We’re cooking a lot more during the quarantine since we can’t go out, and we’ve been cooking with a limited set of ingredients since popping out to the store for a missing ingredient is not something you want to do. It has made us more creative, and I think some of the list below will makes its way into our regular repertoire once this is all over.
We pretty much never followed any of these linked recipes 100%. I followed the spirit of the recipes, making substitutions where needed.
We also made a lot of these multiple times.
A few general tips:
Sauces are important and make bland things better. I currently have a yogurt sauce, a chipotle sauce, a stir fry sauce, and aioli in the fridge. We pull them out and put them on everything.
Marinades make old meat from the back of the freezer taste better.
Save lots of vegetable and meat scraps and make stock with them for other meals.
Kefir substitutes pretty well for buttermilk in baking recipes.
Juice that is about to expire can be frozen into ice cube trays for use in cooking or blender cocktails later.
Commercial yeast can be kept going just like you do a sourdough. Don’t fret if you are on your last packet!
Check with local food distribution companies, whose main clients (restaurants) aren’t ordering as much. Many in the NY area have started delivering to homes, which is awesome. My parents found one in Ohio that is doing pick ups.
Some hand-made pasta that was okay, but we are searching for better recipes.
Gnocchi with bacon, broccoli and a quasai cream sauce based on sourcream. Not bad, but wouldn’t make it again
My early breads didn’t rise. Turns out I forgot to flatten them down and get the air out before the second rise
We tried to use mini cast iron skillets and make individual serve mac and cheese from some boxed stuff we had that we put more cheese and bread crumbs over then baked. Make it special, you know? It was terrible, though. Dry, overcooked, and crunchy. Not having milk didn’t help the situation…
In these times of quarantine, we are passing the time with cocktails, board games, books, and baking. But we don’t want to drink up all of the whiskey right away, so we are turning to less-used bottles and getting creative.
This week? Chartreuse!
Yellow or Green? Whichever you have. Yellow is a little sweeter, lower proof, and less bitter than Green, but both are delicious.
The most well known Chartreuse cocktail is the Last Word. The bad thing is that I don’t have any citrus, and I bet few of you do, either. So I got to work digging through books and asking bartenders I respect on Twitter what their favorite Chartreuse drinks are. Here are three that don’t need citrus, plus notes on variations.
I know, not a great name for the current time. But that is what it is called.
This is a classic cocktail from the 1895 Modern American Drinks by George J. Kappeler. It is considered a digestif, so drink it after dinner.
Want to get into bread baking during this quarantine but don’t know where to start? Here are two ideas:
Navajo Flatbread: Simple and fast, minimum ingredients, no yeast needed. Most cultures have something like this. Think naan, pita, frybread, etc. H/t to Ilya Radchenko for sharing this link!
No-knead bread – Simplest regular loaf-style bread I know about. From Jim Lahey at Sullivan Street Bakery. Needs yeast and a dutch oven to bake. I use this same recipe but sub in sourdough starter for the yeast and give it a long fermentation in the fridge before baking. H/t to Tyler Machovina for sharing this recipe with me 4 years ago, and for sharing the sourdough starter with me!
My friend Erin Carlson put together a great seed starting guide for beginners. Now is a great time to get your hands dirty and grow some stuff, whether in pots or in a garden!
Erin has been very helpful with advice for getting our garden going at our new house and we’ve shared seeds for the past couple years. And she makes very cool fiber art! If you don’t follow her, you should.
The marinade I want to make calls for soy sauce, which I’m out of. What can I use instead?
Marinades are essentially mixes of three components:
Soy sauce fills both the Umami and Salt components. In its place, you can try:
Balsamic vinegar with a less of the other acid component you are using
Making your own Marinades
Want to experiment with making your own marinades? Try one from each category, then add olive oil and your favorite spices, and give it a shot:
Apple cider vinegar
Rice wine vinegar
Red wine vinegar
Italian salad dressing
Well…salt. There are different kinds, so you get the idea. Smoked salt is pretty great!
Note: None of these combinations will taste the same. You’ll like some more than others. Some components are stronger than others. I like to taste each component and be mindful of how the flavors will come out in the finished dish. Keep in mind other ingredients and the cooking method.
Did you panic buy a bunch of rice and have no idea what to do with it?
My favorite rice condiment
If you happen to have a bunch of fresh ginger and scallions, make Momofuku’s ginger scallion sauce. It is wonderful. A bowl of rice, chicken thighs, and a soft-boiled egg, all slathered in this sauce, is one of my top 5 favorite meals.
Sadly, I don’t have any scallions right now and I’m not particularly keen on going to the grocery store here in NY. Thankfully, I have some items in my pantry to get me through and I want to share them with you, Dear Reader.
Things to order on Amazon while you can still get deliveries
Vermont Curry – This is a Japanese curry that is delicious and versatile. You can use chicken, beef, pork, or tofu for the protein and whatever veggies you have on-hand. Frozen veggies work, too! My favorite is chicken, potatoes, and broccoli.