As I was preparing a dinner of Chicken with Lemon and Olives a couple of weeks ago, I heard a yelp from the office. I ran into the office finding Omar with his arms angrily crossed. “It’s live,” he said, explaining to me that all of the metal components in our computer set up were conducting electricity. Our external hard drive has a metal exterior, both of our mac minis have an aluminum exterior, and Omar’s mac keyboard also has an aluminum casing. Touch your finger to any of these parts and ZAP! an electrical current runs through your body.
Being the scaredy cat/safety queen that I am, I immediately turned off the power strip and firmly instructed him NOT TO TOUCH ANYTHING! “What now?” I asked. I won’t bore you with the details of all that’s transpired since that fateful zapping, but suffice it to say that it’s involved trips to stores, converters, extension cords, phone calls, electricians, emails and more electricians. Omar’s fairly certain a ground fault is the cause of our problems. In the US, we’d make one call to the electrician and the problem would probably be resolved. But, we live in Rabat, so it’s been about three weeks and another electrician is supposed to pay us a visit this week. In the meantime, here is our current solution:
RULES FOR ENTERING THE HOME OFFICE
- Do not touch any metal on the devices.
- Rule #1 applies, even if the devices are not turned on. As long as the devices are plugged in, do not touch any of the metal parts.
- When attaching or detaching USB charging cables to any device, do not touch the metal parts of the cord or the device.
- When using the mac keyboard encased in aluminum, wear thick rubber soled shoes, or, ensure that the chair and your feet are squarely centered on the two yoga mats that now line the area under our office chairs. Ideally, do both.
- Don’t touch any metal on the devices.
(Mom, if you are reading this, we’re fine, don’t worry). We are actually used to the problem now. Sure, it’s annoying, but I’ve gotten so good at following the rules that I haven’t experienced a shock in more than two and a half weeks!
Anyway, after Omar was painfully shocked several times that day, we sat down for a dinner of Chicken with Lemon and Olives. This recipe is a combination of a version from Martha Stewart and the Bon Appetit test kitchen. Both recipes get decent reviews so I was excited about a new way to use the over abundance of lemons and olives we have in our kitchen stock. Maybe we are getting to the Moroccan cuisine that is rich in spices, or maybe the electrical shocks left us feeling unsettled, but we both found the dinner to be “just alright” and a little bland. The addition of tomatoes or some white wine might give the recipe another welcome dimension.
I’d love to hear from you if you have suggestions on our electrical issue or ideas for using lemons. Our fruit and veggie vendor gives me 3-4 free lemons every time I shop at his stand so I have more lemons than I know what do to with!
CHICKEN WITH LEMON AND OLIVES
1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds), with skin, cut into 8 pieces (I actually used a drumsticks and a few chicken breasts)
2 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
1 medium-sized onion, thinly sliced
3-4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
3 small lemons
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2-3 cups chicken broth
½ cup green olives
Squeeze the juice from one of the lemons and set aside. Slice the remaining two lemons into thin slices.
Salt and pepper the chicken generously. In a large skillet, heat one tablespoon of olive over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken on all sides, placing the skin side down first, about 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
In the same skillet, add the remaining tablespoon of oil, and reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger, and cook until the onions begin to soften. Add the lemon juice, lemon slices, spices, broth, and olives. Stir and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let it simmer, uncovered for about 7-8 minutes.
Add the chicken to the broth, and simmer, covered until the chicken is just cooked through and the juices run clear. This will take about 15-20 minutes.
I served this with a small side of pasta, which I added to the whole dish right at the end, but it would go well with some nice crusty bread, couscous or quinoa as well.