Zika is ruining my life!!!!!
Just kidding, its not. That’s probably an insensitive thing to say, since Zika is genuinely ruining some peoples lives. But, it is creating some infuriating first-world problems for me. The SOLE silver lining to a deployment is that when ya man gets back, you get to take a swanky vacation (well, this is my rule, anyway). It’s 100% helpful to have a seven night stay on the beach with unlimited pina coladas reserved for the not-so-distant future. I might even be motivated to work out!
I was initially determined to go back to Costa Rica. When I went for my brothers wedding, I was in the middle of a nervous breakdown at work, and I didn’t enjoy it at all. Between the utter panic of spotty wifi and the shit hitting the fan almost daily, I was a complete stressball. Luckily, Sean was used to these work-related breakdowns of mine, and he is incapable of not having a good time on vacation, so it was really only my vacation that was ruined.
See Exhibit A: Sean Loves Vacation
I really wanted to go back and have a do-over, and spend a few days in the rainforest by the volcano as well.
JUST KIDDING, says Zika, destroyer of dreams. The way Sean has interpreted the World Health Organization’s map, every island in the caribbean and country South of 70 degrees in February might as well be infested with ravenous zombies. That pretty much only leaves the maldives, and Hawaii.
Did I mention I don’t like to fly? And definitely not over water.
I’m sure Hawaii is wonderful, it is just never somewhere I have really yearned to go. It’s ridiculously overpriced, and ten hours of flying away. If I’m going to be in the air for ten hours, I’d much rather land in Europe.
So, we have this dilemma about where to go [“dilemma”] and I haven’t really found a solution yet. I’m going to keep looking, but by and large the search so far and MFINGZIKA has taken pretty much all of the fun out of vacation planning for me.
There are worse things in life, I know, but I did feel the need to cheer myself up with some new yoga pants, candles from B&B, and a refill of my favorite Nars blush. Why am I so basic?
After I got done laying the smackdown on my debit card, I ran to the grocery store to grab something for dinner. You know what I found? Cranberries! Ha! It is definitely way too early for cranberries, but I was going to take advantage of the opportunity to make my favorite chicken dish!
This is something I first tested out with my pal Andy when I was living in So Ill after law school. We used to have these fun dinner nights where we’d make something new, and from what I understand he’s still carrying on this tradition with other people. Rude.
Cranberry salsa is a wonderful compliment to any kind of poultry. It is sweet and spicy at the same time with a really phenomenal texture. (This really rocks on a day-after-thanksgiving-turkey-sandwich). Mixing it with the cilantro cream adds another layer of flavor, ultimately producing something really unexpected and complex.
SPICY CRANBERRY CHICKEN WITH CILANTRO CREME
*adapted from Cooking Light
- 2 chicken breasts, halved
- 2 Tbs cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped green onion
- 1/3 cup greek yogurt, plain
- 1 lime
- 1/2 jalapeno, diced into small pieces
- 12 oz bag of cranberries
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 tsp orange or lemon zest
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 Tbs EV olive oil
- salt and pepper
The recipe I adapted this from uses canned cranberry sauce. That’s the way I made it for a very long time, and it’s super easy and tasty too! If you want to used canned, simply omit the cranberries, sugar, zest and water from the recipe, and make sure to use the whole berry canned sauce for texture. I made my own cranberry sauce for the first time when Sean and I hosted his family for thanksgiving. I was initially kind of appalled with the amount of table sugar it requires, so I decided to use honey instead. In this recipe particularly you can’t tell the difference because of the spicy ingredients you’ll add later.
- Place the cranberries, honey, zest and water into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low, stirring occasionally for ten minutes until sauce starts to thicken and cranberries begin to burst. Once the sauce has reached desired thickness, remove from heat and transfer into a small bowl. Stir in chopped green onion, the diced jalapeno, 1 Tbs of the cilantro and juice of half the lime. If you make this ahead of time, it’s fine to place it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to eat. Otherwise, place in the freezer for a much quicker cool-down.
- Salt and pepper the chicken breast halves on both sides. (I use halves because they cook quicker and more evenly). Heat a non-stick frying pan to medium and drizzle 1 Tbs oil in the pan, swirling to coat. When pan is hot (water drops will sizzle) place your chicken in the pan and cook for 3 minutes, then turn and cook the other side for another 3 minutes. Transfer cooked chicken to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes so the juices will drain.
- In a small bowl, mix the juice from the other half of lime, the rest of the cilantro and the greek yogurt. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- When ready to plate, take a generous spoonful of cranberry salsa and spread on plate. Layer two chicken halves on top of one another, top with a spoonful of cilantro cream, and finish with a final spoonful of the salsa. Garnish with cilantro leaves.
I like to plate this up for guests since it looks so pretty all put together. Compliment it with something green, such as roasted brussels sprouts or green beans, which are both great for sopping up the leftover cranberry salsa.If this seems ridiculously easy, it IS. And if you haven’t figured out by now, that’s my style. I like to cook really easy dishes that look 10x more complicated than they actually are, thereby projecting the image of mad cooking skills and hours in the kitchen (but now you know the truth).
And here’s a random of picture of my dogs being cute! This was just after I pried one of my mom’s shoes from Frankie’s mouth- see how bummed he looks? Sorry mom, you’re not getting those back.