let’s eat | pad grapow chicken

I made a thing! Ok, so I’ve been making lots of things but this specific thing is in my Cravings cookbook so obvi I had to write about it here! I’ve never made anything Thai before! I’ve barely even eaten Thai food in my lifetime! So I was a little worried about this one. It seemed simple but what if it’s simplicity just made it easier to ruin?! And to really turn up the heat in the kitchen (see what I did there), I was having a guest over for dinner that night! The last thing I needed was to totally destroy our intended dinner. The shame of it all!

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I mean…..what the heck is a grapow?! Honestly, I still don’t know but I think it has something to do with basil. My ingredients were pretty easy to find, except the Thai Basil, I couldn’t find that stuff an-y-where. So I settled for regular ol’ basily basil. I also braved using the Serrano pepper! Ok so I may have removed all the seeds first, but still! I usually avoid pepper of all kinds that aren’t of the bell variety.

So I cut up my chicken, dice up my garlic, chop up some pepper and that was that! Easy. Next step, combine the surf with the turf:

DSC_0986Alright guys…oyster sauce.ย  How is it made?? What part of an oyster is it even made from?? Oysters aren’t that big! This will be one of life’s great mysteries and I think I’m pretty ok with that. Also it seemed odd to put in on chicken but Chrissy hasn’t let me down yet so I trusted her.

As I let that little concoction marinate a bit I threw my aromatics into my pan. I’ve got to say, this is always my favorite part of the cooking process. There’s nothing quite like the smell of garlic 30 seconds into being on the pan. It’s heavenly. And then sometimes I get caught up in the moment and burn it and then it stinks. But not this time!

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Ain’t it purty!

Keep in mind that while this is happening I’m making the rice, per the bag’s instructions. Multi-tasking like a Boss! After successfully not burning the garlic and pepper and letting the chicken marinate accordingly, I add the chicken to the hot pan.

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Oooooooohh. Aaaaaaaaahh. I let this cook till the chicken is cooked through then threw in the basil. Whole leaves and everything! Once they got wilty, that was it! Seriously though….that’s all. I put the chicken and basil on the rice (that I also managed to NOT burn).

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As you can see, I was so excited to have this I started eating it before I took a pic! And look…

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…my distinguished guest enjoyed his meal as much as I did. And lived to tell the tale!

This recipe was so easy and so quick and SO satisfying! Thai food is where it’s at and if anyone wants the recipe I’ll be elated to share it with you. You could make it for dinner tonight! Just sayin’.

30

I turned 30 over the weekend. The big 3-0. Contrary to birthdays past, this one had me slightly unhinged. The idea of no longer being a 20 something felt heavy to me. The fact that there were things I always thought I would have accomplished in my 20s, that I hadn’t, I found unsettling. But, if there’s one thing that moving to NYC has taught me, it’s that the timeline you think your life needs to run on, doesn’t really exist. There’s no correct age to accomplish certain things. And if I really take a look at the last decade, the things I have accomplished fully outweigh the things I haven’t. So in the spirit of reflection and appreciation, I’m making a list of the things the last decade has taught me. 10 years of learning and mistake making and growth. Some lessons learned the hard way, some by observation, so don’t read to heavily into all of them please.

On the topic of life:

  • Pick up and move. It will be scary and hard but it will be the best thing you can do for yourself.
  • You aren’t in high school anymore so stop expecting your body to look like it still is.
  • Buy fresh flowers. Even if they’re $5 bodega flowers. They’re worth it.
  • Don’t open that Gap Credit Card. The initial discount isn’t worth it.
  • The dreams you had for your life will probably change/morph over the years. Go with the flow. They could end up being even better than your original dream.
  • Life really isn’t black and white. It is frustratingly and confusingly and wonderfully grey.
  • Do whatever you have to do to go to another country. And when you do, take the time to not be a total tourist. Find the spots the locals go to. That’s where the good stuff happens. And write about it. You’ll forget things over the years so make sure you write things down.
  • Facebook is not your diary. Have a blog instead. Or an actual diary.
  • Try the vegetables you hated as a child. You’ll probably like them now. Except peas. They’re still the worst.
  • Care about what the right people think.
  • It’s okay to be by yourself sometimes.
  • When in Paris, eat snails.
  • It’s okay to change your mind about things. Even if it’s something you’ve felt a particular way about for a long time.
  • Plan road trips.
  • Make friends with the shop owners next to your apartment.
  • Create things. Use your hands to make something out of nothing. It’s so rewarding.
  • The Florida sun will always burn you. Always.
  • Learn to cook and more importantly, trust yourself in the kitchen. You’re more capable than you think you are.
  • Going to the doctor is actually something you should do more than once every five years.
  • A split second decision can have a ripple effect that touches more than just you. And can’t be taken back.
  • Get in the water with the manatees. The story is worth it.
  • It’s okay to keep your mouth shut sometimes.
  • Don’t be afraid to question your own opinions. Especially the ones that you’ve been raised to have. They might not actually be your own.

On the topic of friendship:

  • You may never get closure on why some friendships end. Come to terms with that.
  • Some friends will become your family and you might even fight with them like they’re your family, but that also means that you choose to keep loving them like family too.
  • When a friend comes to you with a problem, it isn’t always your job to fix it. Just listen.
  • Know the difference between a friend and an acquaintance
  • Don’t beat yourself up for not staying in constant touch with friends that live far away. Communication works both ways and usually it’s the time you do spend together that means the most.
  • Don’t expect one person to carry all of your emotional baggage. It’s not fair to them nor is it their job.
  • When your friends of the opposite sex get married, your friendship will change. Like it or not.
  • Celebrate each others little things. Preferably with prosecco.
  • When you find yourself in job position in charge of your peers, do your job first, then be their friend. They won’t like it and it will definitely suck most of the time. But the right people will respect you for it and end up being true friends.
  • Don’t prioritize your boyfriend over your friends. When that shmuck is out of the picture your friends won’t be.
  • Someday your guy friends will date women who aren’t intimidated by you and it will be great! Try not to assume that they hate you in advance.
  • When your friend decides that you’re no longer friends, you’ll always still be glad that you didn’t go out with her ex to get back at her.
  • Be the DD. You’ll be so sober watching your friends be drunken fools but you’ll feel better knowing they got home safe.
  • It’s a two way street.

On the topic of love:

  • It isn’t written anywhere that you must remain friends with your ex. In some situations the healthiest thing you can do is realize that that person isn’t bringing anything to the table as a friend either and walk away.
  • On the opposite side of that coin; there’s something to be said about continuing to appreciate the things about an ex that made them attractive in the first place and choosing to not hate them for not being “the one”.
  • Men won’t do things if they don’t want to. So if he isn’t calling/texting/visiting it’s because he doesn’t want to. Take that as the hint it is and keep it moving.
  • If you want a man to be chivalrous, act like a lady who deserves that.
  • Try not to be “one of the guys” when you’re with your guy. Chances are he’s dating you because you’re not a guy.
  • So you think that you found “the one”. That doesn’t mean jack if he doesn’t think you’re “the one” too.
  • Emotional and verbal abuse is still abuse.
  • Putting up with “just a little more of his crap” isn’t going to suddenly make him realize how great you are. He should have figured that out from the start and not put you through any crap.
  • Your sexuality is not your best asset for attracting men. Or at least the right men.
  • If a guy jokes about being a “jerk”, chances are it’s not a joke.
  • Learn to be okay with being taken care of.
  • Love really is about a mutual weirdness. So if you don’t have that with someone, maybe it’s time to move on.
  • Actions will always speak louder than words
  • You will fight sometimes but fight fair. Avoid the low blows. Those are especially hard to take back.
  • All the heartache from past relationships is entirely worth it when you’re with the right person.
  • It might seem totally hopeless at times. Like you’ll be alone forever. A spinster. Don’t get down. Take this time to better yourself. You’ll be even more ready when the right one comes along.
  • It’s alright to go above and beyond for someone, as long as it’s not at the price of your own happiness/sanity.

I’m sure I could continue but I’ll stop there. A lot of people I have talked to say that their 30s were even better than their 20s. My 20s were pretty great but I still hope they’re right. I hope that when I’m turning 40 I’ll be able to look back and have a whole new list of things I’ve learned and grown from. Because that’s what it’s about isn’t? What’s the point of experiencing all these things and making mistakes if we aren’t learning from them?

So here we go 30s. Let’s see what you’ve got to offer.

To My Future Ohm

There will be times I get in my head. I will over-think and analyze something and drive myself to the brink of madness. I will be my own worst enemy.

And I will rely on you to pull me out of these mental labyrinths. You’ll need to know when to be my calm in the storm. When to stop my as I spiral down my own sink hole of thoughts.

Even when I’m stubborn and don’t think you could possibly be right about the ridiculousness of my thoughts. Remind me that that’s one of the many reasons I chose you.

To be my anchor. My peace. My Ohm.

Sincerely,

Your Head Case

Two P’s in a Pod

As of late I find myself thinking about two things. My personal life and my professional life.

Growing up I always was of the mind set that I would figure out me before I tried to figure out anyone else. I would live my life and go places and do things that are harder to do once you’re married with children. And I have. I’ve been to amazing places and seen things I would never have imagined. People have come and gone and I’ve tried my best to learn lessons from each of them. I moved to New York City and happened to fall on a career I would have never thought was possible. I have made choices and decisions for my professional life. But what about my personal life?

Sure I’ve been open to meeting people and dating men but obviously no one that I could settle down with came along. And while I’ve been in New York, I haven’t really dated anyone at all, which has been neither here nor there honestly. My life in New York has never and will never be defined by a relationship, or lack thereof. But lately I find myself thinking about things in my personal life. Why haven’t I met someone to be a little more serious with? Maybe I’ve been expecting them to waltz into my life with no effort on my part. Maybe I thought it would be someone I already knew who would reveal themselves in a new light. Maybe I was too busy making choices that furthered my professional life instead.

So when do the scales tip? I can’t help but feel that, just like I made choices to help me professionally, I will start to have to make choices to help myself personally now. And that’s a little scary. Is there a balance that can be found between the two? Can I feel fulfilled professionally and personally? I want to think I can. But making professional choices took a great deal of effort and I know that the personal ones will do the same. If looking to start the phase of my life that involves a husband and children is something I want to do, it’s going to take mindful effort and decision making. Big decision making. This isn’t something I can leave to chance.

That all being said, I’m not entirely sure what those choices even look like! Is there a bat signal I put out for these things? Do I start taking guys seriously who I haven’t been taking seriously? Can I set up an interview process with a panel of judges for the talent portion? (and there would be a talent portion) Or, on a much heavier note, do I look at figuring my life out somewhere else? I don’t know.

Is this what people mean when they refer to being an “adult”??? Lord help me.

let’s eat | prosciutto-wrapped stuffed chicken breasts

I know it feels like it’s been a while since I shared some of my food-ventures with you but please don’t think I’ve only been eating Ramen Noodles for the last month. Trust me, I could if I let myself. But alas, I just haven’t cooked from my book for a while and maybe just maybe there was a failed recipe in the interim that I haven’t had the guts to share with you all! Moving on swiftly…

…here’s my most recent try!

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I mean, come on. Chicken. Stuffed with cheese and bacon. Wrapped in Ham. It’s a no-brainer. I felt pretty confident going into this one.

Since this recipe didn’t have any spicy elements to it I didn’t have to substitute any ingredients! Perf!

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Except of course for adding wine. I think it was Sophocles that said ” I always cook with wine and sometimes it makes it into the recipe”. Or something to that effect. One thing I did change was, because I’m such a fancy lady, I opted for a truffle goat cheese. So good. So worth it.

First things first, I made my cheesey spread. Straightforward. Mix up cheeses with herbs and garlic. Nailed it. Then, fry up some bacon. Boom. I got this!

Second step. Smash the sh*t out of those chickens! Now since this is amateur hour, the last thing I possess in my kitchen is a meat mallet. So I had to use the next best thing.

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That’s right. I went full Tangled on those chickens! Frying pans are truly versatile. And if you don’t understand my Tangled reference I don’t think we can by friends. Sorry.

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Just look at that flat chicken! And what a stress reliever. Hooo! My gal Chrissy suggests cutting the edges off if they got a little mangled and that annoyed me, but it didn’t, so mangled they stayed. We’re all a little mangled on our edges so who am I to judge these chickens for what I’ve done to them! Moving on.

Slather them chickens! Sprinkle ’em with bacon! Roll ’em up real nice! Mummify them in prosciutto!

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Chrissy uses a cast-iron skillet to bake her chicken in but since I don’t have one of those either I used a pyrex and, like the bacon-lover I am, covered the bottom with my leftover bacon grease! Once my little chickens were seam down in their bacon pool I threw in some thyme sprigs and colorful tomato friends after (of course) cutting my finger with my tomato knife.

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Damn serrated knives! Sneakily sharp! I’m pretty sure he and the bread knife are in cahoots. Battle wounds…right??

Then it was off to the oven for 30min and voila!

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Please note the ooey gooey cheesey insides that became outsides. Mmmmm. I think the glass pan vs. cast-iron skillet kept my prosciutto from getting as crispy as it could have but I didn’t want to risk cooking it longer and having the chicken get dry. Nothing is worse than dry chicken. Except maybe burnt chicken. Eww.

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All in all, another success! I will say that it looked pretty sparse on the plate so next time I think I’ll definitely make a vegetable for a side. More importantly it tasted delicious and wasn’t difficult to make. There’s hope for me after all guys!

To My Best Friend

I don’t think I’ll ever understand.

Why you would start your marriage by ending a friendship. How it was so easy to throw away something we had built for 10 years. That you chose an email to kill our past.

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to grasp the fact that you’re choosing to spend your life with someone who would make you cut a person out of your life. A person who has nothing but love and support for you. A person who has seen you grow and prepare for this very moment. A person who wants to celebrate this day and send you off into this new chapter of your life.

We’ve been to hell and back and we’ve done it together. Through break-ups and make-ups. Watching each others families grow and supporting each other when one a member passed. We grew into adults together. We did the hardest thing in the world by staying great friends after college. In your own words “We’ve been through too much to ever get rid of each other”. I felt so confident in that.

I never saw a day where your marriage would only be possible if I wasn’t in your life. In my mind she and I would have become great friends too. And someday my husband would join the party and the four of us would be complete. We would visit each other and make great memories and be “aunts and uncles” to each others children. Our spouses would get along famously because those were the type of people we are so how could we not marry those type of people too? It was the prettiest picture and it meant the world to me.

To say that I am hurt is an understatement. You have blindsided me in a way that makes it hard to breathe at times. I find myself questioning the last 10 years of our lives and wondering if all this time it wasn’t what I thought it was. Maybe I was always more invested in our friendship than you were. Maybe being a part of each others families wasn’t as important to you as it was to me. Your cold email doesn’t make me think anything to the contrary. You couldn’t give our friendship the decency of a phone call.

I’ll never understand how getting rid of me was the solution to her problem.