Hot Child in the City

This past weekend was shaped by serious R&R, cooking up a storm (which might have been quite auspicious on my part given the second Snowmageddon that is forecast to befall Charlotte starting tomorrow), multiple episodes of Boardwalk Empire (our new obsession) and early Spring cleaning.  Friday night was uber low key. Together we prepared a home cooked meal and caught up on the DVR queue.  Saturday comprised a trip to the gym, perfunctory rounds at the grocers followed by lunch at our favorite Vietnamese haunt in Plaza Midwood. Lemongrass chicken curry for me and tripe Pho for him. 

Later in the day, I enjoyed a trip to the nail salon while Matthew ventured out to watch college basketball with friends. Suits me fine as college basketball is not my cup of tea at all. Note, I probably should not put such words in writing. This handful of activities (dare we call them that) aside, we were homebodies and it was glorious. For someone who revels and thrives being very on the go, I have to say; sometimes it is nice not having anywhere to be and without a set agenda.

The weather yesterday was unseasonably warm so we cranked up the grill and got to cooking.  I let our chicken marinade for six hours, which gave us ample time to embark upon the challenge of the day – organizing our space.  We spent a nice chunk of the morning and afternoon purging, condensing and organizing like the best of them. Good Will, here we come. I should preface the following by saying that I am very meticulous about most things and keep a tidy home. It just seems that the behind the scenes situation has gotten a bit out of control. As of late, we have found ourselves peering into cupboards and drawers that are chock and block full without much rhyme or reason. 

Packed drawers don’t want to close like they should. Some serious engineering has gone into stacking and placing things just so. Fine for now but when I really need them, forget about it!  I will not even get started on what a pain in the rear end it is just locating a certain knife or the effort that goes into retrieving my Cuisinart. My beautiful wine glasses are haphazardly tucked in here and there, which has resulted in a pair of fatalities. 

Case in point, one irksome set of cabinets. I should have photographed the ridiculous collection of Tupperware that was just wasting space across two massive shelves.  How many times did I pull one out missing a lid only to throw it back into the mix?  Adios random containers with ill fitting tops. Now the slow cooker, blender and assortment of baking pans can rest but be accessed at the drop of a dime. We aren't hoarders, we are simply two people with a lot of stuff (that neither part with easily) living in a shared space. Sound familiar?

I am regularly procuring new items for the kitchen, which invites an entirely new can of worms. For example, my new All-Clad stainless steel roasting pan purchased on sale over the Christmas holidays at Williams Sonoma has been hanging out under the bed in our guest bedroom. It is waiting for a space of its own. It’s like a flashback to college but worse because I am in my early 30s. Such a scenario is very reminiscent of the Sex and the City episode where we learn that Carrie stores sweaters in her oven.  Hey, as a New Yorker, you do what you have to do. I am pleased to report that the roasting pan finally has a new home, on a proper shelf, where it should be.  Things we use daily are now easily reached.  

Why is it so easy to put off what should be done today until tomorrow? Procrastination can be such a bear and at times, I am guilty as charged. Anyway, I have been liable for complaining about limited cabinet and drawer space. Not infrequently do I throw up my hands and say, we need a bigger kitchen. It turns out all we had to do was simply apply a bit of simple mathematics and engineering to the whole scenario. We will have a bigger kitchen one day, all in good time. We celebrated our achievements beneath a cloudless Carolina blue sky with libations and a brilliant meal that came together over fire. Matthew informed me he is not eating red meat for a while so we replaced the skirt steak with organic chicken. It was just as good. Godspeed people.

Chicken Fajitas with Grilled Scallions, Cabbage and Onions
Adapted from Bon App├ętit
Recipe by: Josef Centeno


El Pollo
4 cloves of garlic
2 limes – the juice
¼ cup of olive oil
3 TBS paprika
1 TBS cumin
A bunch of fresh cilantro – more is always better in my book – 1 cup if you aren't sure
1 tsp onion salt
1 tsp kosher salt
2 lbs organic chicken

Tu Ensalada
1 head of green cabbage – cut in half, keep the core in place
1 white onion – cut in half, leave the skins on for grilling
5 scallions – prune them accordingly
6 TBS olive oil
¼ red onion – chopped
A bunch of cilantro – again, the more the better
2 limes – the juice
Kosher salt


1. In your blender, puree the following into a paste form: Garlic, lime juice, oil, paprika, cumin, cilantro, onion salt and kosher salt. Throw the mix in a plastic bag along with your chicken. Let it marinade in the fridge for a handful of hours or overnight if you are so inclined.

2. Drizzle 4 TBS olive oil over the cabbage, white onion halves and scallions. Grill on medium high heat until charred and tender i.e. you can put a fork in and pull it out easily. The scallions or green onions will be done within 5 to 6 minutes. The other two will take around 12 to 15.

3. Once the vegetables are finished, please let them cool before you start chopping. Now, throw the chopped cabbage, white onion and scallions into a big bowl and add the chopped red onion, cilantro, juice of 2 limes and 2 TBS olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Congrats, your salad is complete.

4. Grill your chicken or steak as you would normally. Once finished, let the meat sit for five minutes or so and then slice it as best you can. I served our chicken on top of the cabbage salad but this is intended to be eaten as fajitas so go crazy with the corn tortillas; we will the next go round.


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