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Posts from April 2020

COVID-19: A Food Diary Days 28 & 29 - The Weekend!

20200412_185945Is it the weekend? Who knows, really. I came to the realization this weekend that I'm not really writing about pantry cooking. True, we are utilizing our pantry and freezer, but we have also been able to get ample groceries weekly including fresh fish, dairy, produce and goodies (dumplings! sushi! frozen pizza! artichoke dip!). What this means is that we do not really have to be super-creative, but it also means that these posts may get to be somewhat boring. This weekend we dug into that artichoke dip (great with homemade matzo, although I think that was Friday), and we had the sushi as an appetizer Sunday night. 

Saturday night we had a snack/appetizer of "bang bang" shrimp (frozen fried shrimp - from Whole Foods), and dinner was bacon cheeseburgers (ground beef from freezer) and rosemary garlic oven fries. Sunday brunch was an oven frittata/baked eggs with mushrooms and tomatoes with turkey breakfast sausage (from freezer) and mimosas (why? why not?! Easter, maybe?), and dinner was pasta with lobster (another grocery goodie), corn and scallions.  Lobster and corn makes me think of summer, which seems like ages away -- who knows what life will be like then? I didn't have a real recipe, so here's what I did. Sauteed a small shallot and the whites of two scallions in a bit of olive oil until fragrant, then added frozen corn and butter. A LOT of butter. While the pasta cooked (fresh, so pretty quick) added in picked lobster meat (thanks, Stew Leonard!), salt and pepper, and added cooked pasta to the "sauce" with pasta water as needed. I think lemon zest might have been a nice addition, but I didn't think of it, and maybe a touch of basil if you're in the mood.

COVID-19: A Food Diary Days 20 - 27 - This Weeks' Highlights

20200404_182438Um yeah. The daily thing didn't work for me this week. Oops. Instead, here's a highlight reel. On Saturday, R&N went out for groceries, both to Stew Leonard and to Halas Farm, so we were pretty flush this week. We dipped into the freezer and pantry for a few items, which I'll point out. Over the past few weeks we've had some discussions about foods that we miss, so from this weekend's haul, we had a crazy Saturday night banquet courtesy of Stew Leonard: sushi, fried chicken, and mac & cheese. It totally hit the spot.

Sunday night we had oven-roasted salmon and pan-grilled zucchini, each seasoned with a pre-made spice blend. They have a bunch of them in their pantry, as do I, but I tend to forget about them. I'll definitely have to re-visit them when I return home.  On Monday, we defrosted a steak from the freezer (I can't remember what cut it was), but N seasoned it with a delicious chimichurri spice blend before pan-grilling it. 20200406_203530We served it with some pre-made (Stew Leonard) stuffed mushrooms and a salad (we generally have a salad -- I've stopped mentioning it). On Tuesday we made steamed cod with green curry sauce using one of the jarred sauces from the pantry. I served it on top of some sauteed spinach and alongside garlicky green beans. On Wednesday, we had lentil pasta with a marinara sauce (jarred) and chorizo (from the freezer). None of us had eaten lentil pasta before and it was good -- maybe not quite a match for regular pasta, but infinitely better nutritionally (protein! fiber!). Thursday N made baked chicken breasts seasoned with a spice blend, corn on the cob, and pan-grilled zucchini (I'm eyeing the leftover corn to make this pasta with corn, bacon, and scallions), and last night we had pan-fried breaded pork chops (thawed from freezer) with a side of sweet and spicy brussels sprouts with bacon.

20200408_110020The pattern has been to buy fish at the store to eat early in the week and dive into the freezer for meats -- when we went back to the city a number of weeks ago, R&N visited their amazing local butcher and stocked up. Luckily they also have freezer space. At home, I have ordered meat in bulk a few times using Butcher Box when they had one-off specials. It has been delicious, but their regular subscription was too much for one person with a tiny freezer. That said, this whole ordeal has made me consider re-joining Butcher Box (not to mention figuring out how to fit a tiny chest freezer into a studio apartment).

The other big highlight of the week was Passover, or lack thereof. When this is all done I want to have a proper seder, or at least seder food, but I was able to at least make matzoh -- given the olive oil I'm sure it's not technically kosher, but it was easy and hit the spot.


COVID-19: A Food Diary Day 19 -- Snacky Time

20200406_104507I know, I'm still a few days behind. Maybe I'll catch up later, maybe I won't. Like I said, trying to be very forgiving to myself around here -- mental health is the #1 priority at the moment. Friday was a "typical" quarantine day. I started out with some mini croissants for breakfast, and then decided to break into the canned goods again. I made a simple chickpea salad with a can of rinsed and drained chickpeas, a small minced shallot, a diced tomato, and diced cucumber. I dressed it with a simple lemon garlic bottled vinaigrette that R&N like to keep in the house. I wasn't feeling like a full-on lunch, so made sort of a snacky lunch: cheese and salami with crackers and a bit of the chickpea salad mixed with a little za'atar (like I said, well-stocked pantry), followed by an apple with peanut butter.

I had arranged for a video chat catch-up with a friend and was inspired to make a daiquiri to sip on during our virtual happy hour. The only rum we have in the house is a spiced rum, so I went with that. I used 2 oz rum and and ounce each of lime juice and simple syrup and it turned out a bit too sweet; need to adjust the proportions next time. I nibbled on some of these amazing mixed nuts (I think I'm going to get some of these when I return home).

We rounded out the day with some spinach and cheese ravioli with browned butter, garlic, and parmesan cheese served with grilled (on the grill pan) zucchini. I have started recently to keep a package of ravioli of some sort in the freezer -- it's a nice change of pace from plain dried pasta and there are many fantastic options available at Trader Joe's (I'm a big fan of their corn, burrata and basil ravioli) and elsewhere if you can't find fresh ones near you.

COVID-19: A Food Diary Day 18 - Variety

Generally when I cook at home, I sometimes fall into ruts -- leaning on the same recipes over and over, buying the same staples, making a huge batch of something and eating it all week. Being in someone else's home provides a window into someone else's eating and cooking habits. We are definitely on the same page with regard to having a well-stocked pantry, for sure. I have noticed that my pantry at home leans a bit more international -- I always have coconut milk and various Asian condiments, and I have way more beans (I love them, R doesn't eat them so this is a bean-free zone). One thing we have that most everyone has in their pantry is canned tuna. I love a good tuna melt, but sometimes you need more variety. 

My father introduced me to Flour Bakery & Cafe in Boston, where they make an excellent curried tuna sandwich (this link has recipes for other sandwiches too, bonus!). It has become a great option for when regular tuna doesn't quite cut it. I skipped the raisins and sprouts (don't have them) and used shallot instead of onion. I served it up with a side of pickles and chips -- a perfect lunch.

The rest of the day consisted of a small cheese omelette for breakfast and lamb chops with roasted broccoli for dinner. Yes, I forgot to take pictures. Sigh.

COVID-19: A Food Diary Days 15, 16, 17 - Catching Up

Sigh. Sorry about that. This retired blogger is not used to writing every day and, given the circumstances, I'm cutting myself a LOT of slack these days and treating myself with kindness and compassion. It's okay not to work out every day -- a walk and meditation is fine. It's okay if my eating habits are wonky. The goal is to keep the anxiety at bay and to stay safe and healthy. Period.

To make up for my lack of posts, I want to offer you some goodies. First, an app I discovered called Supercook. The idea is that you type in the ingredients you have and it searches for recipes on the internet that contain those ingredients. Sounds good in theory, but I'd imagine that it would take some time on the front end inputting your inventory. I haven't explored it yet, but if you do, let me know. Next, I wanted to introduce you to a meal planning/shopping list/recipe collecting app that I have been using for a few years called Plan to Eat. It does cost $19.50 a year, but I find it to be worth it. I clip all my online recipes to the app and use it as my regular shopping list. In addition, for the times that I do actual meal planning, I use it for that as well. Finally, I wanted to collect some of the recipes that folks have posted on Facebook in response to my cooking posts. 


So what have we been eating since Sunday? For me, breakfasts have been either banana bread or yogurt, fruit and granola, lunch has been tomato soup and/or leftovers of some sort. Let's see if I can remember dinner. On the last grocery run, N picked up a bunch of fish. Monday night we had oven-baked lemon-pepper flounder with asparagus (I basically used this recipe, added some lemon-pepper seasoning, and cooked the asparagus on the sheet pan for about 5 minutes before adding the flounder); Tuesday we had seared tuna steaks with a mixed green salad; and last night we had pizza assembled from pre-baked flatbread, jarred marinara sauce, mozzarella, ham, tomatoes and mushrooms. I cannot express how delicious the pizza was -- it totally hit the spot and is something I truly have missed. I don't even think I eat pizza that much normally -- maybe it was just a reminder of NYC, home, and normalcy. Joe's and Otto, I'm coming for you when I return.