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  • Writer's pictureJennifer

...A Dash of Salt & Pepper "Cooking in the Time of COVID"

So I can't write restaurant reviews right now – a big womp-womp. Because Americans can't dine in restaurants. The coronavirus has, well, we all watch the news. Chances are we've been glued to it since March 11th when the pandemic was declared. So I won't re-hash all that sad stuff.

But I will say this – a person can still eat well even during a pandemic.

Feast your eyes on the below photos. It’s food cooked with love and on a mission – to lift our spirits during this tumultuous time. I asked family and friends to submit some “delish-dish” photos – chronicling the good meals they’ve been cooking while under COVID confinement these past few weeks.

Here are some of my faves. What a wide array of SCRUMPTIOUS cuisine. I must confess – when this pandemic is over (big prayers), I hope to be invited to dinner by EACH of these talented chefs. Let me book my reservation now! Haha.

Jokes aside, being stuck inside in self-quarantine can be downright tough – it's stifling, monotonous, and gloomy. “Tell me how you REALLY feel, right?!” My heart goes out to all of us affected, and everyone suffering with illness, and every precious person who has left our Earth.

But hopefully this post makes you smile – even if just for a moment.

Thank you to all my loved ones who contributed their stellar foodie pix. And if any readers are interested in obtaining recipes for the below, just let me know.

Let’s dive into the sweet, and savory, and beyond.

Or should I say – "Salute" (Italian). "Buen provecho" (Spanish). "Bon appétit" (French). And "Eet Smakelijk" (Dutch)!!!

Brazilian Wagoners' Rice: I love when a dish matches the colors of its flag. How patriotic! This Brazilian dish sports green and yellow bell peppers, perfectly matching the colors of its Brazilian flag. What's more, legend has it Brazilian gauchos (cowboys) ate this hardy beef, rice, vegetable, and peppercorn dish while out on the romantic Brazilian prairie fields called "the Pampas." Ahhh. It kept them warm. For me, it's a fave wintertime dish. I love cooking it in my little Connecticut kitchen.

Chicken and Dumplings: Another comfort food dish, this doughy masterpiece is mouth-watering good, and pretty versatile. It can be cooked in a variety of ways depending on your location and preference. There's the Southern dumpling, the Quebec (French-Canadian), and even Middle Eastern versions. All equal a resounding YUM. I like this "kickin' it old school" version as shown here. It's a great dish when "y'gotta stay inside." Ho-hum.

Seafood and Vegetable Pasta: This meal "sings of spring." Here's fresh sauteed kale and zucchini (trés healthful), with shrimp and scallops (trés delectable) mixed with pasta. Pair it with a glass of Pinot Grigio, and behold. Lent Fridays in the time of COVID can still be beautiful. Salute and God bless!

Filet of Salmon: Another lovely seafood dish (yup, I said "lovely"), this light, flaky, buttery, and lemony meal I know quite well. Its chef is one of my good friends, and she cooks this fisherman's delight often. Should I call it her "signature" dish? All I know is, she serves up some SLAMMIN' salmon! And worth noting, when you have a good piece of fish cooked to perfection, it's hard to go wrong. Still, she always serves some great sides, too. Here we have some sauteed greens, tomatoes and rice.

Homemade Japanese Ramen Noodles: An artisanal, high-end take on that cheapy-fun college favorite. Take some basic organic ramen noodles, sliced bell peppers, and chicken broth. Then, sliced lemongrass. Yes, the magnum opus of this dish is the antioxidant-rich lemongrass chutes. Can you squint to see them? They're floating around the chicken broth. I usually add a hard-boiled egg to my homemade ramen, too, but I had a pandemic-related issue with eggs during my last grocery run. Bah humbug.

Rhode Island Clam Chowder: What makes a clam chowder Rhode Island? It's mainly the broth. Unlike New England clam chowder, it's not a creamy milk-base, or a Manhattan that's tomato-based. No, a Rhode Island clam chowder is straight-up clam broth. Call it a chowder for seafood purists? Whichever the case, this one looks AMAZING.

Chicken Vegetable Soup: This ain't no chicken soup from a can. This is hardy homemade fare meant to toughen us up. Tough times call for tough measures, and apparently tough soup. No description needed here. We just need to cook it, eat it, and stay healthy. We're in the trenches right now with coronavirus, but we will emerge strong. This soup will help us get there.

Let's finish with a "delish-dish" Greek dessert! And to liven things up, I include only the recipe (but no food photo). So, if you're feeling inspired after reading this post, why not give the above recipe a go? I suppose you could cheat and Google "Kourabiedes" images online, but I say it's much funner to be all Dora the "Food" Explorer. Bake it and see what happens! Anything with powdered sugar is going to be delicious in my book.



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