Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Angry Woman's Chicken With Cherry Tomatoes & Capers & Why Spatchcocking A Chicken Can Be Therapeutic

I should've written a blog post on Monday.

I also should've written one on Tuesday. But I didn't. Mainly, for two reasons:

1. David and I watched the Twilight movie and you know, my head was all up in the pre-pube kissing in the meadow and Edward's poorly-executed glistening, sparkling hairless body.

Not to inflame and enrage all my readers who are fans of the movie, but I thought it was kind of lame. Not totally bad, just a slip of what book one was. It felt kind of Harlequin romance to me. Anyway, it's hard for a movie to ever be as good as the book. And I think this is an example of that.

2. Mostly, it's been a rough couple of days. Not rough like "These last two days of chemo were really rough," just challenging in the way that work can take you away from the kids and the kids can take you away from work. Monday was the worst day of being mom I think I ever had.

You should know, we don't have a babysitter anymore.

With the economy the way it is, David and I decided to go without babysitting and save the $1400 a month. This was a good decision for the family. I could see David get happier the moment we made the decision. That makes me feel good because he deserves a little financial break and this is my little part to play in being more economical. But it doesn't mean I'm no longer working. I still have clients, a blog and partially-written book. It means before i was struggling to get everything done and now, it's just maddening and nearly impossible. I'm writing in the mornings (I am writing this post at 4;30am)and blogging and Twittering and responding to e-mails in the evening (I'm behind - if you haven't heard from me, you will.)

So, here's the good part - I kind of love spending the day with the girls. I'm as surprised about this as as anyone, because even though I adore every little inch of them, I thought they might drive me a little bonkers with their hatred for all things hygiene-related and the way they like to hurl tomatoes at old ladies in the grocery aisle.

"This could be unnerving", I thought, "to do this all day, everyday."

But, no. I am enjoying spending the days with them. I love creating projects with them and organizing a chore chart with them and doing art and I love that every time I tell them we are going somewhere they ask, "Mommy too?" and when I say "Me, too." they beam and get all excited. This is all good. I think a gift, maybe.

But work doesn't always fit tightly and neatly into my allotted work times. Monday, changes came back from the publisher for a client's book. They needed to be reviewed and edited and sent back that same day. The client kept sending back new editions to the text and multiple voices were chiming in about what should be happening with the edits. I had to be present with the manuscript and my clients and that meant just letting the children run wild through the apartment, leaving a trail of debris through the apartment a foot thick, eating grapes for lunch, watching the cat lick milk off the floor from a dropped cereal bowl, letting three meals-worth of dirty dishes pile up in the sink and leaving the kids glued to the television set with full control of the remote, which is a little like letting them live in a chocolate factory, where they sat like pieces of catatonic broccoli on the couch and gazed hypnotically at the 30th incarnation of Dora The Explorer, while I hunched over the computer trying to focus and grunted at them occasionally.

By the time I sent the corrections in, Edie who has almost never had an accident, peed in her pants twice. Once on purpose, when she dropped her pants and stood in the kitchen and said "I have penis. I pee like Daddy" and let a stream of wee run out onto the kitchen floor, like some fountain in Barcelona. Frankly, I couldn't blame her. I was frustrated, too. I was pissed. And by the time David walked in the door, I needed a goblet of wine. And I needed to butcher something.

So, instead of roasting the chicken the very simple Thomas Keller way. I spatch-cocked the sucker, which I recommend for angry women everywhere.

But then I looked at it and the poor bird looked like a naked murder victim, so I cut down the chicken into pieces and made the recipe below.

It was good. And dismembering something made me feel better. But as I looked at my sleeping neglected children, with their unfortunate, grunting mother, and the milk and cereal from the morning all dried out and stuck to the floor, I laid in David's arms and cried. And that's why I didn't write a blog post.

xx YM

The Angry Woman's Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes and Capers
Serves 3-4 people


• A whole chicken cut down into parts
• salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots (or onion will do just fine in a pinch)
• 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
• A dozen or so cherry tomatoes
• 4 tablespoons drained capers
• 1 cup dry white wine
• 1 can of good quality tomato puree
• 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves (or you can manage with the dried)
• You can add any herbs that you like (tarragon, oregano, basil, whatever,
I didn’t and the sauce was still lovely)


Season the chicken well with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil and butter in a heavy-bottomed skillet. Add the chicken and sauté over high heat, turning the pieces often until lightly browned and crisping up, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan. Scrape the pan of brown particles but leave them in the pan. They will dissolve into your sauce.

Add more butter. Add the shallots (or onions) and garlic. Cook until onions soften slightly. Add the chicken back in and the tomatoes, capers, wine, and tomato puree. Add any herbs.

Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve.



lisa said...

I'm impressed. On days like that in our house we're eating grilled cheese for dinner. When the stress boils over on both the home from and at work it is almost too much to bear. Will Edie be in pre school soon? That will help.

SaintTigerlily said...

I can't even imagine doing what you do. You are amazing, and the girls are so, SO lucky.

sarah said...

Okay, never even heard the word Spatchcocking before but I am now obsessed with it. This is excellent...your post is so great. And I'm dying to get it up on our homepage - it IS loosely related to TV don't you think? You mention TV. Maybe you could post it up on with the title Spatchcocking and Dora the Explorer. Come on...

Christine said...

Ouch, what a hard day. Monday was maybe the only good day I've had in a month. And I spent it sick and asleep, if that's any indication. *sigh*

Maybe you could find a few reliable stay at home parents or retired individuals that you can call upon for emergency babysitting on days like Monday, when deadlines come in and what not...that way on days when things are manageable you're saving money and on other days you are still saving money but aren't banging your head into the wall?

And your chicken looks delicious. Tomatoes plus capers is always a good combination.

rita said...

I'm making that chicken before the end of the week. It looks delicious!! I'm glad you took out your frustration by whacking the hell out of that chicken.
However, I'm going to give you some motherly (unsolicitited) advice. Can't help myself.
Neglected children?? No way!! I'm thinking you're a sleep deprived, multi-tasking, frustrated mom, not to mention feeling guilty because you think you don't measure up.
I'm betting your girls would be very understanding if you explained to them how you feel and that you need a little extra time to finish your work. They're very young, but how about channeling their energy into a simple chore (ie) picking up debris from the floor (make sure to tell them how much you appreciate their help) I think it would make them feel very special knowing they're helping. Worth a try???

Krysta said...

1400 dollars a month in babysitting???? holy shit living in ny is expensive my mortgage payment is going to that...

you know wha?t we all have these days and you are still a good mommy... and a little running wild is always a good thing.

don't beat yourself up too hard.

Anne Stesney said...

Wait. Let me get this straight. You work. You watch the kids. AND you make dinner? And you've got these lovely, imaginative, sweet girls as a result? You are Brady Bunch Alice and June Cleaver all rolled into one. But sexy like Beyonce.

Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] said...

My girls have either preschool or 'mom's morning out' every day from 9-2. It's the only way I can keep my sanity and work.

The sanity is slowly slipping away regardless, and I fear I may have to give up the MMO.

ntsc said...

My son has theatrical technical credits from age 4. My hobby was technical theater, I took him along as I couldn't afford the sitter. (It's true what they say about chorus girls). He and a couple of other's his age painted themselves and the sets gray while their parents did something else.

In 77 I was paying $80/week which was 20% of my gross pay. Weekends were more of a problem, I certainly wasn't a Mommy in your league. I didn't work from home and to a real extent that was my break.

Maria said...

Oh Kim, thank you for writing this! It helps to know I am not the only overwhelmed one.

When I am this crazy busy, I become Neglecto Mom and end up making "pizza" with whatever I can throw on bread and top with cheese.

You are amazing.

melissa said...

Ditto what everyone else said. You are GREAT. Don't ever forget it. When I read the end of your post, I wanted to just wrap you up in a big hug. I've had days like that and I don't even have kids. Truly, what you do is above and beyond. Take it easy.

And thanks for the other link. I'm making roast chicken tonight.

Love you, darlin~

Cheryl Arkison said...

That sounds like almost every day here, except thankfully The Monster hasn't decided to demonstrate the penis she thinks she has!

You had me at spatchcocking, I'll be back.