Last week I told you about the bake sale we had in honor of 9/11 and firefighters everywhere.
The generosity of family, friends and neighbors resulted in almost $300 dollars we were able to raise on their behalf. I’d hoped to buy a present for the firehouse, but it turns out individual stations are not allowed to accept gifts — except for food.
Okay, I can work with that.
The girls and I felt strongly that the money raised go directly to firefighters or their families in need, so we wrote a check out to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
When I dropped off cookies last week to tell the guys at Station 13 about our sale (and get suggestions for how the money should be spent), they were kind enough to walk us around the station, get us in the trucks,
showing us how the Jaws of Life work, all the equipment they carry, and how that trememdous 7 story ladder works.
Really they couldn’t have been nicer.
Before we left we talked about 9/11.
Around the table we went, sharing stories of where we were all were at the time we first heard about it; I found it so moving to hear from a firefighter how quickly they grasped the gravity of the situation for their New York brethren and how they predicted almost immediately that the towers would come down.
I started crying as I tried to express my gratitude towards firefighters — and how it’s especially important for me to give back on 9/11 because I consider it a mini-miracle for me that my family hadn’t be on one of those planes that crashed that day.
You see, in 2001 we bought tickets back East to visit my sister and her family. When my husband booked the tickets back in May, he said –“Come back Tuesday or Thursday?”
I chose Thursday, but had he phrased the question differently — “Come back the 11th or the 13th”? I would have picked the Tuesday flight as (instead of Thursday the 13th); as I’d always considered 13 unlucky.
Turns out the question I didn’t ask — “What date are we talking about?”– meant we weren’t on that first flight out of Boston that later crashed.
And ever since I realized this, I considered “13” my lucky number.
When I dropped off food to this firehouse last year they were the only firehouse that had guys in it at the time, but it wasn’t until this year’s visit that I happened to notice what their station is called.
Yep, Station 13.
Because I couldn’t hand them over the cash I’d raised, I asked them if I could make them a meal.
They were all over that — and even offered to pay me (are you kidding?).
We set the date for last night, and in the days leading up to it I tried to figure out what they might like. They said anything would be good, but Mark, one of the firefighters, said he loves Asian flavors.
And I wanted something that would reheat well if they happened to be on a call come dinnertime.
And then it came to me.
Vietnamese Sticky Chicken. And peanut-topped Basmati rice finished off with lime juice. And roasted broccoli with sesame oil.
I bought chicken at two different places when I thought I hadn’t bought enough
and I pulled together a quick marinade.
I’m not going to be able to give you an exact recipe here as I didn’t measure it out, but don’t panic.
This chicken prep was so easy.
Mix equal parts fresh lime and good fish sauce in a bowl (small amounts of chicken might need only 1/4 C. each).
Add Sriracha, grated ginger and sesame oil and perhaps a little garlic. Add a small clump of brown sugar while you’re at it — and generous pinches of salt and pepper.
I tossed this mixture over a combination of thighs, breasts and drumsticks, and then let this marinate in my fridge (I did this for 2 days but even an hour or so will help quite a bit).
When it comes time to roast, let it sit out on the counter for an hour so it’s not starting out stone cold, and then add some chicken stock to the pan so that you’ll have great juices afterwards. Roast in a preheated 400 oven until crispy and yet tender (depending on the size of your pieces, this will take about an hour).
The aromas coming out of my oven were insane.
At the last minute I added some more lime juice and a showering of fresh herbs and baby spinach.
I also cooked up a giant pot of basmati rice and the roasted sesame broccoli with baby peppers.
We grabbed all this — and a batch of Pumpkin Cupcakes with Tangerine Cream Cheese Frosting the girls helped to make — and made our way to the firehouse.
It was so cute to see how excited the guys were for the meal
and I’m glad that Charlotte and Lily got to be the ones to deliver it all.
After the drop off, we headed home and ate the same meal.
It was a huge hit — and a meal I see going into heavy rotation around here.
Weeknight Sticky Vietnamese Chicken, I think I love you.
And cupcakes, you’re no slouch, either.
I got a call from the grateful guys right before bed last night. Effusive thanks were given — as well as the report back that one guy ate 5 — yes, five-– of them.
That’s the kind of news that warms a girl’s heart.