Friday, January 29, 2010

Fiery Citrus Chicken Fajitas

Being a slightly food-obsessed college student, I think that my counter-top grill (aka The George) is one of the greatest inventions to every grace my kitchen with its presence. In a fit of culinary productivity last weekend, I decided that it was high time to bust out The George and make one of my favorite creations, citrus marinated chicken fajitas. Easy to make, fresh, healthy, and awesomely delicious. This time I decided to kick up the spice a bit with rather pleasing results. So, here's the new and improved recipe. ¡Qué sabroso!

Note - As always, measurements are more like guidelines than actually rules, here. I add a dash of this and a splash of that until it tastes good, then try to figure out the measurements.

The Goods:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in strips
1 small green pepper
1 small red pepper
1 small white onion
2 tsp.s chipotle paste
6-8 flour tortillas
green cabbage

The Marinade:
2 oranges
3 limes
2 tblsp. white vinegar
2 tblsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 heaping tsp. salt
4-6 cloves of garlic, finely diced
1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic pepper
1/4 tsp. paprika
dash of cayenne pepper

Juice the oranges and limes into a large glass dish (hint: throw the limes into the microwave for about 10 seconds before slicing them and they'll give more juice), add the vinegar, oil, and spices. These amounts are rough estimates, so if you're looking for a bit more fire in your life, add a bit more cayenne and black pepper. If your tastes are a bit more mild, go easy with the peppers and the garlic. Whip up all the goodness until it "smells like a fiesta," as my friend put it. Reserve about 2 tblsp. of marinade to season veggies.

Add sliced chicken to marinade and let it soak up the goodness for 1-6 hours.

When it's about dinner time, plug in your grill. While it gets nice and hot, wash and seed peppers and slice them into thin strips, about an inch long. Peel and slice onion. Toss veggies with reserved marinade. For a bit of extra burn, add 1 or 2 tsp. chipotle paste. Heat a large frying pan, add a splash of olive oil and sauté veggies. Grill chicken, about 4 pieces at a time.

After grilling, slice chicken. Serve with warm tortillas, sautéed veggies, and chopped cabbage. I like to add a bit of salsa and sour cream as well.


PS- Two shout-outs:
1- David Gray, I adore you. Thank you for creating an absolutely brilliant new album. I am much obliged.

2- Dear reader in Utica - Who are you? Thanks for reading and if you ever seen any of those LDS missionaries wandering around your town, tell my buddy Elder Jones "Hi!" for me.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Is This Real Life?

So, this is actually the (slightly modified) conclusion of an essay I've been working on this weekend. I'm currently enrolled in Humanities 350 - A Study of Theory and Criticism. Thus far, we've mostly been reading the wafflings of a bunch of old dudes who have way too much time to analyze everything & detrimentally huge vocabularies. However, we did read this gloss on The Cat in the Hat which was hilarious, enlightening, bizarre, and disturbing all at the same time. (Gloss, in this sense, is a fancy theorist word that means "interpretation or analysis.") Read it, but be warned, you'll never look at children's books quite the same way again; they may seem innocent. . . but no.

Anyway, theory. It's real. Though I mock it & sometimes/usually abhor Marx, Derrida, & Foucault, I thought I'd share my little "ah-ha moment" with y'all.

Actually, I'm not really sure why I decided to post this... it's not that interesting. Oh, well.

Last night, I was talking with a friend of mine, complaining about living in the library so much, and analyzing our latest bizarre dreams. Then I had an epiphany. The way we were talking about dreams, examining them from different angles, looking for possible symbolism – that is theory.



When you take that step beyond the surface meaning, that’s theory. When you look at each word, feel out its implications, study its history, and show that every word can make a difference, that’s theory. When you study everyday life, common occurrences, fashions, fads, and trends and somehow find significance in all of those little things, that’s theory. “Today it is generally recognized that everyday life is quite as intricate, unfathomable, obscure and occasionally tedious as Wagner, and thus eminently worth investigating” (Eagleton “After Theory” 4).

It is hard to give a concrete definition for theory because theory itself is not concrete; it is always changing to fit society’s new ideal, or at least to avoid the things that society holds in contempt. “…Knowledge is always open to further interpretation and criticism,…understanding is always susceptible to further correction and realization” (Gunn “Interdisciplinary Studies” 255).

Theory finds significance in the seemingly insignificant. Theory crosses boundaries, bringing the ideals and techniques from one area of study to analyze the works of another field. Theory often blows my mind or leaves me wondering why it matters at all.

Theory asks little questions. Theory asks big questions. Theory questions the questions. And all this questioning changes the way in which we view things, alters our understanding, and helps us to make a work our own. When we analyze something and wrestle with its layers of potential meaning, we grasp it in an entirely new way. Theory makes connections.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Something That May or May Not Be Worth Reading

I've been studying serious stuff too much & this has been bouncing around my head for some time, so it needed to get out.

Hey, blog, it's been awhile,

I just wanted to let you know that I'm doing pretty well. Working hard, staying busy, thinking about editing internships in Boston and San Francisco, and actually sleeping for a decent number of hours each night. I give people grades, which gives me the oddly mixed feelings of power and intimidation. It's like all of the sudden I had to grow up a bit and be responsible, like I could finally keep up with all of this, like I could be that almost-adult person that keeps a job and goes to school, like I could measure up to all the expectations, but sometimes these big decisions still scare the crap out of me.

I don't cook as much as I used to, but with all these hours of sleep, I've had plenty of time to dream. I've been listening to lots of new music and digging up some old favorites, but I still listen for the lyrics first. I've helped a few friends through some hard times, made a playlist of communal grieving, and wished that sometimes my memory wasn't quite so vivid. There have been lots of things that I've wanted to write, but it seems like I never have the time. Or maybe I just didn't have the courage. Or maybe it just didn't need to be said in the first place. Nah... it must have been the time thing.

But I feel like I've had a fresh start. I got myself a new backpack and a whole load of editing books to fill it up. I even bought myself a pair of skinny jeans, which seems oddly monumental. I wear jewelry on occasion, now, but my tied bracelets from India are still going strong after six months - maybe the love makes them stronger than normal strings.

So, although I wish it were springtime already, on this weepy, drippy sort of winter day, life is pretty good. And even though I haven't said much lately, I'm still here, still breathing, still thinking, still dreaming, still jabbering, still wondering. I'll be back, maybe when I have more time to write silly things of no great import. Or maybe I'll just figure out how to juggle all of these things that some might call "life."

Until then, keep listening - the music always changes.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Soundtrack, Take 2

School is crazy. I already spent the majority of my day in the library, & my hair is up in a bun secured with a pencil. This does not give me much optimism for the prospects of my social life. But having a job as a TA is great fun; giving people grades is a thrilling mix of feeling powerful & feeling intimidated.

In other news, I'm starting a new soundtrack for the blog for this new year. Right now, its a blend of some new favorites (Ben Solle = love) & some old classics (David Gray also = love). & if you haven't caught on by now, there's a lot to the lyrics.

Enjoy & keep listening - I'll be adding all sorts of new goodies.

You can still listen to all of my playlists HERE.
(oooh, linkage. pretty.)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Welcome 2010/ Crepes w/ Zesty Ginger & Orange Cream Cheese Filling


I've messed with a lot of different ideas for blog posts during this past month. This is my 100th post, you see, & I felt like it needed to be something special. My brainstorm of options was quite extensive & included 10 top 10 lists, 100 favorite songs, & an Ode to my Chucks, my beloved traveling Converse. But nothing ever went anywhere. So... no post. Last night I welcomed the new year in the best way here at home with my family. We had a lovely fire & watched "Wait Until Dark" while the snow billowed past our windows. & suddenly, it was 2010.

This morning, I woke up with a lovely idea floating around in my head - don't you just love it when that happens? The lovely idea went something like this - I have fresh ginger. There are oranges in my kitchen. There are about 6 blocks of cream cheese in the fridge. I think 2010 needs to be welcomed by a batch of crepes with some sort of amazing cream cheese filling. So, I started concocting. Based on the results, I think 2010 is going to be a very good year indeed.

serving suggestion - we also added glazed pears
and creamy cinnamon syrup - recipe to come

3 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp. melted butter
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt

Put everything in a blender & whip it up for about a minute. Scrape the batter down with a rubber spatula & give it another buzz for about 30 seconds. Refrigerate for an hour. (You can skip the "refrigerate" part if your house is as cold as mine.)

Cook the crepes in a small frying pan. Coat the pan with melted butter, then add about 2 tblsp. of batter, tilting the pan & rolling the batter around until it coats the bottom of the pan. Cook until the top of the crepe looks a bit dry & the edges of the crepe begin to lift from the sides of the pan.

delicious. mmmm.

Zesty Ginger Orange Filling
1 8 oz. package cream cheese (DO NOT use that non-fat stuff - that's just nasty)
6 tblsp. fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tblsp. orange zest (this is a rough estimate- feel free to add more)
2 tsp. milk
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
dash of freshly grated nutmeg
dash of powdered ginger
pinch of salt

I think that was everything... Basically, whip all of that goodness together with a mixer until it's fluffy & delicious. It works best if you blend the cream cheese & the milk first, then add the powdered sugar & orange juice & whip it up. Then add the zests & the spices. YUM.

Fill your crepes with a dollop of filling, roll, & top with a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Bon Appétit!