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Posts from March 2020

COVID-19: A Food Diary Day 5 - Variety, or Lack Thereof

As I track my cooking and eating escapades, I have realized that, even in normal times, I cook larger batches and then eat leftovers. A lot. I also repeat meals, depending on what's in the house. Case in point: yesterday I had avocado toast for breakfast (technically mashed avocado on a toasted english muffin with sea salt, chili flakes, and a squeeze of lemon, and lentil soup, arugula salad and the last of the Cheetos for lunch (sniffle). We still have some lentil soup left, which will probably go today, and I'll likely hit up leftover sausage and potato roast for lunch (although I've been craving tuna melts -- we'll see). For dinner, I made linguine with lemon and peas, based on this recipe, and we paired it with an arugula salad. Leftover brownie for dessert. There is at least one serving of leftovers from this as well to add to our mix. Additionally, we picked up a box of produce (and some additional frozen meats, dairy, and ice cream) from Halas Farm in Danbury. They are offering boxes of mixed produce that you order/prepay for online and then you pick it up at their farmstand (limited/no contact). Alas no garlic, but plenty of onions! And scallions! And so much more. This will keep us busy for a while and we were able to support a local farm. Note to anyone in the area: they are taking pre orders for baked goods this weekend. Check their Facebook page for details If you can support your local farmers markets, please do. At least in NYC they usually supply restaurants, which are generally closed, and you can shop in the open air. Markets have adjusted their shopping practices to limit personal contact, but are still open.

Some potentially helpful resources that I've stumbled upon:

COVID-19: A Food Diary Day 4 - Assessment

Sausage and potato roastSo I spent a chunk of time yesterday and this morning really looking carefully at our larder and searching recipes. We have PLENTY of food. What's interesting is that there are certain things that I realize we need. Well, NEED is a strong word -- more like it would be really helpful if we had. Garlic and onions, most definitely, as they are a key ingredient in almost everything -- soups, stews, Indian cuisine and other curries -- and probably some ginger, too. And speaking of curry, we could use some curry and/or garam masala as well as some cumin, which seems to pop up in many recipes I'm seeing with chickpeas. I also realized that although we have tons of pasta, it's all linguine. Again, these are not major problems at all, just makes me have to think more creatively. I also discovered in my exploration that we do, in fact, have the fish sauce I has hoping we had the other day.

Yesterday, I had avocado toast for breakfast, and made some fried rice for lunch with an egg, a slice of bacon, some onion, frozen peas, a few baby carrots, some leftover rice, and soy sauce, topped with a squirt of sriracha. I'm also starting to assess what will go bad first and trying to plan from there. We have a large open container of arugula, which we've been eating a bit for salads, and I combined some of that with sausages from the freezer and potatoes to make this simple and delicious dish from Smitten Kitchen. The recipe calls for shallots, but I substituted a bit of onion (making those onions last as long as I can), and it's topped with a squirt of lemon. We have leftovers which we can munch on today, plus we've still got that lentil soup (I think it's time to freeze whatever we don't eat today.

Tonight I'm pondering a pasta or chickpea dish of some sort. Tune in tomorrow to see what happens!

COVID 19: A Food Diary - Day 3 Leftovers and Improvisation

First of all, I keep forgetting to take pictures. Gotta work on that. Yesterday wasn't a particularly exciting cooking day, and I'll get to that, but I wanted to share two important recipes that came up when I posted on Facebook about my cooking diary. Both are from Marcella Hazan, the queen of Italian cooking, and both are staples that you should make anytime. First is her bolognese sauce -- great to simmer away all day while you're cleaning your house/apartment. Definitely make at least a double batch and freeze it. Second is her three-ingredient tomato sauce, which I've (embarrassingly) never made. Perhaps now's the time.

20200317_130123Breakfast was -- I have no idea what I ate for breakfast. A bit of cheese and an apple, I think? For lunch, I had leftover lentil soup, a small arugula salad, and some of my beloved Cheetos (I bought a bag of Baked Cheetos as part of my most recent hunker-down haul in the city; you know I had to bring those with me to CT for medicinal purposes).  As for dinner, one of the more interesting things in our pantry are a few jars of Watcharee Thai sauces. I've used their pad thai sauce before at home (tasty) and last night, took out a jar of their massaman curry sauce. They have a bunch of recipes on their site for utilizing their sauces, both for traditional versions of Thai dishes and more non-traditional recipes. I was aiming for a basic massaman curry, but realized quickly that we didn't have chicken breast, thighs, or cuts of beef more traditionally used in the dish, but we did have ground meats galore in the freezer. I thawed some ground chicken, and with this recipe in mind (which has caught my eye, but I haven't yet made), I made some chicken meatballs, browned them, and then followed the remainder of this recipe for chicken massaman curry.  Here's where I had to get a little creative. The Thai-inspired chicken meatball soup recipe I mentioned called for ginger, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro and fish sauce -- traditional Thai flavors. We had none of those things, so I added some grated onion, and a few Asian-ish ingredients: soy sauce and sriracha.  Definitely not as flavorful, but the curry sauce was so delicious that none of us seemed to mind. We served the dish over rice and, of course, I forgot to take a picture. 

COVID-19: A Food Diary, Day 2 - The Magic of a Well-Stocked Pantry and Freezer

Snack plateRemember how I mentioned that I'm staying at a house with a well-stocked larder? Well, that is most definitely an understatement. Just off the top of my head (pre-coffee), I know we have canned goods including beans, chickpeas, tomatoes, tuna, and vegetables; frozen fruits and vegetables; pasta galore; jarred sauces (tomato sauce, salsas, thai curry sauces); bulk goods like rice, lentils, baking staples (flour, sugar, baking soda) and popcorn; oils and vinegars; condiments up the wazoo; frozen ground meats and sausages; salamis and cheeses; potatoes and onions (no garlic!); trail mix, chips, crackers; and fresh fruits, veggies, bread, deli meats, eggs, milk, hummus, and butter. I'm probably forgetting a bunch, honestly. This means that I have a LOT to choose from, but generally, even in my tiny kitchen, I have a lot of this stuff on hand (in smaller quantities). I cannot stress the importance of having a well-stocked pantry generally, but particularly when times are tough. The NYT has a great article on stocking your pantry, and I found collections from Budget Bytes and Smitten Kitchen on pantry cooking.

RaosYesterday was a great example of pantry cooking. I made lentil soup for lunch, but left out the celery, garlic, and cumin (which we don't have) and added two links of chorizo that were in the freezer.  Snacks were some cheese, crackers, salami, and these corn nut things that Nagib likes (I have no idea what they are called). For dinner, we had a salad alongside pasta arrabbiata, made with jarred Rao's sauce -- it had been recommended to me and was really good for jarred sauce, with a spicy kick. Leftover brownies for dessert. 

COVID-19: A Food Diary

Hi all -- I know it has been forever and ever, but I figured with all the time I might as well do something productive on my dear old blog. Moxie and I are decamped in CT with a well-stocked larder, and we wanted to share everything we're eating while we're social distancing including recipes. The pantry and freezer are stocked to the brim, but we are being mindful of eating things that will go bad first, then attacking the rest. We got here Saturday and after a snack of cheese and crackers, we had some barbecued ribs (frozen with sauce; thawed and heated in the oven) and a salad for dinner.  Sunday brunch was bacon and a broccoli, mushroom and onion egg scramble, snack was hummus and pita chips, and dinner was a hangar steak, roasted potatoes and a salad. I made some chocolate chip brownies for dessert, which we served with ice cream.

Today is a normal work day, so we each did breakfast on our own (I had a toasted english muffin with butter and jam), and I am now making a pot of lentil soup -- some to eat sooner and some to freeze for later. Stay tuned for more and I'll start to take pictures as we go. Stay safe and healthy, everyone!