No Spring Chicken

So we had a great time visiting our friends Brooks and Sharon in The Villages, a 55+ community. We left them early Sunday, in order to get home to do Yard Work (Zeke) and to watch The Academy Awards and Pre-Pre Shows (me). I’ve always loved movies and as someone who got their Masters in Screenwriting, I feel almost obligated to watch. I usually try to see all the movies nominated for Best Picture, but this year I only saw one!

On our trip home, we were doomed to Florida Turnpike eating, so stopped and got Wendys. My go-to order there is a Single Burger with lettuce, tomato, onion, mustard and extra pickles, but they were advertising a New! Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich, so what the heck? I tried it. I have to say it was pretty good, but I was surprised a fried chicken sandwich, with Monterey Jack cheese and bacon, was almost the same amount of calories as my normal Single.

Back at home, I made Pizza out of Flatbreads I’d gotten at Trader Joe’s for dinner, since I figured we’d be tired from our trip and would want to do something easy. It was also an homage to Wolfgang Puck, the Austrian-American Chef who popularized Wood-Fired, Gourmet Pizzas in the ’80’s when he opened Spago’s in Beverly Hills. I actually met him at Spago’s a couple days before the Academy Awards were to take place., years ago. He caters one of the big Oscar after-parties, so I asked him how it was going.

Oh, that’s so far away.

Wolfgang Puck

It was actually in three days! If I was hosting a small dinner party in three days, I’d be freaking out, but I guess he’s done it so much, he’s got it down pat. Alas, I didn’t get a photo with Wolfgang Puck, but did get one with Sidney Poitier that day, who passed away this year and was honored at this year’s Oscars In Memoriam tribute.

One pizza we made was inspired by Miami’s Best California Dreaming, which has tomato sauce, goat cheese, spinach, artichoke hearts and sun dried tomatoes. The other pizza we made had fresh tomatoes, burrata cheese, garlic and basil. I added the burrata and basil after the pizza was cooked. The verdict? We liked the Burrata Pizza better, but I wasn’t crazy about the Flatbread aspect of it and would just stick with a regular pizza crust next time.

I guess I was one of the 7 people watching the Oscars when the slap heard round the world occurred. Although two friends I was texting with just said “What just happened?” It was hard to focus on anything else after that.

While I went for a walk the next morning, I ran into my old neighbor Maggie, who was in the neighborhood and decided to “torture herself” and come look at the huge monstrosity of a house being built, where her cute little cottage used to be. I took her around in my backyard to see it.

It’s big.

she said.

Kind of an understatement. “She told me she was going to build a small house for her parents,” Maggie explained about the buyer. This is definitely NOT a house for her parents.

Zeke measured where her future house is from our property and it’s less than 11 feet. It’s supposed to be 15! He’s written the Miami-Dade Zoning Board about this, so we’ll see. We figure she’s just going to build it and ask forgiveness later. Oy Vey!

Maggie is now living in Coconut Grove, where she can walk everywhere and she loves it. I told her we were thinking about downsizing as well, but as of right now, my house has become a storage unit for multiple adult children’s stuff. Speaking of which, Chris and Courtney, after much back and forth, are staying in Colorado, at least until the summer.

We met a relative of Zeke’s at Versailles Monday, on their way to the Everglades for a family vacation. There was a wait, so we put in our name and I got a Cafe Con Leche and a Ham Croquetta as we waited. I didn’t have milk for my coffee that day, so hadn’t had coffee and I don’t think a coffee has ever tasted as good. And the ham croquetta- big, creamy and delicious. Versailles is one of those Miami Institutions I would be devastated if it ever closed. As would most of Miami, I’m sure!

Versailles, a Miami Institution.

I had a bunch of chicken backs in the freezer (weird, I know), so decided to make Chicken Broth with them. I got this book called Simple to Spectacular, by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Mark Bittman, where they take one simple recipe and elevate into three, progressively more complicated ones. The one I’ve used the most is One-Hour Chicken Stock. It’s easy, fast and delicious. It could be a base for other soups, but I love it just the way it is.

Phoenix loved it as well, and it’s just a homey and comforting broth for anyone.

I also made a Corn Chowder from Joy of Cooking, because I had corn cobs on hand. I served it with Broiled Shrimp and Ciabatta Bread. It was less successful, as I felt it needed a little oomph. I added some Korean hot sauce- Gochujang- which I mentioned in an earlier post, to spice it up.

I also tried a Roasted Cauliflower with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts Recipe, which sounded interesting. I’m always on the search for new cauliflower recipes and this one, clipped from The Miami Herald, sounded promising, but I was unsure about one part. While you roasted the cauliflower, you sauteed onions and leeks in olive oil to add on top. I felt this would uncrisp the crispy cauliflower and I was right, so this recipe goes in la garbage. I have too many to try, too little time!

Since I had sauce leftover from Sticky Chicken (see previous post), I tried it again, but this time seasoned the chicken thighs with Chinese Five Spice and marinated it in Teriyaki Sauce. It made all the difference and was delicious. The rest of the week, I basically ate out, including a Poisson, which is, I discovered, a Spring Chicken. Kind of like a Cornish Hen, but smaller and quite delicious. So, it was a very chicken-y kind of week!

I listened to a Podcast while I walked with Author and Researcher Brene Brown, where she talked about trying to control ones partner. This was on Glennon Doyle’s podcast We Can Do Hard Things. They discussed why when we feel our partners are trying to control us, it makes us feel like they don’t trust and respect us. At which time, I came home from my walk and told Zeke I thought he was trying to control me; he turned the tables and said I try to control him. I denied it and asked for an example.

Like yesterday when you told me the Pad Thai I wanted to order was 1000 calories.

he said.

“I’m trying to educate you, in case you weren’t aware of it,” I said. “I care about your health.”

Or when we go out to eat and you try to change my order.

Zeke said.

This one I am completely guilty of. But, in my defense, it usually comes when Zeke says he’s going to get one thing (like Spring Chicken) and when the server comes to take our order, he’ll change it to something completely different, like Crab Cakes. Then I will say “But I thought you were going to get the Spring Chicken”, which isn’t controlling his decision, it’s just stating a fact.

Because what he orders affects what I order. If there are two things I want to try on the menu and he orders one, I’ll order the other so I can taste both. I don’t see any point in us getting the same meal, especially with dinners like Miami Spice, where I want to try as many delicious dishes as possible. So I defend my behavior as selfish and self-serving, but not controlling.

Two people who seemed to have worked their control issues out are Claudia and Joe Greenberg, who were honored last Saturday night at the Temple Judea’s Springing Forward Gala. During the celebration at Riviera, they also renewed their vows after 54 years of marriage. Mazel Tov!

Claudia, when I met you, you changed my life. You lifted me up when I needed support and you challenge me to be a better person every day.

said Joe.

We all teared up a little bit after the renewal and then we ate, drank and danced too much. Or maybe that was just me.

Zeke said he will never renew his vows with me.

Why not?

I asked.

“I’m afraid you’ll say no.”

Anyway, if you’re not a Spring Chicken you can still eat one. And they are delicious, by the way. Not that I’m trying to get you to change your order or anything! It’s just merely a helpful suggestion.

Up Next: Simply Spectacular Chicken Stock

Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

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