Crime reporter Rachel Rice, who is originally from Texas, made what she calls Southwest Shakshuka. It is like a regular shakshuka — a tomato-and-egg staple of the eastern and southern Mediterranean — only with less tomatoes and more ingredients from Texas: black beans, salsa, chili powder and cayenne.
So, recently there was a pandemic. You might have heard about it.
A lot of people who were lucky enough to still have jobs had to work from home. And perhaps because of the proximity of the kitchen, or perhaps simply because they had more time, many of them spent more time cooking than they ever had before.
Recipes were tried and perfected. Families were happy and full. And apparently vast portions of the United States rediscovered the simple pleasures of baking their own bread.
Journalists at the Post-Dispatch, too, have spent the last several weeks at home, and continue to do so. We asked some of them to share their favorite coronavirus recipes with us and with you.
Rachel Rice: Southwest Shakshuka
Yield: 1 serving
1½ teaspoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons onions, chopped
½ (16-ounce) can black beans
2 tablespoons salsa
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon chili powder
⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
¼ cup shredded cheese, your choice
Janelle O'Dea: Pad Thai
Data reporter Janelle O'Dea tried her hand at homemade pad thai. She called it "so good, just like takeout, and easy to make."
Yield: 4 servings
8 ounces flat rice noodles
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
5 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons tamarind paste or rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sriracha hot sauce, or more to taste
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter, optional
2 tablespoons oil, divided
8 ounces uncooked shrimp, chicken or extra-firm tofu, cut into small pieces
3 garlic cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
½ cup dry-roasted peanuts
3 green onions, chopped
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 limes, cut into wedges
1. Cook noodles according to package instructions, just until tender. Rinse under cold water.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, tamarind paste, sriracha and peanut butter. Set aside.
3. Heat 1½ tablespoons of the oil in a large saucepan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, chicken or tofu, garlic and bell pepper. The shrimp will cook quickly, about 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until pink. If using chicken, cook until just cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes.
4. Push everything to the side of the pan. Add the remaining ½ tablespoon of the oil and add the beaten eggs. Scramble the eggs, breaking them into small pieces with a spatula as they cook. Add noodles, sauce, bean sprouts and peanuts to the pan (reserving some peanuts for topping at the end). Toss everything to combine. Top with reserved peanuts, green onions, cilantro and wedges of lime. Serve immediately.
Per serving: 587 calories; 24g fat; 4g saturated fat; 182mg cholesterol; 22g protein; 74g carbohydrate; 19g sugar; 5g fiber; 1,354mg sodium; 112mg calcium
Adapted from tastesbetterfromscratch.com
Amy Bertrand: Watermelon-Cucumber Mojitos
Features editor extraordinaire Amy Bertrand contributed a summertime cocktail, Watermelon-Cucumber Mojito. Mint, watermelon and cucumber vodka are spritzed with club soda. It's the kind of drink that is best sipped outside on a hot day.
Watch now: Make a Watermelon-Cucumber Mojito
Yield: 4 servings
½ cup mint leaves, divided
Juice from 2 limes, plus 1 lime, cut in wedges, for garnish
4 to 5 cups seedless watermelon, cubed
6 ounces cucumber-flavored vodka
1. Muddle a few mint leaves in the bottom of each of 4 glasses or small mason jars with the juice from ½ lime (for each glass).
2. In a food processor or blender, puree watermelon. Pour watermelon puree through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing on solids until you get about 2 cups liquid. Pour ¼ cup watermelon juice into each glass. Discard solids.
3. Add 1½ ounces of cucumber vodka to each glass. Then fill each glass with club soda and stir. Garnish each with more mint leaves and a wedge of lime.
Per serving: 148 calories; 1g fat; no saturated fat; no cholesterol; 1g protein; 14g carbohydrate; 10g sugar; 1g fiber; 4mg sodium; 14mg calcium
Recipe by Amy Bertrand
Marcia Koenig: White Beans au Vin
Metro editor Marcia Koenig is an accomplished cook who turned to the New York Times for some of her corona recipes. One of her triumphs was White Beans au Vin, a vegetarian take on the classic French chicken dish Coq au Vin.
White Beans au Vin
Yield: 4 servings
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 medium carrots, diced into ½-inch pieces (about 1½ cups)
5 medium shallots, chopped (about 1 cup)
Salt and black pepper
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
5 thyme sprigs
3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
½ cup dry red wine, such as Côtes du Rhône
2 teaspoons tomato paste
2 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 tablespoon Cognac or brandy
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1. In a Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the carrots and shallots, season to taste with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
2. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the vegetables are tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
3. Add the thyme sprigs and garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the wine and tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until the wine is almost completely evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Add the beans, broth, Cognac, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn the heat to low, partly cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced and thickened, 25 to 30 minutes.
5. Remove and discard the thyme sprigs. Off the heat, stir in the parsley and balsamic vinegar; season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide among shallow bowls and sprinkle with more parsley, if desired.
Per serving: 415 calories; 10g fat; 6g saturated fat; 22mg cholesterol; 19g protein; 62g carbohydrate; 9g sugar; 14g fiber; 1,045mg sodium; 212mg calcium
Recipe from the New York Times, by Lidey Heuck.
Marcia Koenig: Roasted Apricot Sorbet
Koenig also made a Roasted Apricot Sorbet from Gourmet Magazine.
Roasted Apricot Sorbet
Yield: 3 cups, about 6 servings
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup water
¹⁄³ cup dried apricots, chopped
1¼ pounds firm-ripe apricots (7 large)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¹⁄8 teaspoon almond extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Bring sugar, water and dried apricots to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let stand until apricots are softened, about 1 hour.
3. While dried apricots are standing, roast whole fresh apricots in a small roasting pan in middle of oven until soft, about 1 hour. Cool in pan, then peel and pit when cool enough to handle.
4. Purée dried apricot mixture, roasted apricots, lemon juice and almond extract in a blender until very smooth, 1½ to 2 minutes. Force purée through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on solids and then discarding them. Chill purée, covered, until cold, at least 2 hours. Freeze in ice cream maker, according to manufacturer’s directions, then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.
Per serving: 161 calories; 1g fat; no saturated fat; no cholesterol; 2g protein; 40g carbohydrate; 38g sugar; 2g fiber; 3mg sodium; 17mg calcium
Recipe from Gourmet Magazine
Jeremy Kohler: Lamb Chops Scottadito With Crispy Kale
Investigative reporter Jeremy Kohler is also an accomplished cook. He whipped up a Mother's Day feast of Lamb Chops Scottadito With Crispy Kale, also from the New York Times. These chops are meant to be eaten hot off the grill; Kohler called them "hot meatsicles."
Lamb Chops Scottadito with Crispy Kale
Yield: 4 servings
12 lamb rib chops
Salt and pepper
6 anchovy fillets
¼ cup capers in brine, drained
2 lemons, zested and cut in half
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
24 fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1 large bunch lacinato or Tuscan kale, stems removed and leaves left whole
Grapeseed or other oil suitable for high heat, for preparing the grill
1. Using a mallet, pound each rib chop to ¼-inch thickness. Season the chops with salt and pepper.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the anchovy fillets, capers, lemon zest, garlic, sage and ½ cup of the olive oil, and pulse the mixture to form a marinade. Using a rubber spatula, transfer mixture to a large plastic food storage bag or shallow dish. Add the lamb and coat evenly in marinade. Seal the bag or cover the dish with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
3. Heat oven to 500 degrees and place a rack just above the center. Place the kale leaves in a large mixing bowl and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. With clean hands, toss the leaves, making sure both sides of each piece are lightly coated, adding more oil, about a teaspoon at a time, as necessary. (Alternatively, an oil mister can be used to lightly spray the kale on each side.) Place a large wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet and arrange half the leaves on the rack in a single layer, not touching one another, and season with salt and pepper. Roast kale to brown and crispy, about 4 to 5 minutes, then repeat with remaining leaves. Loosely arrange a bed of crispy kale on a serving platter.
4. Heat an outdoor grill to high and brush or spray with grapeseed oil. Add the lamb and cook over the high heat for about 4 minutes until charred, then flip and cook until chops are crisp at the edges, an additional 2 to 3 minutes. (The fire will flare as the fat cooks, so stay close to the grill and shuffle the chops as necessary.) After flipping the lamb to cook on the second side, place the lemon halves on the grill and char until caramelized and browned, about 2 to 4 minutes. (Chops can also be broiled in the oven, on high, about 5 minutes on each side. Lemons can be charred in a grill pan on the stove.)
5. Allow the meat to rest on a plate for a few minutes. Arrange the chops on the bed of kale and douse them with the juice of the charred lemons.
Per serving: 592 calories; 43g fat; 10g saturated fat; 130mg cholesterol; 49g protein; 7g carbohydrate; 1g sugar; 3g fiber; 600mg sodium; 125mg calcium
Adapted from a recipe by Rachael Ray by the New York Times
Amanda St. Amand: Strawberry Cobbler
Digital editor Mandy St. Amand bought a whole flat of strawberries at a local orchard ("So. Many. Strawberries" she wrote). Struggling to use them all, she put many of them into a strawberry cobbler. It was her first time making strawberry cobbler, though she had previously cobbled blueberries and peaches. Though it was just she and her husband eating it, she wrote, "none of that cobbler went to waste."
Yield: 12 servings
2½ cups biscuit baking mix, such as Bisquick
¾ cup milk
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
4 pounds strawberries, quartered
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar, such as Sugar in the Raw
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
2. In a bowl, mix together the biscuit mix, milk and brown sugar, and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add the berries and vanilla, and stir to combine. Pour berries mixture into the prepared baking dish.
4. Drop dough by spoonfuls over the strawberries. Sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Bake about 30 minutes until golden and filling is bubbly. Let cool before eating. Best when served with ice cream and/or whipped cream.
Per serving: 250 calories; 2g fat; 1g saturated fat; 1mg cholesterol; 5g protein; 55g carbohydrate; 30g sugar; 4g fiber; 555mg sodium; 157mg calcium
Recipe by myrecipes.com
Josh Renaud: Roscas de Maiz
Designer Josh Renaud's wife, Yolange, is originally from Bolivia. When faced with a virus-related shortage of wheat flour, she decided to make breakfast treats made from cornmeal that are staples in her native country. One of her favorites, she said, is Roscas de Maiz," a doughnut-shaped cornbread.
Roscas de Maíz
Yield: 24 servings
2 cups precooked yellow cornmeal, or cook your own cornmeal according to directions on the package
1 (4-ounce) potato, cooked and smashed
12 ounces Asiago cheese or another hard cheese such as Parmesan, Romano, feta or cotija
5 tablespoons butter, room temperature
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Mix all the ingredients to form a smooth dough, adding enough milk to bring it to the consistency of Play-Doh. Divide into 24 balls. Roll each ball to make a stick about 7 inches long and 1 inch thick, then close the ends to make a doughnut shape.
3. Bake until golden and freckled, about 22 to 25 minutes. These are especially good with coffee.
Per serving: 134 calories; 7g fat; 4g saturated fat; 24mg cholesterol; 7g protein; 12g carbohydrate; 3g sugar; 1g fiber; 347mg sodium; 210mg calcium
Recipe by Yolange Renaud
Robert Cohen: Ratatouille
Leave it to a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer to send us this photo of ratatouille. But he confesses he did not make it. "My daughter Natalie Cohen and her girlfriend Molly Garrison made it."
Yield: 8 servings
6 Roma tomatoes
2 yellow squashes
2 tablespoons plus ¼ cup olive oil, divided
1 onion, diced
4 cloves plus 1 teaspoon garlic, minced, divided
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, from 16 to 20 leaves, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Slice the eggplant, tomatoes, squash and zucchini into approximately ¹⁄₁₆-inch rounds, then set aside.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 12-inch oven-safe pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion, 4 cloves of the minced garlic and red and yellow bell peppers until soft, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add the crushed tomatoes. Stir until the ingredients are fully incorporated. Remove from heat and add 2 tablespoons of the basil. Stir once more, then smooth the surface of the sauce with a spatula.
4. Arrange the sliced veggies in alternating patterns (for example, eggplant, tomato, squash, zucchini) on top of the sauce from the outer edge to the middle of the pan. Season with salt and pepper.
5. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 2 tablespoons basil, the remaining 1 teaspoon minced garlic, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper and the remaining ¼ cup olive oil. Spoon this herb seasoning over the vegetables. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover, then bake for 20 more minutes until the vegetables are softened.
Per serving: 157 calories; 5g fat; 1g saturated fat; no cholesterol; 5g protein; 28g carbohydrate; 15g sugar; 8g fiber; 218mg sodium; 64mg calcium
Recipe from tasty.co
Gary Hairlson: Hawaiian Italian Mexican Pizza
Photo editor Gary Hairlson is something of a master with a grill and a smoker, but he and his wife had a hankering for pizza, so he decided to make his own Hawaiian Italian Mexican Pizza. He's nothing if not cosmopolitan. For his crust, he took an unusual route: He used tortillas.
Hawaiian Italian Mexican Pizza
Yield: 4 servings
1 pound Italian sausage
4 small or 2 large flour tortillas
1 cup of your favorite pizza sauce
8 ounces shredded cheese, your choice
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped green bell pepper
8 ounces diced ham
1 (14.5-ounce) can chili-ready diced tomatoes, strained
1 (8 ounce) can tidbit diced pineapple
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cook the Italian sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, drain the oil, blot with paper towels and cut up the big pieces.
2. Place tortillas on a cookie sheet. Spread sauce evenly over them. Cover with a light layer of cheese. Add onions and peppers evenly over the tortillas, and sprinkle with the diced ham. Add the Italian sausage, the strained tomatoes and the pineapple, and finish with a final layer of cheese.
3. Cook until cheese is bubbling.
Per serving: 572 calories; 28 fat; 11g saturated fat; 100mg cholesterol; 35g protein; 45g carbohydrate; 10g sugar; 3g fiber; 1,981mg sodium; 577mg calcium
Recipe by Gary Hairlson
Christian Gooden: Mosca's Chicken a la Grande
Photographer Christian Gooden tried a recipe from Mosca's, an Italian restaurant in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. It's called Mosca's Chicken a la Grande.
Mosca's Chicken a la Grande
Yield: 4 servings
½ cup white wine, such as chardonnay or fumé blanc
3 pounds chicken pieces (about 8 pieces), dark and light meat
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 to 10 cloves garlic, peeled and pounded to near paste or grated
1 tablespoon dried rosemary, or 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon dried oregano, or 3 tablespoons fresh oregano
1. In a large bowl, add the wine and then the chicken, turning to moisten each piece. Transfer the chicken pieces to a plate, reserving the wine, and generously season the chicken all over with the salt and pepper.
2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil. Add the chicken pieces and fry, turning the pieces as needed, until generously browned, about 25 minutes. If chicken is getting too brown, lower the heat to medium.
3. Once the chicken is brown, remove skillet from heat and add the garlic, rosemary, oregano and reserved wine to the skillet, and stir to evenly coat the chicken pieces.
4. Return to low heat, cover and cook until the liquid is reduced by half and the chicken is tender, about 15 minutes.
Per serving: 729 calories; 43g fat; 250mg cholesterol; 1,510 mg sodium; 13g carbohydrates; 4g fiber; 4g sugars; 72g protein
Adapted from “New Orleans Classic Celebrations,” by Kit Wohl
Valerie Schremp Hahn: Oatmeal Energy Bites
The easiest recipe came from features writer Valerie Schremp Hahn: Oatmeal Cookie Energy Bites, which require no cooking.
Oatmeal Cookie Energy Bites
Yield: 18 bites
1½ cups rolled oats
⅔ cup peanut butter
½ cup raisins
¼ cup pure maple syrup
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir until well mixed. Roll into 18 bite-sized balls with wet hands to keep the mixture from sticking to you (or use a melon scooper to help). Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Per bite: 107 calories; 5g fat; 1g saturated fat; no cholesterol; 3g protein; 13g carbohydrate; 6g sugar; 1g fiber; 3mg sodium; 16mg calcium
Recipe from “100 Days of Real Food on a Budget,” by Lisa Leake
Elaine Vydra: ?
And finally, digital marketing manager Elaine Vydra, when asked if she had had anything notable during the quarantine, wrote: "Do Pop Tarts count?"