Covid Cooking. And Eating.

And drinking. It’s totally a thing. My kids have stayed healthy, thank the Universe, but my daughter missed the end of her senior year in high school, and my son missed the end of eight grade. No big deal compared to what some are suffering. I get that. But it does make me want to nurture them. For me that means food. (Shocking, I know.)

Since I was working four ten hour days for a few months, that meant I had three days off a week. What that REALLY meant was that I had no good excuse to get out of cooking dinner!

I’ve made some old favorites and discovered some new ones, thanks to Pinterest and my FB friends. My favorite finds of 2020 thus far are: Homemade falafel, veggie burger breakfast sandwiches, and ramen bowls. All vegetarian, but not vegan, because of our pescetarian kid. Oh! And I put everything bagel seasoning on a pizza crust before I baked it. That was good, too. It’s raw dough from the grocery store, but the trick to making it awesome (which I learned from my husband, lol) is to let it proof, press it out, let it proof, press it out, let it proof, press it out…until it stays at the edges of the pan. Then top it. Let it proof…and ta da!

I’m a falafel fan, and this one from Foodie with Family is great. Don’t double it. I made that mistake. The recipe will make enough! If you make the tahini sauce, add water. It really needs it. This pic is from our Quarantine Birthday Passover Fafafel fest.

I can’t stop eating these:

Three friends and I go on a yearly writers’ retreat to an Airbnb above a vegetarian cafe where I had the most epic breakfast sandwich ever. Of Covid-course, it got canceled this year, but the cafe lists the ingredients on their menu! Wheee! TRY IT. My version goes like this: broil a quinoa crunch veggie burger for eight minutes. Flip it. Hard fry an egg while you broil the veggie burger for another six minutes. Okay, fine, maybe you prefer your eggs over easy or whatever. Do that then. 🙂 Get a bun. I like brioche buns. Put your veggie burger on the bun. Add cheese if you, like me, believe everything needs cheese. Put your egg on there too. Now, you are gonna have to trust me. Spread peanut butter, apricot preserves, and Sriracha on the top bun. I know. Sounds weird. Maybe you’d rather combine those ingredients and THEN put them on the bun. I’ve done it both ways several times. Like I said, I can’t stop eating this sandwich. OH MY GOD SO GOOD.

And I don’t know about you, but I love me a ramen bowl, and the kids do, too. HOWEVER, I am not spending hours in the kitchen making broth. Nope. I spend hours doing a ton of other shit. SO! I needed a recipe that was good but not too time consuming, preferably vegetarian. BOOM. Pinterest via Supper with Michelle delivered. I’ve made this a few times, and it’s super. My cheap hack: I use the packaged Ramen noodles minus the flavor pack. The in-laws gave us a space-age egg cooker for Hannukah, so I add egg, avocado, grated carrot, barely cooked zuccini noodles, scallions, baby pepper rings, kimchi…and I usually grill a chicken on the side for the omnivores in the family. Slurp, slurp, yum! And I don’t have to agonize over the broth.

Last, but certainly not least…an oldie but goodie. Since my husband built a bar in the garage…since the bar-age has recently acquired a commercial grade drink blender…since it’s June…since the past four months have been a little blurry anyway…my favorite homemade margarita!

I hope you are finding ways to nurture yourself, your people, and strangers during these strange days.

XOXO,

Amanda

In Like a Lamb…then ROAR!

I work in a grocery store. Last week was mostly normal. I was crunching numbers for Pi Day (3/14) and the only thing I was concerned about was the fact it was happening on a Saturday. I wondered how many teachers and math loving parents wouldn’t bother buying pies…

Fast forward a few days, and the shelves are bare of paper products and meat, and every bakery employee who is able to cash (including the department manager) is on a register. Bakery employee who can’t cash (that’s me) are cleaning like their lives depend on it, which they kind of do, or putting away the very unpredictable deliveries. In some cases, we don’t even stock the display, we just drop a pallet near the display. It’s faster.

…and NO ONE is buying pies. Or cakes. Or cookies. Or basically anything in the bakery except bread. Me? I’d totally bring home a sheet cake for the apocalypse, but evidence puts me in the minority.

My kids are home until late April AT LEAST. I’ve always know I’d be a terrible homeschooler, but I’m trying to keep up with the e-mails from teachers about how this next month will proceed. Even though I’ve always made their grades their responsibility, I suddenly feel the need to micromanage. My children are, for the most part, tolerant of my parental anxiety.

My oldest is headed for college next year. What will that look like? I just signed both of my girls up for expensive college-credit classes…now cancelled. Let’s not even look at the stock market.

What to do in this time of uncertainty? Well, I want to stick my nose in a book and leave it there for two months. That’s what I do in times of adversity. I retreat. Pull inward. It’s easy for me. I read Pat Conroy’s Beach Music through most of an induced but “natural” labor. I read Bryn Greenwood’s The Reckless Oath We Made while planning my father’s funeral. Currently, I’m binging KA Tucker’s The Simple Wild series and Kari Lynn Dell’s Texas Rodeo series AT THE SAME TIME. (They’re great. Just in case you need a new book.)

I also made these.

The spring roll wrappers have probably been in the cupboard for five years. AT LEAST. And the black soy bean noodles have been spinning on the lazy susan for months, rejected. The cilantro somehow escaped taco night a few weeks ago and is still mostly fresh. Put them all together with this sauce and you’ve got black soy bean, cilantro, romaine, cucumber (and chicken for the non-pescatarians in my house) spring rolls! Culinary creativity at it’s finest. LOL. Which actually gives me an idea, as I sit here at my kitchen table. My son likes to cook. He might enjoy a “mystery basket” experience in the kitchen. Do you think *I* can handle the resulting culinary consequences? And the bomb that will be my kitchen? Maybe it will be fun?

Isolation isn’t easy for some people. Introverted bookworms like me are pretty okay. We hang out with fictional characters. Plus, I still go to work. At present, my job in the grocery store continues. But the people who thrive on social contact will struggle. Are you one of those people? How do YOU find ways to connect that don’t involve actually being near another person? Please share. 🙂

I’m off to work. Namaste (from six feet away) and stay healthy!