Sunday, March 6, 2011

Puppy Love

When I was small I really wanted a dog. My sisters also wanted a dog and together we launched a campaign of whining, pleading, reckless promises, and Bambi eyes that eventually got us a puppy. At six weeks old Max was adorable and all he wanted was to be loved, held, and petted. He'd go to sleep in our laps and was the cutest thing ever.

The person who gave (palmed off) the puppy to my parents told them that the dog's mother was a border collie and the father was unknown. A border collie is a pretty small dog and I'm sure my parents thought that they could handle something the size of a bread box.

As Max grew, it became pretty apparent what his father was and which parent had the more dominant genes. It was German Shepherd all the way, baby. He grew much larger than a bread box, approaching a bread truck in size. And in temperament he was just a huge, leaping, galumphing, slobbering, fiend for fetch, tug-of-war, or any other game that involved showing off his speed and strength.

One of his favorite games was escaping out the front door. When the doorbell rang, he'd bound to the front door, tail wagging eagerly, anticipating the coming contest. The person answering the door had to hold onto his collar and try to gracefully open the door while preventing Max from lunging at the visitor. Woe to both of them if a package was involved, because then Max was released from the restraining hold and would fling himself into the gap, shouldering his way to freedom, and run down the sidewalk in a flash of brown fur and wagging tail. My father had to go retrieve Max from the pound so often that I think he had a frequent stay punch card.

The reckless promises that we made to get a dog involved the usual: walking, feeding, and cleaning up after him. We were actually pretty good about the walking and feeding part, but were abysmal at the cleaning up part. In his frequent sallies on the town he'd ingest who knows what and when he was safely back at home he'd head to his favorite clump of grass in the back yard and raze it like a hungry sheep. Then, at night, when we were all blissfully, ignorantly sleeping upstairs, he'd creep out of the kitchen (any area with carpeting was forbidden territory to him) and hork up a load on the carpet.

I might be misremembering, but he seemed to vastly prefer the carpet for his midnight gullet evacuations. Perhaps because the smell lingered much longer in the carpet and he could savor his freedom memories for weeks. Or, more likely, he didn't want to mess up the kitchen floor because that was where he slept.

My father had a very strict rule about hork mounds: "The one who finds it has to clean it." Well, come on. We became extremely adept at pretending we'd seen nothing, nothing at all, as we sidestepped the pile and quickly dashed into the kitchen. My father would be the one grumbling and cleaning up the mess. There is nothing fun, enticing, or glamorous about a heap of dog vomit.

Which brings me to today's recipe. It was delicious. Really. Chicken with a strong smack of orange, fried, with a tangy sweet-citrus sauce. But honestly, I can't look at the pictures without seeing dog barf. Sorry, but it's the truth. I just don't have the mad hot photography skills to make this look good.

You can go out on a limb and trust me that it tastes and smells good. Try it. Make it, then dim the lights to serve it. Dim them a lot. Then serve a gorgeous dessert.

Orange Peel Chicken


1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp minced garlic
4 green onions sliced
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp chili garlic sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce


1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 chicken breast fillets
1 egg beaten
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
Peel from 1/4 orange julienned (into 1/8"-thick strips)

1- For the sauce, heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and green onions, then quickly, so the garlic doesn't burn, add the tomato sauce and water. Add the sugar, chili garlic sauce and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Simmer until the sauce thickens, about 5 to 6 minutes, then turn off the heat.

2- Heat 1/2 cup oil in a wok over medium heat. Slice the chicken breast fillets into bite-sized pieces.

3- Combine beaten egg with milk in a medium bowl. Pour the flour into another medium bowl. Coat chicken pieces by dropping then into the flour, then dipping in the egg mixture, then dredging in the flour again. Arrange the coated chicken on a plate until all the chicken is coated.

4- When the oil is hot (about 360 deg. F), add about half of the chicken to the oil and cook for a few minutes, until brown on one side, then flip the chicken over. When the chicken is golden brown, remove the pieces to a rack or paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining chicken. When all of the chicken is cooked, rinse the oil out of the wok and place it back on the stove over medium-high heat.

5- When the wok is hot, add julienned orange peel and chicken. Heat for 20 to 30 seconds or so, stirring gently. Add the sauce to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes. Gently stir the dish a couple of times, being careful not to knock the coating off the chicken. Cook until the sauce thickens, then serve with brown rice on the side.

Serves about 4


Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Orange peel would add intense flavour to this chicken dish Lynn. I pulled out some chicken for dinner and do have most of the ingredients.

Jennifer Jo said...

This is hilarious, Lynn! I am loving your warped sense of humor. And I bet I would love that chicken, too.

Aveen said...

I love this post! It made me smile. I haven't got a dog, but I do have a cat who thinks he's a dog and he also has a habit of regurgitating his dinner in inappropriate places. On my bathrobe is his current favourite, much to my annoyance :(

Anyway the chicken looks really tasty and absolutely nothing like anything that came out of a dog, definitely one for me to try.

Unknown said...

LOL, my cat often leaves little piles for me too! hate finding one with my bare feet - blech!!!!

Bruce Craig said...

This shaggy dog story leads to a delicious dinner. No matter how it looks.

Libbie said...

Ooooo...that sounds heavenly! The chicken that is :)

I totally can picture you sneaking around those stinky piles! Even though I think our family would have a lot of fun with a dog I know we would be pretty bad after a month or two cleaning up after it...we just visit the dogs on Grandma's farm & the kids think they are theirs :) No dog vomit cleanup involved :)

But the orange chicken is looking good to me!

Anonymous said...

I laughed myself silly reading this.

The chicken looks great and I'll have to try it this week. I have a big 'ol bag of oranges screaming at me.

Can you write a post around Dad opening the door and yelling, "Max, CAT!"? That never failed to amuse.

hobby baker Kelly said...

Oh help, stop! Please! I can't breathe! ROFLROFLROFLROFL! Oh my goodness, a laugh that good is good for the soul. Thank you! And as someone who regularly steps in pet yark in the middle of the night, I will be chortling as I make this dish for my hubby... ;)

grace said...

hork mounds? ha. what an excellent and appropriate name. i also am a large fan of how you abruptly segued into your description of your chicken dish--you tickled my funny bone there, lynn. :)

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