Thursday, March 04, 2010

City codes that are crap + a recipe

So, I'd love to be starting my gardeningblahblahblah, but it's totally raining here forever, so I haven't been able to thoroughly inspect the garden's progress or even bring my rain barrels to the back yard from our front porch.

Which is done, by the way.

Fabulous contractor, to whom I nearly clung when he left our house after our Final Meeting the other night, finished off a total overhaul of our porch in just over two months, which is pretty impressive given all the neato surprises our House of Mystery had in store for him.

You know, things like posts that aren't posts but just boxes built from plywood that look like posts, brick patios that aren't brick but rather brick facade over impressively cracked concrete, beams that aren't beams but rather 1x4s positioned at such an angle that, when not inspected closely by uneducated home buyers, appear to be sturdy beams - that kind of thing.

And if it would stop raining for five god damned seconds, I'd go out there and take a proper photo for you all to look at so that you can see how our porch basically looks like it did before the overhaul, but just without anything listing dramatically at any off angle. And no brick. And new paint. And, OK, so there were some upgrades, but essentially it looks the same in dimension and color so you won't die if you don't see it right now.

Later - when the sun comes out and we can all go outside without a layer of Gore-tex between us and the world.

I was hoping that would be this weekend, so that I could install my rain barrels, but now The Weather thinks it's going to rain, so on top of a grody drippy run, I'll be unable to get my rain barrels in place to, you know, catch the rain for future not drippy months.

And I'm pretty excited about the rain barrels. Because, HELLO, free water! And, despite the bullhonkery going on in Orange, some of us realize that we are constantly in a drought around here and need to be paying attention to things like reducing our water consumption, capturing rainfall and not planting water sucking landscaping just because some moronic bureaucrats are too lazy and mindless to update city codes to reflect current times and circumstances. Specifically circumstances like big fucking droughts.

Ugh. Annoying. Just read that article and see if you don't start shaking your fists at the machine, trying out your new swears all the while.

And since I probably will never get a chance to say this to the Orange city officials in person,

"Hey city officials - take your heads out of your asses and make the codes relevant to current times and circumstances, rather than forcing people to adhere to out of date codes, you fucking useless pencil pushers."

OK, so I guess there is a bit of gardeningblahblahblah going on in this post. I'm not sure whether I should apologize for misrepresenting this post, my random tangential keyboard wandering or the rather uncreative declaration of swears.

In the essence of time, I'll not apologize for anything, but instead just close this rant by saying that, while I was glad to see that this couple's case will likely be dropped, after they put in a ton of drought tolerant plants (nice going, Quan), I still think that it's absurd that anyone should be dragged through court for so obviously trying to do something RIGHT just because the city codes, created so long ago as to be completely out of date, say they should do otherwise and those in charge of enforcing those codes are too lazy or useless to effect change.


And now I forgot where I was going with this not-gardeningblahblahblah turned gardening rant, so I'll just share this recent recipe I made up to use the abundance of arugula lying about in the fridge.

It's a sorta handy recipe, in that it uses up a lot of shit I tend to also have lying about elsewhere in my kitchen. Some people might call these things pantry staples, but I call them "shit lying about".

Class broad, remember.

Anyway, enjoy...

Mediterranean Chicken Salad
Recipe by moi. Hooray.
Serves 2
4 chicken tenders (you know, those cuts that are all small and narrow - not the full breasts), pounded flat
2 cups of arugula, rinsed
Juice from 2 Meyer lemons (about 4 Tbsp)
1 handful of parsley, minced (about 3 Tbsp)
4 dried, preserved tomatoes, packed in oil, julienned (These are also known as sun-dried tomatoes, but people take issue with sun-dried tomatoes and their overuse, so I'm using a different term so you'll like me and this recipe. Just go with it. And pretend like you didn't read this explanation since it totally ruins it.)
12 kalamata olives, halved lengthwise
2 Tbsp feta, crumbled
2 large pieces of flatbread, warmed
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

To make:
Lay chicken tenders flat inside of a plastic zipper bag and pound flat to a consistent thickness - about 1/2". You can put it between two layers of wax paper or just pound them flat out free and clear to the world, but then you end up with chicken boogers all over your flour canisters and no one likes that.

Well, I don't. You decide.

Brush a broiler pan or metal rack with olive oil and place on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Lay chicken tenders on the rack.

Whisk dressing in a small bowl: oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, parsley. Pour a small amount on each chicken tender, spread evenly with a small spatula or your newest and greatest kitchen accessory - the silicone brush, but don't put the spatula back in the bowl god damn it otherwise it'll become contaminated with uncooked chicken cooties and we'll all die. Or so they say. We're so afraid of raw chicken in this country, don't you think? I'm not sure any other culture is as poultry-phobic as us. "Ackk! Raw chicken! Hide the children!"


Set aside the remainder of the dressing.

Preheat the broiler and set the chicken under the broiler until lightly browned.

Did you know I used to think the "BR" setting on the oven meant, "Brown" instead of "Broil"? Yep. That's the kind of retard you're dealing with here. Enjoy.

Remove pan from oven, flip over the chicken breasts, slam them back in the oven and let them brown slightly again. Remove from the oven, slice on a diagonal.

Build your salad: In two shallow bowls, place your warmed flatbread, then arugula, tomatoes, olives and chicken. Pour 1/2 the dressing over each salad and top with feta and fresh ground pepper. Add some parsley for garnish.

Do you like how I just told you how to assemble a salad? That's pretty annoying. Like you don't know how to build a salad. Well, whatever, now you all do and I don't have to give this instructions again.

I'm all about teaching y'all to fish, you know. Or, like, make a salad.

I'll stop now. Bye.


  1. Raining...raining raining raining... wait, don't you live somewhere in CA? Doesn't the weather know that your state is entirely either arid or semi-arid, and that you never, never, never get any appreciable rain?

    I look forward to seeing pics of how your own non-lawn is looking as things continue to warm up, though. Even if I have to wait for the imaginary rain to stop.

  2. Yo, Finny, I got an assload of mustard greens. Any brilliant ideas of something edible I can do with it?


  3. A good Friday morning read! I will try this salad recipe & look forward to the "after" photo of your porch.

    Have a great weekend!
    Dig's Mom, TR Holt

  4. My favorite bit from that article... "Compliance, that's all we've ever wanted," said Senior Assistant City Atty. Wayne Winthers."

    Fucking awesome.

    Have I told you that it's actually ILLEGAL to collect rain water in Colorado. And yet, they charge us 30 bucks a year as a storm water runoff fee.

    I didn't even read your awesome looking recipe because I'm all kinds of pissed off all over again.

    Also I think you should put "I still think that it's absurd that anyone should be dragged through court for so obviously trying to do something RIGHT just because the city codes, created so long ago as to be completely out of date, say they should do otherwise and those in charge of enforcing those codes are too lazy or useless to effect change." on a giant cardboard sign and walk around outside of city hall. If you need someone to help you hold it up (and you will) maybe I can schedule a trip to California to join you. :)

  5. Galadriel - Yeah, so it DID stop raining for practically a whole year back in 2006, so I guess it's making up for it. Which, really, is fine. Except that I RULLY want to get out in the garden now. But it has to stop being drippy for a minute.

    Gregarious Hermit - You could try sauteing them with some olive oil, minced garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper for a good while before putting the top on the pan, adding some water and letting it steam until it's cooked through.

    TRB Holt - Yes! I made that salad for dinner last night and I can still confirm its goodness. After photos coming soon! Once the rain stops...

    Wendy - Ugh. Couldn't you just scream at that article?


    This is why the human race is going to destroy the earth. We're all too lazy to fix things and would rather just do it the way we've always done it.

    If I lived in Orange, like those poor folks, I'm sure I'd have gone to court for the same thing by now and you know I'd be at least wearing a sign by now.

    How can it be ILLEGAL to collect rain water? Who enforces that? What is the reasoning?


    I though CO was a progressive state? Weird.

  6. Thanks for the great recipe, sounds delicious. I've been ill over the past week and a light meal like your salad sounds just the ticket.

  7. ok. seriously, there's something wrong with me because out of that whole blog/rant/recipe the only thing that's going to stick with me not only for the rest of today but for days to come is "chicken boogers". That is so something that I'd have read in a Stephen King book. Thank you. You made this peri-menopausal woman unexpectedly lol which was both a good thing and a not so good thing at the same time as the phrase "laugh unexpectedly" when put into action has a sometimes unexpected side effect of it's own(as any peri-menopausal woman can attest to).

  8. Junie - I'm so sorry to hear you've been ill. I sure hope it wasn't from chicken cooties ;) Be well!

    Lori - While I'm not a peri-menopausal woman, I do believe I know what you're talking about thanks to my over-sharer of a mom who also, I believe, coined the term, "chicken boogers". So - there you have it - we've gone full circle.


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.