Maybe it’s the sun warming us up a bit, but we seem to have settled into a new rhythm around here. Of course, if it is raining and dreary tomorrow I may be singing a different tune.
The Westport schools offered the kids their own Chromebooks for Google Classroom which has freed me up a little bit to work independently from James and is a huge help. I have been blown away at all of the online offerings for kids’ learning and moving. When we need to get the wiggles out, we have plugged into Cosmic Kids Yoga. James is really into it, and likes to do it alone (my favorite part).
A few months back, I participated in a podcast on Heritage Radio Network called Processing hosted by my chef friend, Zahra, and her therapist mom, Bobbie. I will write more about that another time, but one of the highlights of my week is that they hosted me back on the show as a roundup of previous guests and their experience with the pandemic/ stay at home/ scary time. The whole premise of Processing is about the intersection of food and grief. Zahra and Bobbie wanted to know what I have been cooking and how food is currently playing a role in my reaction to quarantine. Well, a whole heck of a lot.
I think our relationship to food and cooking can define family experiences and inform our feelings of security. I pretty much have always loved cooking, and feel a sense of warm satisfaction out of feeding those I care about. But now, this is like my JOB. Even when days feel, well, crappy I look forward to the evening when I make a quick supper for James and have him sit in the kitchen with me while I start prepping dinner. There is something therapeutic about the constance of chopping, stirring, and making something delicious. And not fancy delicious, just simple good food to share.
Here are some simple delicious things you can whip up with ingredients that hopefully you should be able to find right now.
Chipotle Bean Grain Bowls with Green Salsa
Everyone I make this for loves it: vegans, veggies, just regular hungry people. I adapted this recipe from Smitten Kitchen.
You could use any bean or grains for this recipe. I have used rice, quinoa, farro, and barley. I love the use of under-loved red kidney beans here, but you could sub in black, white, whatever beans. I top the bowl with any assortment of sour cream, guac, toasted pepitas, roasted tomatoes. This is a liberal situation!
This is the salsa verde I am currently obsessed with:
Toss into a food processor
12 -14 tomatillos, quartered
2 scallions, chopped
1 avocado, sliced
Handful of cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper
Pulse ingredients together until somewhere between chunky and pureed. Voila.
Alison Roman’s Celery Blue Cheese Walnut Salad
This is great for “on the fence” salad people. It’s crunchy and rich, and packed with healthy greens. I added some toasted barley the last time I made it so it could serve as a whole supper.
Pesto, oh how I love thee. The minute they announced school closures here, I high tailed it to the market and stocked up on fresh veggies. The first thing I did was make pesto for the freezer. Pesto traditionally is made with basil, but I also make it with arugula or kale or any green leafy thing or herb.
Here is my basic formula:
Bunch of green basil/ kale/ arugula
1/4 cup pine nuts (walnuts work great too), toasted
1/4 t lemon zest, grated or chopped
1 garlic clove
pinch of red pepper flakes
sea salt and pepper
1/2 cup olive oil (if you can, score some Frankie’s!)
Toss all ingredients except the oil into a food processor. Pulse a few times to chop the greens and garlic. Then using the feed tube, drizzle in the olive oil while the processor is running. This will emulsify the oil and create a velvety pesto.
Voila! Toss with pasta, roasted veggies, or grains. Frankly, I would put the stuff on my cereal.
Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cooks Ilustrated is the real deal when it comes to recipe testing. I trust all of their baking recipes.
Makes 18 large cookies
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
2 t vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips (they call for semisweet, I prefer Ghiradelli 60% bittersweet)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Either by hand or with an electric mixer, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add dry ingredients and beat until just combined. Stir in chips.
Roll scant 1/4 cup dough into balls. Then lightly smoosh onto cookie sheet. Bake, reversing the position of the cookie sheet halfway through baking time. Bake 15-18 minutes until cookies are a light golden brown. Cool and eat!
Keep hanging in there. And don’t watch the news too much. And wash your hands.