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Tag Archives: QuarantineCooking

Week’s Worth of Summer Suppers

Summer Suppers Pic

Shelter in place has its challenges, but I’ve got it pretty good. Finding the silver lining: I’ve been eating a lot healthier because… I’ve been cooking a lot more! Go figure.

How has the pandemic shifted things for you?

Here is what I’m eating for dinner this week:

(It’s not entirely pescatarian, contrary to a goal I shared in a recent post.)

Here’s everything you need:

Pantry Items

  • Long grain rice (1 1/2 cups)
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • Low-sodium soy sauce
  • White vinegar
  • Sesame oil
  • Onions (1 small white, 1/2 small red)
  • Fresh garlic
  • Black beans
  • Vegetable oil or Ghee
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • Dijon mustard
  • Mayonnaise
  • Worcestershire sauce

Shopping List

  • Frozen salmon fillets
  • Chicken thighs (bone in preferably)
  • Lots of eggs
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Lots of kale
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 large tomato
  • Cilantro
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 2 limes
  • Scallions (¼ cup)
  • Head of cabbage
  • Fresh ginger
  • Lemons
  • Flour tortillas
  • Miso

Enjoy! Hope you find some time between meals to sit under a tree.

Corona Cooking: 2+ Pastas for the Casual Pescatarian

Shrimp Dish

 

Who doesn’t love the power of food and cooking to evoke fond memories from the past.

My husband and I are trying our hand at a pescatarian diet (with a few cheats here and there), which prompted me to revive an old favorite of ours, Ina Garten’s linguine with shrimp scampi. I followed the recipe to a tee and then felt like it needed a little something more, so I dusted off the finished product with generous handfuls of grated Parmesan cheese.

Padraic lifted a forkful to his mouth and immediately went nostalgic on me, reminiscing about the time we made this together in my shoebox studio apartment in Chicago, splurging on large and expensive shrimp from the Whole Foods around the corner. Then, another time on a lakeside vacation, when my younger brother watched us pull everything together in a large skillet and told us “we made a good team.”

This is a romantic, special meal indeed — and not just because you’re shelling out some bucks for shrimp. It’s the richness of the noodles, the decorative lemon slices, the deceptively simple flavoring of olive oil, butter, lemon, red pepper flakes, garlic, and the way all the ingredients take just a few minutes to cook in a skillet, especially when there are two cooks in the kitchen.

Savor this dish on a summer night with your S.O. and bring some beachside vibes into your home.

A second, far less sexy supper is this New York Times recipe for the thoroughly GREEN “kale-sauce pasta.” Think of it as pesto, with voluminous amounts of blanched kale leaves standing in for the traditional basil.

Don’t be fooled by its simplicity — it’s a bit of an undertaking to clean and stem and blanch all those ever-lovin greens, but it’s a good staple made all the more satisfying if some or all of the kale comes from your backyard.

And then… when you’re sick of the kitchen (and perhaps each other), how about a pasta sauce for the ages that never disappoints.

Onward and upward, friends!

Corona Cooking: Roasted Vegetables Over Polenta

Corona Cooking: Roasted Vegetables Over Polenta

How are you feeling today? I’m keenly aware that I am taking a privileged walk through this global pandemic… and yet I often find myself seized by a vague melancholy borne of solidarity with those who are suffering, the surreal vibe of this whole thing, and the uncertainty of what is yet to come.

I’m sure there is a great deal more I could be doing for the world, but last night I went back to basics and took care of myself and my husband with a soothing bowl of fontina-flavored polenta and roasted veggies. I fight the idea, but caring for me and mine CAN be enough on a Saturday night during these difficult times. At times, it may be the best thing we can do to hunker down and make a satisfying meal. Let’s get to it:

Roasted Veggie Ingredients

  • Veggies (I used two small butternut squash and a pile of Brussels sprouts, but go for what you’ve got on hand — broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, turnips… hmm…)
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt (preferably Kosher salt or sea salt)
  • Pepper

Instructions

  • Chop the veggies into chunks
  • Plop into a bowl and season generously with salt and pepper
  • Mix with 3 parts olive oil to 1 part Balsamic vinegar
  • Pour on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper
  • Roast at 450 degrees Fahrenheit until browned and cooked through, 20-25 minutes

It’s a beautiful transformation… Raw veggies with some seasoning:

Raw Squash

Brussels Sprouts

Become better versions of themselves… roasted!

Roasted veggies

Polenta Ingredients

  • One cup loose polenta
  • One Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Small wedge of cheese, shredded (I used Fontina, but go at it, Asiago, cheddar, even dollops of goat cheese would be tasty)
  • A few tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
  • 5 cups water

This is what we’re looking at, minus the water:

Polenta prep

Polenta Instructions

  • Bring water to a boil
  • Add polenta, stir, bring back to a boil
  • Turn heat on low and simmer and cook, stirring often, for 40 min (yes this is a dinner to linger over)
  • Mix in cheeses and butter at end once polenta is already cooked

Combine all in a bowl, throw a chopped fresh herb on top, and you get a version of this, courtesy of School Night cookbook:

Cookbook pic

Once you purchase (or find) a container of loose polenta, let your creativity take the reigns and repeat with different veggies or try serving with protein… something in the red meat department would appeal to me…

We capped off this quiet evening with a trip to Forest Park and took comfort in this view: Forest Park view

Peace.

Corona Cooking: Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Hey there! I’m inspired by the simplicity of #QuarantineCooking to share my favorite way to cook and EAT sweet potatoes:

Ingredients

  • Two sweet potatoes
  • 2 T. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 T. Olive oil
  • Two large garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 T. shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Herb of your choice, fresh or dried

Instructions

  • Peel and cube potatoes and dump into large mixing bowl.
  • Dump all other ingredients into bowl and coat the potatoes.
  • Pour seasoned potatoes onto sheet pan lined with foil or parchment paper.
  • Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for approx. 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Sweet Potatoes

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