Posted by: dinainsuburbia | September 19, 2008

Day at the Park, and Chicken under a brick.

Facebook is an interesting phenomenon.  It instantly connects you to people you never thought you would talk to, or see again.  Today Maddie & I met up with a high-school friend; I never thought I’d see her again, and never really paid the whole situation much mind.  Sure, I thought I’d maybe catch up at the next reunion (20 years in 2013- yikes) but I never thought we’d be hanging out at the park while our kids played in the sandbox.  I have to say, it was pretty damn cool.  And interesting because you remember people how you last knew them- so I sorta assumed that she’d look like her 18-year-old self.  We talked about that- how it’s weird to see that other people grew up too. 


I always love seeing Maddie interact with other children around her age.  My high school buddie’s children are 4 and 17 months.  Still not old enough to play with other children, Maddie sits next to them and does her own thing, always keeping one eye on what the other kid is doing.  I have the kid’s show Yo Gabba Gabba to thank for Maddie’s willingness to “wait her turn”.  As an aside, if you haven’t seen the show- check it out.  It’s one of those love it or hate it things.  I, personally, am a HUGE fan and have a fondness for Muno (the big red one.)  


It’s unfair- how quickly children grow.  I find myself wanting to hang on to certain moments- Maddie’s face when she conquers a new slide at the playground for example.  I hope by taking pause and really watching her, and being in the moment, I’m burning her into my memory.  Sometimes, it’s so painful, loving another human being so much.  It is as if I love her more than my heart has capacity for- it actually aches! 


We stayed at the park until it was almost 5pm. We made our way back so I could prepare dinner.  On tap for tonight was Mark Bittman’s chicken under a brick.  The most difficult part of the recipe was removing the back bone from the chicken.  As much as I tried to follow the illustrations in Mark’s book- I felt more like a novice cook than a skilled surgeon.  Maybe my knife wasn’t sharp enough.. I wound up using a messy combination of my chef knife and kitchen shears.  While the process took some struggle, you couldn’t necessarily tell after the bird was cooked.


The end product was moist and delicious- the rosemary and garlic permeated the entire bird and the white meat stayed moist throughout (my big complaint with white meat is that it always dries out).  Even my husband liked it (he thinks roast chicken is grandma food)- but he stayed out of the kitchen while I was hacking away.  Like most Americans, he wants no part of food in it’s natural state; the less resemblance to a living thing for him, the better.  


To flatten out the chicken I used both a pan AND bricks.  Well, actually one big brick and a medium sized stone I found out back.  If anything, it was satisfying enough to see my husband’s look of shock when I came in the back door with a brick and a stone and proclaimed them my new cooking tools!


I never got around to marinating the bird before hand.  My fault for not reading the recipe in advance.  Oh well, it was tasty enough but I imagine it would be better with a little pre-planning.  And who knows, maybe if I wasn’t in a rush to get dinner on the table, I wouldn’t have hacked the chicken up so bad trying to remove the backbone.


In other news, it looks like my mom is passing on the Christmas Eve tradition onto me!  I’ll be hosting the Italian fish dinner at my place this year.  I’m super excited.  Christmas Eve is a hard holiday for my mom as it follows the big bash on the 23rd (mom has about 70 people at her place).  A fish dinner isn’t the easiest to prepare and most of the dishes, if not all, cannot be prepared in advance.  My mom is also a nervous wreck when “company” comes over… I just don’t get all that freaked out about it!  


If anyone has any good fish recipes, pass them my way!


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