Good morning, Everyone. Welcome to what is our Week 4 of Quarantine Living. Maybe it’s longer or shorter for you, but wherever you are in the X-ing off of days, I hope you and your families are healthy and holding up OK. Our weekend was blissfully boring in that respect: We vacuumed and mopped the house; set up our patio furniture even though the weather isn’t quite patio level yet (picturing it is sometimes enough); went for two hikes; worked on a 1000-piece puzzle; and perhaps most exciting, opened the front door to a delivery of brand new dishtowels. Simple pleasures! Here are a few things to cook (or think about cooking) today or this week…
Pantry: Roast Chicken & Gravy
I’ve gotten into the habit of ordering something from my town butcher every Monday for Friday pick-up. (They only have a four-hour pick-up window, one day a week.) It gives me something to look forward to and makes the weekend feel a tiny bit special, or at least different. Plus, we officially started our quarantine on a Friday (March 13) so in general, Friday feels like the right day to celebrate getting through another week. I’m not sure what this week’s order will be, but last week’s was a 4-pound chicken for roasting, always the right anchor for a comfort food feast, especially when joined by mashed potatoes and slaw.
6 medium carrots, peeled, cut into chunks
1/2 onion, chopped
generous drizzle of olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 whole roasting chicken, about 4 pounds (make sure little packet of giblets removed from cavity)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 lemon, pricked several times with a knife
1 small bunch fresh thyme
Gravy: 2-3 tablespoons butter, 1-2 tablespoons flour, up to a cup of white wine or chicken broth
Heat oven to 425°F. Arrange carrots and onions in a baking dish, toss with olive oil and and sprinkle with salt and pepper. The carrots will act as a sort of rack.
Meanwhile, rinse inside and outside of chicken under cold water and pat dry. Brush chicken skin with melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Fill cavity with lemon and thyme and truss/tie legs together across cavity. Place chicken breast-side up on top of carrots and roast until chicken is a golden brown and juice run clear when thigh is pierced with a fork, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. (General roasting rule is 18-20 minutes per pound.) Remove chicken from the oven and place on a grooved carving board (one that can catch the juices.)
Gravy is one of those recipes that I’ve never been terribly good at writing in a very scientific way, so forgive me if this isn’t helpful, but here is the general idea: Collect all the chicken juice you can (strain vegetables, tip chicken, etc.) into a small saucepan set over medium heat. Hopefully you’ll have about a cup of liquid, which you can top off with chicken broth or white white for a total of about 2 cups. Whisk in butter and flour a tablespoon at a time until it reaches desired gravy consistency. (I don’t like it super thick.)
Carve chicken, and serve pieces doused with gravy.
Some version of this granola is always in a glass storage container on my kitchen counter, quarantine or no quarantine.
Makes about 9 cups
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup coconut (desiccated or chips or flakes)
3/4 cup nuts, such as almonds, pecans, walnuts (preferably raw, but I use roasted when I don’t have any other option; I used pecans leftover from Thanksgiving!)
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 300°F. In a large bowl, combine oats, coconut, nuts, maple syrup, olive oil, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon. Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and well toasted.
Serve with yogurt and fresh berries or smoothie bowls.
Purpose: Face Masks
Now that face masks are recommended for the general public, the options for making and buying are popping up everywhere. Here is the New York Times template for making your own, or you can spend a little more at Food52. Every time you buy a mask, they donate one to an East Coast hospital (see website for details). The first round of Buy 1 Give 1 sold out, but the next batch is available for pre-order for April 17 shipping.
Stay safe, stay home.
The goal of the Project, Pantry, Purpose series to keep us sane, distracted, and connected. Please continue to comment below with suggestions for recipes, projects (for kids and adults), good deeds, donation ideas, stories, movies, games, puzzles. Or just tell me how you’re doing, what your daily routine is, and how DALS can help you or people in your community. You can also email me directly at email@example.com.