Chicken Marsala and other things

Happy January! Is the new year treating you well so far? Are you deflating slowly from the merriment like I am? Well, I’m trying to atleast. Work goes into hyper speed until…oh about June. Gulp. Here’s what we’ve been up to – a visual tour:

I call this, I spend a lot of time with chicken for a vegetarian.


We’ve been trying to cook more often and I went all old school this past weekend with a Chicken Marsala. The way to my husband’s heart is pretty simple – a meat, a gravy, and a noodle. This was an old Martha recipe. Remember when it was just Martha and all her superiority? Miss that.

I took some time off during the holidays from work and I think my husband and I may have seen a movie a day. One of the benefits of our kids getting bigger is that we are no longer tied to a sitter. If we want to go to a movie, we go. The kids manage to survive for a couple of hours. Here’s three of our favorites. Two of these movies aren’t for the faint of heart – and the other is not the love story you would expect.

My daughter, Kera, spent this long weekend at her high school’s senior retreat. Even though my husband and I both went to Catholic schools, neither one of us ever went to a retreat.  We blame Obama. Just kidding. Last night we went to pick her up in the “homecoming” ceremony. It was so raw and emotional. I fully expected the girls to be crying and happy when they walked in, because that’s how I would be. And isn’t it all about me? No? Ok. You’re right. What I didn’t understand was how many young men would walk in that room with tears in their eyes and talk about their emotions. And the mix of kids was also amazing. The sports guy, the cheerleader, the computer geek, the comedian – all together. The entire weekend is called Kairos, which is a Greek word that means “the right” or “the moment”. That’s about all I can tell  you because the cell phone/tv/computer free retreat, is also about how to protect the things that your peers have shared with you. Each group did get to share one thing with the parents – surprisingly it was all boys talking about their experience, except for one, brave, strong, beautiful girl. Guess which one? Yep. Here she is walking in from her “Kai High” as it’s called.

One last thing. For many years I’ve heard funny, crazy, happy, sad, and completely engrosing stories about my mother-in-law’s childhood on the Upper East Side of Manhattan called Old Yorkville. When we lost her too early, I started asking even more questions. Her two sisters and extended family have been filling me in. Initially I was just interested in my mother-in-law’s story, but now I’m obsessed with her mother, Irene. She was a stone cold beauty in every sense of that phrase. I met her just twice. By the time I came into the picture, she had lived a hard life. She didn’t play a huge part in my husband’s childhood, which was dominated by the other grandmother in his life – on his father’s side – Nana. That’s a cool story too. When I first met Joe I didn’t even know he had two grandmothers. I only heard about Nana. I didn’t meet Irene until amost 3 years into our relationship. She was so different than all the other women in his family that I’d met. A little withdrawen and quiet. I was so absorbed with my own little life back then that I really didn’t open up to her at all. Now I’m completely obsessed. Her marriages, her daughthers, her life – I want to know it all. I’ve been bugging everyone to share their stories, and they have. Generously. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it yet. I do hope to share some of what I learn here (if it’s ok with the family). Here’s a picture of Irene on her wedding day. Makes you want to know more about her doesn’t it?

Writing this blog makes me so happy, but it also requires that the people in my life are ok with what I choose to share. I usually don’t ask permission, but I am careful. It’s a tough line and that I’m constantly pushing. Why do I think you want to know about what I made for dinner or what movies I saw? Because if we were to ever meet, or had a cup of coffee together – that’s what I would ask you. Not because I think what I’m doing is so important – but because it’s a detail of life. And I love all the details that go into a person’s life. Do you agree?



Eat in Chicken


This is the Susquehanna River, in my hometown, Harrisburg, PA. We took a quick trip over the weekend to visit family and do a joint birthday celebration for my sister and me. Me and my sister. My sister and I. Pick one.

Fun, useless fact: Did you know that Girl, Interrupted was filmed here? This is the Market Bridge, featured many times in the flick.  The movie starred Angelina Jolie  – in her Oscar-winning performance – and Wynona Ryder before her shoplifting days.  And that poor gal Britney Murphy, before her dead days.  The title of the post is an homage to one of her lines in the movie (she’s one of the patients in a mental hospital and is obsessed with owning a home with an “eat in chicken…” She’s also obsessed with eating whole chickens. It was a great movie. This was not a major plot line but I think of this line whenever I see a whole, roasted chicken. Freakish but true).

We came home to the below monsoon.


I’ve fallen and I can’t get up

I bought the wrong chicken.
Because I went to a big bulk store, I bought a lot of the wrong chicken.
I blame the universe.
I blame the gods.
I blame tenderloins because they look like chicken breasts.
Hmm? Look at the label you say?
Shut it.
So I needed to return it quickly.
I grabbed it, grabbed my keys and bolted out the door.
And landed face front on the front step.
Actually I fell into a bush first.
It broke my fall.
And then I landed on the front step.
My keys and my package of wrong chicken landed around me.
We were a sight.
If a vegetarian falls with some chicken did a vegetarian really fall at all?
So there I was. On the ground. Yelping for help.
And now here I am.


Did I trip? Did I miss a step?
No idea. I just went down like a big old elm. Timber!
It’s not so bad.
I’m icing.
I’m elevating.
I’m Advil’ing
Come on 2013!

Coconut chicken ala Coconut

Cooking posts are hard.  Maybe just hard for me, since millions of cooking blogs do it everyday.  I bow down to them.  Maybe one of my tens of readers will make this and love it.  If you do, and you don’t. Please keep it to yourself. I just spent an entire day making what usually takes me a good 10 minutes.

Coconut Chicken  – the cast

4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs

1 can coconut milk

1 lime

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 tablespoon of salt

1 large onion, red pepper and green pepper (I had some frozen fire roasted ones that I used)

1 chicken bouillon cube

3 tablespoons of tomato paste

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon of garlic powder

Handful of cilantro

Generously douse the chicken in the juice of one lime and then sprinkle the chicken with salt and garlic powder

Heat the olive oil on a high heat


Add the chicken and sear both sides – don’t worry about cooking all the way through

Once it’s seared, take the chicken out and let it rest.  Add the peppers, bouillon cube, bay leaves and tomato paste


Stir it around to pick up all the chicken bits on the bottom of the pan

My onions and peppers were precooked – but you’ll need a good 5 minutes to cook them down. Then add the full can of coconut milk and bring to a boil. Be sure to shake the can first – if you don’t – you’ll get some funky clear liquid  with white goo on the bottom. Been there. Done that.

Add that patient chicken back in the pan with all the juices, put a lid on it, and turn the heat to low


While the chicken cooks with the sauce for 5 minutes, chop up way too much cilantro – you’ll only use 1 tablespoon of that heap.  Add it to the chicken and keep the rest, there may be some salsa that needs it during the week.

Serve it up with some homemade white rice.

I keep mine in Golden China to-go containers. What?