March 21st, 2009

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In Which Not All Employers Are Jerks

During strained economic times, some employers gouge their employees while others try to help people make ends meet. I found these stories about positive acts by employers.

Company Keeps Paying Workers, Even When There's No Work
In tiny Humboldt, Kansas, instead of laying off workers whom he considers friends, Joe Works is paying his employees to fix up the town's old buildings, baseball fields and playgrounds -- and his company, B and W Trailer Hitches, is bearing the added expense even during lean times. (Video on NBC)

A CEO Shows His Heart, Avoids Lay-offs
When Paul Levy needed to decide who to lay-off, he walked through his hospital corridors and saw that no one deserved it. When he reported his feelings to the auditorium filled with staff, he received thunderous, sustained applause. The workers at Beth Israel Medical Center didn't want any of the 8,000 staff members to get laid off -- and are willing to give up pay and benefits to make sure no one does. (Boston Globe)

A One-Man Stimulus Package
A pharmacist in Alabama gave his staff $16,000 in bonuses to help stimulate the economy. The bonuses came with two catches: 15 percent must be spent on charity, and the rest should be spent locally. He paid them with all $2 bills, to be able to see how they worked their way though the town. (Video at NBC)


Have you heard of other employers helping their workers and/or the local economy? People deserve praise for doing good things, and especially now, it's important to distinguish between companies that are contributing to the problem vs. companies that are contributing to the solutions.
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Rotisserie Teriyaki Chicken

This is what I made for our Ostara feast today. Other folks contributed sesame teriyaki noodles, fried chicken, fresh vegetable stir-fry, mushroom medley, hot-and-sour egg flower soup, fudge, cookies, and rice pudding. Just enough was left of the chicken carcass and vegetables for me to make stock later in the week. We actually put this out in front of about 10 people but there was a lot of other food. It's the first time we used the rotisserie function on our new countertop oven, and I'm very pleased with the results.


Rotisserie Teriyaki Chicken


Ingredients:
1 whole chicken (3-4 pounds)
1 onion
1 bottle Kikkoman teriyaki sauce
black pepper

Directions:

Peel the onion and cut it into quarters.

Rinse the chicken. Remove giblets and set aside; they aren’t needed for this recipe. If there are hanging gobs of fat, cut them off.

Hold the chicken with the big tail hole upwards. Grind some black pepper into the body cavity, about 4-5 twists of the grinder. Stuff in as much of the onion as will fit. Pull the skin over the tail hole and use a toothpick to fasten it mostly closed.

Cut a long piece of kitchen twine and truss the chicken’s legs and wings so they don’t flop loose.

Put the chicken into a large bowl and pour teriyaki sauce over it until the bird is wet on all sides and there’s a little sauce in the bottom of the bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Preheat oven on its “rotisserie” temperature setting.

Remove bowl of chicken from refrigerator and uncover. Carefully roll the chicken in the bowl to wet all sides of it with the teriyaki sauce.

Put the rotisserie bar through the chicken, as close to the center as possible so that about the same amount of meat is on all sides of the bar; then push the forks into the chicken to hold it in place. Hang the rotisserie bar with the chicken inside the oven and place the drip pan under the chicken. Pour the teriyaki sauce from the bowl into the drip pan.

Cook for 1 1/2 hours. Two or three times, pour about 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce into a cup and use a baster to baste the chicken with the sauce.

Remove chicken from rotisserie and allow it to sit for ten minutes before carving. Serves 3-5 people.


Notes:

Three of the four onion quarters fit inside the chicken I used, for a medium-sized onion and chicken. This helps keep the chicken moist from the inside.

Use more kitchen string than you think you’ll need to truss the chicken. I had to redo mine because parts flopped loose that should not have done so.

It is harder than it looks to center the rod so that the bird will rotate properly. Eyeball the arrangement from several angles, because if not centered, part of the bird can drag on the pan.

I used about 1/3 of the bottle of teriyaki sauce. The finished chicken had a crisp dark brown skin over tender juicy meat. Most of it was devoured quickly.

The teriyaki sauce makes a very fragrant chicken, handy if you are using a lengthy cooking time to make people feel loved and comforted. We went outside while the chicken was cooking, and came back inside to the bright tangy smell of teriyaki chicken all through the house.

Despite the fiddling it took to get the hang of the new rotisserie gear, this was actually a very easy recipe that delivered a tasty chicken.

If you don’t have a rotisserie oven or similar equipment, rotisserie recipes can be converted by putting the chicken on a rack in a pan and cooking it in a regular oven at about 325º for a similar time. Internal temperature of thigh should reach 180º.
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