Weekend Cooking

What Are You Cooking This Weekend?

Guest columnist Jenny on what’s missing from our days, and the meals that still remain.

by:
March 20, 2020
Photo by James Ransom

Jenny is in perpetual search for easy recipes to attempt to feed her family. When they balk, she just eats more. Today, she's back with a new column in light of what's happening in our world right now.


We are marking time now, noticing what is missing from our days: train rides to work, soccer practice, ACT tests, happy hours, dinners alone at our favorite bars. But also what somehow still remains: sunrises, dog walks, passive aggressive encounters with colleagues (now via conference calls where someone always refuses to mute), and the delivery of mail.

But there is one thing that for many of us seems to have multiplied: pie holes that constantly need to be filled—largely, it seems—with salty snacks and pasta.

It may be that you’re alone at home eating two meals more than you usually do at your desk. Perhaps you have college students who you loved very much right where they were, or a passel of little ones, all padding—maybe stomping—around your house in search of anything not empty or expired. Maybe you’ve got neighbors to feed, mothers in nursing homes, or you are cooking for first responders. In any case, let me try to cover you a bit here with some of the greatest hits from my rotation.

I am trying to be mindful of what is in the stores these days—a list that does not seem to include chicken parts, linguini, broccoli, or cannellini beans—and what might be left in your cupboards and refrigerators at present. (May I also say, based on the visual evidence in stores and on social media, that now is a really good time to explore brussels sprouts and the last bent box of acini di pepe No. 78.)

Can you find some cauliflower? I saw a lot. If so, this recipe mixing it up with pasta is both flexible and a crowd-pleaser. We made this dish once a week for two years straight. No orecchiette? Use whatever you’ve got, or as we often do: no pasta at all and just more veggies. No pancetta? Perhaps bacon. No pepitas? No problem. You can skip that altogether, or, as I do, try pistachios. I don’t care about the parsley even in the best of times.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“What have I cooked this weekend? On Friday I got up craving Madelines, these buttery little cakes are perfect with coffee in the morning or an afternoon cup of tea. There are only two left! For dinner I made pizzas. One with leftover chicken, fresh tomatoes, asparagus and goat cheese, the other with loads of pepperoni, mozzarella and basil. Dinner on Saturday was grilled hamburgers topped with a fried egg and a kale salad with a tangy mustard vinaigrette. My plan for tonight is Jacques Pepin's Maman's cheese soufflé. I've got dough rising for bread and more kale which I'll toss with mandarin slices, toasted pecans and an orange vinaigrette dressing. I'm already working on my menu for next week. Luckily my freezer and pantry is well stocked and it hasn't been too difficult to find veggies but there isn't any fresh chicken to be found.”
— Karen S.
Comment

For some reason, kale is already showing its face in my garden. This recipe starring miso is surprisingly decadent. (Helps, too, that Asian markets have been well stocked in many areas, which means ingredients like miso paste are aplenty.) It’s a little time-consuming, so this dish is for those who are cooking to distract. I think any mushroom you can find will do. No time for that but have lots of eggs? Try Adam Roberts’ creamy delight number, which, paired with whatever bread you have laying around, makes for a fantastic meal at any hour of the day.

I saw a lot of posts about scotched birthday parties and I am here for that too. I have made this cake literally 100 times for my kids over the years. This week, I tossed this cake and a bottle of Italian wine at my newly 21-year-old from six feet away (she is now in self-quarantine after a truncated semester in Paris). It’s an unbelievably easy recipe (if you don’t have a mixer, just skip the egg white part and toss the eggs all in at once) and gets you around a potential flour shortage at your local store. No one has ever said “No thank you” to this cake; for chocolate lovers, it provides a near romantic encounter.

Finally, for the big-time bakers looking for a needlessly difficult and yet supremely satisfying weekend project, might I suggest this super sweet and highly wanton number? Alternatively, assuming you have a peanut butter surplus from Costco, make these highly addictive cookies, which have the advantage of being easy to freeze for later.

If you have lots of people under your roof (or you’re planning to ring the bell and sadly slink away from your neighbors to head home to your last remaining bleach wipe), either of these treats will be welcome. You could also just eat them yourself; FaceTime with some friends and show them what you’ll be making for them when the sun once again rises on normalcy for us.

What are you cooking this weekend? Let us know in the comments below.

How to Help

Please give generously to your local food pantry, or follow the example of @kasie (below). Also, see Dc Central Kitchen, Baked by Yael, and this list by Food52.

Join the Conversation

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • witloof
    witloof
  • Karen Spardello Sagaspe
    Karen Spardello Sagaspe
  • mcs3000
    mcs3000
Comment
Jestei

Written by: Jestei

The ratio of people to cake is too big.

3 Comments

witloof March 22, 2020
JENNIFER OMG SO SO SO HAPPY TO SEE YOU BACK HERE. I have missed you!!!!

I live alone but am an inveterate pantry stuffer. See something I like on sale, or to limit TJ runs, I will by ten. I have a pantry full of tinned fish, beans, pasta, and canned cherry tomatoes and a freezer full of fruit, nuts, flours and grains. I've been having fun eating down my pantry and freezer. This morning I had Jacob's Cattle beans I cooked yesterday {half went into the freezer for later} and roasted plantains. I still have some kale from the last grocery run, maybe served over rice with coconut milk curry and onions.
 
Karen S. March 22, 2020
What have I cooked this weekend? On Friday I got up craving Madelines, these buttery little cakes are perfect with coffee in the morning or an afternoon cup of tea. There are only two left! For dinner I made pizzas. One with leftover chicken, fresh tomatoes, asparagus and goat cheese, the other with loads of pepperoni, mozzarella and basil. Dinner on Saturday was grilled hamburgers topped with a fried egg and a kale salad with a tangy mustard vinaigrette. My plan for tonight is Jacques Pepin's Maman's cheese soufflé. I've got dough rising for bread and more kale which I'll toss with mandarin slices, toasted pecans and an orange vinaigrette dressing. I'm already working on my menu for next week. Luckily my freezer and pantry is well stocked and it hasn't been too difficult to find veggies but there isn't any fresh chicken to be found.
 
mcs3000 March 21, 2020
Jenny's back :)