Like so many others around the country, my husband and I are staying in, venturing out only to buy groceries or to get to essential appointments. Although both of us are working at our computers, I am also spending plenty of time in the kitchen figuring out what we’ll have for dinner each night. Somehow in the midst of this frightening pandemic, cooking gives me calm and offers a sense of normalcy. I haven’t been trying to create new recipes, but rather to simplify some of my favorites with ingredients on hand.
Here are four dishes that I hope you might be tempted to try. Caramelized Roasted Cabbage, a side dish which is made, believe it or not, with only two ingredients– julienned strips of cabbage and butter! Pair it with grilled kielbasa, roast chicken, or ham, and you’ve got a great meal. Farfalle with Asparagus, Roasted Onions, and Creamy Blue is an all-in-one dish that nods to spring, which has officially arrived even though we had snow here in Massachusetts this week! Pantry Marinade for Grilled Flank Steaks is another easy recipe that as its name implies calls for ingredients likely to be stocked in your pantry. (The flank steak might be the only item you need to purchase.) And, finally, nothing soothes like chocolate, so I’ve included a 3-ingrdient rich Dark Chocolate Honey Sauce perfect for drizzling over scoops of ice cream.
I hope that making and savoring dishes like these will lift your spirits and nourish your body. Sending prayers and thoughts for all of you to keep safe and well.
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Four Recipes for Cooking While Sheltering In
Caramelized Roasted Cabbage
Here’s a new way to cook cabbage (easy to find in groceries right now). You’ll need only one other item—butter—plus salt and pepper to make this side dish. A head of cabbage is quartered and cut into large julienne strips which are sautéed in butter, and then transferred to the oven where they slowly roast and take on a sweet, mellow “caramelized taste. Roasted cabbage makes a delicious partner to grilled sausages (such as kielbasa), roast chicken, ham, or corned beef (if you have some leftovers from St Patrick’s Day!).
One 2 3/4 to 3 pd cabbage, outer leaves and base cut off and discarded
4 tbsp unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1.Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees F. Quarter the cabbage lengthwise. Cut out and discard tough cores from each quarter. Then cut each quarter into 1-inch wide strips.
2.Heat butter until hot in a large, heavy deep-sided, ovenproof pot over medium high heat. Add half the cabbage strips, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until slightly wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add remaining cabbage strips, stirring constantly, until wilted and lightly browned around the edges, about 12 minutes. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and several grinds black pepper.
3.Transfer pot with cabbage to oven. Cook, uncovered, until cabbage takes on light brown color (it will lose its vibrant green hue) and is fork tender, 40 to 45 minutes, stirring cabbage, every 15 minutes Remove from oven and season with more salt and pepper if needed. (Cabbage can be prepared 1day ahead; cool, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat, stirring, over low heat until hot. Serves 4.
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2020
Farfalle with Asparagus, Roasted Onions, and Creamy Blue Cheese
All the food markets in our area have bunches of asparagus displayed prominently in their vegetable aisles. (Ironically the frozen vegetable shelves are often stripped bare.) For the following pasta dish, farfalle (bow-shaped pasta) are cooked with sliced asparagus and then combined with roasted onions wedges. The warm pasta and vegetables are tossed with bits of creamy blue cheese which melt and turn into a delectable sauce.
2 medium onions (12 oz total)
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil plus 4 tsp
8 oz creamy blue cheese such as Gorgonzola or Saga Blue
1/2 cup panko crumbs
1 pd farfalle, penne, rigatoni, or other similar pasta you have on hand
1 1/2 pd slim or medium asparagus, tough bases removed and spears sliced into 2- inch pieces
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1.Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.
2.Cut off and discard stem end of onions and most, but not all of root ends. Halve onions through root ends and remove and discard paper coating. Slice each half into 1/2 -inch wide wedges and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil, tossing to coat well. Salt lightly. Roast, stirring and turning occasionally, until onions are browned, lightly charred around the edges, and tender when pierced with a sharp knife, 35 to 40 minutes or more. Remove and set aside.
3.Meanwhile cut off and discard rind from blue cheese if there is one. Cut or break cheese into small cubes and place in a large serving bowl to warm to room temperature.
4.Heat remaining 4 teaspoons oil in a medium, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add panko crumbs and stir until golden, only a few minutes. Remove and set aside.
5.Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add pasta. Cook 10 minutes and then add the asparagus and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, 3 to 4 minutes more. Drain pasta and asparagus well. Transfer along with roasted onions to bowl with blue cheese. Toss until cheese melts and pasta is well coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in shallow bowls and sprinkle with panko crumbs. Serves 4.
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2020Co
Pantry Marinade for Grilled Flank Steaks
Here’s a marinade comprised of only a few items, most of which I usually have on hand. Olive oil, soy sauce, and balsamic vinegar are typically in my cupboards, and fresh garlic cloves are always in a bowl on my counter. Voilà! Whisk them together for marinating flank steak or try them out on beef or lamb cubes for kabobs. Let the steak marinate overnight and then grill or broil until rosy pink inside. This recipe serves 2 to 3, but can be doubled easily.
Good sides would include mushrooms (white, brown or a mix) sautéed with chopped garlic and scented with dried or fresh rosemary and sage. Blanched green beans (fresh or frozen) sprinkled with walnuts and crumbled blue cheese would also be a fine accompaniment.
1 flank steak, 11/4 to 1 1/2 pd, with excess fat trimmed
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp balsamic or red wine vinegar
Several generous grinds of black pepper
1 medium clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1.Place flank steak in a shallow glass or ceramic pan or in a large self-sealing plastic bag. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, olive oil, vinegar, and pepper Add the crushed garlic. Pour marinade over the flank steak and marinate 24 hours or overnight. Turn the steak several times while marinating.
2.On an outdoor grill or with a stove top grill pan set over medium high heat, grill the steaks 5 to 6 minutes per side for medium rare (interior temperature should be 145 degrees F). Cooking time can vary depending on thickness of meat so watch carefully. Remove steaks and let them rest 4 to 5 minutes. Slice the meat diagonally across the grain into 1/4-inch thick slices. Serves 2 to 3. (Recipe can be doubled to serve more.)
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2020
Dark Chocolate Honey Sauce
We all need a little something sweet when feeling stressed (and I don’t know anyone who is not under duress as we confront Covid19). This sauce, which takes about 10 minutes from start to finish to prepare, keeps well for several days in the fridge and is perfect as a toping for ice cream. I serve icy cold scoops drizzled with the rich warm sauce and then add a garnish of coarsely crumbled cookies (biscotti, short breads, chocolate chip, whatever you have on hand) to add a little crunch.
8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 tbsp honey
1 qt vanilla, chocolate, or coffee ice cream
2 to 3 crispy cookies such as biscotti, shortbread cookies, or chocolate chip
1.Stir chocolate, butter and honey in heat-proof bowl set atop (but not touching) a saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. (Sauce can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cool completely. Cover and refrigerate. Reheat before using.)
2.Serve scoops of ice cream in bowls or wine glasses and drizzle with some warm chocolate sauce and a sprinkle or crushed cookies. Serves 4 to 5
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2020