Happy Birthday, Bubba! (Or Paleo Cilantro Chicken for the Birthday Boy!)

Today is my dog’s fourth birthday. And while I’m tempted to get out my glittery markers to make him a hat, I think he’d prefer kisses and a fistful of meat instead.

What's this I'm hearing about a hat?

What’s this I’m hearing about a hat?

Last night I made a super delicious chicken dish, and I saved some chicken scraps for him. Maybe we’ll sing “Happy Birthday” and make it a proper celebration with candles and everything. (I need help. Clearly.)

Or maybe we’ll just go for a hike and snuggle on the couch together.

I hate snuggling. Just give me chicken.

I hate snuggling. Just give me chicken.

If you want to know why he’s so fixated on the chicken, here’s why:

It's somewhere under that pile of pears, cilantro, and celery. I swear.

It’s somewhere under that pile of pears, cilantro, and celery. I swear.

I found the recipe in this great gallery of 22 Paleo-friendly recipes from Bon Appetit.

I’ll be honest, though, I didn’t really follow it closely when it came to the ratio of lime juice, cilantro, celery, or pears. I just piled it all on. (I look at savory recipes like speed limits — polite suggestions for minimizing mayhem and mishaps.)

So basically my version just goes like this.

Celery, Cilantro, and Pear Chicken with Lime

4 celery stalks, sliced
2 Asian pears, thinly sliced
A heaping pile of cilantro leaves
Juice from 1 fresh lime
2 chicken breasts
Olive oil

Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Don’t bother pounding them. I think it yields a negligible benefit, frankly. Cook the chicken breasts in a cast iron skillet with a little bit of olive oil — in the stove at 350 or on the burner — whatever your preferred method. (I’d give you cooking times but my stove is whack so it wouldn’t be useful. Just don’t overcook them. Chicken seriously sucks when it’s dry.)

Meanwhile, slice the pear and celery. Squeeze lime juice over the sliced stuff, throw in cilantro, and season with salt and pepper to taste. (This limey salad can be made the night before if you’d like. It’s almost better the next day, actually.)

Remove chicken from heat, cover in fruity, veggie lime mixture. Devour.

And maybe save some of the chicken scraps for your birthday boy.

You owe me more than scraps for this, woman.

You owe me more than scraps for this, woman.

Peter Pan Party Aftermath Post 5 (Or Here’s a Simple Salsa Verde Recipe)

This simple salsa verde is super yummy.

Sometimes you need to reach into the music vault and bring back a song you’ve neglected for a while. Today it’s Y Control by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. While I don’t love the entire album, I do dig this song. It played a part of my past in many ways.

Example?

I happened to be singing it in my car when I found myself sitting in traffic next to an ex. When I heard the song today, it brought me back to that moment.

I’ll spare you the gory details of all that except to say LA is enormous and I run into him more than any other human on earth. And have for years. It wasn’t a particularly long relationship. Or a particularly heinous break up, but it made its mark.

I see him now and I feel an enormous sense of relief it didn’t work. I know it wasn’t supposed to — for a lot of reasons — not the least of which being that I needed to have many more adventures and more career success before settling down. I needed to do this thing on my own without being lulled into complacency by his success in showbusiness. Or his money.

So, anyway, we should talk about cilantro instead of boys because I like it better anyway.

Being spared a life that was too small and stifling for me  — and cilantro — are probably the best evidence of a benevolent God I can think of.

Come to think of it, so is salsa verde.

And just so I don’t bring you down too much, you should know I’m now listening to We Built this City at an unacceptable volume and getting close to dancing in my kitchen.

Salsa Verde

2 lbs tomatillos, husks removed
1 C diced onion
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 T fresh oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp kosher salt
2 C water
1/4 -1/3 C diced jalapenos (to taste)
1/3 C cilantro

Pour water into pot with tomatillos, onion, garlic, oregano, cumin and salt. Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium high and simmer until tomatillos are tender, about 10-15 minutes.

Remove from heat. Add cilantro and jalapenos.

Carefully blend the mixture in batches until smooth. If you’re like me, you may want to add a little more chopped cilantro so you have bigger bits in the salsa verde. If you don’t like cilantro, I feel truly sorry for you. (Kidding.)

Once I’m done with this self-absorbed birthday madness I’ll put together a rundown of the projects and the menu in case you want to replicate the mess. Then I’ll try not to mention it again because I kind of want to forget this birthday ever happened.