I’m getting ready to head to my daughters for a couple of days R&R. The heat has moved back in after a brief respite last week, so the air conditioning is humming along and the fans are circulating. Our pool stubbornly insists on maintaining it’s pea green color, so it will be nice to take a swim in my daughters while I’m there.
Two weeks out of the year, one around her birthday which was yesterday and one around the holidays are marked on her calendar for vacation. Normally during the work week the house is overrun with twelve or so energetic pre-schoolers doing what a herd of small children are wont to do. I have spent many a day with her watching in amazement the patience and energy she puts into the substitute Mommy and teacher persona she slips on with her apron each morning before the little ones race through her front door. As much as I love children, this would not be a job for me.
Even without the diaper set, their house is rarely a model of peace and tranquility. Both daughters are still living at home, the oldest, Miss B., having moved back in from her first taste of freedom only this weekend. Along with her lovely twenty year old self she brings an entourage including one frisky black puppy of questionable origin not yet fully comprehending the finer points of potty mats, and a cat with a serious attitude. These two will be asked to cohabit peacefully with the two dogs already in residence, and a male cat answering to the name Casanova that takes entitlement to a new level. Good luck with that.
To be honest, I never sleep well at my daughter’s house. Not because her pillows are flat, her mattress lumpy, but because I always have the distinct feeling I am not alone on the couch even though for all intents and purposes I know I am the only “human” in the room. Before he ate his last Milk Bone, Barron, their golden retriever, often shared the couch with me. Dogs, I believe also sense “others” in the room and the eighty pound dog frequently sought solace on the pillows at my feet if something was amiss. Fortunately, the circulation in my lower extremities has finally returned since his passing.
Some houses, I believe, have more to them then drywall and paint. It’s a feel, if you will. My daughter’s would be one of these. Once when I was there a small bead of light moved across the family room immediately after we’d turned the lights out. It hovered and then moved sideways and then moving upward disappeared. Transfixed we stood and watched it without a word. When “poof”, it was gone my daughter and her husband practically climbed up in my arms. Why people assume I’m going to protect them fascinates me. I am certainly not a big woman, and have never done anything epically heroic ,say, mushed a dogsled in the Ididarod, wrestled Crocodiles in the Amazon, or scaled the Matterhorn. Truth be known, I would have been out the front door leaving only a trail of urine but I couldn’t make my feet work.
Over the years they’ve had a number of weird occurrences including my daughter being woken up in the middle of the night with the feeling that something was holding her ankles down. This, for me, is in the way of too much information considering I watch horror movies through my partially closed fingers if at all.
There are times even in our house where I get the feeling that my other half is standing behind me, even going so far as addressing him, and turn to find nobody in the room but me. He has said he experiences the same phenomenon. Mouse the Cat, I’m fully convinced, is an alien life form posing at a cat with morphing capabilities that allow her to appear out of nowhere at your feet and trip you as you walk. I’ve got my eye on her,.
So, I will pack my “dematerializer” as well as my skivvies and bathing suit for luck. Not that I believe in ghosts and goblins, but I have enough of an open mind to believe there are, to quote Hamlet, “……more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
Our restaurant was definitely spooky, particularly the bar. Even our chefs disliked doing their prep work alone there and often showed up in pairs. It was built over a labyrinth of underground tunnels constructed by the Coolies brought to the area as laborers when the dam was originally under construction in the historical downtown area of our city. The building created more groans than a bad comedian. Alone there often, arriving early to do the banking and pick up the checks from dinner service the evening prior, the sounds and shadows of that building often prompted me to open the back door and stand in the alley way and remind myself I was a grown-up.
On reading the history of the structure, we discovered it was originally a bar constructed in the later half of the 1800’s. The dining room interior was brick, but the bar was splintery wood lending it atmosphere. Along the back wall were obvious patches where once there had been arched doors and windows leading out to the back, perhaps even swinging doors such as you might see in old westerns. Credit was given in the historical notes I read, for several murders, and during the 1920’s some nefarious dealings with regards to illegal liquor sales and fallen women, so surely there was some interesting energy left behind for us to discover.
Alien is on the television and the hair on my arms is now fully erect, so I will end here.
This is the best of the best chicken. It is a bit of a process, but things that are worth serving often are. Have a great day!
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs bone-in
1 1/2 cups orange juice
1/3 cup light corn syrup
3 Tbsp. honey
1 1/2 Tbsp. tangerine marmalade (orange will work fine)
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp. Canola oil
1 shallot, minced
1 cloves garlic, minced
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Whisk together orange juice, corn syrup, honey, marmalade mustard, vinegar, red pepper, salt and pepper.
Place flour in shallow dish. Generously salt and pepper thighs and dredge in flour.
Heat oil in heavy ovenproof skillet over med. heat until it begins to shimmer. Place thighs skin down in pan and brown for 12-15 mins. until deep golden brown (watch not to burn). Turn over and continue on other side for 5 mins. Remove to plate.
Reserve 1 Tbsp. of oil from pan and discard the rest. Add garlic and shallot and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 mins. Add juice mixture to pan and increase heat to med-high. Simmer, stirring often, until sauce is thick and syrupy (about 20 mins.). Remove from heat. Dip each thigh in sauce to coat thoroughly.
Return to pan and place skillet in oven (if ovenproof) for 25-30 mins. or transfer sauce to small baking dish (pre sprayed with cooking spray) and top with thighs and cook until meat thermometer reads 175 F. Serve with sauce spooned over top and extra at the table.