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It's wonderful having a handy husband! If I want an odd shaped bookshelf or a curio cabinet to perfectly fit a certain spot all I have to do is ask.
On the other hand, I have an abnormal fear of hearing the words 'son of a B**TCH!' shouted concurrently with the lights going out.
The lights are back on, my computer is working and, due to enforced outside time, a significant part of my herb garden is weed free!
Besides being handy with hammer and saw, mon mari actually knows his way around a kitchen. His specialty is Caesar Salad. I have adapted and tweaked his recipe to come up with Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad, my entry this week to Ruth's Presto Pasta Night.
Did you know the famous Caesar Salad was invented in Tijuana, Mexico?
I have been to Tijuana. People here (France, Andorra) often ask if I've been to Mexico. I always say no because I don't think Tijuana and Nogales really count. They're border towns, designed for Americans to cross into Mexico, browse through tacky tourist shops looking for the 'good deal' and, inevitably, pay more for less.
Oh, not for everything. If you stick to the local crafts or things made elsewhere in Mexico you can get wonderful bargains. I have some lovely silver jewelry and a beautiful set of hand-painted pottery dishes that I bought in Nogales. While I considered both purchases to be a good deal they were not ridiculously cheap.
It's when you think that the heavy, 18k gold bracelet, stamped Bulgari, can be yours for only $95.00 that you may come away less than happy. A friend bought that bracelet in Tijuana and her wrist was green before we crossed the border. By the time we got to San Diego there wasn't a speck of gold left to be seen! All she has to show for her money is a funny story. (I think it's funny, anyway)
Maybe it's the haggling that tempts us. We read in travel magazines about a young woman who traveled alone to Marrakesh, spent a lovely afternoon sipping mint tea and negotiating for 5 carpets. Upon returning home to Wherever, U.S.A. she discovered that they were a rare weave of raw silk and resold them for enough money to by a small vineyard in Napa Valley and retire.
We can do that!
So when the handsome young man on the street approaches and tells us the tragic story of his only sister who needs immediate and expensive surgery, we listen.
When he shows us the family jewelry that must be sold quickly, we look.
When he asks if we can give him something, anything, we make an offer. He counters. Finally, as a special concession 'to you, kind, pretty lady' a price is agreed. He gets the cash and is gone before the clasp can be unfastened; the buyer gets a green wrist.
I'll stick to the salad.
2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1 tbs chili powder
2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/4 cups penne
1 tbs olive oil – the good stuff
Cook pasta according to package instructions. When done, drain, put into a large serving bowl and toss with 1 tbs olive oil. Mix chili powder, Worcestershire and garlic. Slice chicken breasts into bite size pieces or strips and toss with chili powder mixture. Cook on barbecue grill in pan or sauté in nonstick skillet on stove. Either way cooking time is 5 – 7 minutes over medium-high heat. Add cooked chicken and 2/3 dressing to pasta and toss to mix. (A tongs works great for this!) After mixing taste and add rest of dressing if you like.
2 cloves garlic
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs tarragon white wine vinegar
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 anchovy filet's, mashed or 1 tsp anchovy paste (optional)
1/2 cup Greek or plain yogurt
2 tbs olive oil, the good stuff
1 tbs snipped fresh chives
3 tbs Parmesan
Mince garlic and put in small bowl. Add mustard, lemon, Worcestershire, vinegar and yogurt (and anchovies, if using) and mix well with wire whisk. Slowly drizzle in olive oil whisking constantly. Whisk in Parmesan and chives.
Stop by Ruth's Once Upon A Feast on Friday for the complete pasta recap of the 20th Presto Pasta Night!
BTW: Mon mari claims that a good Caesar Salad causes a slight sheen to appear on the forehead of the diner by the time the salad is finished. I have tried to live up to his standards. You my adjust to suit your own.