La Quinta, California: Big Dinner Tonight! Chicken confit (that I began prepping Monday). Roasted potatoes. Tomato salad. Truly a spectacular supper.
I asked DT to take the long-way home from Lisa & Lenny's AirBnB Sunday, so I could pop-in to the Whole Foods on Hwy 111 in Palm Desert to purchase two whole chicken legs (leg+thigh). On Monday, I poked the chicken skin all-over a gazillion times with a needle, rubbed the chicken all-over with salt, pepper, minced garlic, and fresh thyme from our kitchen garden. Then the chicken rested, covered, in the fridge until Wednesday. On Wednesday, I tucked a stem of fresh rosemary under the chicken, and completely covered the legs (in a loaf pan) in a mixture of melted duck fat (from the freezer) and olive oil. Next, the loaf pan was covered in foil and the legs poached in a 200-degree oven for four hours.
After a brief cooling, the legs were carefully removed. The warm fat was strained. The cooked legs were returned to the baking dish, the strained fat was poured over the legs, the dish was covered and placed in the fridge until Friday.
Does prepping chicken confit sound like a lot of work? It is not. Though I usually start five days before serving chicken (or duck) confit, there is very little hands-on work involved. And, the two organic chicken legs were only $6. Total. You can use duck fat, chicken fat, or olive oil... or, as I did, a combo. I always use this recipe, and it has never failed me... however, this time I used rosemary instead of a bay leaf, and I have better luck browning the legs in a non-stick skillet. If making two legs, I always use a loaf pan. It is the perfectly-sized pan for two duck or chicken legs.
Tonight I roasted baby Yukon Gold potatoes in the olive oil/duck fat combo from the chicken. Best. Thing. Ever.
So, why all this effort beginning from Sunday for a meal on Friday? Yes, it is Shabbat, but today was a momentous occasion for our family:
We bought a house!
The deal closed today! We are homeowners once again!
Let's back-track: As you may already know, pre-COVID, we were supposed to leave here (in our motorcoach) early June, and make a several-day stop in Bakersfield, so we could drive back (in our car) to Los Angeles to attend Lucy's annual ballet recital... before heading north to Eugene for the 2020 Olympic Track & Field Trials at the newly-completed renovated Historic Hayward Field... then meander around Oregon in our RV, visiting friends and family. Obviously all cancelled.
Dave and I had huge (I mean HUGE) travel plans before the pandemic - plans that wouldn't get us back to Indio until October - when we would seriously begin looking for a house to buy. Now, we just had no where to go (if you are new here: we sold our Portland house in February 2020), so, with the world on hold, we began seriously looking for a house to buy.
At the end of May, we had made an offer on what I was pretty-sure was the best house for us. There was a bit of back-and-forthing, but we could not make a deal. We were sad.
After losing-out on the "perfect" house, we thought about leaving Indio and traveling in our motorhome... but, in the end, were just not comfortable traveling - even in our bus. I wasn't excited about going anywhere on our earlier proposed itinerary (Napa, the California coast, Eugene, Bend, the Oregon coast... and so many of our reservations had been cancelled due to the virus) because there was no way I would feel safe going to a vineyard, museum, or a restaurant, or anywhere, other than my own RV, during a pandemic. As long as we were going to stay inside our own RV, it may as well be here at the empty (and so dang very HOT) Motorcoach Country Club.
So, we continued our house search (via Redfin and our estate agent), but found nothing we felt warranted an offer. During a virus-crisis, it is a bit difficult to see properties. So many homes had been taken off the market, but there were still many unoccupied "vacation" homes in the Coachella Valley to tour - as the Snowbirds went home. But, we found nothing.
Then, out of nowhere, the Perfect House owner contacted us. They were foreign owners - and with everything going on, and all the foreign travel restrictions - had reconsidered. We made a deal! Everything changed overnight. We had an inspection, they agreed to repair the few things we felt needed attention, they moved out, we signed the papers, and own the title as of today.
The house is larger than we wanted (yet still nearly half the size of the house we sold in Portland), and in a beautiful country club community in La Quinta, on a golf course, and it has a large
cement pond swimming pool Leo and Lucy will love. Three bedrooms (all en-suite), a huge kitchen (my #1 priority), a half-bath, a large covered patio over-looking the links, with a beautiful view southeast to the mountains, and a garage bay for our golf cart. The country club has several restaurants, tennis courts, community pool/spa, fitness center, and everything else you can usually find at a desert country club.
Our hope is this home will serve us well until the grandkids are older, and then we can really downsize to a condo somewhere. (They are now 8 and 5, so all you grandparents know, this will take about twenty minutes, right?)
Now you understand why we have been laying-low this past few weeks - and why the special meal tonight! Our belongings (in storage in Portland since September) will arrive mid-July.
That's all I can report this evening, and I think it was quite a lot.
Until my next update, I remain, your no-longer-homeless correspondent.