The Pandemic Pantry -Basic Corn and Bean Salad – 04.18.20

The look on my face must have revealed my aching soul. Maybe it was the numerous trips to the pantry or the multiple freezer checks. We had plenty of food to survive on but nothing I really wanted or cared to eat. The truth was I needed to cook. I needed some fresh foods to cook with. Ultimately she relented.

“You can go to the store and shop with the old people. You will wear a mask and keep your distance from everyone else in the store. You will not wander up and down the aisles like you usually do. You will not shower before going. When you come back you will wash your hands for 20 seconds then put the groceries away. Disinfect the items you think need disinfecting. The plastic bags will not be recycled. They will go into the garbage. You will then go into the laundry room where you will strip down and put your clothes into the washing machine. Then and only then you go to our bathroom to decontaminate.”

Senior Time at the grocery store is 7-8:00 AM. There were not many shoppers. The customers were all wearing masks, some had both masks and gloves on. But most of the employees were not wearing any masks or gloves. We know the mask wearing thing is more about not spreading virus if you’re infected and less effective for personal protection (though the latest scientific guidance is that masks do offer some level of personal protection). So is setting a specific time for a high risk group to shop at the same time and NOT have employees wear masks smart? It would take just one infected worker and s(he) could take out a number of the oldies. Just a thought. But everyone in the store respected each other’s space and kept their appropriate physical distance.

We began sheltering in place behavior one week before our state formally declared a shutdown. Minus two days in Owasso, Oklahoma (the trip was taken with the expectation a lock down would be ordered) we have been home for a month. Welcome to The Pandemic Greater Depression. At our home we are fortunate to both have jobs. Many, many others are not as fortunate and the road ahead will be hard. Despite the fact we have a roof over our heads and food on the table the new era Depression mentality has set in. I call the new mindset Forced Frugality.   The grocery store trip was interesting.  Some of the supply chain issues are resolved and the shelves look better.  Still no paper products and some of the shortages (like frozen pizza) are just plain strange.  There were arrows on the floor in an attempt to direct traffic.  I learned that some people don’t know how to follow arrows.  And despite clear instructions not to wander the aisles I pretty much went down every aisle because you never know what you’re going to find (or not find).  I found this:

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$0.59 for organic dark red kidney beans and $0.84 for organic corn!

Today’s lunch side was a simple corn and bean salad.  Here it is.

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1 celery rib, tiny dice
  • 1/4 cup red onion, tiny dice
  • garlic powder
  • pinch or two dried basil
  • a splash of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 can organic dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can organic corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1. Whisk olive oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic powder and basil in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  2. Adjust your seasonings.  Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add your vegetables and beans.  Stir and mix thoroughly.
  4. Add a splash of fresh lemon juice.
  5. Serve as a side dish or over some fresh greens.  This size recipe makes around four servings.

Tips

Sugar is only needed to counteract the acidity in the dressing.  You might not need nor want any sugar at all.  I wanted to put some red bell pepper into this dish but there were none to be found at the store.

Here’s a list of pantry items.  Hopefully you have many if not all on hand as we shelter in place.

Pandemic Pantry Items – Updated 04.18.20

  • Canned tomatoes in 14.5 and 28 ounce cans.  Diced, crushed, diced with green chilies and stewed
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Brown and white sugar
  • Dried oregano, basil, and parsley
  • Onion and garlic powders
  • Bay leaves
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Dried pastas
  • Dried beans such as brown and green lentils, pinto, black, adzuki, mayocabo, yellow and green split peas, black eye peas and cranberry
  • Canned beans such as garbanzos, black, black eye peas, pinto, great northern, navy
  • Broth, vegetable, beef, chicken
  • Rice – multiple varieties like basmati, brown, Texmati, arborio  and plain long grain white
  • Flour tortillas and corn tortillas

Stay safe, stay well, stay home.

And if you do venture out of the house wear a mask.

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Washing does not remove Salmonella bacteria from tomatoes — Science Chronicle

IISc researchers have found that tomatoes get infected with Salmonella typhimurium, which cause gastroenteritis, when the bacteria enter the plant through tiny openings that form on the main root for the lateral roots to emerge. Hence, the bacteria are found inside tomatoes and cannot be removed by washing. As salinity increases the number of lateral roots […]

via Washing does not remove Salmonella bacteria from tomatoes, IISc team finds — Science Chronicle

Oops.

Scared of Romaine Lettuce? Eat Local

Buried in the latest CDC update on romaine lettuce is the following:

No common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand of romaine lettuce has been identified.  Nine additional people have been reported since the last update on November 26, 2018. This brings the total to 52 cases from 15 states. Nineteen people have been hospitalized, including two people who developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome. No deaths have been reported.

I was surprised when romaine lettuce reappeared at my local grocery store at $4 a head.  I haven’t checked the prices of bagged salads but I’m sure they are higher too.

 

Well, the eat local movement should get a huge boost from this most recent e coli outbreak.  If you’re in Oklahoma try the Looney Farm or Scissortail Farm.  I’ve had both and they are excellent sources of fresh locally grown greens.

 

Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Full disclaimer:

Neither of these vegetables are my favorites.  Kale is evil.  Brussels sprouts are like tiny cabbages with a very strong flavor and the potential for producing troublesome gas bubbles.  Favorite DIL made this salad this weekend.  I watched her prepare the dish while expecting the worst.  I figured I’d limit my salad to a small portion.  But life is full of surprises.

I loved this salad and had two helpings.

This recipe is from Bon Appetit and may or may not be the basis for the salad I ate.  It’s pretty close and I’m pretty sure the recipe will change once I start playing around with it.  The recipe (for now) is reproduced in its original form.  Source link follows after the recipe.

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large bunches of Tuscan kale (about 1 1/2 lb. total), center stem discarded, leaves thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces brussels sprouts, trimmed, finely grated or shredded with a knife
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup almonds with skins, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup finely grated Pecorino
  • Combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a pinch of pepper in a small bowl. Stir to blend; set aside to let flavors meld. Mix thinly sliced kale and shredded brussels sprouts in a large bowl.

  • Measure 1/2 cup oil into a cup. Spoon 1 Tbsp. oil from cup into a small skillet; heat oil over medium-high heat. Add almonds to skillet and stir frequently until golden brown in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer nuts to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle almonds lightly with salt.

  • Slowly whisk remaining olive oil in cup into lemon-juice mixture. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

  • DO AHEAD: Dressing, kale mixture, and toasted almonds can be prepared 8 hours ahead. Cover dressing and kale mixture separately and chill. Cover almonds and let stand at room temperature.

  • Add dressing and cheese to kale mixture; toss to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Garnish with almonds.

    Source:  bon appetit online at https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/kale-and-brussels-sprout-salad.

Yogurt Marinade

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2 T red wine vinegar
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 T plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 T oregano

One of the benefits of a blog is quick accessibility to your recipes.

Except when you’re looking for something that you thought you posted but never did.  The plan was to toss together a quick Greek Salad from The Pioneer Woman and grill some chicken.  So the yogurt marinade came to mind but where was it?  The last time I remember seeing the recipe it was scribbled on a piece of scrap paper that more likely than not got thrown away.

For an Old Guy Playing With Technology I sometimes surprise myself.

I actually remembered to take a picture and save it to my online drafts folder.

I found it!

 

Poached Chicken

  • 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves
  • 1 medium carrot, French cut style
  • 1 medium rib celery, French cut style
  • 1/4 large onion, thickly sliced
  • 1 T dried parsley
  • 2 T dried thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Place chicken in a pot just large enough to hold chicken breast halves and add enough water to barely cover.

  2. Add carrot, celery, onion, lemon, parsley, thyme, bay leaves, white pepper, and salt.

  3. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.   When the liquid is almost to a boil, reduce heat to low.  Cover and continue to simmer for around 20 minutes.  If the breasts are large, simmer an extra five minutes.

  4. After 20-25 minutes, turn off the heat.  Leave the cover on the pot and allow the chicken to cool in the broth for around 15-20 minutes.

  5. You’re done.  Remove the breasts from the broth.  Debone, skin, and slice.

I thought it would be fun to document my thought process when deciding upon what to make for a meal.  We were completely out of milk so I had to go to the store.  Note the date of this post.  We are less than a week away from November and the temperature was damn near 90 degrees.  It might have even topped 90.  Despite having reservations for brunch, we had to wait for our table today.

“Would you like a table outside?”

 

“Thank you but Hell No.”

I digress.  So I’m at the store and I pass by the bagged salad section.  Remember, it’s nearly November.  Stacked up and looking fresh were a bunch of salad kits seductively named Endless Summer.  I kid you not. 

Chicken breasts bone-in were on sale for $1.99 a pound.  Dinner. Done.

I guess the title of this recipe really should be Bagged Salad with Chicken.