What recipes have been Genius in your kitchen during quarantine?

I'm looking for new Genius Recipes to share with the Food52 community to help during this difficult time in the world and would love your help. What have been your favorite recipes to turn to so far in quarantine?

I'm thinking of flexible, pantry-friendly recipes that call for relatively few ingredients (since the more ingredients, the more chances cooks won't already have them)—but I'd also appreciate your thoughts on what other types of recipes you think would be most helpful right now (baked goods? focused projects? things that keep really well?).

Thanks so much, and I hope you're all staying safe and well.

Kristen Miglore


drbabs March 27, 2020
Hi Kristen. Hope you're staying safe and well, too. I've been organizing my days around dinner, and I lean towards flexible recipes where I can use what's on hand. hilarybee's crustless quinoa quiche is a favorite of mine, and there are a million ways to make it work: any grain, any cheese, yogurt instead of cream cheese (which I prefer), any combination of vegetables and aromatics. I also made a version of Merrill's Farro Salad with Mushroom and Parmesan, but instead of making it as a side dish, I added some chopped up spinach, used smoked cheddar in place of the parmesan (because that's what I had), and the 4 servings turned into two main dish servings with a little left for lunch the next day. Like everyone else, I'm rationing the flour, butter and sugar, but I have a bunch of recipes ready to go for when we need bread, cake and cookies. And speaking of bread, Andrew Janigian of Cooks Illustrated has posted instructions on Instagram for making a small sourdough starter that you can eventually use to bake with in place of the elusive yeast. His name on Instagram is @wordloaf and the project is #quarantinystarter. I love to bake bread, but it's always iffy for me, so I'm hoping this will up my skill level eventually. (If not, feeding the starter gives me something to put on a list of things to do every day.) I love this thread...hoping we can all get some good ideas from it.
Mary E. March 25, 2020
No Knead Buttermilk Bread.... I’ve been making it daily and my family keeps asking why we buy sandwich bread. I’ve had days where I add cheddar and jalapeños, days with bacon and spinach, and even sundried tomatoes with basil. I may be committed to this from here on out!
Kristen M. March 27, 2020
Yum! I love how making bread can make you wonder why you don't do it all the time. What recipe are you using?
Mary E. March 27, 2020
It’s from an OLD magazine, and I love it.
Mary E. March 27, 2020
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Nikoletta March 25, 2020
I've got a couple of Cypriot dishes that have worked really well over the last few weeks. I've shared some links below. Hope you enjoy :) x





Kristen M. March 27, 2020
Thank you, Nikoletta!
Hilary L. March 25, 2020
Spicy Sesame Noodles with Chicken and Peanuts, from the NYT. I love the flavors of this easy supper, and I feel good about it.
Kristen M. March 27, 2020
Thank you! Yum—and it's from a former Food52 editor!
Ruth March 25, 2020
Someone gave me a sourdough last fall, and I've been playing with it all winter. These crackers are absolutely magic: https://www.loveandoliveoil.com/2019/03/sourdough-crackers-with-olive-oil-herbs.html

Also, Kenji Lopez-Alt's vegan tomato soup.

Mark Bittman's pizza dough topped with bottom-of-the-crisper veggies (shiitake, half a leek, some elderly zucchini) that I sautéed up with white wine, dried rosemary and thyme, then tossed on the pizza dough with some mozzarella. Would have been better with gruyere, but it was good!
Kristen M. March 27, 2020
These sound so good!
gandalf March 25, 2020
Here is one that I made from this recipe in the NYT: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1020031-baked-barley-risotto-with-mushrooms-and-carrots. I used a smaller amount of mushrooms -- 8 oz. instead of 16 oz. -- and chopped them up to a more manageable size, and used minced garlic instead of sliced; but the recipe worked well with foods that I had on hand already.
gandalf March 25, 2020
I left off the chives, also.
Kristen M. March 27, 2020
Thank you, gandalf!
creamtea March 25, 2020
Just had a simple meal of whole-wheat pasta, minced or chopped smoked salmon, olive oil (or butter), large-grain sea salt, trader joes everyday spice and a soft-boiled egg over. Have made other versions of what we call "spagghet-eggs" with a runny fried egg and lots of grated cheese over pasta (loosely based on the spaghetti pangrattato recipe on this site https://food52.com/recipes/2577-rhonda-s-spaghetti-with-fried-eggs-and-pangrattato-for-one(. Also spaghetti con le sarde last night. I don't have all the ingredients but all have been good.

I've also made a mashup of Barcelona-style garbanzo beans https://food52.com/recipes/22150-spanish-chickpeas-with-kale/lablabi https://food52.com/recipes/21033-lablabi-middle-eastern-spicy-chickpea-stew (sauté onion and garlic, add cooked or canned garbanzos, slightly toasted saffron and a couple teaspoons of tomato paste, water, salt). Garnish with sun-dried tomato strips, a squeeze of lemon, toasted bread if you have it, can add minced parsley, capers. It was a mash-up because I started cooking one, got confused and ended up thinking I had cooked the other :) . I also made a decent Caesar Salad, using goat-milk yogurt as the base and garnishing with smoked trout. It sounds not so great and I didn't have high expectations but it was yummy.
creamtea March 25, 2020
meant to say a mashup of Barcelona style beans with Tunisian style Lablabi. Posted links to both recipes "upstairs".
Kristen M. March 27, 2020
These all sound wonderful, creamtea.
Stephanie B. March 25, 2020
For pantry staples, assuming that people have pantry staples, I'm always a fan of what I call the basic pasta recipes: cacio e pepe, olio y aglio, tuna and tomato sauce, that kind of thing. They come together so quick, require so few ingredients, and I find them super comforting. Other things that can be made from canned/preserved/frozen stuff with relatively short ingredient lists: Tomato soup and grilled cheese. Egg noodles with sausage and sauerkraut. Chicken piccata. Any number of dal and lentil soups. Fried rice with any number of old/frozen veggies. Any number of "beans and greens" recipes.

Now for people who don't have ample pantry supplies and still have to go grocery shopping, a focus on simple recipes that are very produce/veggie forward might be good, because that's about the only thing that's reliably in stock! Simple soy asparagus recipe Eric Kim posted recently or similar, etc. Meat/fish counters, rather than frozen meats, also seem to be well supplied (I'm currently trying to cure salmon). Even so, as stores are instituting limits on how many non-perishables people can buy, people will start having to venture out for groceries (or get them delivered) as they deplete their pantries. I haven't seen much focus on produce/fresh foods, because they go bad, but they're also easy to get now.

Baked goods: It's been frustrating seeing all these posts for quaranbaking (mostly on instagram) because it's so difficult to get flour, sugar, and butter right now! But one thing I totally thought was worth using my precious, limited sugar for was banana bread using Lindsey-Jean Hard's genius tip for using whole bananas, peels and all. Whole orange cake and Brazilian Carrot cake in Genius Desserts are also a good. I loved that these are waste-free, delicious, and simple. In my dream world I'd be doing all sorts of involved, challenging bakes but ingredients are just not easy to come by. I'd love to see lower sugar and alternative flour recipes, just because those basics are selling out so fast and it might be easier to source, say, pysillium husk flour online rather than AP right now.

Projects: sauerkraut, pickling, curing - stuff that also don't require much extra ingredients, but are able to stretch foods beyond their limit if they had been kept fresh. Sourdough is a good thing to get into now as so many have the time, but again finding flour is a challenge.

In general: as frustrating as it is to deal with panic and shortages, Smaug did comment somewhere else that if it brought people back to cooking for themselves and healthier habits, it's a silver lining. I'd also like to add that if it gets people thinking about how to be efficient in their cooking, and how to reduce waste that would be a positive. A focus on efficient, sustainable, waste-free cooking are great (and a move towards more home cooking is a huge step!)
creamtea March 25, 2020
agree. Have been more careful to portion out what we need so as to make less waste. We are fully quarantined and not allowed to go out at all. We have a very full pantry (in addition to what I bought, my daughter brought ample supplies when she left her dorm to stay with another family) but I am being careful about perishables because I have to rely on friends or volunteers to go out and purchase them.
Stephanie B. March 25, 2020
Sorry to hear you're in quarantine, creamtea! I hope you and your fam are doing well as can be considering that limitation.
Nancy March 25, 2020
Stephanie - Yes to all, especially basic pasta recipes and pickling or preserving.
creamtea - sorry you are in quarantine. Hope it ends soon with only good news!
Stephanie B. March 25, 2020
Oh also stuff like risotto and congee
Kristen M. March 27, 2020
Stephanie, thank you so much for this goldmine of ideas. I'm sorry to say I have a couple more baking recipes coming up that we'd already planned for (and hopefully the supply chain will catch up soon and the stockpilers will already be stockpiled), but I promise to try to mix it up as much as I can.
Stephanie B. March 27, 2020
That's ok, I actually found sugar and flour at one store I went to this week, and got 2 dozen (!) lemons from a neighbor's tree, so it's time to quaranbake for me! At least in LA, the item limits and attempts to limit people in stores seem to be working albeit slowly.
Nancy March 25, 2020
Probably like many others, I'm working through saved but so far untried recipes. Some become keepers, some not.
One terrific bread wraps a buttery dough around chopped black olives, anchovies and oregano. A medium length ingredient list, maybe a little longer than your optimum, but delicious as a snack bread with wine or soup. Credit to Erez Komarovsky, israeli chef and master baker.
Kristen M. March 27, 2020
I think I found it, Nancy. Is this the one? https://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/202083/a-special-challah-recipe-for-yom-haatzmaut
Nancy March 28, 2020
Kristen - that's it.
Slight improvement.
Froze one of the leaves shaped after first rise. When I later thawed, raised and baked that loaf it had better rise and crumb than the first two.
So I'd recommend first rise be longer at room temp or in fridge.
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