Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Pandemic Food

Vegetable Radiatore with zucchini and German bratwurst

These past two months have been incredibly intense and challenging. I assume that many of you felt that as well. Shortly after our shelter-in-place order was set on March 18th the German School went in overdrive to figure out how to keep up our classes. The board of directors - of which I am one - met so many times via Zoom that I lost count. But we achieved our goal - via the educator platform of Zoom and the flexibility of all of the teachers we were able to continue our classes, albeit in a very different way. Then someone suggested that since we already have Zoom we could offer some classes over the summer - since no one was going anywhere anyway. The teachers who were up to it - including yours truly - sat down to design their classes, the board worked out how to organize it and finally we had a good offering of summer classes as well. Everybody worked really hard to get this off the ground, and I'm so proud of everyone in the team.

On top of that there were staff meetings with the high school and with the library technicians of the school district. Last week I was finally able to actually get onto campus and into the library to get at least a few things done. It felt very weird to be there all on my own when the school usually is so full of life.

No wonder that cooking became a great way to get me away from the computer and create something that was filling and satisfying (don't ask my ever expanding waist line, though).

Chicken legs with roasted potatoes and bell pepper

Chicken Shawarma

The first time I tried the Middle Eastern dish Chicken Shawarma was last summer and it has quickly become a favorite. We eat it with flatbread, lettuce, tomatoes and garlic yogurt with lots of cumin. The recipe asks for cooking it on the grill, but I opted to make it in the oven and it turned out delicious. If you like some spice in your food you will like this dish. You can find the recipe here.

The Southwest Skillet Chili Mac is another favorite and perfect for cooler days (we had some rather chilly days during those two months). I wrote about it here, and the recipe can be cooked as a vegetarian as well as a meat lover's dish.

Then our oven broke! Well, not the entire oven, but the heating coil. Of course all the stores were closed, so we had to get one online which took several days. Thankfully my wonderful friend Liz send me a few stove-top recipes. Some of them I tried out - oh, I will definitely make them again!

How about Balsamic Garlic Chicken?

Or Spicy Thai Noodles? This recipe asks for linguine which I couldn't get (pasta was pretty low in the two stores where I shop), but I still had some Udon which tasted great in this dish.

During this pandemic I usually do my big grocery shopping every other week, when I also shop for my elderly neighbors. I shop at Trader Joe's - have done so since 2001 and there are still the same employees! But we are lucky to also have a small but fine grocery store "around the corner" (10 minutes to walk) which is important if I want something really fresh or local products. I also enjoy going to the farmers market even though it is not much fun at the moment.

My cast iron skillet has been used a lot indeed!

 Lemon Chicken with Orzo

Tuscan Butter Salmon with lots of cherry tomatoes and spinach, plus some homemade focaccia

After the coil in the oven was replaced (thanks to the Geek) it was back to the oven - whole grain bread with pumpkin and sunflower seeds as well as my first try baking focaccia - it looks odd (I'm not a good dough shaper), but the taste was very nice. There certainly is room for improvement.

With the oven back in place I could also make other favorites - like the Broccoli Mac'n Cheese, a recipe I found 30 years ago in England and still love. I don't think that our family can live without it.

I think I need to stop here - there will be a second part to this blogpost with other delicious dishes and of course some desserts! And we don't forget the drinks either!

What have you been cooking?


La Vie Quotidienne said...

These all look so good, but the broccoli Mac and cheese looks really fantastic. Yes, you have been very busy indeed.

Elephant's Child said...

I adore middle eastern spices and use them often. Mostly in 'invented' dishes.
Pasta, rice and flour (and yeast) were in short supply here so a little inventiveness was required.
Broccoli mac n cheese? I will have to try that. Many thanks.

Valerie-Jael said...

I hope one day our lives get back to normal again. Your food looks sooooooooooooooooooooo good! Stay safe, Valerie

windrock studio said...

Really wonderful dishes and your photos are amazing! I've been using my skillet a lot lately, too.
Sure sounds like you have been very busy with your classes, cooking and shopping ... thanks for sharing links to some of these recipes.

Kayni said...

Oh my gosh, your post made me hungry. What a treat to the eyes. I wish I could sample some of them.

Ugh, I wish we had a Trader Joe's nearby. The one I frequent moved to another town, and now it's a hike to get to.

Stevenson Q said...

Carola! These photos you took can be sent straight to a food magazine featuring a high class restaurant! These are all so classy and looks so delicious! I am quite picky with my food but its so amazing that all of these you shared are things that I would eat and very much enjoy! That Spicy Thai noodles is a fave but I have to say that pasta dish with the bratwurst is both filling to my taste and my eyes!

David M. Gascoigne, said...

The next time we have a pandemic, Carola, I want to come and live at your house for the duration! I am quite sure that I would leave a few kilos heavier than when ai came, but that would be a small price to pay to enjoy all that delicious food! Stay well. All the best, David

Mae Travels said...

Every dish looks delicious. You make such imaginative recipes.

Every day as I try to make similarly delicious meals, I also think about how lucky I am to be concentrating on details of cooking and ordering food, and I think about how many people are desperate because they have no more money and don't know where they will even get any food. Not to mention those who are sick or bereaved. It's been a terrible time, and I just hope it doesn't get worse.

be well... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Iris Flavia said...

Ja. Ihr nehmt zoom und das funktioniert.
Ich bewerbe mich bei einer "europäischen" IT-Firma, die Skype nutzt. Nee, falsch, nutzen wollte.
Skype!!! Wann leben die, in den 90ern?

Habe meinen ehemaligen Teamleiter um einen Testlauf gebeten.
"Skype funktioniert nicht, ich hab Microsoft Team", ging.

Skype funktionierte mit der IT Firma nicht und nun wollen sie mich auf Festnetz anrufen.
Aua. "Germany is so advanced" glauben manche Freunde in Australien.

Hier schickten Lehrer Hausaufgaben per E-mail und die Eltern mussten helfen. Und die Tante (ich) auch.
Unfassbar. Schulen öffnen wieder.

Yupp. Als ich arbeitslos wurde, fing ich an zu kochen, obwohl ichs nie gelernt hab. Is gar nicht so schwer ;-)

Toll. Jetzt hab ich WIRKLICH Hunger und habe gerade die Küche gesteamed und kann nicht rein! Gemein!! ;-)
Und das sieht alles so lecker aus hier!
Ich mache - dann - nur Bratkartoffeln, schmeisse Brokkoli und Hühnchenstreifen rein.
Ach, ich hab immer so ein "Glück"! Wobei ich habe mal gelesen, wenn man sich leckere Essens-Fotos anguckt, wird man satt.
Funktioniert bei mir nicht!!

Red Rose Alley said...

Oh, your meals look so delicious, Carola. I am drooling over them. Can't tell which one I like most, cause they all look so appealing. But the lemon chicken with orzo caught my eye, as I never really had rice growing up, so always made it when I had my own home. The dish with the mushrooms looks amazing too. I didn't realize you were such a good cook. : )


My name is Erika. said...

All your food is looking so yummy. The once nice thing about the pandemic is (if there is a nice thing) is being home and in the kitchen with some good food. You make me hungry looking at your photos. Happy June. Hugs-Erika