Monday, July 9, 2012

The Calm Before The Storm: Chicken and Snap Peas

This week is going to be one crazy week. It is the summer company meeting which means Tuesday-Thursday I have non-stop meetings and social events from around 7:30-6:30 or later each day.  I  don't know about you but hanging around and being social that much wears me out.

I am not going to talk about that today though. Instead I want to tell you two stories.  Driving tales.

The first goes back many years ago when I was first learning to drive. This was when I was in Iowa and the law states that when you turn fourteen you can get your driver's permit. Of course you have to be with a parent when driving. Even so, being older and wiser now I want to write every legislature member and ask them what are they thinking. Kids are not mature enough at 14 to be behind the wheel.  However back when I was 14 I thought this was great.

My dream was to have a Volkswagen Jetta.  My dad made it perfectly clear that if I wanted to have a Volkswagen I would need to learn to drive standard or stick shift. Lucky for me my mom had one and was all to willing to take me to practice.  We had a pretty neat spot in the parking lot of a community college close by that was virtually deserted on the weekends. Perfect.

In my memory I wasn't too bad.  I would stall a few times here or there but I remember not being horrible. More than anything I remember being way better than my older brother.  He did not fair too well practicing and only really went once I believe. To be more accurate I think he just wasn't perfect the first time around and then got frustrated.  Either way, he never truly learned.  How I was ever allowed in the back seat of his one practice session is beyond me?

Back to me and my lessons, I was never horrible. But I wouldn't say I was great either. I like to say I wasn't bad. We then moved to Maine the summer before I turned sixteen. Roads in rural Maine are pretty different than roads in suburban Iowa. I never practiced again once we moved.  Much to my dismay I didn't get a Jetta for my sixteenth birthday.

For story number two fast forward to the present and my dear husband has a standard car.  He loves it and insist that he will ever only purchase stick shift vehicles.  We got ourselves in a pickle the other day with his car and me not being able to drive it so this weekend we had a driving lesson. 

I scored low right off the bat by wearing my Birkenstock sandals.  Mr. J and I switched and he was like OK. Clearly he thought I knew a bit more. I had to calmly tell him that I needed to know what pedal was what...this was 13 some years since I last sat in a standard car.  (of course I clearly remember being better than my brother but not what pedal was what).  For instant he looked at me like he wanted to change his mind. He was all for the lesson but I really think he wishes we could have rented a car and not used his.

His clutch pedal was heavy duty. I felt like I needed iron shoes to push it down all of the way and it was not too subtle to come right back up the second I released any pressure. It is also not in my nature to gun the gas pedal. I accelerate slowly.  In this first lesson I didn't quite get the knack for it.  We were also in a slightly uphill parking lot.  Mr. J stayed pretty calm although I know he was cringing on the inside.  He kept saying, "It really isn't good for the car to do that."  Do what, I asked?

Lessons learned:
  • Wear tennis shoes.  Sneakers. Whatever you call them. No flip flops. 
  • Find a flat parking lot
  • Mr. J is, thankfully, very patient
Until next time...

And now here is my recipe that has nothing whatsoever to do with driving. We had lots of basil and snap peas from the CSA pick up. This recipe incorporates both.  The flavor is nice and light; you can definitely taste the subtle flavor of the cider vinegar.  There is a tad kick with the crushed red peppers but nothing too spicy.

I would recommend this to any one.  I didn't clearly read all of the directions though and gave this to Mr. J to make for dinner on one of the hottest nights of the week.  Guess I just didn't see the heat the oven to 425 degrees. Ops!

Chicken and Snap Peas

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 2 lbs of chicken pieces
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup of cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 lb of snap peas
  • 1 cup of fresh basil, torn and divided
  • salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Lay out the chicken pieces on a cutting board, pat dry with a paper towel, and season both sides with salt and pepper.

In the large skillet, heat the oil on high heat. Cook the chicken skin side down for 8-10 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Remove pan from the heat, tilt the pan and spoon off some of the fat.

Return the pan to the heat and add the garlic, vinegar, sugar and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil and then transfer the pan to the oven. Bake the chicken for 17 minutes.

Add the snap peas and half of the basil and bake for another 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the remaining basil and serve.
Powered by Recipage


  1. I like all the basil with the chicken. YUM! I also enjoyed you're stories. I too have 2 stories. !st time my husband and i were dating and I was wearing pumps. 2nd time we were married with 2 children under 10 and living in Belgium. I was wearing high heel straps. Both times were failures. By the way, I've nominated you for an award. See today's post on my blog for details.

  2. 14?! Holy moly! I started driving at fifteen and a half and I'm fairly certain that was way too young. I've definitely never gotten the hang of driving stick. I'm all over this chicken...I love snap peas in the summer!

  3. My Mr. Almost in college taught me how to drive his stick, and I used to do the same thing. He'd get SO frustrated with me. In hindsight, it should have been a sign that he should have been Mr. So Not Happening!

  4. I love your driving stories my friend, a whole lot better than what mine will be as I am still in process :P
    This dish looks lovely and I love the gorgeous peas :D

    Choc Chip Uru


Thanks for leaving a message. I always love hearing your thoughts and comments.

You might also like reading:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...