This weekend is the bi-annual Garage Sale on the Ridge. I’ve got to tell you, Garage Sales are something very peculiar to me. We don’t have Garage Sales in England. We have Car Boot Sales, which I suppose is somewhat similar. We’ll drive to a large open field in the countryside with a lot of other people we don’t know, line our cars up in neat rows, open our boots (trunks) and sell our unwanted junk out of them; but we would never put all our junk out on our own front lawn and then invite all the neighbors round to pick it over. Never.
The downside of the Ridge’s bi-anuual Garage Sale is that driving around the neighborhood is like trying to wade through a vat full of molasses. Garage Sales appear to cause many people to lose the ability to check their rear-view mirrors, use indicators or pull over to park. Not to mention the short-term memory loss involved.
Even Particularly during a Garage Sale it is wise to check for traffic before you open your car door into the road, especially when having just stopped without warning in the middle of that road. Parking in a large field is so much safer. I can see how it’s easier to conduct business on your lawn though. I never did figure out how to haul a 19 cu.ft ‘fridge, a 17.3 cu.ft upright freezer, 200 LPs, a pine table and 12 years worth of old clothes in the boot (trunk) of a Ford Fiesta.
The upside is that there’s no lawn-mowing going down because everyone is gabbing to each other on their front porches while they oooh and ahhh over their respective bargains. It’s like a giant street (block) party only without the hotdogs and pot-luck salads. Oh, and no DJs. We’re not big into street parties in England. The last one I remember was in 1977 to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. I dressed up as Nell Gwyn and won a prize. I wore my mother’s lipstick, a blue and white bonnet and carried a basket of oranges. My brother went as 007½. No, there are no pictures. And please don’t ask me why I went as Nell Gwyn – I have no good or sensible answer for you. I blame my mother.
When Farmer Becky and The Big Guy came to dinner on Friday they were curious as to why there were red balloons tied to trees and porches all over the Ridge. I explained it was the bi-annual Garage Sale and that if you were participating you needed to tie a red balloon outside your house. The piles of random household paraphernalia on people’s lawns & mobs of folks spilling onto the sidewalk is not a big enough indication. You need red balloons.
The Big Guy had one heck of a day at work, so while he slumped in the green leather chair by the window with Florence and Penelope draped over his lap, Farmer Becky pinned feverishly on Pinterest, and I busied myself in the kitchen with several chicken breasts, a large container of grape tomatoes and a couple of bunches of herbs. The result of all that busy-ness was Chicken Cutlets with Herb Butter and a side of Roasted Grape Tomatoes with Chives.
I am having such a blast doing this Friday Night Dinner thing, that I wish I’d started it sooner. I had forgotten how much I enjoy cooking. I’m falling in love with food all over again. Good food, SANE* food, healthy food. I love potatoes, I love cupcakes, I love pastries, I love crepes - I just save those for high days and holidays. I enjoy them more that way, and when I do eat them I can eat them without a worry, because I eat SANE* food most of the time. It’s awesome how it works like that. It’s how I get to eat cupcakes and doughnuts and almond croissants and not get fat. You really can have it all.
A few fresh ingredients can produce a tasty dish in no time. These chicken cutlets are a super easy spin on our favorite culinary bird. Using almond meal gives the cutlets a nice texture & color while keeping everything SANE*. Make a simple green salad in advance, pop the tomatoes in the oven to roast as you start sautéing the chicken, and everything with be ready in a jiffy.
- ½ cup almond meal
- 8 thin chicken cutlets (or 4 chicken breasts sliced in half horizontally to make two thin slices)
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 cup white cooking wine (use chicken stock if you are avoiding alcohol)
- 2 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into pieces
- 3 tablespoons fresh, finely chopped mint
- Place almond meal in a shallow dish.
- Place chicken cutlets one at a time in the almond meal and coat both sides.
- Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Place 4 chicken cutlets in the skillet and cook until browned, 2 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate and cover with foil.
- Add more coconut oil to the skillet and cook the remaining 4 cutlets. Transfer to plate.
- Carefully pour the accumulated chicken juices from the plate into the skillet, leaving the chicken on the plate.
- Add the wine (or stock) to the skillet and boil until the liquid has reduced by half, about 4 minutes.
- Add the chicken cutlets and turn to coat with the sauce.
- Remove skillet from the heat and swirl in the butter pieces and herbs.
Great served with Roasted Grape Tomatoes with Chives and a lovely green salad.
*A term used in Jonathan Bailor’s book, The Smarter Science of Slim.