By Arleigh Rodgers
I’m tired of writing about COVID-19. I’m sure you’re tired of reading about it. One thing I will write about is something I’ve always liked doing: cooking.
And while these unpredictable months have made way for stress, anxiety, and fear, they’ve also allowed me a newfound appreciation for creating new recipes and trying out new things in the kitchen. Instead of talking about how much things have changed again, I want to showcase a few of my proudest creations and favorite dishes I ate while stuck at home.
The best thing I’ve eaten during quarantine is Bon Appetit’s recipe for Gnocchi with Sage, Butter, and Parmesan. I’ve only assisted in creating this. My sister is the real mastermind behind the pasta. But the cheesy and soft gnocchi is paired perfectly with sage’s earthy flavor. Making the dish will take time and effort, and it’ll probably dirty your kitchen with flour pretty well. But it’s worth it.
Cookie + Kate’s Healthy Banana Bread is easy and fun to make, and the taste is exceptional. I’ve made this recipe twice last month and find it best eaten fresh out the oven. Mixing all the ingredients together doesn’t take too long either, and they’re easy to supplement with equally satisfying results — I used two cups of regular flour instead of the whole wheat the recipe calls for.
Sometimes it’s easy to keep things simple, especially when we’re trying to make the most of our groceries for as long as we can. Some days, I don’t want to be too creative, fancy, or make a total mess of the kitchen, but I always like to keep things tasty. Usually this means whipping up my favorite meal: spaghetti with vegan meat sauce and roasted asparagus. The asparagus can be replaced by any vegetable, really, but if you do choose asparagus, be sure to oil, salt, and pepper them well. I’ll also add garlic powder and mixed seasoning, and I like to add the Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute as well.
To cook the asparagus to perfection, roast them in the over at 400 degrees for 10 minutes on the top rack, then for 3-5 minutes on broil. Serve hot and with a squeeze of lemon.
For the pasta sauce, dice one onion and saute in olive oil. For two people, add one Beyond Burger, thawed if previously frozen, and break up until it resembles crumbles. You can also use frozen Beyond Meat crumbles or Beyond Ground Beef. Once brown and cooked, add whatever pasta sauce you like, and cook until ready.
Now that we’re done keeping it simple — let’s jazz things up! My favorite part about cheese boards is that you don’t need a recipe. It doesn’t need to be elaborate or fancy, although I thoroughly enjoyed arranging and curating this plate. It’s partially whatever we had in the fridge and cabinets, which is why there’s pretzels tucked away on there, if you can see them. But it gave my family and me just enough elegance for one night to pretend, perhaps, that we were out to dinner for the evening and not stuck inside in our apartment. We could dream…or we could just eat cheese. It’s kind of the same thing.
Arleigh Rodgers is a junior English major at Ithaca College. She is currently the assistant Life & Culture editor at The Ithacan, Ithaca College’s student-run newspaper. She enjoys reading, playing the piano and visiting the Ithaca Farmer’s Market every weekend.