Quarantine Life Week 21

The fact that I am getting this post (and last week’s post) out this week is a bit of a triumph. Last week, we were informed that we need to vacate our apartment no later than November 1st. Our building was sold in May 2019. The new owners wanted the building for the storefronts downstairs to build a family gym. We decided when the building sold that we would make sure we had savings so that if/when they decided to boot us or raise our rent, we would have options. That was the lucky part. Of course, we had no idea it would happen in the middle of a pandemic when our city’s numbers are surging and we are potentially looking at another lock down. But that is what has happened. They started construction downstairs July 13th. It’s been rough living about the construction and lately getting rougher.

First, no one on the construction crew or building manger or anyone wear masks ever. They were not even wearing them when doing construction work where you would normally expect there to be an OSHA requirement. Then, things started breaking. We found ourselves with no cold water to our kitchen one day. Our door bells have all been broken for a couple of weeks. They recently fixed that by moving the entry door to the building and just completely eliminating our door bells. This makes life difficult when you rely on UPS and FedEx delivering packages. Then we got the email telling us we needed to move. We decided we wanted to be out this month rather than waiting until later in the fall when numbers are potentially going to be even worse, so we set out on a path to find a new place as soon as possible. This was a long way of saying you shouldn’t expect anything stunning in this week’s dinner journal.

Thursday (8/13) – I made homemade fish and chips. We had gotten some cod from our grocery delivery. My husband is from the Midwest, and so he likes cod for fish and chips. I come from the South, and we would use catfish, but I decided to make this for him since he really likes it and they had a good deal on cod. It came out okay. I want to thin my breading more next time so that it crisps more. It was a bit breadier than I like. I had a total fail trying to do the fries in the air fryer, so I popped them in the oil after the fish were done, and they came out great. I also made a tarter sauce using mayonnaise, dill relish and some spicy horseradish mustard. The tarter sauce was the star. It did all look very pretty. We got the email about moving after dinner.

Friday (8/14) – I had planned grilled pizzas, but the basil wasn’t quite ready to be picked again, and we all agreed we preferred the pesto base rather than a regular tomato pizza sauce. So, I took the leftover spinach pesto pasta and made a pesto version of a mostaccioli. I chopped up broccoli and mixed it with the pasta, then topped it with a layer of Gruyere cheese and baked it for about 10 minutes. It was delicious and totally mellowed that peppery flavor.

Saturday (8/15) – We had pita pizzas again. This has become a family favorite, and I wanted to correct my error from the previous time when I forgot to do an indirect heat side for the grill and overcooked the crusts. This time, I failed to cook them as crisp as I like. The pizzas were good, and they all got eaten, but I think I gotta settle in the middle and cook them on indirect heat until the cheese melts and then give them a quick sear on the direct heat for that crispness.

Sunday (8/16) – After dropping the kid back at her mother’s house, we started looking at apartments. We saw 4 apartments in person and sort of another one virtually. The couple trying to do the virtual tour were not really up on the technology, so it was not as helpful as we were hoping. Unfortunately, there were people still living in the unit, and we were unwilling to walk into people’s homes due to Covid-19. We were exhausted when we finished, so we ordered take out from the pizza place on our block. They have this amazing pizza with a pugliese sauce, and I love to add prosciutto on top. Owen had this sandwich they make with their own house made pitas and Bosnian sausage. It was fantastic. And I would definitely do take out from them again. They are doing all the right things to make you feel safe, including a pick up window.

Monday (8/17) – We saw 6 apartments. I did the last one by myself but with my husband on Google Duo since it was scheduled about the same time we got the kiddo. We then also got a video tour sent to us on a 7th apartment. This landlord did a great job with the video tour and ultimately, we are choosing that apartment. Despite being exhausted, I managed to make spinach fettuccine Alfredo for dinner. We had some leftover Italian sausage from pizza night, so I cooked that up and the husband and I added it to ours. It was a good combo.

Tuesday (8/18) – I made baked chicken thighs using the instant pot bake function. I had planned to grill them, but we had some rain, and I was frankly still just exhausted from the apartment hunt marathon. We did put in our application on the apartment. It is smaller than our current, but we have a very large floor plan and use maybe 2/3 of it now. However, I am getting a very new 5 burner gas stone with self-cleaning oven, a dishwasher, and a very large walk-in pantry. The only downside is that the new place doesn’t have an outdoor space. So expect to us dining Al Fresco right up to that move date.

Wednesday (8/19) – I made a homemade version of Rice-a-Roni. I used vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, and I think it could have used a little something additional in the spice department. I am thinking I will try marjoram next time. I think the problem is the lack of chicken bullion, but I want to make it a vegetarian dish, so I gotta find a way to get that umami. Actually, a mushroom broth might be a really great idea. I’ve been thinking of making some mushroom broth. Maybe I’ll try that after we move.

Amazingly, I guess I cooked more this week than last in spite of also doing a marathon apartment search. We got word Wednesday morning that our application for the apartment was accepted. So, that’s one piece down. Now, we just have to convince our landlords to let us out without the normal notice time frame and without us having to pay another month’s rent. Cooking is going to be a little simpler for the rest of the month, as we have started packing and I am trying to only leave the most essential items to the last minute. But don’t worry, once I get in that new beautiful kitchen, I promise to do something ambitious!

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