Tag Archives: raw chicken

26: Dear camping

12 Jun

Dear Camping,

You and I were not fast friends. In all fairness, I wouldn’t say that I am your target demographic- I don’t like bugs, dirt, cold weather or sleeping bags, not to mention that cooking chicken out of a cooler gives me anxiety. What’s that? Why did I put you on the list then? Good question. For two reasons, actually: the first being that Brian (the man I happen to love) is a huge fan of camping (It speaks to his soul or something like that) and I wanted to try something he loves. The second being that I always felt a tad left out when I would hear people talk about camping and they always seemed happy when sharing their stories about you! So I decided to stretch myself and put you on my list.

The highlights from my time in the wilderness include making s’mores (they really are a lost dessert) , cuddling by the campfire with Brian (can you say romantic) and the beautiful mountains of Big Sur (jaw dropping).

The other highlights include an 8 mile hike (complete with over-grown brush, poison oak, a supposedly “cute” snake and a bobcat sighting on the trial where I happened to be wearing a backpack filled with cured meats), having to shower in a communal shower (gross), sleeping on rocks (awe-some. If you haven’t tried it you must!) and having to walk through the dark woods in the middle of the night to pee (facing fears over here people!).

But, despite all my complaints about you, I still look back on our time together with fondness. You taught me to appreciate my bed. You gave me the opportunity to see  how cute Brian looks when building a fire. You made me feel connected to nature. You made me laugh. You  brought out a fun, brave and silly side of me and well, I appreciate you for that.

Will I be an avid camper? No. Will I camp once a year? Maybe.

Kind regards,


A trip down memory lane…

The tent.

“My first thought upon seeing the folded tent was “Now what?” I had no idea what to do with that heap of fabric lying in the dirt. I told Brian that I would do my best and to just give me a job. After 15 minutes we had a tent!! My first thoughts when I saw my new home was…I like its color scheme and “now what?”.

 ”Now what?” was a constant thought during my camping trip. The other refrain was “This is some backwoods shit.” No matter what was happening I would refer to it as “backwoods shit”. Brian hated it when I would say it. He informed me that nothing about my situation was “backwoods shit”  because we had  hot water to shower in and a flushing toilet house. He also didn’t think it was a very “PC” thing to say. In the attempt to not offend, I ended up whispering it to myself every five minutes. I couldn’t help it because I saw some crazy shit.”

The hike.

“Day 2, Brian and I decided to do a 8 mile hike. Well, actually Brian decided that we were going to do an 8 mile hike and I mumbled “yes…sounds great”. When starting 365 til 30, I made a promise to myself that I would simply say “yes” to things even if they didn’t fit into my idea of pleasurable. Reason being, I usually end up enjoying the things I think I won’t. So I happily agreed to an 8 mile hike AND to carrying a backpack full of cured meats for our lunch. Both of these were very hard for me to say “yes” to with a smile.”

The chicken.

“The Chicken consumed my thoughts prior to the trip. I simply did not trust Brian about the chicken situation. He attempted to assure me that it was ok to travel with raw chicken in an ice cooler and then…eat it. Even more disturbing…the plan was to cook the chicken on night two. This seemed wrong to me. Terribly wrong. But, I didn’t want to hurt his feelings considering he had already done so much to make my first camping adventure perfect. So after a few conversations I acted like I let it go. Cut to our drive up the coast when I slipped and asked “Hey Brian, where is the raw chicken in relation to the apples in the cooler?” He looked at me like he was worried about my mental health.”

“Some national parks have long waiting lists for camping reservations. When you have to wait a year to sleep next to a tree, something is wrong.”

George Carlin



25 Jan


So last night I was listening to music (Alabama Shakes), drinking a glass of wine (pinot) and MAKING DINNER all by myself! I had an AH-HA moment and I thought- oh my God you’re making dinner all by yourself and you are actually enjoying yourself! I was moving around the kitchen with ease. I was handling raw chicken like it was no big deal. I was grilling veggies like I had been doing it forever and it made me smile. Such a very teeny tiny step for mankind but such a huge step for me and I felt proud. I saw my progress- I can cook now. I can actually cook now. When Brian walked in the door and saw the scene he smiled and hugged me…I think he’s proud too and probably SO thrilled he doesn’t have to cook all our meals anymore.

By the way, this doesn’t mean I wont continue learning recipes from fellow epicureans  (Keep them coming! Tomorrow’s cooking post with Erin from Well In LA is going to be great!) It just means that I saw a difference in myself and I liked it.

Ok I am off to put the finishing touches on my book proposal and volunteer at PATH- that’s a pretty good Wednesday if you ask me! Below is the song that I was jamming to while cooking last night by the Alabama Shakes. I love them…they are so lively and I love her voice.


16 Jan


Teacher : My friend Alex

Dish : Moroccan Chicken

Location : Alex’s place

Alex and I used to live together so I know this boy very well and I can safely say that  he is one of the tidiest and nicest humans around. I also think he is funny, brilliant (he built a picnic table from scratch once. It was pretty impressive) and interesting (he  travels the world for work. Cool right?) I am a little jealous of this. Alright a lot jealous. It’s just not fair Universe!! But I’m not here to talk about unfair things. I’m here to talk about Moroccan Chicken.

Alex knows firsthand that I don’t cook…I don’t think he ever saw me use the stove in our place. He on the other hand actually used the stove in our house to cook things. He’s one of those people that likes to cook and takes joy in the process. Thank God one of us did. He made this Moroccan Chicken dish one night for a dinner party at our house and I was in love with it! The flavors and spices are just unreal- anything with cumin and sweet paprika is good in my book.

Going into the evening Alex was aware of my raw chicken issues. He’s been reading about them here. The day before he taunted me with an email that finished with “There will be lots of handling of chicken tomorrow night so get ready”. You know what my new defense is against raw chicken? Wine. Drinking wine while cooking with chicken softens the blow and makes me see the humor in the bird. Tongs also come in handy. I actually made it through our whole cooking session without touching the bird with my hands once. Yay to tongs and wine.

What a cooking marathon- we cooked for 2 hours while the dinner guests trickled in. The group was a good one. All interesting and lively people. The highlight of the night was chatting with his friend Jeff who happens to have written Cooking For Geeks, which I think it such a great idea! It may not have been Jeff’s highlight though…poor man…I grilled him on everything from cooking (he made an awesome pear dessert) to book proposals. He probably wished he wasn’t sitting next to me!!

(Oh and thanks to Bri for being my photographer:)

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1 1/4 teaspoons sweet paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 strips lemon zest (each about 2 inches by 3/4 inch)

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice , from 1 to 2 lemons

5 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 5 teaspoons)

1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), cut into 8 pieces (4 breast pieces, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks; wings

reserved for another use) and trimmed of excess fat

Table salt and ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion , halved and cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 3 cups)

1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon honey

1 medium carrot , peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick coins, very large pieces cut into half-moons

(about 1 cup)

1 cup dried apricots , halved

1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas , drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves


1. Combine spices in small bowl and set aside. Mince 1 strip lemon zest; combine with 1 teaspoon minced garlic and mince together until reduced to fine paste; set aside. 2. Season both sides of chicken pieces liberally with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large heavy–bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until beginning to smoke. Brown chicken pieces skin side down in single layer until deep golden, about 5 Top: White Meat Middle: Carrots Bottom: Dark Meat minutes; using tongs, turn chicken pieces and brown on second side, about 4 minutes more. Transfer chicken to large plate; when cool enough to handle, peel off skin and discard. Pour off and discard all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot. 3. Add onion and 2 remaining lemon zest strips to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions have browned at edges but still retain shape, 5 to 7 minutes (add 1 tablespoon water if pan gets too dark). Add remaining 4 teaspoons garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add spices and cook, stirring constantly, until darkened and very fragrant, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in broth and honey, scraping bottom of pot with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Add thighs and drumsticks, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 5 minutes. 4. Add carrots, apricots, and breast pieces (with any accumulated juices) to pot, arranging breast pieces in single layer on top of carrots. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast registers 160 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes. 5. Transfer chicken to plate or bowl and tent with foil. Add chickpeas to pot; increase heat to medium-high and simmer until liquid has thickened slightly and carrots are tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Return chicken to pot and add garlic-zest


5 Jan


Teacher: My friend Manuk- a lovely, talented, ambitious, funny and creative soul who happens to know his way around the kitchen

Dish : Chicken Schnitzel

Location: Manuk’s Casa

When Manuk first told me he had a great Schnitzel recipe to teach me I was excited. I thought a schnitzel was a pretzel, so I imagined us making big German pretzels all afternoon. I was surprised to learn that schnitzel has nothing to do with pretzels and everything to do with fried meat. Sadly this meant I had to handle raw chicken again. Sadly this also meant that Manuk got to see first hand how crazy I really am. When he saw me handle the raw chicken for the first time he looked at me with bewilderment and said “Why are you holding the chicken like that? Grab the damn chicken Kate!! Don’t be afraid of the chicken!” “But I hate raw chicken” I cried back! That was only the beginning. When it was time to pound the chicken flat he pulled out a plastic shopping bag from a random drawer and put the chicken inside it. I almost died. By now, you should all know that I think raw chicken is to be feared. Now add in a mystery plastic bag that was going to house the raw chicken while being pounded and my fear reached a new level. I felt compelled to chime in with…”Manuk, can we put saran wrap over the chicken? We don’t know where that bag has been.” I quickly learned this was the wrong thing to chime in with. He shot me a playful (up for interpretation) look and told me if I was so worried about it to make sure I wrote “use a SUPER clean plastic bag” on my blog for my readers then. Point taken Kate, go with the flow and the follow the rules of another’s kitchen. So, I decided to keep my mouth shut moving forward and I was happy that I did because Manuk’s chicken schnitzel is damn tasty!!! It didn’t even matter that it had been pounded flat in a mystery plastic bag!

His Schnitzel recipe will make you new friends. Trust me. People will love you.

Thank you so much Manuk for spending an afternoon teaching me your Schnitzel recipe!! Sorry I was so strange about the raw chicken…I’m totally working on this.

{READERS: feel free to forego the mystery plastic bag and wrap your raw chicken in saran wrap}

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Organic chicken

Olive Oil

Progresso bread crumbs

Grated Parmesan Cheese





-Put bread crumbs,cheese and dill in bowl and mix together/ Cut fat off of chicken/ Cut into strips/ Put 2-3 eggs in bowl/ put flour in bowl/ Drop chicken strip in flour bowl & then egg bowl/then place chicken strip in mix/ Once they are covered in the mix…fry the chicken strips in olive oil on medium heat until cooked

Easy enough right?


28 Nov

The other night I was up from 3 to 6 am (glorious hours to be up by yourself) thinking about 365 til 30 and my 10 goals. I cannot believe it’s been almost 5 months since it all began. I am truly blown away by how much has happened in the last 5 months- I moved in with Brian, camped, tango’d, cooked, baked, attempted French, written more insane emails than I care to admit, laughed, cried, danced, jumped with joy, had my goals actualize, had meetings that rocked my world, had goals temporarily derailed but still made a point to find the humor in it all.

Getting out of my comfort zone has forced me to see myself differently and laugh more than I thought possible. I also learned that I am much more resilient than I originally gave myself credit for. Not to mention I found the strength to get over my chicken phobia.

But the most amazing part has been how much I was able to manifest by setting a clear intention. I have always had a very clear image of what I wanted my life to look like and it’s coming into focus.

But, you know what kept me awake most during those  glorious hours? Thinking about what still lies ahead. What big surprises are around the corner. What goals I needed to re-strategize to attain and what goals I need to breathe new life into. Because, as much as this blog is about finding the joy in each day it’s also about actualizing these 10 goal and I want them all to happen as much as I did five months ago.

 I have decided that I need to start January off with a clear focus and to do so I need to re-cap, re-stratagize and fall in love with them all again.

So all through December I will be recapping and brainstorming the 10 goals!

For the readers who recently joined the 365 til 30 party this may also help you catch up! I do realize that some of you may think my “Frank” photos means Frank is real. This is not a crazy assumption. Sadly, he’s not. Not yet at least.


8 Nov


Oh look everybody…I handled raw chicken again! As you can see from the pictures above, I have totally moved past my aversion to it.  I look like quite the pro, don’t I?

Welcome to the worst roast chicken meal ever. I would say it was a slight setback in my cooking career but have decided not to get discouraged by one meal. So what that Brian got a bit sick from it…no big deal right?

My friend Rachel and I decided it would be fun to make dinner for our guys last Friday night. The weather in LA has been getting chillier and we thought it would be a cozy way for us all to hang out. When we were brainstorming meal options I came up with the brilliant idea that we should roast a whole chicken. I have never attempted this before but I thought it sounded easy enough and I have always loved the way a whole chicken looked finished on a plate. Obviously the most important part of the meal right? So we googled roast chicken recipes and found one we really liked. Problem was it happened to be called “Engagement Chicken”. Supposedly if you make this chicken for your significant other he will be so impressed by it and you that he will be inspired to propose. So ridiculous, we thought, but we liked the recipe so we decided to keep the name to ourselves and make it anyways. We didn’t want the boys to get the wrong idea about what we had up our sleeves for a simple Friday night dinner!

In my defense, I thought we followed the recipe perfectly. In retrospect maybe we didn’t account for different oven temperatures? Who knows. All I know is that we followed that recipe! I am not lying. It also looked perfectly done (in a candlelit room) when we pulled it out of the oven.

I think we all know where this story goes. It wasn’t good. Actually, it was horrible. I think we may have served slightly undercooked chicken to our loved ones. I guess we could have killed them. We didn’t though! Thank God…because that would have screwed up my vision  for this blog.

I doubt I will be given the opportunity to roast a chicken for guests anytime soon. Oh, and if I was looking for an engagement ring out of this meal I doubt I inspired him to buy me one.



25 Aug


Cooking Teacher: Papa Irv

Location: Irv’s kitchen

Dish : His famous Teriyaki Chicken

Papa Irv is my dear, sweet and funny step father who also happens to be one of my favorite chefs. He is a pro in the kitchen. He thinks about every detail and nothing is done haphazardly. Papa Irv is the kinda man who has a special knife for cutting tomatoes, a special pan to make eggs in, a special something for everything really. I knew going into this lesson I was going to have to take it up a notch, keep my game face on. Papa Irv is a great teacher; he didn’t just teach me how to make his famous Teriyaki Chicken but taught me the basics of the kitchen. The knives I should be using, how to sharpen them, how to cut excess fat from the chicken, what salt to use, what olive oil…the list goes on and on. But most importantly he taught me how to be a confident chef. So confident in fact that I cooked this meal all by myself a few night later for Brian, with no help (yes I handled raw chicken) and it was delicious!! I guess cooking is in the details.

The funniest part of the evening was when Irv finally allowed me tackle a task all by myself. He handed me a bag of rice and a measuring cup and instructed me to pour 1 cup, then he turned to my mother to talk. I took my big bag of rice and little measuring cup and did just what he asked but I did it without setting the cup on a surface. Here’s a tip everyone; when pouring rice out of a bag, hold the bag with two hands because the weight in the bag shifts very quickly. So quickly in fact that I poured rice all over the kitchen. To which they both turned around quickly and my mom said “Omg what happened?!” Irv just looked at me and said  “I turned around for one second…”.

But in the end we made a delicious meal! My mom, Irv, my brother Nik and I sat by the pool and had a perfect summer meal. I was really starting to like this cooking thing.

Chicken Teriyaki Ingredients (serves 4) :

3 chicken breasts

Garlic cloves (to taste)

Shallots (to taste)

1 bottle of Soy Vay

1 bag of jasmine rice

Kosher salt

Chicken Teriyaki Directions :

– cut off all fatty parts of chicken breasts then cut into 1 inch cubes.

– Place chicken cubes in casserole dish.

– Mince garlic and shallots then sprinkle on chicken.

– Pour say vay marinade on chicken to liking.

-Cover with plastic and place in fridge for a 1/2 an hour.

– Use this time to make rice!

– 2/1 ratio water/rice

– In a large saucepan pour olive oil and place cubes of chicken in saucepan and pour some more Soy Vay on top.

– cook chicken till white

Salad Ingredients :

heirloom tomatoes


Red Onion


Olive Oil

balsamic vinaigrette

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1 Aug



The Chicken consumed my thoughts prior to the trip. I simply did not trust Brian about the chicken situation. He attempted to assure me that it was ok to travel with raw chicken in an ice cooler and then eat it. Even more disturbing…the plan was to cook the chicken on night two. This seemed wrong to me. Terribly wrong. But, I didn’t want to hurt his feelings considering he had already done so much to make my first camping adventure perfect. So after a few conversations I acted like I let it go. Cut to our drive up the coast when I slipped and asked “Hey Brian, where is the raw chicken in relation to the apples in the cooler?” He looked at me like he was worried about my mental health.

Cut to-night two. The day I made it through an 8 mile hike, over-grown brush, thistle stuck on my ass, poison oak, a supposedly “cute” snake and a bobcat sighting on the trial where I happened to be wearing a backpack filled with cured meats. I was a survivor and I was so exhausted. I would have happily indulged in a hamburger and fries with no shame. But no, I knew what was coming. It was night two and that meant it was chicken night. I look back now and see there was a master plan at work.  He wore me down, to the point I couldn’t say no to eating that chicken. He won. In that moment I HATED camping.

Brian built a fire for our chicken to cook on while I sipped wine. Despite my preoccupation with the situation, I still noticed his incredible fire building skills. That boy could build a fire out of one little stick. Boy scout material for sure. He also takes great pride in the activity, even retrieving his “fire gloves” from the car to perfect the position of the wood. I didn’t show him how impressed I was in the moment though. Finally, after much anticipation it was time to eat. This is hard for me to admit but that was the best damn chicken I have ever eaten and I didn’t die!

After dinner Brian and I sat by the fire, laughing, cuddling, telling stories, making s’mores…just being…with no distractions. In that moment I LOVED camping.

Somewhere deep in my soul I think there may be a camper.

See ya next year tent.

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28 Jul


I have officially crossed camping off the list!!!! For a girl who doesn’t like bugs, dirt, cold weather or raw chicken, I think I did pretty well. There was minimal complaining. I was too tired to complain most of the time.

In all honesty, it was the best and worst experience of my life.  I LOVED certain moments and HATED others. My emotional pendulum swung big and often. If I hadn’t  been with the man I love I would have said “screw this” after the first night. But, Brian held my hand through it and tried to make my first experience the best. He even put together a music playlist titled “French Camping Oui Oui”. I am a very lucky girl.

After two nights in the woods, I am still trying to answer an important question…Why is camping fun?

Why is it fun to sleep outside? Why is it fun to sleep in the cold? Why is it fun to shower with strangers? Why is it fun to cook dinner from a cooler? Why is it fun to wake up at 5 am because the sun is beating on your tent? Why is it fun to hang out in the dirt? Why do we pay to do this?

I’ve been asking fellow campers, the very simple question “Why is camping fun?” and I still can’t get a straight answer from anyone. Yet they all keep camping. The strange part is. I think I may have become one of those people. I’m not sure if I think camping is fun but I am pretty sure I will do it again

Brian said it best. Camping is like Vegas…2 nights is fantastic…3 is still good and 4 is awful. I will re-write that and say 1 would be ideal and 2 is manageable with wine.