Ciao'd while mixing Negronis to take the edge off the final debate. Hungover already.
Nextdoor is the big girl, tech-savvy version of Neighborhood Watch. It’s a social media platform where neighbors post perceived safety risks: “Unfamiliar car parked on Shady Lane for the past two days. Friend or foe?” and “SLOW DOWN!!!!!! Our kids are precious.” Or classifieds along the lines of “Selling lovingly used Barbie Dreamhouse for another lucky kid” or “Never-used free weights available best offer” (this one usually appears about three months after Christmas).
But the best postings are those that stir passion and ire. They make for good reading when you’ve polished off your monthly Vanity Fair. Some even beg the snarky retort á la the VF Mailbag section. I have indulged in the snarky retort once or twice. This was when I learned that Nextdoor has neighborhood “leads” that can smother posts based on their interpretation of the Community Guidelines. These include rules like “be helpful, not hurtful” and “keep it clean and legal.” My post was KO’d when I replied “entitled” to a neighbor’s disgruntled post about people parking illegally and unsafely on neighborhood streets when dropping their kids off at school. The “entitled" reply sprung from my first-hand experience with cars parked in my driveway, blocking my driveway, and turning in and out of my driveway all in the name of dropping kids off at school.
I'm sorry people who block my driveway. Perhaps I can install a coffee kiosk so you don't have to stop at Starbucks for your skinny double shot pumpkin spice latte. Apologies if I have been hurtful, people who actually have the chutzpah to park in my driveway (just for a minute, I promise!). Perhaps I can take in your laundry and have it clean and folded for you when you return for afternoon pick-up.
Since I am already barefoot on the hot Nextdoor coals, I might as well confess my guilt about another [perceived] indiscretion. Via this post, I am letting my Nextdoor tribe know that yes, I am the person who feeds the squirrels. I am sorry (but not really), neighbor who found peanuts in your fancy-schmancy golf bag, and ranted about it while mentioning your fancy-schmancy golf club (and intimating your 200K initiation fee) not one, not two but three times in a five-line post. I think you’re creepy, neighbor who suggested peeping into yards and over fences to locate a squirrel feeder (the vessel) to identify the peanut crack suppliers. To the neighbor who found peanuts buried in her lawn: just as it is decreed in our Nextdoor guidelines to refrain from discriminating neighbors, so it goes with our furry and feathered friends, too. Blue Jays bury their peanuts all over the place, including lawns and container gardens. I know, because I feed them, too. And thank you, fellow nature lover, for coming to the defense of the “squirrel feeder” and pretty much telling everybody to f--- off and focus on things that really matter.
Going forward, Nextdoor umpires and referees, I (sort of) promise to focus on the “really matter” posts. Like the one asking people to refrain from buying the StarShower Motion Laser Lights for holiday decorating because they are not only “ridiculous” but “cause light pollution,” too. Or the one asking if there are any “scat experts” (and I don’t mean the jazz kind) via a post illumined with a photo of said scat.
I know you think that my recipe will feature peanuts. Nope, squirrel. KIDDDDDDING. That would be nuts. Instead, a down-home Italian mamma recipe for roasted chicken with white beans and bell peppers. Enjoy it while you're reading those riveting Nextdoor posts.
ROASTED CHICKEN WITH WHITE BEANS AND BELL PEPPERS
This one-dish supper (or lunch) marries a parcel of flavors and textures: crispy, juicy chicken, creamy garlic-scented cannellini beans, and bright, crunchy bell peppers. Ask your butcher to cut a whole chicken for you. Whole chickens tend to have better flavor, plus you can take home the backbone for stock or sauce.
Serves 4 to 6
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 small bell peppers, trimmed and thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 sprigs sage
1 whole chicken (3 to 4 pounds), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 8 pieces
2 lemons, quartered
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
In a large skillet over moderate heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until it shimmers. Add the bell peppers, season with salt and pepper, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
In a large baking dish, toss the beans with the peppers and any remaining liquid from the pan, the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic, thyme, sage, and salt and pepper, to taste.
Pat the chicken dry, season with salt and pepper, and arrange skin side up on the beans. Tuck in the lemon quarters.
Roast until the chicken is golden and cooked through, 35 to 45 minutes. The juices should run clear (not pink); breasts and thighs should register 155 to 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
Transfer the chicken, beans, and lemons to a platter or individual plates. Squeeze the lemons over the chicken. The juice is delish!