There have been moments this past week when it felt like we were on an episode of Survivor and it wasn’t clear who would be voted off the island. Can anyone relate? We are thankfully still standing (or sitting, a lot as it were) and we are remaining hopeful for smoother waters.
I hope you and your families, friends and associates remain well. For any of you with loved ones on the front lines, be they healthcare workers, pharmacy or grocery store workers or anyone else dealing head on with this crisis, please accept my family’s deepest gratitude. Thinking of any who are struggling with the virus personally as well.
This past week, as my “Instagram Live” notifications exploded, I have wondered about all the “good” that is happening out there. I have taken advantage of some of these opportunities by participating in a few workouts from folks I would normally need a paid-subscription to learn from, or lessons that might not otherwise be available about cooking especially. Will people be as generous with their time, talent and treasure once this is time is behind us? Maybe some will think about how they deliver their “brand” and reassess their priorities. What do you think?
Let’s talk about cooking. Our meals haven’t been extravagant this past week to be honest. Mostly, we have enjoyed the meals I would cook if we were not quarantined. I did make my Grandmother Queenie’s delicious meatloaf with double stuffed potatoes (one of her go-to’s when we visited), hoping to find some comfort in its familiarity. Do you want the meatloaf recipe? My grandmother was quite instrumental in my love of cooking and gave me several cookbooks to encourage my interest. She was not an elaborate cook, but she was meticulous in the kitchen and everything she prepared was beautiful in its presentation (and delicious). I love looking at her recipes because her penmanship was gorgeous and reminds me of happy times. She was a very loving grandmother and sometimes I wish I could time travel back for a moment so I didn’t have to be the grown up during all of this – has anyone felt that way at all?
I do find myself using leftovers more creatively, and I even went so far to wash some parchment paper to see if I could reuse it. I always flip over my parchment when I bake to get two uses, but washing was something new and it actually worked well! I did this because it has been in short supply at the markets I’ve visited so I don’t have as much as usual on hand. Because our second fridge is pretty stuffed with produce, I needed to improve its functionality as it only has two smallish drawers. I washed out the bottoms of lettuce boxes and am using those to pile apples, oranges and a few other items I bought in bulk. Oh, and I never knew that if you wrapped your celery tightly with plastic wrap it would remain crisp. So I tried that and it worked!
I did venture out this past Monday to load up on groceries that I really hope will last us two weeks. We may have to go back out for a few high demand items. For local folks, I had a great shopping experience at Wilson Farms in Lexington, a place my family has frequented since I was a little girl. They seem to be doing a lot right and had everything I needed as far as produce, meats, a fair number of pantry items and even flour and sugar (although no yeast!). The staff was very helpful/cheerful as usual but my heart felt for them – lucky to have a job, but exposed daily cannot be easy for any of them. I said many thank you’s as I wandered around.
This week, I thought I would share a few books that I’ve enjoyed of late and two cocktails to amp up your next Zoom gathering.
As for books, my attention span was lacking for the first week or so of quarantine so I had a hard time getting through the book we read for our book group. Right now, easy or compelling reads seem to be the best for me. On that note, I just finished Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes that 2 friends recommended. Set in rural Kentucky, it’s a fictional story about the traveling libraries set up by Eleonor Roosevelt. Another easy read was Good Girls Lie by J.T. Elison. It’s a thriller, with a prep school in Virginia as its setting. I wasn’t sure about American Dirt by Jeannine Cummins because it caused so much controversy, but was very glad to have read it. A work of fiction, it is the story of a Mexican woman and her young son who attempt to escape the country after their entire family is murdered. And finally, Chanel Miller’s memoir, Know My Name was excellent as she reveals her story of sexual assault on the Stanford campus and the aftermath of that experience. Next up, I am going to read The Last Out: A Novel by Matthew Sullivan about a young boy and his grandfather who road trip from Florida to New York to attend the last Yankee game at the old Yankee stadium.
What are you reading? Please let me know in the comments!
Ready for some cocktail ideas?
If you like bourbon, try this version that I’ve adapted from Cookie and Kate (she uses lemon juice and cinnamon). For anyone who doesn’t know, her site is filled with wonderful recipes including this homemade Bold Teriyaki Sauce that is awesome.
One Bourbon Sour: Mix together 1 1/2 ounces (3 Tablespoons) Bourbon with 1 ounce (2 Tablespoons) fresh lime juice and 1 Tablespoon maple syrup. Place ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled 2/3rds with ice (you can also do this in a mason jar or in a tall glas with lots of ice that you just stir vigorously). Strain into a new cocktail glass with fresh ice. Enjoy! Recipe can be multiplied and chilled ahead of time as well.
And from my friend, Susan Lane of Susan Lane Catering comes this yummy Lemon Drop Martini that I’ve adapted in case you don’t have any superfine sugar at home. All you will need is a little simple syrup that you make by bringing equal parts of sugar and water to a boil allowing the sugar to dissolve. Cool and store in a mason jar. You only need a teaspoon for this recipe but you can use simple syrup in almost any cold drink that you’d like to sweeten so it doesn’t hurt to have some around. Ok, here it is:
One Lemon Drop Martini: Mix together 1 1/2 ounces Vodka, 1/2 ounce Triple Sec (I used Cointreau), 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice and 1 teaspoon simple syrup (if you have it, use superfine sugar). Place mixture in a cocktail shaker filled 2/3rds with ice and shake until cold. You can also just stir it until cold if you prefer! Strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a lemon twist if you’re feeling fancy.
Before I leave you, I am sharing a few recipes from the blog that may be useful during this time of quarantine cooking. You will need to type in the recipe name in the search function on my website’s homepage, www.thekitchenscout.com to access the instructions. And for those celebrating holidays, best wishes. Hang in there everybody and stay well.
Until next time…xoxo