Saturday, April 4, 2020

Covid Cafe: Wet Money + A Nice Roast Chicken

Gather round, chefs, and I'll tell you about my trip to the bank drive-through yesterday to break some larger bills so we have money to tip drivers who are delivering everything from lumber to gardening supplies, keeping us out of general circulation (which is the whole point).

I drove up to the bank, sprayed my bills with isopropyl alcohol (used on everything these days), and popped them into the also-sprayed pneumatic tube. Off they went.

A woman's face appeared on the screen.
We can't accept wet money, she said (yes, she actually said "wet money").

Me: May I speak to your supervisor please?
She: Of course.

Supervisor comes on: We can't accept wet money.
Me: It's only alcohol to thwart the virus and if you wait one minute it will dry.
She: But it's wet and we can't accept wet money. If you want to go dry it off you can re-submit it.

So in a moment that would have made Kurt Vonnegut Catch-22-proud the now-damp money was returned to me and I drove 10 yards to a parking spot, laid my bills on the dashboard for one minute, and returned to the drive-through, laughing so hard I could barely steer.

The humorless woman who helped me this time must have been part of the overall scene inside.
She: Next time, wash your money with soap and water and let it dry before you bring it in.

Barely able to keep myself from saying "But wouldn't that be money laundering?" instead I composed  my face and said nothing since I wanted my dollars back. These bank types are the worst sort of unimaginative functionaries.

Filthy but dry money

How about a nice roast chicken?
If there's one thing I know, it's that a roast chicken makes everything better. Rob returns today with his approach...

IMO, best way to roast a chicken is to spatchcock.  Or if using the Oxford Companion to Food, “Dispatch the Cock.”  Two simple snips along the backbone make for an easy roast chicken both in roasting and carving.  I like to roast in a cast iron skillet, one dish from roast to sauce. I don’t know what's missing from my culinary skills but I can never get the wings to bend behind the breast.  
True Covid culinary confession: I’m a failure at pie crust and admitting it released me from a good portion of childhood guilt.

The skillet is heated to 450 in the oven and the chicken sizzles on contact
After about 45 minutes, I add a quartered lemon and then back into the oven.  Roast lemons are divine. Out from the oven, the chicken says, “Hello world, did you miss me?  Look at the sauce I’m making.”

While the chicken rests after all that roasting, it’s time for the pan sauce of roast lemon juice, chicken stock, thyme and butter.

Here’s a helping for you with some sautéed carrots, lemon zest, more stock, and more thyme.  BTW, I think I’ve got a project - Caramelized Lemon Zest.  Let’s try it and explore the possibilities.

Thanks, Rob. That's just what we needed (especially the pan sauce).

Czechoslovakia has a solid set of clear guidelines for the public


Amy Schmidt
in memory of Mary Oliver
It’s impossible to be lonely
when you’re zesting an orange.
Scrape the soft rind once
and the whole room
fills with fruit.
Look around: you have
more than enough.
Always have.
You just didn’t notice
until now.

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