Two things you should know about my friend Michael: he loves Poptarts and he’s one of the best conversationalist I have ever met. He’s intelligent and articulate, but more than that he is truly charitable in conversation. When everyone is making snap responses and striving to get their word in, Michael is often the only person actually listening and legitimately responding to what people are saying. Sometimes this is really annoying, because you have to understand and mean what you say around him. He is sharp, well-informed, and means what he says, but he is also one of the only people I know who will tell you when you’ve changed his mind. He’ll talk to you two weeks after a conversation and say that he’s been thinking about it and wants to qualify or amend some points he had made. That is rare and valuable, and a testament to how much his thoughts and words are aimed at something other than his own vainglory. Also, how much he respects the people around him…sometimes too much, as he’s always willing to engage crazy in conversation.
His ability to be fully present in his words and to wholly engage what other people are saying makes those around him take themselves more seriously. When someone truly acknowledges your ideas it makes you aware that what you say and believe matters. It makes you want to believe and be able to express what is true. This quality is undoubtedly invaluable in his work as a teacher of undergraduate writing courses. I am seriously jealous of his students—especially when I think on my own freshman comp experience. Geeze. Also, he’s funny. Oh, and he is the only other person I know who likes the ABC Family Drama, Switched at Birth. Deaf culture! Family meetings! Teenage angst! Seriously people, give it a chance.
So, Michael’s birthday landed on a recent Sunday and we had a small lunch party for him after Mass with some of his favorite foods and nerd games. I just realized that Michael is actually responsible for my best fajita recipe! Last year for his birthday I made a Mexican feast and improvised a chicken marinade that is pretty much the best. I boringly made the same fajitas this year at his more low-key party. I gratefully accepted help with the food (and cost) this year, but I did make the chicken and one of the weirdest cakes I’ve ever come up with. I’ll tell you about the cake soon, but for now here is the only chicken fajita recipe you’ll ever need:
Lime Chicken Fajitas
- One package of nice-to-chickens-besides-killing-them, skinless, boneless chicken breasts (usually around 4)
- 3 limes
- ¼ cup-ish olive oil
- 3-4 cloves of garlic
- Lots of black pepper and a hefty pinch of salt
- Zest all of the limes (if you don’t have a zester just use the smallest grade grater you have), then juice them into a glass dish with a lid or big plastic bag.
- Peel and roughly chop the garlic.
- Throw Gently place all of the ingredients into that bag or dish and stir the chicken around so its evenly coated with the zest, pepper, garlic, etc.
- Marinate overnight in your fridge.
- Grill or pan sear the chicken (making sure to get some color on them), then allow to cool for a few minutes.
- Slice up the chicken and serve with warm tortillas, sautéed peppers and onions, avocado, cilantro, rice, beans, queso fresco, salsa, and whatever else strikes your fancy.
I want to eat this again right now. It’s so simple, easy, and full of limey flavor. If you don’t like lime, you’re not going to like this recipe. I for one can never get enough lime. Or cilantro. I pity those people who think cilantro tastes like soap. What a genetic practical joke. Chumps. (Sorry.) Anyway, I doubled this recipe for about 10 people and ended up having enough leftover to make a handful of sandwiches and salads during the week. Double bonus.
There is something so great about a lunch party. We drank beers and kept munching on chips and salsa all afternoon as we played games and talked. I wish I had taken photos; there were a few fun decorations and several fun friends that ought to have been documented. Ah well, sorry blog. For some mental pictures, think about colorful paper bunting, a jar of Nutella and a box of Poptarts displayed on a candle stick pedestals, and several fun friends of your own. (Michael really likes Nutella and Poptarts. There is a sort of method to my madness.)
It was all very relaxing and enjoyable. Plus, lunch time meant that I was able to clean up before my roommate got home from a weekend trip and still have time to relax for awhile before going to bed/getting up and starting the week. So, Michael, we’re all glad you’re alive and we get to be friends with you. Stay tuned for that cake recipe.