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What’s Cooking in our Families During the Coronavirus?

May 29, 2020 Barbara Ballinger & Margaret Crane

With most of us being stuck inside during the pandemic and with more time on our hands, we’ve all been doing a lot of cooking. We’ve tried new methods and new recipes we’ve never made before. Since we so miss in-person contact with our family members, we email, text, telephone, and Zoom schmooze with them regularly. One of the main topics of conversation turns to what’s cooking and especially, “what did you make last night that was terrific?” So, we thought it would be fun to share some of our family members’ faves. We’ve learned to make bread, especially bagels that get boiled and baked, and more vegetarian dishes since we can’t find meat or seafood all the time or at normal affordable prices. And we’ve loved seeing what others are making on Facebook posts, Instagram, and the new KitchenQuarantine group site. 

Enjoy these recipes from our families who are scattered all the way from Los Angeles and Denver to East and North—all the way up to Montreal and down to the Hudson River Valley of N.Y., New York City, Hoboken, N.J., and Baltimore. Feel free to send us your latest and greatest recipes, too. 

Tracy Maurice (partner) & Tommy Crane (Margaret’s son), Montreal, Canada

 

 

Black Bean Beauty Burgers  

This recipe was created by Sarah Britton, the holistic nutritionist, writer and photographer behind the popular healthy foods blog, My New Roots. We have modified it slightly, adding substitutions that we have tried and loved.  

If you like this recipe, you can find other great recipes on her blog, https://www.mynewroots.org 

Makes 6 burgers, we usually eat 2 and freeze the other 4 

Ingredients: 

1/2 red onion

1 red bell pepper

4 – 5 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 tsp. ground chipotle pepper (double the amount for extra kick)

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. sea salt (plus more to taste)

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1/2 cup almonds

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1 15.5 oz. can, or 1 cup cooked black beans (drained well)

1 tsp onion powder

2 tablespoons of water

3/4 cup of wheat germ (we substitute with 1/2 gluten free oats, and 1/4 cup of flax seeds) 

Preparation: 

Put one half of a medium-sized, peeled onion in a food processor and pulse until minced. Add 1 red bell pepper and pulse just until finely chopped (if there is a lot of juice, drain in a colander, otherwise the burgers might be too wet). Set them aside in a medium bowl.

Combine the garlic, spices, salt, almonds, sunflower seeds, and oil in the food processor and pulse until the texture resembles breadcrumbs. Add cilantro and pulse until the cilantro is well incorporated. Transfer mixture to the bowl with the onion and pepper.

Put the black beans and water in the food processor and process until smooth. Add this mixture to the bowl along with the wheat germ (or if you do not have wheatgerm you can substitute with 1/2 of gluten free oats, and 1/4 cup of flax seeds, pulse so that the texture is similar to a course flour). Mix (preferably with your hands) completely, and then taste for seasoning – you may want to add more salt, spices, or herbs at this point.

Separate bean mixture into six balls and shape into patties. Make sure the patties are not too thin or they will fall apart.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes until heated through (flipping halfway to get it crisp on both sides) or alternatively, grill for 8 minutes on each side, until slightly browned. Baking is recommended over pan frying, as they dry out a bit and still get a nice crispy texture. 

Enjoy with your favorite burger fixings: mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, tomato, lettuce, onion, avocado, arugula, pickles, shredded cheese, be creative! 

Note: We have also adapted this recipe to make vegetarian meatballs. Replace wheat germ with 1/2 cup breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup parmesan. Also, the recipe calls for a food processor to mince or chop, if you don’t have one a blender is likely to be a good substitute or finely hand chop the ingredients with the almonds & sunflower seeds, put them in a Ziplock bag and pound them until the texture resembles breadcrumbs. This recipe is very forgiving; the key is to make sure that you don’t add too much moisture.  


Mary Anne Rothberg Rowen (Margaret’s younger sister), New York City, N.Y.

 

Mushroom-Parmesan Tart (loosely adapted from Klancy Miller, New York Times)

Serves 4-6 

 Ingredients: 

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced

 Kosher salt

1 ¼ pounds sliced cremini mushrooms (about 8 cups or two containers)

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (from 4 sprigs fresh thyme)

 Black pepper

2 large eggs

⅓ cup heavy cream

5 ounces Parmesan, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 pre-made frozen pie shell 

Preparation: 

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium. Add the onion, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and slightly browned in spots, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. 

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet and heat over medium. Add the mushrooms and thyme, season with a pinch of salt and generous amount of pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender, and their liquid has evaporated, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer to the large mixing bowl with the onion and let cool completely. 

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and cream; season with salt and pepper. Pour into the bowl with the mushroom mixture, add the grated parmesan cheese, and stir until combined. Pour the mushroom mixture into the pie-shell crust and, using a spoon, spread it evenly with a rubber spatula. 

Bake tart for about 40 minutes, until the crust and filling are golden-brown. Let cool 10 minutes in the pan, then serve hot. 

Delicious with a spinach salad. 

MAR’s Spinach Salad 

Ingredients: 

1 5-oz. container fresh, pre-washed spinach

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

½ cup shelled pistachios

1 avocado, thinly sliced lengthwise

4 clementines, peeled and pieces separated

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Balsamic Vinegar 

Preparation: 

Combine spinach, onion, pistachios, avocado and clementine pieces in a salad bowl. Toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste. 

 

Joanna Buchholz (Barbara’s elder daughter), Hoboken, N.J.

 

King Arthur Flour Banana Crumb Muffins, as seen in the New York Times

 Makes 12 muffins 

Ingredients, topping:

½ cup King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, room temperature 

Ingredients, muffins:

1 ½ cups King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

3 large, ripe bananas, mashed

¾ cup sugar

1 egg, slightly beaten

⅓ cup butter or margarine, melted

Preparation:

For the topping, in a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Add butter or margarine and mix with a fork or pastry cutter until crumbly. Put aside while preparing muffin batter.

For the muffins, in large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Set aside.

In another bowl, combine mashed bananas, sugar, slightly beaten egg and melted butter or margarine. Mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

Fill greased muffin cups two-thirds full. (Do not use paper muffin cups!) Using hands, arrange coarse, pea-sized crumbs over muffin batter.

Bake at 375 F. degrees for 18 to 20 minutes or until muffins test done with a cake tester. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

For the topping, in a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar and cinnamon. Add butter or margarine and mix with a fork or pastry cutter until crumbly. Put aside while preparing muffin batter. 

For the muffins, in large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Set aside. 

In another bowl, combine mashed bananas, sugar, slightly beaten egg and melted butter or margarine. Mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. 

Fill greased muffin cups two-thirds full. (Do not use paper muffin cups!) Using hands, arrange coarse, pea-sized crumbs over muffin batter. 

Bake at 375 F. degrees for 18 to 20 minutes or until muffins test done with a cake tester. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. 

Malo's Ground Beef and Pickle Taco, Food & Living, Zach Behrens

Ingredients:

1lb ground beef

2 boiled russet potatoes (cut into small dices)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon dry oregano

2 tablespoons paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

8 oz cheddar cheese grated

Small jar pickle chips
Soft Corn tortillas

Preparation:

Sauté ground beef in olive oil (1/4 cup oil). Add all the dry spices and cook 5 minutes add cooked diced potatoes. Continue to cook 8-10 minutes.

Remove from heat let cool on counter 30 minutes.

Heat corn tortillas and fill them with the beef and potato mixture. Close both ends with a toothpick. Fry them in canola oil about 2 minutes on each side

Once cooked, place them on a paper towel, remove toothpicks and open.

Add cheddar cheese and kosher pickle chips.


Barbara Ballinger, Hudson River Valley, N.Y.

Barbara’s Bagels (From Amanda Hesser, Food52, based on Kenzi Wilbur’s recipe, plus a YouTube video to form the bagels

 

Makes 6 or 7 depending on size you shape them or could make more mini ones!

Ingredients: 

1/2 cups (1 pound) unbleached flour

3 teaspoons coarse kosher salt, divided for different uses in the recipe

3/4 teaspoon instant yeast

1 tablespoon honey

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons room-temp or slightly warm water

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 egg white, optional

Seeds of some kind for topping, sesame, poppy or everything 

Preparation:

Mix the flour, 2 teaspoons of the salt, the yeast, honey, and the water until everything begins to form into dough. You can use a mixer if you like, but it's simpler by hand. It'll be a stiff dough, as there's not much water, but this makes it sturdy enough to withstand a dunk in boiling water later. Feel free to add a bit more water if necessary, but you shouldn't need much. 

Let the dough rest for 5 minutes while you find a place in your tiny apartment on which to knead. 

Knead on a floured surface for about 3 minutes -- the dough will get smooth, a little tacky. 

Now put your lovely little dough ball into an oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it hang in the fridge for a few hours, or at least an hour. (I've left it for both 45 minutes and 4 hours, and both batches turned out fine.) 

When you're ready to shape the bagels, line a baking sheet with lightly greased parchment paper. Then remove the dough from the fridge, and cut it into 6 or 8 pieces, depending on how large or small you'd like your bagels to be. (I find that 6 pieces yields my kind of bagel: not puny.) Form each piece into a ball, and then each ball into a 10-inch log, with tapered ends. (Don't use any flour on your surface! You'll need the dough to stick just slightly in order for it to change shape.) 

To shape the bagels, place one end of one dough log in between your thumb and forefinger, and then wrap it around the rest of your fingers -- the dough ends should overlap by an inch or two -- and squeeze it slightly to bind it together. Once you do this, you can also roll the ends together on a surface to enhance the seal. Extra security is never a bad thing. 

Repeat for all of the bagels, then lightly oil them and cover with plastic wrap. Put them in the fridge to proof overnight. Invite guests over for brunch. 

About an hour and a half before you want to bake them, pull the bagels out of the fridge to come to room temperature, and fill a large pot (I use a Dutch oven) to at least 4 inches deep. Cover and bring it to a boil. When it boils, add 1 teaspoon of salt and the baking soda, then turn it down to a simmer. 

Crank the oven to 500° F. 

Now test the bagels by using the float test: fill a bowl with cold water, and place one bagel in it. If it floats, they're all ready to go. If not, you haven't failed: just return it to the baking sheet and let proof for 15 to 20 minutes more, then do the test again. 

Working in batches that will fit in your pot, carefully drop each bagel into the simmering water, let poach for 1 minute, and flip with a slotted spoon or a spider. Poach 30 seconds more, and then return each bagel to the baking sheet. 

And, the fun part: sprinkle your bagels with whatever topping you want. To help your toppings stick, use an egg whitewash, but the residual water from the poach should do the trick, too. Seeds are great, as is big flake or rock salt. 

You're so close: slip them in the oven and reduce the heat to 450° F. Bake for 8 minutes, rotate the sheet, and bake 8 to 12 minutes more, until the bagels are golden brown. Feel free to check the bottom of the bagels as they cook -- if they're getting too brown, just stick another baking sheet underneath them (a baking stone works, too). 

Pull them from the oven and wait an excruciating 30 minutes before you eat them. Slice and freeze in individual baggies those you won’t consume that day, so they retain their freshness. 

Lucy Buchholz Leibowitz (Barbara’s younger daughter) & Steve Leibowitz (son-in-law), Baltimore, MD.

 

Fresh Spring Rolls (From Cookie and Kate blog, https://cookieandkate.com/fresh-spring-rolls-recipe/)

 

Ingredients:

Thin rice noodles
Butter lettuce
Red cabbage (or green cabbage)
Carrot
Cucumber
Jalapeño (skip if you’re very sensitive to spice)
Green onion, cilantro and mint

Preparation:

Spring rolls can seem intimidating, but you’ll get the hang of it quickly, I promise. If you have folded a burrito before, you can definitely make spring rolls! Don’t stress if your spring rolls aren’t totally perfect. A few tips:

1) Make the base

Start by placing a few pieces of lettuce about one-third from the bottom of the circular wrapper. The width of your fillings will determine the width of the spring roll. You want to leave a couple inches open on the two sides for wrapping purposes.

2) Pile on the ingredients

Then, add the remaining ingredients. The exact order doesn’t matter much. Just pile them on top, making sure to take up the proper width. It’s ok if the fillings spill upward. I try to leave the top one-third of the wrapper open for wrapping.

3) Roll the filling

Gently pull the bottom of the wrapper up and over the lower portion of the filling. Try to keep the fillings compact as you roll upwards, just until the fillings are enveloped.

4) Envelope the sides and roll it up

Pull each side over to enclose the filling. Continue wrapping upward until your spring roll is fully wrapped!

Peanut dipping sauce

Ingredients:

¾ cup creamy peanut butter

¼ cup rice vinegar

⅓ cup reduced sodium tamari or reduced-sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons honey

1 ½ teaspoons grated fresh ginger or ½ teaspoon ground ginger

1 to 2 medium cloves garlic, pressed or minced, to taste

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more for sprinkling

2 to 4 tablespoons water or coconut milk, or as necessary to reach your desired consistency

Optional garnishes: sprinkling of chopped roasted peanuts and additional red pepper flakes

Preparation:

In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup or medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the ingredients until well blended. If your peanut butter is particularly thick, you may need to use the full 4 tablespoons of water to thin out the mixture (or more, if necessary).

Feel free to adjust to taste here—for example, sometimes I want my sauce savorier and add another clove of garlic, or a little sweeter, so I add extra honey.

If you’re serving the sauce as a party dip, transfer it to a serving bowl and sprinkle with chopped peanuts and red pepper flakes for some visual interest!

 

Carol Bivins (Margaret’s sister-in-law) & Keith Rothberg (Margaret’s brother), Denver, CO.

 

Homemade Bagels/From: Taste of Home

Prep: 30 min. + rising
Bake: 20 min. + cooling

Makes 1 dozen 

This batch was made according to the recipe -- earlier I substituted wheat flour and whole milk as it was what we had on hand. These look better! 

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon active dry yeast

1-1/4 cups warm 2% milk (110° to 115°)

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg yolk

3-3/4 to 4-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Sesame or poppy seeds, optional

Preparation:

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add the butter, sugar, salt and egg yolk; mix well. Stir in enough flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Shape into 12 balls. Push thumb through centers to form a 1-1/2-in. hole. Stretch and shape dough to form an even ring. Place on a floured surface. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes; flatten bagels slightly.

Fill a Dutch oven two-thirds full of water; bring to a boil. Drop bagels, two at a time, into boiling water. Cook for 45 seconds; turn and cook 45 seconds longer. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain well on paper towels.

Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds if desired. Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.

Margaret Crane, New York City, N.Y.

 

Chicken Francese (from the New York Times, Dec. 12, 2018) with several alterations. similar to Chicken Piccata.

 Time: 35 Minutes   

Makes 4 servings 

Ingredients: 

2 eggs

2 tablespoons whole milk or half n’ half

1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning

½ teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon of flour (optional) to thicken the sauce

3 to 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1 lemon thinly sliced; seeds removed

½ cup dry white whine

2 cups chicken stock

¼ cup brined capers, rinsed

½ cup mushrooms

3 to 4 tablespoons freshly minced parsley

4 to 6 large boneless, skinless chicken cutlets (buy the cutlets thinly sliced, or buy regular boneless breasts and slice them in half horizontally to make think pieces) 

Preparation: 

In wide, shallow bowl, whisk eggs, milk or half n ’half, salt and pepper until blended. Place the flour in a separate bowl. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.

In a wide skillet, heat olive and vegetable oils over medium heat until simmering
Working in batches to avoid crowding the pan, lightly dredge the chicken in flour and shave off excess. Dip into egg batter, let excess batter drip back into the bowl and place in the skillet. Fry, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Adjust the heat as the cutlets cook so they brown slowly and evenly, with a steady bubbling. Transfer to the paper-towel-lined pan and repeat with remaining cutlets.

When all cutlets are browned, remove from the heat and pour off the oil. Wipe out the pan with paper towels. Return the pan to low heat.

If making the lemon slices, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter and then scatter the lemon slices over the bottom of the pan. Cook, stirring gently occasionally, until the lemon slices are golden and browning around the edges, about 3 minutes. Scoop out the lemon slices and set them aside. 

Add 3 tablespoons of butter, the wine, lemon juice, capers, and mushrooms, and bring to a boil. Boil until the liquid is syrupy 3 to 4 minutes. Pour in the stock, bring to a boil, and cook until thickened into a sauce, about 5 minutes. It will thicken more when you add the cutlets. (If you like the sauce thicker, you might throw in a pinch or up to a teaspoon of flour, but that’s optional.) 

Taste and adjust the seasons with lemon, salt and pepper; it should be quite lemony and not too salty.

Reduce the heat, tuck the cutlets into the pan and simmer very gently until the sauce is velvety and the chicken pieces are heated through; about 4 minutes. Turn the cutlets over occasionally in the sauce. Place the browned lemon slices on top. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve spooning some of the sauce over each serving. 

Serve with angel hair pasta and a dry white wine such as a Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley (Margaret’s daughter Remy works for the winery). 

Remy Crane (Margaret’s daughter) and Kristina Hontalas (partner), Los Angeles, CA

Spanakopita, Opa!

Ingredients:

3 eggs (beat eggs) 

1 cup of olive oil 

1 container of ricotta cheese (about a pint) 

1 (about) pint of feta crumbled 

3 heaping tablespoons of dry dill 

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of pepper

1 bunch of scallions/green onion (chopped) 

1 package of filo dough (whole foods sells this in freezer section) 

2 packages of fresh spinach  

Preparation (with tips below)

There's no correct order for this but here's what we do.  

Defrost the filo dough over night

In a large mixing bowl add the spinach, feta, olive oils, ricotta, salt, dill, pepper, scallions. Use hands (this is the best way) and mix it all together  

Add eggs and mix those in until all consistent - this is now the filling 

Use large aluminum foil pan or large baking pan with sides and oil the bottom. 

Lay out one filo dough sheet and lightly brush olive oil all over and add 2 more layers -each one with olive oil in-between each sheet 

Add filling evenly all over 

Add top later 2-3 sheets (lightly brush olive oil between each sheet again including the very top) 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and cook for 45 minutes to an hour - light golden brown is the aim.

 *Tips: 
-On the bottom layer, use some extra filo dough hanging off the edges to fold over the sides after adding in the filling

-De-stem each spinach leaf, not necessary but makes filling look better

Serve with a salad.

 

 

 

 




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