As resources become scarcer and going out becomes more dangerous, I hunkered down to figure out what I can do with what I have on hand. I think this is the way lots of people are thinking in the days of Covid-19. I follow lots of chefs on Twitter and Insta and love what they are doing with the current situation. Ina Garten asked followers to post what they had in their pantry and she has been reworking her classic recipes into doable meals based on different ingredients. Jamie Oliver also retooled his feed to showcase cooking for your family with what is on hand- granted he has an enormous garden and lots of dry goods, but it still gives inspiration for ways we can reimagine our raw ingredients. His hashtag is Keep Cooking and Carry On. Tom Colicchio started the hashtag cooking in crisis and it has been a dizzying amount of gorilla-style recipes home and celebrity chefs are cooking daily. Michael Symon also has an Insta and Twitter series going, #symondinners and highlights his 10 day plan for dinners with what is on hand. I love it!
That brings me to my own pantry. I keep it pretty stocked. I dabble in meals and love to bake. Last Sunday I made a meal plan for the next 14 days just in case we had to be home or the stores were out of our normal stock. This meal plan was predicated on picking up a few items, but unfortunately, between panic-buying and Spring Breakers flooding into my Florida town, the shelves were pretty bare. I think many people are finding themselves in that situation and my advice is look to the ethnic aisles. People are mostly buying up pasta, sauces, canned meals etc., but the Indian, Thai, Mexican and Chinese sections were healthy on stock. The jarred curries, thai sauces, varied beans and noodles are great alternatives and if you throw in some frozen veggies, rice, or polenta, make a hearty meal.
Here are some pics of my meals thus far this week (past six days). I went for multi-night meals that could be easily reheated. Root vegetables are very shelf stable and many people have proteins in their freezer. It is about what can we do with what we have.
Roasted Pork al’Diavolo with Rutabaga Mash and Brussels Sprouts
Enchiladas Verde with Spinach, Mushroom and Chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken I had on hand and just picked it; you could also use any veg you have that needs to be used)
Blueberry Lemon Scones (these make a delicious breakfast item that only require dry pantry ingredients…I had some fresh blueberries and a lemon so I added these, but I make these with dried fruits regularly)
Roasted Shrimp and Orzo Salad (as a coastal resident shrimp is readily available and many house have it on hand, but this could just as easily be done with canned tuna or just vegetarian)
Next week will be bringing Meatballs with Cavatappi, Enchiladas Rojo w/Black Beans, Blackberry Lime Scones and Tumeric Roasted Chick Pea Salad. Message me if you would like any of these recipes- I am working on putting together a document with ingredient list and variations on recipes depending on what you have in your pantry. Be safe in this difficult time and be kind to all those grocery store clerks, pharmacists, garbage collectors, health care providers on the front lines out there.