Big Things Come in Small Packages

I play by the books. I am your characteristic oldest child. I also have a type A personality. Talk about a complex hybrid. First borns are cautious, controlling, perhaps a bit bossy (moi) but also high achievers. They have elevated expectations for self and are approval seeking missiles. I am still both. Pair this with a type A personality. Type A's are well known for high energy, being extremely conscientious, anxious, sensitive to stress, a lover of lists, tend to interrupt and have issues falling asleep at night. Racing mind perhaps? Am I missing anything? Last month, I broke with what is the norm for Elizabeth and made a change in my life. A big one. I am taking a "Mittagspause" from the corporate world and looking for a new opportunity. This move will go down in my life milestone crypt. A bit scary yes but it should be noted that I am on top of the world with my decision. In my newly free time, I am on the job hunt, nurturing my network, finding all sorts of interesting articles to read on the internet that I never had a moment to peruse in the past, practicing lots of yoga, continuing training for my half marathon, reading a great deal and cooking up a storm! With all this reading, I decided it was time to join the 21st century. I secured further mileage out of my Amazon Prime membership and bought a Kindle. It arrived this week and firing it up is on my growing list of to do's. My first purchase will be The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. What are you reading right now? Any recommendations? 

I cannot believe that the weekend is upon us  Where did the week go? I have lots to report but unsure where to start so perhaps a recipe will do while I collect my thoughts. Fact: I love John Legend. I think he has a wonderful voice and an interesting history to boot. I had never heard of him or his music until Matthew introduced me to his original works. We played one of his CD's on repeat at the wedding of my best friend Griffin some years back. We were on Bald Head Island for a long weekend with all our best cronies from college and beyond. Late night seemed to be at ours once the sky darkened. Suited me fine. Whenever I hear his music, I am transported back to that phenomenal weekend where we celebrated nuptials and reunited with old friends. My North Street posse was together again in full effect. Fast forward to present day and by some stroke of luck, I began following his wife on social media. Chrissy Teigen. She too is a gourmand in the kitchen. She is also breathtakingly beautiful. Check out her blog, Delushious. Abundant with pleasing photographs and straightforward directions for sublime fare. I cannot wait to try her herb stuffed branzino. John's best steak marinade also looks legit. It might even give my Marinade of All Marinades a run for it's money.

A pair of weeks ago she posted a photograph of a roasted chicken and napa cabbage leaves. John was also in the photograph and wearing a robe to boot. Bonjour. I will say that napa cabbage is my new green of choice for wraps. My collards and romaine will be taking a breather. I made a mental note to find the recipe. Well, time passed by as it usually does and other creations brewed on the stew and in the oven. Two afternoons ago, I sat in front of the computer pondering what to make for dinner. The Tarheels were making their Sweet 16 debut and I wanted to prepare something different. Wings was the original plan but this involved a separate trip to a special butcher and frankly, I could not be bothered. Instead, I revisited Chrissy's photograph, pulled up the recipe via Google and got to work. The end result was a prodigious feat. Matthew and I both agree that the below recipe is top of the pops in the food department. This is Dr. Edmund Cooper verbiage for: knock your socks off and out of this world. A handful of ingredients, basic instruction, very healthy minus the butter but let me tell you, there is no greater aroma than a chicken roasting with bubbling butter. Seriously. I usually buy 5+ lb chickens but went for a smaller one this go around. It was a lovely little thing and much easier to carve when done versus that of its larger siblings. Moving forward, no more big birds for me. Little things do come in small packages. Plus with less poundage, you save some change to boot. #recessionista

Note, a couple of you have commented that some of my recipes look complex. I must admit, I like the "kitchen sink" mentality as I am always trying to add greens, spices and what have you to incorporate more 'good stuff' into our diets. I encourage you to not be swayed by multiple ingredients. I like to go to the grocery store with a list on hand. I group produce, onions, potatoes, meats, canned goods, etc. together, which helps me navigate the shops accordingly. I always start with my vegetables, move onto the onions and potatoes, grab some garlic and avocado if necessary, head down the one aisle to the butcher and then meander my way to pick up the remaining goodies. If you see something that peaks your curiosity, buy it. Chances are you will use it down the line. This is how I began my Asian cuisine artillery. I started picking up peanut oil, lemongrass (it thrives in the freezer), red and green Thai curry paste, kaffir lime and I make do accordingly. Also, now that I am not working, I am paying a bit more attention to numbers and employing smarter shopping. Do not be afraid of private labels or substituting here and there. Farmers Markets are glorious places. Best beets in town. Look for goodies on sale. I bought 7 lbs of pork last week and directly into the freezer they went. Boom. A pair of weeks ago, cauliflower was 4.99 a head. Now that is just silly. We had broccoli instead. 

We are headed to Greenville, South Carolina this weekend to eat, imbibe, explore and gallivant in general. I love weekend mini-breaks. I find them to be very Bridget Jones, minus Mark Darcy and the granny underpants of course! This being said, Happy Spring, halcyon cooking and bon weekend!

PS. Is anyone hiring?

Chinois Chicken Salad
Adapted from Wolfgang Puck


2 tsp dry mustard - I used Coleman's (you can find this in the mustard section)
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar (you can find this on the international aisle)
1 tsp low sodium soy sauce (international aisle)
2 TBS dark sesame oil (international aisle)
2 TBS peanut oil (international aisle)
Juice of 1 lime
2 TBS honey or maple syrup
Pinch of kosher salt
Fresh cracked pepper

The Bird

3-4 lb organic roasting chicken
1/2 red onion - white will do too
1/2 head of garlic
2 carrots - chopped in half
2 celery ribs - chopped in half
1 stick of cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1 stick of butter - melted
Kosher salt
Fresh cracked pepper

The Salad

1 head of Napa cabbage - reserve 6 leaves of so and chop the rest
1 cup of romaine lettuce - chopped
1 cup of snow peas - julienned
6 TBS sesame seeds toasted - I had black on hand but white is A okay too
5 green onions - chopped
1 bunch of cilantro - chopped
2 limes

*optional - toasted peanuts or wonton strips for garnish

Let's Get Cooking

1. In a food processor, add all the dressing ingredients and mix until uniform. Pour into a container. I am very into mason jars for salad dressings. Give a shake and set aside.

2. Once properly cleaned, please salt your bird generously (inside and out) and leave it on the counter for 30 minutes or so. Now get to work with stuffing as you best can. If it looks like a war wound, brilliant job well done. Pour the melted butter over the bird. More salt and pepper at your discretion. Pop your dish into the oven for approximately 1 hour and a half. You should baste your bird every 15 minutes or so. As your timer chimes, pull the bird out to cool - approximately ten to fifteen minutes. Once cooled, I cut my bird with poultry scissors into six pieces. (Sneaky Matthew ate the wings before I could even blink an eye.) I then went to work with shredding the breasts and legs, skin on. If you want to save some calories, remove the skin but note that you will be missing out on some of the flavor and a gorgeous crispy texture.

3. Place the 6 Napa cabbage leaves (or more) on a large platter. Sprinkle with 1 TBS toasted sesame seeds. Mix the remaining greens, snow peas, sesame seeds, green onions and cilantro with the chicken and dressing. Scoop onto the cabbage leaves. Now would be the ideal time to add the optional garnish. Next go around I will add wonton strips. Squeeze with fresh lime juice. Take a deep breath and smile. Then, go to town!

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