This weekend I didn't have to work Friday or Saturday, making it feel like my first "real" weekend in weeks. I celebrated yesterday after class by getting into my cozy flannel pajamas at a ridiculously early hour of the afternoon, cooking up a storm, and watching Boondock Saints with two of my housemates. It was a quiet, relaxing evening and just what I needed to wind down from a busy week full of little frustrations (getting stuck in the dishroom at the end of every shift, bombing my Physics midterm...).

    It's a good feeling to be warm inside my little apartment, sitting on a beanbag chair, eating something delicious, and not being made to scrub anything.  Outside, red Unitrans buses with ghostly blue fluorescent lights go by and people run up and down the street in the cold trying to catch them. None of this concerns me. Oh, how I love a free day!

    Last night I made a colorful, gingery stir-fry for dinner and ate it over rice. Today I had the leftovers for lunch, and finally managed to get a decent photograph because food is much more photogenic in the light of day. The recipe is simple, although I freely acknowledge that ginger can be a pain in the proverbial poum-poums (what French children call the rear end) to deal with. You'll just have to trust me when I say it's worth it.

* serves 2
2 chicken breasts, cut into four pieces each
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 carrot, julienned
2 crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 inch fresh ginger root, grated with a cheese grater
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp cornstarch
2 cups water, boiling
cilantro to garnish
rice for serving

Heat the vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until it spreads to coat the pan. Add the chicken, and brown on all sides. Add the carrots, mushrooms, bell peppers, garlic, and ginger and saute for several minutes, until the mushrooms are beginning to brown. In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce, vinegar, and cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved. Pour the mixture into the skillet and stir to distribute evenly among the vegetables and chicken pieces. Add the boiling water, and cover the skillet. Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for about 7 minutes. Remove the cover, and return the heat to medium high. Add the green onions. Cook until the sauce has reduced, the vegetables are tender, and the chicken is cooked through. Serve over rice and garnish with fresh cilantro.