September 14, 2020

When the going gets tough, the tough get cooking.


Now six months into Covid, we -- along with everyone else -- are still trying to get our rhythm in this new reality. Then fierce fires break out throughout California, including our backyard, the San Gabriel Mountains. We constantly watch the Bobcat Fire updates. So far, we have not been given evacuation orders, but we are ready. We just roll with the punches.



After busy non-stop work at the home office the other day, I decided to make a quick and easy dinner of broiled chicken drumsticks that I bought at the butcher. Unlike Louie, I prefer less complicated dishes. My dinners might be simple – a main dish and veggies or salad – but they are tasty. I also make great tacos according to Louie. After all, I’ve learned about great seasoning hanging out in the kitchen with him.


So, just as I was about to start dinner, Louie said, “Do you want me to make a chicken dish?”


“Uhhh…,” was my immediate reply as I looked at the clock – it was about 6:00 p.m. He was excited to find a Mediterranean lemon chicken recipe.


I always remember the words of Louie’s father, Joe, who owned Mexican restaurants and was an outrageous cook. When Louie worked with him at the restaurant, his father would say, “Son, when you cook, you must always be happy. Because if you’re not, the people eating your food will taste it.” Powerful words. If there was anyone who was always happy cooking for others it was Joe. That’s when I decided to let Louie go at it. For the first time in weeks, he wanted to cook a meal. Lately, he’s been so exhausted working non-stop during the day, we’ve picked up take-out or whipped up new dishes from leftovers.


“Okay,” I said, “…as long as we eat before nine…” No problem, Louie said, as he put his laptop on the dining room table, that was already opened to a YouTube cooking video.



“I’ll marinate the chicken for 30 minutes. It’s better if it sits overnight, he said. But we’ll be fine.”


Okay, Chef.



There went my clean kitchen counters as Louie chopped away, not to mention bringing out the measuring cups, spoons, bowls, etc. Like a tornado.



My job was to preheat the oven to 450. Bingo. I was also in charge of the green salad and steamed rice. So, I left Louie happy as a lark in the kitchen. He arranged the seasoned drumsticks in the Le Creuset pan and stuck it in the oven for 35-45 minutes. When it was done, it looked and smelled divine with gorgeous juices, and the chicken and lemon rinds cooked to a crisp.



The moment of truth came when we sat down to eat – at 9 p.m.



We looked at each other. Delicious! With only 30 minutes marinating. The oregano, cumin, coriander, paprika, Kosher salt, pepper -- and the potent flavors of lemon, onion, and garlic -- all came together and made a beautiful juice that we spooned onto the rice.


By the time we finished, we had eaten half of the eight chicken pieces.


Our meal made by a happy cook tasted even better the next day.




INGREDIENTS:

🔹 10 to 12 chicken drumsticks (bone in, skin on)

🔹 Kosher salt

🔹 1 tbsp dry oregano

🔹 1 tbsp black pepper

🔹 1 1/2 tsp coriander

🔹 1 tsp paprika

🔹 1/2 tsp cumin

🔹 1 head garlic (about 12 garlic cloves), peeled and chopped

🔹 1 medium yellow onion, cut into wedges

🔹 Zest and juice of 2 lemons + 1 lemon sliced

🔹 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (I used Private Reserve Greek olive oil)

Washing Hands + Wearing a Mask + Social Distancing = Saving Lives


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