll wish that she was around so that I could call & ask for advice. Others, I can crack a joke about something she once did, like she's still around.

Today, I'm angry at just about everyone but Kevin. I'm upset that I feel like I'm not grieving enough. I'm upset that when I do mention that I miss her, someone else tries to one-up me with their own grief. I know that I should be supportive & I know that I should cut everyone else some slack because they need to grieve in their own way. But I don't care & I don't want to & it's easier for me to be angry than it is for me to be sad. I know that I'm experiencing delayed grief because I swear on everything that is important to me, I still do not believe at all that she is gone. I don't feel any differently than I did before. I still get up & go to work & make dinner & watch Grey's Anatomy.

I feel like a horrible friend. I feel like I should be joining a coalition or paralyzed with sadness or talking more about her or lashing out at the world or at God or at her medical team. I'm not mad at God or at medicine. I'm just angry that I don't know how I should be feeling and that taking this all in stride makes me feel so guilty.

veggies: week 5

-swiss chard, which reminds me of the good old days of eating at the only vegetarian restaurant in Puebla, Mexico & beginning my journey of eating whatever anyone gives me, as long as I'm traveling
-green onion
-daikon radishes (NOOOOOOOOOO!)
-Scarlet Queen Red salad turnips

Shamefully, I didn't cook at all last week after Russell's first, amazing attempt at shepherd's pie. It was phenomenal. So phenomenal, in fact, that it's all I ate over the weekend while Russell was off skiing. Yum. He claims to be working on a recipe that is more practical for 2 people, as opposed to the 13'x9' recipe we made the first time, but I'd be okay keeping things just as they are.