Chicken Marabella

Do you remember The Silver Palate Cookbook?   It was big back in the 199o’s and I think the one recipe everyone made from it was Chicken Marabella.   As long as you can remember to marinate everything the night before, it’s fairly easy to pull together and unbelievably flavorful.


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Thai Brussels Crunch Salad, Annihilation and Grace Keepers

Tried a new recipe for a thai brussels crunch salad which I served with seared salmon.  All in all, pretty good – a nice option in place of the usual lettuce based salad and a novel way to use brussels sprouts.  But what with the chopping and sautéing and salmon searing and dressing making, it was a little too involved for a weeknight.

Here’s what I’ve been reading:

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer: An expedition of four go into “Area X”.  Weird science fictiony things happen.   If there was a larger point, I missed it.  Too out there for me.

The Gracekeepers by Kristy Logan:  A strange circus  and a bizarre graveyard in a water based world.  Also way out there.   I need to go back to reading Dickens or something.

515Q0Ciqm8L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide, the third expedition in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition.
The group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one anotioner, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.
They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers―they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding―but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another that change everything.


51JwuE6mTPL._SX355_BO1,204,203,200_As a Gracekeeper, Callanish administers shoreside burials, laying the dead to their final resting place deep in the depths of the ocean. Alone on her island, she has exiled herself to a life of tending watery graves as penance for a long-ago mistake that still haunts her. Meanwhile, North works as a circus performer with the Excalibur, a floating troupe of acrobats, clowns, dancers, and trainers who sail from one archipelago to the next, entertaining in exchange for sustenance.

In a world divided between those inhabiting the mainland (“landlockers”) and those who float on the sea (“damplings”), loneliness has become a way of life for North and Callanish, until a sudden storm offshore brings change to both their lives–offering them a new understanding of the world they live in and the consequences of the past, while restoring hope in an unexpected future. 

Inspired in part by Scottish myths and fairytales, The Gracekeepers tells a modern story of an irreparably changed world: one that harbors the same isolation and sadness, but also joys and marvels of our own age.

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Dinner at Nebo

Had a fabulous night out in the city on Friday with my beloved cousin Anne who was in town for the day.  We both had to get home out of South Station so we decided to meet at Nebo for dinner.   We went to town (we were hungry!) and tore our way through the menu demolishing grilled bread, a bib lettuce salad, an order of arancini, an entree each and a deconstructed cannoli for dessert.   Everything was very tasty though I wish I had trusted my instinct on my entree order.  I got the squid ink taglietelle with scallops in a “light” mascarpone cream sauce.   I love squid ink pasta!  I love scallops!   I can tolerate a “light” cream sauce but can’t handle a goopy heavy cream sauce.    Too bad for me, the sauce was really too heavy for my taste but it didn’t matter as I was having so much fun with Anne.

The rest of the weekend was just boring old dishes: chicken stir fry with broccoli and pulled bbq chicken served over spiralized roasted sweet potato and with green beans.


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Eggplant Rollatini

I liked the idea of this recipe for eggplant rollatini- roll long slices of eggplant around a ground beef filling for a less cheesy, no pasta approach to lasgana – but I approached it with a bit of trepidation because success seemed to hinge on my ability to slice uniform thin strips of eggplant.  Of course I wasn’t able to do that.  I had some big chunky strips and some half sized strips that sort of shredded away at some point in cutting process, with maybe two overall that were cut the way they should have been.  Drats!   But I rolled with my imperfect slices and it was fine (well, the too thick ones really didn’t work that well) and I thought the dish was pretty tasty.  I won’t rate it as “healthy” though due to ground beef and the cheese on top.   Still a little healthier than regular lasagna – no ricotta and a nutrient laden vegetable in the place of pasta.


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Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken

Here’s a new slow cooker recipe for a honey garlic chicken I made for Monday night’s dinner :

Not too bad, though I sometimes do take issue with the mush factor of the slow cooker though absolutely loving the convenience: stick stuff in a pot, turn it on, dinner is waiting for you when you come home.   This was no exception:  tender shredded chicken (aka, mushy) in a honey soy flavorful sauce.  I served it with roasted sweet potatoes and spinach salad.

Though today I went to an event where Carl Safina gave a presentation and I may now need to go vegetarian….


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Simple Sicilian Swordfish and Kale Roasted Wheat berries

I played around with the main ingredients for both of these recipes.  The swordfish recipe actually calls for cod, but I find cod so tasteless.   And it was more expensive!  Hello swordfish!  The recipe worked great, but I love swordfish in any form, so I’m biased.

And the other recipe was for kale roasted farro.  Rummaging in the pantry did not yield any farro, but I did find a big bag of wheat berries.  Same idea as far as I am concerned.  I also didn’t have a whole lot of kale left (finally worked my way through my giant bag) so I roasted what I had and then stirred in half a package of baby spinach to the final dish.

Both the fish and the grains were delicious, fairly fast to pull together and quite healthy, my favorite combination!


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Fracture!  Yes, I have a stress fracture in my left leg (fibula to be exact).   Which has been bothering me since September, and then I really probably did it in by running a marathon on it in October (at least now I have something I can blame my sucky time on, ha) and now no running for yours truly for 6-8 weeks, maybe 10.  Argh.  Oh well, it could be worse, I’m already 3 weeks in (haven’t run a step since 10/11) and the Dr. said it was healing.   I don’t need a cast, thank goodness.

I can’t do any impact exercises so I’ve been trying to be creative in figuring out what I can do that won’t involve a pricey gym membership.    So far, I have come up with walking (leisurely, but not too often as I’m supposed to be letting my leg heal), riding the 1970’s exercise bike in my basement my friend and former colleague Mary gave me years and years ago (Mary, it still works!),  riding a regular bicycle outside on the weekends (it is too dark before and after work to do weekdays), yoga, and weights (ugh).  Oh and my friend Michele is going to teach me how to swim which should be really interesting because I hate getting into cold water and I don’t like to submerge my face.  She has her work cut out for her!   Any other ideas?   I am going a little bananas.


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