Justin had been staying a little later at work this past week because the other lady in his office is on vacation and he's been extra busy. I'm generally supportive of him needing to take care of business so I don't worry if he's later than usual, but one day I was emotional or needy or what-have-you and I found myself on the phone cajoling him into leaving the office earlier so I could sniff his neck and feel better. (What? Neck sniffing is a legitimate stress reliever. Go try it and you'll see what I mean.) (Well, I guess this does depend on whose neck is handy...)
Or, I TRIED to cajole him. This was the same conversation during which The Pumpkin Comment arose. I begged. I promised rewards. I flirted - which probably just came off as hilarious.
He was steadfast. He had things to get done, and nothing was going to budge him from his work.
But then, an idea came to me."Hey babe...you know how you've been begging me to make coconut chicken again? Well, if you leave the office by 4:15, I PROMISE I'll make it for dinner tomorrow night - even though we already had it once this week." I try really hard not to repeat the same meals more than once a month or so, and he LOVED this new recipe - I was sure he'd cave.
The phone line was silent for a moment. Just as I was congratulating myself on my skill as a negotiator, he said, "That does sound good, but I can't promise anything. If I have to wait to have coconut chicken again...I can wait. I've GOT to get this stuff done." Such a reasonable, mature response. Puh.
I counted my cause as lost; 4:10 came and went, and I had given up the ghost of hope. Justin was not going to be home early, and that would just have to be OK...I could be mature and reasonable too.
At 4:14, the phone rang. "Hello?" I said, hoping it wasn't a telemarketer.
A handsome, deep voice on the other end said, "I hope you like coconut chicken as much as I do, because I'm on my way home."
I promise, I didn't jump up and down and giggle like a school girl. That couldn't have been me, right? Mature, reasonable me?
Except, it totally was me. Deliriously happy for my husband to be on his way home from a normal day of work.
And he was deliriously happy that he got to have his new favorite meal again post haste. I don't have any pictures, because a) I was salivating too much to hold a camera anywhere near myself, and b) I'm not a good food photographer.
What I DO have for you, though, is the recipe for Coconut Chicken straight from Alice at Savory Sweet Life. She has really nice step by step photos on her site, if you'd like more detail. Use it as you see fit for encouraging, coercing, or pleasing your family - Enjoy!
Coconut Chicken, by SavorySweetLife
2 lbs. chicken tenders (I used breasts cut into more nugget-like shapes)
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut (I pulsed it in the food processor first for a finer coating)
1/2 can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup of orange juice (I only had lemonade and it worked fine)
salt and pepper to taste
peanut oil for frying (This was my first experience with peanut oil, and it was BEAUTIFUL. Seriously. I'm usually jumping around the stove trying to dodge popping oil, but not this time! Peanut Oil + Sarah's Heavenly Kitchen = True Love.)
Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Set aside. In a medium bowl, mix orange juice, condensed milk, and a beaten egg until your “wet” mixture is well incorporated. In another bowl, mix coconut and panko crumbs.
Heat peanut oil in a medium pan or skillet on medium-high heat. Fill pan to about 1/2″ of oil. Dip and fully coat each tender in the egg mixture first and then the panko/coconut mix. Fry each tender for 6-8 minutes until golden brown.