Any trip our family takes or any visit anywhere is dealt with my brain that will not stop. I consider all possible disasters that can occur and work my way around them. I make contingency plans for contingencies and back up plans for disasters. If I go to a new place, say a friend's house, bowling alley, or a park, my first action is to study all the possible ways Son and Daughters could get hurt. I sometimes even visualize the movie in my mind and in that movie I work out all the scenarios. I plan how I would call 911, I think of who would be able to assist me, I notice which doors the paramedics could get through the easiest and how to direct them to my hurt child. I have all the steps for various disasters and how to deal with it worked out in my head. This may be a partial explanation as to why I don't really enjoy going to new places because my mind doesn't rest.
In exchange for all of these mental gymnastics, I find that I handle the unexpected well, because I have somewhat prepared for it. I have worked out every single worst case scenario in my head before it happens. If I have to give Husband bad news, I take myself through all the possible ways the conversation could go and how he could react. When I actually tell him the news, usually I have managed to expect all possible reactions so I am not shocked or upset at what he says. Before a teacher's conference at Daughter #1 or #2's school, I think about all the different things that they could say to me and how I might ask certain questions and how I might react if I hear that Daughter #2 is too shy, too quiet, or bites her friends. (I've worked out my reactions, but thankfully this has not been said to me...yet.)
Sad to say it, even in the small things, my brain clicks like mad working out the worst case scenarios. When I cook something new and unexpected for dinner, I also figure out all the possible reactions and necessary contingencies for feeding Son and Daughters in case it doesn't work out well. I imagine their voices, their reactions, and grit my teeth preparing for the onslaught of whines and disgruntlement over a new dish. For this Chicken Shawarma, I knew I would like the dish, but wasn't sure about Son and Daughters as it was a new flavor profile of cumin and garlic, one that I do not use often.
I was complete caught off guard, however, when Son and Daughters LOVED it. From the first bite into the soft flatbread, biting into the bits of chicken and onions, they exclaimed, "OH WOW This is good mom!!" Son grabbed his flatbread and shoved it into his mouth as quickly as he could and ate one and half stuffed with chicken and cucumbers. Daughter #1 also ate one and a half, and especially enjoyed the tahini sauce. Daughter #2 loved it with cucumbers and tomatoes inside, no tahini sauce. I have to say I'm sad that there are no leftovers for tomorrow, but fully intend to make this much sooner than later. It is the simplest of dinners, but super tasty. I had intended to serve it with a greek salad, but instead just ended up cutting cucumbers and tomatoes on the side, and that was just plenty good.
Chicken Shawarma with Tahini Sauce
Adapted from Food and Wine, May 2011
Serves 4 to 6
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 ¼ to 1 ½ lb pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into thin strips
1 white onion, halved and cut into thin slivers
In a large bowl, combine the cumin, oregano, garlic and lemon juice.. Stir in the oil and a generous pinch of salt. Add the chicken and onion and let stand for 15 minutes or alternatively, you can cover and refrigerate until needed.
Heat a large fry pan or griddle until very hot. Add the chicken and onion and cook over high heat, turning occasionally, until the meat and onion are charred and tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to plates and serve with the tahini sauce, hot sauce, cucumbers, tomatoes, rice and pita/flatbread.
¼ cup tahini (sesame paste)
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
In a blender or mini food processor, combine the tahini with 1/4 cup of water, garlic, lemon juice and puree until smooth. Add the mayonnaise and puree until creamy. Season the white sauce with salt.
Pick it up and eat it already!