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<editorsnote> Hi, I'm Jen Friel, and we here at TNTML examine the lives of nerds outside of the basements and into the social media, and dating world.  We have over 75 peeps that write about their life in real time. (Real nerds, real time, real deal.) Sit back, relax, and enjoy some of the stories!! </editorsnote>



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#FoodForThought: The Adventures of Fanny and Olive (ode to a mango) 

<editorsnote> Nerds, meet my buddy Fanny. No really - that is her actual name. She is a massive massive massive foodie, and would like to share with you all the adventures on all of the things she puts in her mouth. Wait, no - not like that ... I mean ... well, you know what I mean. Aw shucks, just hit it already Fanny ... </editorsnote>

#TalkNerdyToMeLover's @fannyslater

other than enjoying the presence of my family and friends, being back home for the holidays means three things: work socks are replaced with fuzzy socks, i'm not the only person making myself dinner, and i have to start peeing with the door closed.
when i flew back east last september--the sole purpose was to be with my best friend for her birthday.  however, back home in raleigh, something happened that would change future visits for years to come.
a few weeks before, we had found out that one of our sixteen and a half year old persian cats had a tumor in his lung.
i say cat.
but what i mean is--little brother.
i felt so blessed to coincidentally be coming home, but i had no idea how important my presence would actually be. not only did i get to spend time with mango, but i was able to help my parents and be there for them at the same time.  it may have been unfortunate circumstances--but we were still together. pets are not pets in my family. they never have been.
they eat at the dinner table with us and are lavished in hourly compliments such as,
"if you were any cuter, i'd have to arrest you!"

needless to say--they're family.
seeing my mom pour every ounce of love she had into taking care of mango reminded me how lucky i am to be a part of this family. sometimes i think that my parents are so full of love that if i squeeze them too hard--some will come out of their ears. how lucky we are--my sister and i, and every furry four legged animal that has ever graced us with their presence--to have always been so taken care of and protected. our cats may not be able to speak english, but i know that they have the exact same sense of appreciation for my parents that my sister and i do.

mango was one of a kind.
although it was extremely painful to know that he would be leaving this world--i felt such a sense of peace knowing that he would be out of pain. if a human is laying in a hospital bed, they can hold your hand and reassure you. they can tell you that they're ready to go, to leave this world and venture on into the next place.
other than roast chicken--mango loved nothing more than curling up in the fruit bowl on our kitchen table.  in his last few years, he had gotten so big for the bowl that he found plenty of other places to nap and spend the day. that porcelain dish may have filled up with avocados and heirloom tomatoes--but we all knew that it belonged to mango.

on his last full day, mango used every bit of strength he had to hop onto the table and squeeze himself into that fruit bowl one last time.  after having just peed on my carpet--his other favorite past time--we realized that he was re-living all of his cherished moments one last time. that was his way of saying,
"i'm ready to go."


the reason i've rambled on with this tail of a story is not only to pay tribute to the big orange lion who is MIA from this vacation, but because it leads me into one of my new favorite recipes.  roast chicken has always been a staple in our house--mostly because mango requested it at least once a day.  recently my dad has been messing around with his classically delicious chicken recipe of rosemary, garlic, and lemon and venturing out into new flavors like moroccan spices.  a few weeks ago he posted this mouth-watering picture of chicken with lemon and olives:

this was clearly unfair seeing as i was all the way across the country in california.  i decided i had no other choice.  i had to do it myself.  i had to teach olive how to make this for me.  okay, that didn't really happen.  but there was certainly an olive or two in this wonderful dish.

olive, get out of there!

chicken with olives, preserved lemons, and tomatoes:

-pat your chicken dry with a paper towel (i used drumsticks, a thigh, and a bone-in breast piece), dip in flour, shake off excess, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sear on both sides (a few minutes per side) in a screaming hot pan with oil and butter.
*foodie note: the point of this is to sear in the juices and give you a nice crispy outer crust.*
-take your chicken out and set it aside.  add some more olive oil and butter to the pan, sautee onions, garlic, tomatoes, oregano, tomatoes, and olives (i used kalamata and greek marinated olives from whole foods olive bar).
-squeeze the juice from one lemon, and then add the entire lemon chopped up into the pan (peel and all).  OR if you can find preserved lemons (also on the whole foods olive bar!) chop those up and add them to the pan.
*foodie note: preserved lemons are lemons that are pickled in a brine of water, lemon juice, salt, and spices. they are mildly tart and VERY lemony.*
-deglaze the pan with a few splashes of white wine and add a few cups of chicken broth.
-put your chicken back in, spoon some of the liquid and veggies over it, cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken.
-the liquid will have reduced--season with salt and pepper to taste.
-let the chicken rest, and then cut into the white meat to make sure that there's no pink and that the juices run clear.
-top with fresh oregano and parsley.
-put your cat in the other room.


Want more from Fanny (heheheeheh her name is Fanny? Click here to follow her on twitter!

and check out her blog over yonder!

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