Florida is a tropical, magical, terrifying place filled with alligators that get whipped into a frenzy whenever there’s a hurricane. (And there are lots of hurricanes—and alligators. So, the chances of this happening are like astronomically high.) That’s what I learned from the movie Crawl, which Nate, Alex, and I saw yesterday. The movie itself was a super-terrific thrill ride that left me with fingernail marks and bruises on my left arm. You see, watching horror films in a movie theater is new for me, so I tend to actually react to things, unlike most people around me, who can sit quietly and calmly while characters are ripped to shreds by crazed alligators. I had to work really hard to fight the urge to wave my hands around wildly, grab people, shake them and say, “Why? Why are the characters driving into the storm? Don’t they know NOT to go into the basement? That’s where alligators live! In people’s basements—and swimming pools!” To avoid injuring others, I just held on tightly to my own arms and squeezed the #@@@$$ out of them. In this way, I could prevent myself from running for the emergency exit during the scary parts.
In any case, while watching this movie, I counted myself among the lucky ones who live in the state of Washington, where there are no hurricanes or alligators. We do have “mild” earthquakes every once in a while, but there’s really not that much to worry about otherwise. However, it would be fun to write a movie script for something like Gatorquake: Full of Scales and Mad as Hell. And, it should take place in the state of Washington, just because. Synopsis: A 9.0 level earthquake hits the coastline of Washington state, which triggers a tsunami. For some reason, only alligators get caught up in the mess as they’re hurled into the Space Needle. Meanwhile, the ground is splitting in two and more gators are barfed up from the depths—even spewing from once dormant volcanoes in the region. (Think “gator lava.”) The only way to stop all of this is to get the Fixin’ Leaks and Leeks Team to come up with a hearty, nourishing dish that will turn people into superheroes that are capable of shouldering 2-3 giant alligators at a time so that they can throw the gators into the Puget Sound. There, justice-minded orcas team up to teach those alligators a lesson about not messing with the Pacific Northwest. Done. The end. Everyone lives. The orcas are fine.
So, as you may have guessed, during the movie, I actually calmed myself down enough to come up with the synopsis above and to ask myself, “What should I make for dinner?” Typically, the sight of an alligator does not make me think, “Now THAT looks delicious!” I have heard that alligator meat tastes like chicken—or a mixture of chicken and salmon. I’m not interested in that combination. I like chicken that tastes like chicken. And, I like tropical flavors too—and sunshine. So, I put together the following recipe to capture all of the non-scary things I like about Florida. Enjoy!
Crunchy Tropical Chicken Bowl:
Ingredients/ Method—for the rice:
1 ½ cups of medium grain rice
2 cups of water
–Place the rice and the water into a pan and bring the mixture to a soft boil. Cover. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the mixture rest for ten minutes.
Ingredients/Method—for the chicken:
1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts—cut up into pieces/chunks
½ cup of plain bread crumbs
½ cup of egg whites
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of black pepper
–Mix the salt, pepper, and eggs together.
–Dip the chicken pieces into the egg mixture first and then dredge them in breadcrumbs.
–Bake at 450 for about 10 minutes—or until cooked all the way through.
Ingredients/Method for the Pineapple/Red Pepper Mixture
1 can of pineapple chunks (one pound)—drained
1/4 cup of lite soy sauce
1 red bell pepper cut up into thin strips
Optional: 1 tsp of jalapeño pepper, chopped
–In a medium saucepan, over low heat, place all of the ingredients above. Let simmer on low for 10-20 minutes.
–1 ½ cups of mixed greens
–Bottled salad dressing—I used an orange poppyseed dressing—just one tablespoon per bowl. OR: You could make a quick dressing with 3 tablespoons of lime juice, 1/8 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp black pepper, and one tablespoon of honey—whisked together
–1/4 cup of coconut flakes for sprinkling.
Once all of the different parts of the bowl above are prepared, you can start building the bowls with the different ingredients—and finishing with a tablespoon of dressing per bowl—and sprinkling on coconut flakes for the finish. This recipe makes about 3-4 bowls.
Nate: Not bad. Not bad at all.
Alex: This is sooo good! It’s a keeper!
And now I’m trying to figure out how to prep and freeze enough batches to survive a possibly inevitable “Gatorquake”—because we’re going to live, damn it. We’re going to live.
In Other News: The Mad Scientist Journal has published my story, “Classroom Experiment” in its summer compilation. This one was super fun to write—but I don’t recommend reading it while eating. The journal/anthology is for sale here, on Amazon.
Your Turn: What is your favorite “disaster” movie? Or, is there a natural disaster movie you think should be invented?