To Food, With Love

The secret of good cooking is, first, having a love of it…if you’re convinced that cooking is drudgery, you’re never going to be good at it, and you might as well warm up something frozen.
– James Beard

Falling in love with him is by far the easiest thing I’ve ever done. It’s the grandest accomplishment I’ve made and the one thing that I feel I do exceptionally well. The force that lies within me that has made me push past the fears and the doubts has also strengthened my ability to think of someone else before myself. I often question what it is that makes a relationship blossom and bloom. There is a continual sense of wonder within myself that makes me look at our relationship and consider whether or not it’s perfect…am I doing everything all wrong? Am I setting us up for failure? That I never find concrete answers, and yet we keep gliding in and out of our days in perpetual bliss, only serves to make me more curious about where we’re heading and where we’ll end up.

Learning to cook came easy for me as well. I can equate it on many levels to meeting him and falling in love, and eventually progressing to a place where doubts represent curiosity, fears result in overcoming obstacles, and comfort equals safety. There are the days and the dishes that I get right every single time…and then there are the moments and the meals that make me unsure, and require much more effort and patience to get through them without falling apart. Despite all of that, though, I feel at the end of the day that as long as I nurture the love I feel for him, and for cooking, that things will never go horribly awry.

People need one another. Same goes with foods. Individuals are complex yet simple…a flavor can be described the same way. Alone, it may be enough, or it may be lacking. Alone, it may be weak, or it may be strong. There are certain personality aspects which clash, and when joined, only serve to prove themselves distasteful. Then there are those combinations, be it people or food, that seem so well suited to one another that it almost becomes strange to see them separate. These things gather together because they belong together. They grow together because they complement each other. They give together and build together, in order to create that which could not have been done alone. Once that discovery is made of what can be achieved, there are no limits as to how far it can go.

Crunchy Chicken Tacos with Spicy Slaw

1 lb. chicken tenders, cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt & pepper
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. chili powder
2 cups crushed tortilla chips
3 tbsp. olive oil
12 (10”) wheat tortillas

- Sprinkle chicken liberally with salt & pepper.
- In a shallow dish, combine paprika and next 3 ingredients. Add chicken and toss to coat.
- Heat 1 tbsp. of the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Saute chicken in skillet until browned and cooked through, 10-12 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking, heat remaining oil in a medium skillet. Add tortillas in batches and cook until they are golden and beginning to blister, about 3 minutes. When removing tortillas from skillet, fold gently onto a warm plate (this will help tortillas form a shell shape).
- Spoon chicken into shells and top with spicy slaw.

Spicy Slaw:
1 16 oz. package coleslaw mix (red and green cabbage)
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced into thin strips
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
1 banana pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
1 celery rib, diced
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 small red onion, sliced into thin strips
1 Splenda packet
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
½ tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt
Zest of one lime
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss until thoroughly combined.

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