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14 May: Thursday

Somewhere Other Than Here: This dateline is only a Jimmy Buffett song reference. Great Filling Station Hold-Up, for the curious. I do not really wish I were somewhere other than here... except maybe in Los Angeles with the grandchildren. Historic Hayward Field for a track meet. Hanging with family. On a patio in Rome, sipping on a Negroni.

Not gonna happen.

We “celebrate” 60 days of confinement today. As we have zero contact with others, we are both still healthy. With motorcoaches fleeing daily, there are so few people here, we can go several days without anything more than a wave at people passing-by in their golf carts. No strangers/renters are allowed inside the resort at this time; the Motorcoach Country Club is closed.

As I have written many times previously: Ghost town.

In a reverse of previous protocol, I rode my bicycle today, and DT walked/jogged. Really mixing it up, aren’t we? Such an exciting couple. The only people noticing would/could be the security guards patrolling our RV park.

So, today would be the day I baked cookies for the guards. Dave drove the treats up to the guard house this afternoon, and pretty soon we did have a “thank you” drive-by from one of our masked security agents. That was nice. I can’t even imagine how boring it must be to guard 60 people, when they usually have to handle 800. We do appreciate our staff so much. They have to deal with a lot - usually.

APPETIZERS: Lots of veg, roasted red pepper on toast, olives,
jalapeño jack, Tillamook cheddar and walnuts

For our 60 Day Party (Oh. Dear. Lord. We. Had. A. Party. For. Two.), I really did-it-up by preparing a recipe from the New York Times, or maybe from Epicurious. So confused when I googled this recipe to share with you. Either way, I will leave the recipe below.

Our main course (new recipe) tonight was Sheet-Pan Paprika Chicken with Tomatoes and Parmesan - a recipe by Melissa Clark of the New York Times. Though behind a pay-wall, the same recipe can be found elsewhere (just Google it). The recipe either calls for 4 chicken breasts (with bones and skin) or 3 pounds of bone-in, skin-on chicken parts.

Tonight I used four bone-in, skin-on, chicken thighs (1.5 pounds) - FROM THE FREEZER - and used the rest of the recipe mostly as-is, with only a few switches: I used Aleppo pepper instead of the requested Espelette or Pimenton, (it was in the pantry) and used a jalapeño in place of the poblano chili. Instead of salting the chicken separately, a teaspoon of Kosher salt was added to the spice mixture. The spice mixture coated the chicken splendidly, and the chicken thighs marinaded all afternoon in the spicy paste (refrigerated!). I used half a green pepper, and half a red pepper, with red and yellow grape tomatoes. So pretty.

Almost ready for the oven
Ready for the oven - after I remembered to sprinkle the parm over all.

The chicken and peppers roasted for 15 minutes, then I stirred the veggies a bit - as requested. After another 15 minutes, the sheet pan was removed from the oven:

D A N G

At this point, the chicken was done, but the peppers were still a bit stiff. The thighs were removed to a plate and covered with foil, while the vegetables roasted in the oven for another 5-8 minutes. It turned-out to be the right thing. Chicken is always better if it rests for a bit.

Served with rice, this was a great dinner and very easy - and also would work well for a “real” party: little hands-on required.

Will we ever have dinner parties again?

Until my next update, I remain, your 60-Day correspondent.


SHEET-PAN PAPRIKA CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS:
4 chicken breasts (I used four bone-in, skin-on thighs)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (I used Aleppo pepper)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (I used about one cup)
1 cup sweet bell pepper, sliced
(I used half each – red and green peppers)
1 poblano, sliced
(I used one jalapeño, but would have used poblano if on-hand)
1/3 cup parmesan
1/4 cup parsley, chopped

PREPARATION:
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Season chicken all over with salt, and place it on a rimmed baking sheet.

In a small bowl, stir together olive oil, vinegar, garlic, paprika, Aleppo and oregano. Pour over chicken, tossing to coat.

Add tomatoes, poblano and sweet peppers to baking sheet, spread vegetables around the chicken. Season vegetables lightly with salt and drizzle with a little more olive oil. Sprinkle Parmesan all over chicken and vegetables.

Roast until chicken is golden, crisp and cooked through, 25 to 35 minutes. Stir the vegetables halfway through cooking but don’t disturb the chicken. If white meat is done before dark meat, remove it as it finishes cooking.

Transfer chicken to plates. Stir vegetables around in pan, scraping up all the delicious browned bits from the bottom and sides of pan, and stir in the parsley and black pepper to taste. Taste and add salt if needed, and a drizzle of vinegar if you like. Spoon vegetables over the chicken to serve.