After my encounter with a bleu cheese-bacon burger on Sunday afternoon, I swore there was salad in my future. Indeed, my threats to gnaw on frozen lettuce leaves were only slightly exaggerated.
To go with my foray into dinner salad, it seems appropriate to go with a more pleasant surprise from Sunday. Uh Huh Her (listen — or not, as there will be vids) played at the Phoenix Gay Pride Festival, which was near enough to the residence of the pals I was hanging with that we got a free loud concert without the trouble of paying admission. I was charmed.
There’s a luminous, layered, hypnotic quality to the vocals — like looking into a mirror through a layer of gauze — that translates well to being heard at a distance. It was fairly clear from the roar of the crowd that fans knew all the songs, as it’s been somewhat of a wait for Uh Huh Her’s second album, possibly in part because Camila Grey was touring with Adam Lambert. (The other one is Leisha Haley, seen acting on The L Word.)
My constant battle with boneless, skinless, tasteless chicken strips is getting them to sear and develop some flavor. This time, I rummaged in my refrigerator, found a bald lemon from a prior session of lemon zesting, and squoze it passionately over the chicken strips.
Then I sealed the container and left it on the counter for 40 minutes. Food safety experts recoil! But (a) I’m essentially soaking the chicken in acid, so bacteria is doomed; (b) the climate here is so dry that the meat slurps up the marinade at warp speed; and (c) I’m about to cook it, even though the marinated chicken looks like poultry sushi.
The meditative beginning of “Everyone” winds me around its little finger before swooping into the power ballad. This music reminds me of the early 1990s, along the lines of what would have happened if the Sundays had merged with the Cardigans (and presumably called itself The Sunday Bests, though at that point, the temptation to nab Sneaker Pimps would have been overwhelming).
At this point, one is saying to oneself: “Do I really have to cook dinner?” Yes. One does. Fortunately, this goes really fast.
Cut the chicken into chunks and drop it into a pan with a drizzle of olive oil. While it’s searing on the first side, chop a small portion of a large onion and dump it in the pan.
Flip the chicken chunks (damn, that sounds rude!), add a chopped ripe pear (it needs to be fairly ripe because it won’t get too long in the pan) and a scant handful of craisins. Zip, zip, zip, around the pan it all goes! As it approaches a convincing level of doneness, find a lemon and squeeze even more juice onto the entire assemblage, increasing the likelihood that the blend of lemon and olive oil will pass as dressing.
Look! I’ve put the chicken mixture on lettuce leaves instead of on pasta! (And then I went berserk with the block of parmesan.)
It’s gratifyingly edible as long as you’re not bothered by hot lettuce. The chicken is juicy, which I consider just short of a spring miracle. The craisins may crank the sweetness past some people’s tolerance, making chopped nuts preferable.
Psst! The best part is how the parmesan tastes as it melts into the pears.
Let’s wrap up with Uh Huh Her sounding as wistful as a starry night.