Saturday, September 22, 2007

Exploring the neighborhood and cooking chicken.

Thursday was not as productive as it could have been. I did get some writing done, but mostly I recovered from Tuesday and Wednesday. I also I picked out a recipe to try. My goal is to make at least one new recipe a month so I know how to cook more things. I jotted down the ingredients and went to the store for groceries.

Friday’s class, as I mentioned, was SO MUCH FUN! Then I deposited my first check from ODU and went for a walk. I walked down to 21st St., an area with lots of restaurants (including the Thai place from Wednesday), a theater, a movie theater and lots of shops. It turns out, due to some weird geography that it’s just 12 blocks away, not the 19 block it first seems. I grabbed some necessities from the drug store (yay, I can but girly products without a guy around), cleaning spray and a few last ingredients for my recipe…just not saffron. Saffron apparently costs $18 for a bottle with a tiny packet inside. Here’s hoping the chicken’s okay without it.

It was an okay walk back. Norfolk is weird. The sidewalks go in fits and starts. Sometimes the city itself places large signs blocking the sidewalk (They’re all, “Ooh, a flat surface. It’s not like pedestrians use these decorative strips of cement.”) and there are places that really need crosswalk lights but don’t have them. It’s still an easy walk in the day, but I don’t think I’d do it at night, because you have to walk in a dark walkway under a bridge. I’m pretty confident about traveling by myself, whatever the neighborhood, but there are rules: 1- Stay where it’s well-populated. 2- Stay where it’s well-lit.

When I got home, I started cleaning our inherited couch. When the neighbors gave it to us, we were so grateful. Well, we still are, but with time we began to notice the dinginess and dog smell more and more. No one sits on them! They’re just decorative at this point. I got half the couch scrubbed last night, and this morning finished the other half. (In the picture at left, the left half is clean and dried. The right half is dirty and wet from cleaning spray). Now all that’s left are the cushions…and the pillows…and two chairs. Grr. But the couch already looks and smells so much better (though a bit chemicalish). I figure I’ve put so much time and effort into the furniture that when it comes time to leave, they’ll be mine. (That’s important since I’ll be poor.)

After that, it was time to start supper. Chicken La Bodega time! (I’ll post the recipe below.) There were some kinks to iron out. For example, the recipe wasn’t specific enough about how much chicken to make (a package of chicken parts? A fryer?). I ended up having to double my rice mixture for the amount of chicken I had and ended up with about eight servings. It took a lot longer that I’d hoped. I also think I should have chosen a dryer wine. The fruitiness of the wine almost overpowers the spices in the dish, although perhaps if I’d included the saffron (or olives…ugh) it would have balanced out. Well, that said, next time I make it, it will be so easy and the chicken was incredibly moist and delicious! Yay.

Now I have to get back to work. Grading papers is my least-favorite part of teaching, but I just have to get it done. Besides, they’re dying to know how they did. Every day, they’re all, “Do you tell us our grades today?” They’re so eager!

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