Thursday, October 15, 2009

I'm OK, But Could Someone Tell Me What To Do About This Bathroom Paint?

Crap.  (Sorry, Mom.)

When I pulled into the driveway a few days ago, a 20-foot tree limb blocked my usual parking spot.  Again.  Only a few weeks ago another sizable branch had plunged to the lawn, just a few feet from this one, leaving a significant divot.

Even though an arborist trimmed the deadwood last fall, these things happen -– particularly with the recent blustery, wet weather we’ve had here in Charlotte.  It doesn’t take a seventh grader to know that a spongy, dry, dead branch soaks up a LOT more weighty water than a healthy, impervious, well-attached branch.

Big whoop.  I know where the pruning saw is.  I’ll hack the thing into somewhat more manageable pieces, drag them to the street and pray to God no one witnesses my ineptitude.  That sawing business, I learned last time, is a lot easier, not too mention a lot more fun, when done by other people.  Try though I may, I’ll never achieve that hopped-up, blurry sawing technique demonstrated so effortlessly by the likes of Wile E. Coyote, Foghorn Leghorn, Jerry the Cat and other Saturday morning friends.

The downed branch is a reminder though, that since I’m no longer married, I'm the one in charge.  Of everything.

When the gutters overflow, when the cat mounts a successful escape, when the basement freezer holding 10 meals worth of Folly Beach shrimp defrosts while we’re out of town, when a baby possum dies (disintegrates and practically dissolves) under the house in 90 degree heat, when the master bathroom paint puckers and peels off in name-that-state-shaped latex sheets, it’s all on me. 

I’m "da man."

When you’re married, there’s a certain division of labor.  There’s also a division of knowledge (you know when the car needs new tires, I know when to schedule teacher conferences) and even a division of worry (you worry about saving for college, I’ll worry about our 14-year-old staying out until midnight).   But for nearly two years now, there's been no division.  More like multiplication.

True, I’ve always been fairly independent.  OK, when I was little, I don't think my teachers used the word "independent."  But "bossy" rings a bell.   And perhaps, "doesn't play well with others."  But what I can’t get used to is that I no longer have someone to run my ideas and decisions by.  (“Does this make me look fat?”  “What do you think of this paint color?”)  

On the upside, I guess, I don’t have anyone to run my ideas and decisions by.  ("Hmm.  I want a cat.  Oh looky there.  I got a cat.")

Like dinner tonight.  I like chicken.  But we had chicken last night.  (Panko-Crusted Chicken With Lemon and Dill, recipe to come).  Still, as I said, I like chicken.  And it's my decision.  So guess what’s cooking Chez Wiles tonight?

Yep.  I'm just fine.  But could someone else take a look at this bathroom paint?

Chicken Roll-Ups with Proscuitto & Sage 
My kids love this dish.  It looks special and fun, but is very easy to make, using very few ingredients.  Feel free to substitute herbs (maybe basil or rosemary) or try Virginia ham or pepperoni in place of the proscuitto.  I often serve it with Thyme-Scented Lemon Rice.)

Three boneless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2 thickness
three fresh sage leaves
three very thin slices proscuitto
zest of one lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1-2 tablespoons butter
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 dry white wine (or 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice)
1 tablespoon capers

Sprinkle each flattened chicken breast with salt, pepper and lemon zest.  Center one sage leaf on each chicken breast (smooth side down).  Lay proscuitto on top. Roll up, fairly tightly from narrow end up.  Secure with toothpicks.

Heat oil and butter in a large skillet (with a lid) over medium high heat.  Brown chicken roll-ups, until browned fairly evenly on all sides.  Reduce heat to low, place lid on skillet, and cook until juices run clear when pricked with a toothpick (about 10 minutes).  

Remove chicken from skillet and deglaze pan with stock and wine.  Stir in capers.  

Slice roll-ups in 1/2 inch slices and pour sauce over.
Post a Comment