Part of living in a less than perfectly sound-proofed apartment is that these things are going to happen. I don't get mad at my neighbors or try to get them to quiet down. I also don't run off and complain to the landlord about it, though I have had to complain about former neighbors who threw dirty water onto their balcony and let it drip down onto my clean laundry that was hanging out to dry. Please note that I live in a 6-unit building (3 on top, 3 on the bottom) and I've only ever had Japanese neighbors. I know they're Japanese because it's the custom for new tenants to introduce themselves to nearby tenants in the same building upon moving in.
At any rate, I put up with daily thumping and banging and I don't moan or whine about it. About a month ago, between 9:00-9:30 pm, I was preparing dinner. On this particular occasion, I was making a chicken dish which required me to pound chicken breasts flat with a mallet. It probably takes about a minute to get each one to the desired thinness. Shortly after I started beating on the third breast, my neighbors started aggressively beating on the floor to let me know how bothersome I was being to them with my noise-making.
The implement of my evil noise-making, a rubber mallet, was actually a gag gift from a former co-worker who told me I could use it to beat some of my coworkers when I was frustrated. Little did he know I had more legal (thought certainly not more pragmatic) applications for his gift.
Not having much of a choice, I continued with dinner preparations and was treated to another round of listening to my annoyed neighbors beating on the floor. While I understand that it was probably no fun for them to endure 4 (separate) minutes of me pounding on something, keep in mind they weren't sitting in my living room (and it wasn't late at night). They are above me so there's a floor and some distance between us. Also, this was the pot calling the kettle black. I don't know what is up with their tapping, but it happens at least once a week for prolonged periods of time. It's like they're hanging hundreds of tiny picture frames on their walls one at a time.
This incident reminded me of something I've mentioned to my husband on more than one occasion while listening to my neighbors do routine things which cause us to hear lots of banging and thumping. I'm glad we're on the first floor. If my using that mallet bunched their tighty-whities, I can only imagine what walking around, dropping stuff accidentally and closing sliding doors would do to them.
The chicken dish that I made is probably one of which many folks have a version, but I'm going to give my recipe for it nonetheless. It's very good fresh because the bacon gets a bit crispy, but is also good as leftovers. Note that my husband and I make it with American bacon which is saltier and smokier than Japanese bacon. My husband picks up about a four or so 1-lb. packages of Farmer John brand American bacon when he goes to Costco and they last us about 3-4 months. It can probably be made with Japanese bacon, but the taste will be a bit different.
This dish is one of the few things I can make with chicken breast meat which my husband likes. Not only can you never go wrong with anything which is wrapped in bacon, but beating on it to flatten it out makes the chicken nice and tender. I will not be held responsible though if your neighbors complain when you make it. ;-)
Bacon-wrapped Chicken Breasts:
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- 1/2 pound/227 grams bacon (about 8 pieces) cut in half
- ~4 oz./113 grams mild cheese (I used Gouda or Mozzarella) cut into small chunks (about 1/2 inch or 1.27 cm)
- 8 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
The breast on the upper right was the first one. Notice how nice and smooth it looks. They are placed in counter-clockwise order and you can see that my work got shoddier as I progressed. The last one is a mangled lump.
Grease a baking dish and set aside. Sandwich a chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound with a mallet until about 1/4 inch/.6 cm thick. Try not to beat it until it tears. Leave it a little thicker rather than thinner if necessary. Mix the flour and spices together in a large, shallow bowl. Rinse one chicken piece at a time and thoroughly shake off the excess water. Dredge a damp breast on both sides in the flour shaking off the excess. Place a piece of cheese in the center and fold the short side in first then the long side. Try to enclose the cheese entirely in the breast. This should form a ball that is closed on the bottom. If it doesn't hold together, secure the ends with toothpicks though be very careful to remove them before eating. Place each completed breast in the baking dish.
Place the half strips of bacon over the tops of the chicken to cover. Covering it will keep the breasts moist through the baking process. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour (or more). Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F./175 degrees C. Bake the chicken (uncovered) for 50-60 minutes or until juices run clear and chicken is cooked through. This makes 6-8 servings depending on your appetite.
For my husband and I, half of one of these along with about 4 oz. (125 gr.) of rice and a vegetable makes a very nice meal, so it's not quite as evil as it may seem from a fat point of view. Half of one is about 2.5 oz. (70 g.) of chicken, 1 slice of bacon and .5 oz. (14 g.) of cheese. Most of the fat will cook out of the bacon and pool at the bottom of the baking dish so I recommend removing the breasts immediately rather than waiting until they get cold.