Pantry Meals & Social Distancing

Here in California we finished our first full week of social distancing and shelter-in-place. It's an unprecedented time which calls for unprecedented actions and co-operation from everyone. 

The usually overflowing bay area freeways were empty this past week and home streets were lined with parked cars as most of the residents stayed home and practiced social distancing and did the best they could juggling work from home with kids' school from home.

It was hard to get going at first but I think I am settling into this new rhythm. Even as we complain about small inconveniences, I keep reminding myself that we are amongst the more fortunate ones - not having to worry about living paycheck to paycheck or having jobs to go back to or with elderlys or folks with special conditions to care about.

Like others we spent a bunch of time getting groceries and pantry organized. We stocked our pantry with staples such as different kinds of rice (plain, wild rice, jasmine rice), beans (black beans, kidney beans, navy beans, garbanzo beans) both dried and canned, lentils (split peas, urad daal, red lentils, french green lentils), pastas and noodles (spaghetti, bowtie, udon and soba noodles) as well as other whole grains such as cracked wheat, couscous, quinoa and cornmeal. Most of these are regular residences of my pantry, so it was mostly a task of checking up on stock and refilling if low.

Our freezer is generally well stocked too, with some frozen veggies like peas, spinach and fruits like blueberries, pineapple cubes and some frozen ready to eat meals from Trader Joe's - dumplings, palak paneer and Thai curry.

The dairy was more challenging - we stocked up on milk, eggs, yogurt, cheese and also bought some shelf stable milk and soymilk.

It is a time I feel good about having invested in basic kitchen skills and a trove of quick cooking recipes to dig into.  Somehow the fact that I can whip together bread if needed with ingredients from pantry is deeply assuring and satisfying!

We have been cooking and eating all the meals at home - which is a challenge in itself juggling everything else, but like everything else it's settling into a new rhythm of it's own.

Cooking and baking has always been very relaxing and rewarding activity for me and it's a daily comfort to cook for and enjoy meals with the ones you love.

Here are a few largely pantry based vegetarian meals we have enjoyed these past 2 weeks:
  1. Polenta with sauteed mushrooms
  2. Pasta with roasted grape tomatoes
  3. Black Bean and Cheese Quesadilla
  4. Noodles with Stir-fried vegetables
  5. Spiced Cauliflower Rice (masale bhat)
  6. Simple vegetable sabzi
  7. Gobi parathas
  8. Apple tart as a special Friday evening treat!
Social distancing week 1 - pantry meals
Here is to wishing us all health and happiness and that we all keep our sanity through this period of social distancing and to the world a quick recovery from the current crisis!