Friday, June 14, 2013

Free Range Friday ~ The Unexpected

The strangeness of life, the unsurprising strangeness of internet service around here. Both have kept me from posting the last couple of days, but life keeps occurring, willy nilly (who is that guy anyway?) and onward we go.

One of my favorite flamboyant trees on Culebra. You can only eat it visually.
The other evening I was contemplating the lobsters under my dock. I was contemplating them as dinner. Most of the times I catch anything off of my dock I throw it back in to live another day or months or years; the fun is that I caught it, right off of my backyard. Sometimes it's dinner. Most times it's not. But I digress. Again.

The bait used was gone and I remembered that somewhere deep in my chest freezer was some other bait. Squid, I thought. Somewhere under the bread baking flours of many stripes, the chia seed, the flax, the oatmeal, the caraway seed. Around here, it's best to keep such things in the freezer so that creepy creatures don't indulge. I love my freezer and bless the fact that it keeps on working, year after year. Thank you, Terry, for one of the best buying deals of my Culebra life!

I dug. Not to the bottom, where lurks god knows what lies waiting, but a couple of layers down and there! There...what is that? That turned out to be a quite forgotten package of shrimp and a chicken breast. From when, from where, who cares? What did I have to cook with?

I had no butter. Yes, it happens sometimes. But I did have sesame oil. I had garlic. I had a lovely surprise gifted good bit of white wine. I had cocktail sauce and a bottle of horseradish. I needed nothing else.

Here's a rule I and many of my fellow cooks have learned the hard way. Read the entire recipe of whatever you plan to cook before you start. That way, you won't have surprises that throw you off the trail.

MJ's surprise chicken breast and shrimp

However many shrimp you have, but hopefully at least ten good sized ones
1 chicken breast, sliced into bite sized bits
Oil of some kind, butter is excellent, I used a small bit of sesame oil
Garlic - 2 cloves, minced fine
1/2 cup white wine

Get the oil/butter fairly hot. Saute the garlic, about 3-4 minutes, until slightly browned. Toss in the chicken breast pieces. When they are looking almost done (meaning, when you stick a fork in them, they are 'almost' resisting, not soft). toss in the shrimp. This will take only a couple of minutes so you want everything at hand now.

When the shrimp have turned pink on both sides (because you've been gently turning them as pinkness shows on one side), splash in the wine, count to 40 slowly and turn off the heat. Using a spatula, toss all ingredients another minute or so. Done. Serve! This was for one, multiply according to your eaters.

This can be bulked out with spaghetti (my choice and you will need to add more oil/butter), couscous or rice. A 'gravy' of the wine and juices could be made with the addition of a bit of flour if you like, and it would be worth the time. However, I tend to eat 'off the bone', one of the quiet weird habits of the single eater, but occasionally I rise to the surface of a proper meal, so this could also have a lovely veg - asparagus in season would be perfect - or salad side and should! But not that night for me.

Buen provecho!

This is for a friend. If you don't get it, that's okay, probably you won't but a promise is a promise.

Hey, neighbor far away, this is what you helped make happen!

Have a feed yourself Friday! Do something (un)frenetic.


  1. A restaurant here had "Free Range Chicken" on the menu. I always used to say to the waiter, "I don't have much money today, so I'll have the Free, Range Chicken".
    It was more fun for me than the waiter.
    oiorsfa was

    1. As with most of my humor, as long as I'm entertaining myself, that is plenty good. If someone else comes along for the ride, even better!