Friday, May 22, 2020

Coronavirus Diary Day 70: May 21, 2020


Coronavirus Comforts: Libations, Food, and TV

As some states in the US start to ease their lockdowns, and as other countries like France end their deconfinements, three things have remained universally constant during this Coronavirus Quarantine – libations, food, and TV.

During the past 9 weeks, social media has been inundated with photos of homemade cocktails, endless rotations of homecooked meals, and recommendations for bingeworthy TV shows. I’m guilty of all 3, and so are you.

With that said, I present my Top 3 Libations, Meals, and Streaming Entertainment.

Libations –

1.     Champagne: The Hubs orders our champs from the WTSO app. And you should, too. It’s not technically a cocktail, but I mean.
2.     Lite Margarita: 2 oz. Casamigos blanco tequila, ¾ ounce Cointreau orange liqueur, ½ cup Polar lime seltzer, juice squeezed from ¼ lime, 1 lime wedge for garnish. Serve over ice.
3.     Gin Martini: 2 ounces Hendricks gin, ¾ ounce Martini and Rossi dry vermouth, 3 Spanish queen olives, ½ tbsp olive oil. Shake in metal cocktail shaker with ample ice, strain into martini glass.

Bonus Cocktail: Rita’s Special. Anyone who has known me longer than 5 years has been exposed to a Rita’s Special at one time or another. Recipe changes monthly, so now you’re incentivized to know me longer than 5 years.

Meals –

1.     Whole Chicken in Le Creuset: Spray bottom of Le Creuset with Pam olive oil. Peel and slice on the diagonal 1 dozen organic whole carrots, peel and quarter 4 whole sweet or yellow onions, peel and quarter 6 medium white potatoes, peel and quarter 4 cloves garlic. Evenly distribute vegetables in Le Creuset. Place whole chicken in center. Coat generously with salt, pepper, and traditional poultry seasonings. Press lid onto Le Creuset. Bake at 300 F degrees for 4 hours. If desired, cover mixture with 1 cup of fresh green beans 50 minutes before finished. Take out of oven and let sit for 10 minutes, then separate chicken pieces from the bones in a casserole dish. Stir vegetables in Le Creuset. The vegetables will be soaked in a naturally delicious gravy.
2.     Seared tuna with roasted cauliflower: Start the cauliflower process first, as it takes longer than the tuna. Boil large pot of water. (A pot that can go straight into a hot oven is preferable.) Place whole cauliflower in the boiling water, blooming side up, covered, 5 minutes.  Drain water from pot, coat cauliflower with mixture of olive oil, salt, and pepper, using a basting brush. Place in 450 F degree oven, uncovered, 35 minutes. In the meantime, coat frying pan with olive oil. Toss 2 or 3 large tuna steaks into pan and slather both sides with the olive oil from the pan. Shake sea salt and ground ginger onto both sides of the tuna steaks. At medium heat, cook tuna steaks in stovetop frying pan 4 minutes each side. Both sides should be fully cooked but inside should remain pink. Do not overcook. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette and serve with whole roasted cauliflower.
3.     Homemade meatballs with spaghetti and sauce: Look, in these Coronavirus times, it’s difficult to procure the 3 ground meats needed for traditional Italian meatballs (pork, lamb, and beef). If you can do that, good on you. For the rest of us, let’s focus on beef. Dump 2 lbs ground beef into large mixing bowl. Crack 1 whole egg on top. Add ¼ cup heavy cream and 1/3 cup bread crumbs. (I make my own bread crumbs using a mini food processor.) Add ample amounts of ground sea salt, ground pepper, and ground nutmeg. Mix and knead with your hands. Mold into meatballs and space equally on a baking pan with ¼ inch of warm water. Bake for 35 minutes at 375 degrees F.

Bonus Meal: Wegmans Frozen Pizza. Dave Portnoy ranks it in his Top 5 during Coronavirus lockdown. I’ve been saying this for like 10 years: Wegmans frozen pizza is extraordinary. Ryan’s fave is Thin Crust Bacon Ranch. It will not disappoint.

Streaming Entertainment –

1.     Money Heist – This streaming Spanish series has captivated Europe for the past 4 years. Now it’s our turn, America. It’s been dubbed into English, so there’s no need for subtitles. Stay on your toes. This addictive Netflix drama incorporates lots of dark comedy and moves a mile a minute.
2.     Ozark – Jason Bateman is a money laundering low reactor.
3.     Dead to Me – It’s kind of a girls’ show, so ladies, watch this when your husbands are watching sports. Except, I mean, right.

Bonus Streaming Entertainment: Elite. It’s also a Spanish show dubbed into English and features many of our favorite Money Heist actors. This could be a great show for our high school seniors (similar to Outer Banks, which is also awesome), except, um, how do I say this? If this show is any indicator, Spanish teenagers are… promiscuous? Like, even more promiscuous than those kids on Euphoria.

So anyways, here we are at the start of Memorial Day Weekend. My son Blaise lives in Florida, where he can drink at the bars, eat tacos with his buddies, hang out on the beach, work out in the gym, and even get his hair cut. Here in Pennsylvania, everyone is flocking to the New Jersey beaches. You could almost believe the world is back to normal, kids.

Except, it’s not.

Whatever you do, enjoy it and use your noggin!

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