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We Welcome Rutherford Into The Family And Eat Cashew Chicken

Last night got awesome when I mixed painkillers with a glass of pinot grigio and started buying things on the internet.

My ideal present was not available: For reasons discussed in my last post, I wanted to give Scott a framed photo of David Stark apologizing for selling crocheted hammers and wooden “chocolates.”

But Mr. Stark was busy making bank yesterday and I wasn’t able to reach him.

It’s probably for the best.  I suspect our interaction would have gone something like this:

So I poked around on google and before I knew what was happening I got an email confirming my purchase of a Madagascar hissing cockroach at the Bronx Zoo. 

Attached to the email was a certificate, and at the top of the certificate was a picture of two cockroaches making out.  It’s an image Scott and I will have to live with for the rest of our lives, but you won’t because I deleted it for you.

Scott says its the creepiest Valentine he’s ever gotten.

You know what I say?

Which brings me to my next point: Here’s what you should make for someone who isn’t speaking to you because you have “unforgivably terrible taste in gifts.”

Rich, savory cashew chicken.

This chicken is CRAZY GOOD.  It’s garlicky and nutty and juicy.  If you want, you can make it spicy too.  Jalapenos can be involved.  Cilantro is optional.

It’s like a peanut sauce, but punchier.  And it doesn’t take long to prepare: you blend all the ingredients for the sauce in a food processor and you smother that all over the chicken.  You can cook it right then or let it marinate a few hours.  We threw the chicken on a skillet and sautéed it right up, but you could grill it too.

Cashew Chicken {Download & Print Recipe}

Adapted from The Essential New York Times Cook Book, Amanda Hesser, ed.

Ingredients: (for 4 people)

1 c. roasted and salted cashews

2 tbsp. chopped cilantro + more for garnish (can substitute parsley if you have to)

1/8 c. + 2 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil

4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

2 tbsp. soy sauce

2 tsp. brown sugar

juice of 1 lime + more wedges for garnish

2 tbsp. water

1/2 to 2 jalapeno peppers, sliced (seeds and ribs discarded or not, to taste)

2 lbs. skinless chicken breasts, tenders or thighs

salt & pepper


Combine the nuts, cilantro (or parsley), oil, garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, water and jalapeno* in a blender or food processor.

[*Jalapeno Note: If you don’t like spicy food, you should be totally fine with 1/2 jalapeno with the ribs and seeds removed.   The ribs and seeds are the spiciest part.  We don’t think 1/2 jalapeno makes it spicy at all, and one of us is really sensitive.]

Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.

Clean the chicken.  Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper.

Set aside 1/3 of the cashew mixture to be served as a dipping sauce.  Smear enough of the remaining mixture to thoroughly coat the chicken.  Let marinate at room temperature while you heat a grill or a skillet on the stove top, or refrigerate for up to 12 hours before cooking.)

If sautéing, heat 1 tbsp. of the remaining oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, begin working in batches: place some of the chicken in the pan, being careful not to overcrowd it.

Cook, turning occasionally, until chicken is golden brown on the outside and done on the inside (i.e. no longer pink) about 10-17 minutes (Cut into a piece to check doneness.).

Carefully (as pan will be hot) wipe crumbs out of the pan and repeat with another tablespoon of oil and the remaining chicken.

If grilling, turn chicken frequently until it is crisp and golden on the outside and done on the inside (i.e. no longer pink), about 20-30 minutes. (Cut into a piece to check doneness.)

To serve: Sprinkle with cilantro leaves (if desired) and place lime wedges on the side.  Serve remaining cashew mixture as a dipping sauce.


If this isn’t one of the tastiest chicken dinners you’ve had in a while, Thunder has volunteered to eat an old shoe she found.

If there’s anything left of it.

Which is looking unlikely at this point.

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46 Comments Post a comment
  1. Wendy #

    Oh, no! SAY you didn’t buy the hissing cockroach! SAY you didn’t! Although – I feel your pain. It’s the ‘ole painkillers-and-wine accident. Last time I mixed the two I bought 12 cases of conditioner on ebay. Yeah .. you read that right … 12 CASES!!! We didn’t even have room to store 12 cases, much less the fact that I don’t think I can use 144 bottles of conditioner in my entire lifetime. To my credit, I thought I was bidding on 12 bottles. PLUS … it is really great conditioner that is no longer made. I used it in high school … OUTRAGEOUS by Revlon. I was feeling nostalgic (and silly drunk) that night, so thought I should buy some to remember that great smell from my High School days. The next day, when my bid was approved for 12 CASES, it was one of those ‘ooops’ moments. Needless to say, friends and family have been getting bottles of Outrageous Conditioner by Revlon for birthday presents, Christmas presents, and ‘just because’ presents. On that note … would you like a bottle??? 🙂

    Also – as always, love the pictures of Thunder. Although one of your commenters called him Rocket one time, and I always think of that when I see him and giggle.

    I just got some stew beef and plan to make that recipe you posted a while back where you soak a bottle of stew beef in cheap red wine and fresh mint. I think my husband will love it.

    Happy Valentine’s Day! Enjoy your roach!!

    ~ Wendy

    February 15, 2012
    • Wendy, you’re cracking me up. 12 cases of conditioner. Man oh man. I read somewhere that the average person spends about 182 days in the shower over the course of their lifetime.

      That’s only going to put a dent in about 4 cases, no? But I hear you. I’d do a lot of crazy things to get back certain memories from being a teenager.

      This is the first time in a while that I should have been supervised while shopping online. I used to have these Sunday night dinner parties in law school, and one Sunday my friends and I made fish stew and drank a lot of Spanish red wine and got into a philosophical argument. It went on for hours. In an attempt to conclusively prove my point, I got on the computer and said I was going to donate money to one non-profit organization over another (over one that supported my friend’s view) because “THAT IS HOW STRONGLY I FEEL ABOUT IT.” But the wine was hitting me hard, and I entered the credit card numbers wrong on two separate websites, and my card was suspended for suspicious activity. I learned this a day or two later when I went to the grocery store and was like “why does my card not work? Hmm. . .oh. OH.”

      Cheers to you and your silky smooth, ultra-healthy locks!

      February 15, 2012
      • P.S. Unfortunately, I really did get the roach and the header to that certificate really was dis-gusting. Apparently my $10 goes to support the entire zoo, so, like giraffes and sea lions and things. Not JUST the hallowed-out stump Rutherford lives in. Because that would be preposterous.

        February 15, 2012
  2. Nothing says ‘I love you’ like hissing vermin…think I saw that on a Hallmark commercial

    February 15, 2012
    • Karin, you must tell me right now– did you take that picture of the Highline? The one that’s the banner for your blog? I LOVE IT. When was that? Just had to ask before I go back and read all your good stuff.

      February 15, 2012
      • Yup I did – I took all the pictures on my blog. I live around the block from it and am up there almost every day on my morning hike.

        February 15, 2012
  3. Ann #

    The download and print function is awesome!

    February 15, 2012
    • I’m so glad you like it, Ann! And I’m sorry it took so long to start one.

      One of my favorite-people-who-I’ve-never-met, blogger movita beaucoup, taught me how to do it. She, er, might be a little brighter than I am but my mom tells me that I’m special in my own way, too.

      February 15, 2012

    (I hate The Rutherfords.)

    (Also that chicken looks awesome. As in: I’m going to make it tomorrow. Or Friday. I’m not sure which because I’m going to check out my school tomorrow. I’m going to a session called: Are You Ready For College? If I’m ready, I’ll make the chicken tomorrow. If it turns out that I’m not, I’ll make the chicken on Friday. Because I’ll need a day to process my unreadiness.)

    February 15, 2012
    • movita,
      (A) I TOTALLY forgot that Rutherford was the name of your sworn enemy! ACK! ABORT MISSION.
      (B) At least it’s a vermin, right? I mean, it’d be worse if I adopted something awesome and named it Rutherford. Like a baby goat. Or a wombat. Or OMG A UNICORN.
      (C) Please, please tell me you’re wearing your hair in two side ponytails when you go visit your school. Please. Also, watch that movie “Never Been Kissed” again to get tips from Drew Barrymore on how to fit in.

      February 16, 2012
      • 1. If you ever name a unicorn Rutherford, I will unfollow you forever.
        2. My hair isn’t long enough to have worn it in side ponytails. Instead, I feathered it hardcore and curled my bangs under.
        3. Also, I wore legwarmers, fingerless gloves, neon bracelets and a Duran Duran t-shirt.

        February 19, 2012
  5. SillyRnti #

    Omg, I adore you but if my spouse bought a roach for me (even in absentia) I’d be packing their things and purchasing some Raid. I suspect Thunder has that shoe ready just in case Rutherford decides to show you the live version of roaches french kissing.

    February 15, 2012
    • That’s a good point. We should keep (what’s left of) that shoe handy. Thunder is pretty good at catching bugs on her own, actually. It takes her FOREVER, but I think she enjoys the hunt because she LOVES crawling under the bed (which is a tight fit) and barking at any bugs she sees. Also dust. My dog barks at dust. This can be embarrassing when company comes over and she starts pointing out all the spots you missed when you were sweeping.

      February 16, 2012
      • SillyRnti #

        My girl pug also thinks she’s a hunter and will chase lizards around our back patio. She just can’t master catching them. She also barks at nothing. I’ll tell my hus she’s barking at a leaf blowing by or an ant sneezing. I don’t think she’s barking at dust though. Otherwise she’d never stop. Unfortuantely she’ll get my other pug barking too then we’ll have two idiots making noise over nothing. (And I only like it when my hus and I are the two idiots in that situation.)

        February 16, 2012
        • Oh my. If we had lizards, this house would be a bona fide three-ring circus. Thunder, Scott and I would probably have an average of 9 lizards clamped onto our extremities at any given time.

          Thunder sometimes shoots out of bed at 4 in the morning barking. It happens in one coordinated motion. She runs into the living room, realizes nothing is there, and crashes back into bed. Of course, when a stranger comes to the door, she wags her butt since she doesn’t have a tail. Like I said, three-ring circus.

          February 17, 2012
  6. Jenifer #

    OMG!!! I have no words!! All I can do is sit here and laugh!! Beware on your next birthday! You very well may end up with a vacuum!! LOL
    ha ha ha ha

    February 15, 2012
    • HA. Funny you say that, Jenifer, because thankfully, Scott knows that a vacuum for a present not only hurts me, but it hurts Thunder. Thunder hates them. Or maybe she doesn’t hate them, but she tries to attack them/play with them. She crouches down with her butt in the air and then goes bonkers. Which reminds me that we videotaped it once because it was so funny. I’ll try to take a good video and post it soon.

      February 16, 2012
  7. Hilarious!! There is just so much win in this post I don’t know where to begin!! I usually just pass out wherever I might be at the time when I take my antispasmodics with a glass of wine but your behavior is far funnier!! The chicken looks amazing and while I am sure I would love it, it looks like your adorable dog is gonna finish that shoe regardless.

    PS. Thank you for omitting the picture. The mental image was enough to induce the gag reflex!!

    February 15, 2012
    • Hey there. Yeah, the doctor said I would be okay as long as I didn’t have much more than 2 glasses of wine while on these meds. I can’t get anywhere near that. Last night I had 1/4 of a beer and was like “PARTAY!!!!” for 5 minutes and then conked out. It’s a weird lifestyle these days.

      I just went back to look at the lamb dish you have on your site AGAIN. It looks so, so tasty.

      February 16, 2012
  8. Love Thunder, as always, and love the chicken recipe. I am picturing it served over rice or couscous right now! And you on drugs and Pinot Grigio: Lots of love for that! Not so much love for the hissing cockroaches. Hope you had a happy Valentine’s Day, despite the new addition. (When I read the title, I was hoping Thunder had gotten a new baby brother. The cockroach was quite a letdown.)

    February 16, 2012
    • Hi Stacy,
      Ah. . . someday, Thunder will get a little brother. It’s going to be a big dog, and Scott is taking the lead on finding it. We’ve looked around because we don’t want her to be lonely, but when things started getting real about a second dog, we realized we wanted her to be a little older first. She’s such a handful, but she’s getting a teeny bit more mellow as she ages. (I think. I hope…Sorry, I have to cut this short because she’s eating the remote.)

      February 16, 2012
  9. a #

    I hope that’s some really awesome chicken. I don’t know if there is any coming back from the gift of a hissing cockroach. That watches you when you’re sleeping.

    February 16, 2012
    • It took TWO NIGHTS of the really awesome chicken to bring him around. The recipe makes enough for 4, so we had left-overs. On the second night, when his belly was full, he held my hand while we were watching his favorite tv show (note, I also had to agree to watch several hours of HIS favorite show). At this rate, we’ll get back to a level-playing field someday.

      February 16, 2012
  10. Katherine you will really need to top yourself next year – I suggest you get Scott this human heart cake – it is made of red velvet but looks like a real heart…. Yummy yet completely gross

    February 16, 2012
    • Holy CRAP, Shelley. That cake is amazeballs. Red velvet is his favorite kind, too…

      February 16, 2012
      • Perfect I will expect to see pictures next year – perhaps you could make a dog friendly version for Thunder too?

        February 17, 2012
  11. Anna #

    Hi, I’m new to your blog, so hi 🙂 Love your silly stories! Question on the chicken – do you think I could bake it in the oven? Asking because I am lazy and also because I have small children who scream and cry and insist on being held when I try to cook something on the stove 🙂 Thanks!

    February 16, 2012
    • Hello, Anna. And welcome! I’m so glad you found the site.

      You can definitely bake the chicken. After you smear it with some of the marinade, I would oil a pan (I have a pyrex I’d use for this), place the chicken in the pan, and cover it with some tin foil so the chicken doesn’t dry out. Bake it at 350 degrees.

      If you’re cooking chicken tenders, they’ll probably be done in 18-20 minutes. If you use chicken breasts, they’ll probably take 35-40 minutes. Either way, turn the chicken midway through the baking time. You can baste with a little more of the reserved marinade at the midway point, after you flip them.

      Three cheers for your persevering in the kitchen with the little ones, Anna! And I thought I had challenges–a very large child/man who insists on eating any stray slices of cheese on the counter (even if they are being reserved for cooking) and a puppy who insists on sitting in front of the oven door, as if it’s about to eject peanut butter dog treats…

      Here is another hassle-free baked chicken recipe from one of my favorite food bloggers. Take care, and don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any recipe requests you’d like me to tackle.

      February 17, 2012
      • Anna #

        Thanks so much! Can’t wait to try it.

        February 18, 2012
        • Anna #

          Hey I made this on Monday in the oven and it turned out great! Adding it to my list of stuff to make again. Thanks!

          February 22, 2012
  12. MJ #

    Holy shit, I’d heard of this. You have no idea how happy I am that you actually did it. This is the best ridiculous Valentine’s Day present ever. And, as “Rutherford” is a pretty gross name*, it totally fits for a roach.

    * And no, I am NOT apologizing to any Rutherfords out there. It’s creepy and should be changed upon reaching adulthood. Sooner, if possible.

    February 16, 2012
    • I just looked up the origins of the name “Rutherford” and apparently it’s from people who had land near “Rutherford on the Tweed” in Scotland. Which leads me to believe there is a Tweed River. Awesome. I totally want land holdings there. I could walk around in tweed suits with arm patches and get Thunder a hound to hang out with. Also, before “Rutherford” became a thing, some dudes went by the name of “Ruther.”


      February 17, 2012
      • MJ #

        Yikes is right, Ruther sounds like an embarrassing 19th century disease.

        February 17, 2012
        • For which the treatment was probably cupping, FYI.

          February 18, 2012
          • MJ #

            Cure is worse than the disease, indeed.

            February 18, 2012
  13. I’m not trying to put Rutherford in a corner, but one of the stars of this post is the artwork. The tear on the clown face??? Your attention to detail is seriously appreciated. Can’t wait to make the cashew chicken!

    February 17, 2012
    • My dear Wobblin’ Gobblins’, I had to do a GOOGLE IMAGE search for CLOWNS. It was terrifying. It was the kind of thing that makes you want to chase ANOTHER painkiller with a glass of pinot grigio. The whole situation was not okay.

      February 17, 2012
  14. sarah #

    Thank you for this. And even more thanks for omitting the humping roaches. Do you think they let some sort of scientist choose the certificate and the zoo art/marketing dept never saw the final copy?

    February 17, 2012
    • Sarah, I really don’t understand how ANYONE saw a preliminary, revised or final copy of ANYTHING that relates in ANY WAY to the name-a-roach program. It just doesn’t add up.

      February 17, 2012
  15. That chicken recipe looks amazing! I definitely want to make it sometime with jalapenos. And that Valentine’s gift is hiilllarious!

    February 17, 2012
    • Next time, I’m going to put more jalapeno in there. 1/2 of a jalapeno didn’t even register for me, but I wasn’t going to be the only one eating it. I think you could pull off 1 jalapeno, no seeds, and still please a crowd with some sensititve people in it.

      Those quesadillas de calabaza on your site make me want to eat them so badly!

      February 17, 2012
  16. i can’t wait to make this, it looks out of control good. rutherford is, hands down, the BEST cockroach name ever. excellent gift…i don’t know why he doesn’t love it?

    February 20, 2012
  17. Susan #

    I realize I’m probably one of the few people here that don’t condemn the Name A Roach program. I mean, really, how could you when it helps hilarious stories like this happen ? I have found your blog by way of The Bloggess, and have had great success with several of your recipes and lots of good laughs at the rest.
    A question about the sauce for this: If I made up a batch how long do you think it would stay ok in the fridge or freezer? I love the idea of being able to pull it out and have instant yummy meal 🙂

    June 23, 2012

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