What are you doing to cope with quarantine? I find I’m drawn to posts that pose this question. I will read every comment in reply and generally marvel at all the interesting things people are doing. I’m most envious of all the comments about cooking and baking. It seems that for many people this quarantine has given them the opportunity to really explore their creativity in the kitchen – to stretch their kitchen wings. I, on the other hand, feel blocked when it comes to cooking these days. Maybe it’s because I can’t just pop down to the grocery store every time I need an ingredient to try a new dish. Or maybe it’s because I’m not cooking for other people (besides Mr. Foodie) right now.
Whatever the case, I’m drawn to easy recipes these days. Here’s some highlights from the week.
First up? Pimm’s Lemonade
The other day I was snacking on some strawberries that Mr. Foodie brought home for me when I suddenly started craving Pimm’s Lemonade. The first time I tasted Pimm’s was in a pub in Oxford when I didn’t know what to order, so I asked for the only English cocktail I could think of. The handsome Brit who sidled up to me to chat asked what I was drinking and laughed at my reply saying, “that’s so posh.” It was then I learned that it was atypical to order a Pimm’s lemonade in a British pub lol My new pub friend explained that it was a drink more often consumed by the pearls-and-sweater population. I was a little mortified to look so uncool, but whatever, that lemonade was delicious. Now I make this bougie darling in the spring and summer. You can use a store-bought lemonade (and add fizzy water or sparkling wine), but this time we made our own lemonade because I had a ton of lemons to use up before they went bad.
Pimm’s Lemonade Recipe
(makes 1 pitcher or about six glasses)
1 Cup Lemon Juice (6-8 lemons)
1 Cup Sugar
1 1/2 C Water
1 Cup Pimm’s Liqueur
Strawberries and Cucumbers, sliced
Combine the lemon juice, sugar, and water. Mix until most of the sugar is dissolved. Add cup of Pimm’s and mix. Slice strawberries and cucumber (I cored my cucumbers and kept some of the skin on to keep the cucumber from becoming a mushy mess inside the cocktail). Fill a pitcher half way with ice, add sliced fruit, and pour Pimm’s mixture over. Stir. Enjoy in glasses with additional sliced fruit (the lightly soaked fruit is so refreshing to nibble on) and a mint leaf garnish if you have some on hand. For smaller portions, the ratio is 1:3 Pimm’s to Lemonade mixture.
Next up: Rhubarb Galette
This might look involved, but it is one of the easiest desserts I’ve ever made. Partly because I used store-bought dough. Mostly because galettes (and their italian partners: crostatas) are meant to be easy. No fussing over torn pie dough in a pie pan. No fancy lattice work. No complicated custard fillings. Just a nice, rustic, throw-together pizza-style pie. In this case, an easy pie that showcases the beauty and intense flavor of my favorite spring ingredient: rhubarb. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know how much I LOVE rhubarb. The next time you order your groceries or pop into a grocery store, consider adding a bunch of rhubarb to your produce pile – you won’t be sorry.
Easy Rhubarb Galette
2 store-bought pie crusts (or homemade if you prefer)
4-6 stalks of rhubarb (leaves cut off)
3/4 C – 1 C sugar, plus more for sprinkling on crust
1/4 C flour (or cornstarch will also work)
1 Tbsp cold butter (salted is fine if that’s what you have)
1 egg (mix w/ a bit of water to use as egg wash)
If using store-bought dough, roll out the dough to a little larger than it naturally comes and lay it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cut up the rhubarb in whatever shapes you’d like – 1 inch squares, 3 inch stalks – depending on the pattern you’d like to make. Cover the cut rhubarb with some sugar and flour (the amount depends on how much rhubarb you’re making and how many pies – for two pies I used about 3/4 cup or 1 cup of sugar and a 1/4 cup flour). Put the sugared/floured rhubarb pieces in the center of the pie dough, leaving a 2 inch edge. Fold the 2 inch edge up around the fruit to make a rustic “crust.” Dot the rhubarb with little pieces of butter. Brush the crust with a simple egg wash and sprinkle with more sugar. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes to an hour depending on your oven (the dough should brown and the filling should be bubbly). Let cool and use a pizza cutter to slice up the pie.
And finally: Low Country Boil
I’ve written about Low Country Boil before, but I’m here to affirm that it is still one of my favorite spring-or-summer’s day dishes. Yesterday was one of the nicest weather days we’ve had in 2019, so I spent a good bit of it soaking up sun (even got my first faint sunburn of 2019 – oops). The last thing you want to do on a nice sunny day is be stuck in the kitchen prepping and cooking. That’s why low country boil is so great. All the ingredients are low-prep or no prep. You could make this super easy by using a store-bought (or previously made) vegetable stock. Use that stock to boil the potatoes and corn and heat the cooked sausage and cooked shrimps —add some old bay et voila, super easy low country boil. I eat most of this dish with my fingers and then sip the broth from the bowl #yum
What are you doing to cope with quarantine?