3 Easy (Non-Bean) Recipes for the Quarantine

Do you really want to be cooped up with people who have just loaded up on beans? (Kidding, sort of). Yes, beans are nutritious and keep well, but here are three easy recipes that rely on fresh foods — which last longer than you think when stored properly.

By Sarah Copeland
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RADISH SALAD WITH KALE AND ALMONDS

Prep time: 25 minutes

Total time: 25 minutes

Recipe ingredients

½ head Tuscan kale, cut or torn into bite-size pieces

3 Tbsp high-quality extra-virgin olive oil

Juice of ½ lemon

Fine sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 lb. radishes (large or small), thinly sliced

1⁄3 cup (40 g) roasted unsalted almonds, coarsely chopped

Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, for serving

1 handful any herbs (if available), torn or chopped 

Optional: 4 oz (115 g) Parmesan cheese 

Recipe instructions

Toss the kale together with the oil and lemon juice in a large bowl. Season with fine salt and pepper. Massage the kale, squeezing and rubbing the leaves together with your hands, working the oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper into the leaves to flavor and tenderize them. Toss together with the radish and almonds. Use a vegetable peeler to shave the parmesan (if using) over the top. Divide among serving plates and garnish with flaky salt and more pepper. Scatter on any available herbs. Serve at room temperature.

Note: Kale tenderizes as it sits in lemon and salt, so making this a day ahead always works. Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. Radishes, too, can benefit from some softening, but after a day they get stinky, so if you’re planning to keep the salad for more than half a day, throw your radishes in no more than a few hours before serving. Serves 4.

Make the ingredients last ...

Kale: While baby arugula and fragile lettuces won’t last long in your fridge, dinosaur kale will keep wrapped loosely in plastic bags for a full week. A bunch of kale, washed and wrapped in damp paper towels, will keep for about a week in the fridge, unlike delicate lettuce and pre-washed baby greens, which wilt (and, worse, slime) within days of coming home. 

Radishes: Nearly invincible, firm and freshly picked radishes, from the farmer’s market, your CSA or the grocery, can keep for literally months. Wash well, trim any greens and keep wrapped in damp paper towels, in zip-top plastic bags for up to 3 weeks (larger radishes, like watermelon or black radishes, will keep for 6 weeks or sometimes much more). Replace the paper towels every two weeks. 

Lemons: When stored in plastic bags (with some aeration), lemons can keep 3 to 4 weeks in the fridge. Buy at least one extra bag, juice the lemons and freeze in ice cube trays. Once the lemon juice is frozen, pop them out and store in zip-top bags or an air-tight container for up to 2 months.  

TOMATO AND FETA SHAKSHUKA

Prep time: 20 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes

Recipe ingredients

1 tablespoon butter or olive oil, room temperature

3 cups canned San Marzano tomatoes, in sauce

Pinch of red pepper flakes

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

8 large eggs

4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

For Serving:

1 small shallot, thinly sliced

Caper berries

¼ packed cup torn fresh dill

Extra-virgin olive oil

Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon

Freshly ground black pepper

Toast, for serving 

Recipe instructions

Combine the olive oil, tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and cumin in a shallow, straight-sided pot and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat, breaking the tomatoes up with a potato masher, until a thick sauce forms, about 20 minutes. 

Crack 8 eggs into the sauce. Cover and cook on low heat until the whites are completely set and the yolks are mostly set but still a little runny, about 6 to 8 minutes. Check the yolks; if you like a firmer yolk, turn off the heat, recover with the lid, and let the eggs sit for 1 to 2 minutes more, until set.

Open the lid and sprinkle the feta over the top of the eggs to warm. Spoon the sauce, eggs, and feta into shallow bowls or over the toast and sprinkle with shallot, caper berries, and dill. Drizzle with olive oil if desired, and finish with a sprinkle of flaky salt and black pepper. Serves 4.

Make the ingredients last ...

Canned Tomatoes: Canned San Marzano Tomatoes (whole, peeled, in juice) will keep for a year in the can, unopened. Once opened, they can be refrigerated for about 10 days without going bad. You can also use them to make sauce, soup, lasagnas and more.

Feta Cheese: Of all the fresh cheese, Feta’s high salt content gives it a longer shelf life. Buy a large block of dried feta (not the fresh feta sold in brine, which needs to be consumed in 5 days): it will keep, unopened, for a month in the fridge. Once opened, avoid touching it with your fingers (cut off only what you need) and store the rest in an air-tight container (with some room to breathe) for up to a week. 

Eggs: If properly stored (in the top shelf of the refrigerator, toward the back, not in the door), eggs will last three to five weeks, despite what the sell-by date says. For a family, five to six dozen eggs should last you a month. If you’re nervous about running out, buy extras and crack individual eggs into small containers to freeze for up to 3 months (for this recipe), or crack in pairs and freeze for baking and scrambled eggs down the line.

If properly stored (in the top shelf of the refrigerator, toward the back, not in the door), eggs will last three to five weeks, despite what the sell-by date says.

SWEET POTATO GRATIN

Prep time: 20 minutes

Total time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Recipe ingredients

¼ cup unsalted butter (½ stick), at room temperature

2 12-oz cans evaporated milk 

4 large garlic cloves, minced

1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt

4 large eggs

1 to 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

4 pounds sweet potatoes (about 8 medium potatoes), peeled

Freshly ground black pepper

1 ¾ cup Gruyere, Comte or Grand Cru, grated

½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Recipe instructions

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F and brush the soft butter all over a rimmed 17 x 13-inch baking sheet that’s at least 1-inch deep. 

Bring the evaporated milk, garlic and salt to a simmer in a medium pot. Simmer to reduce slightly and flavor the milk, about 5 minutes. 

Beat the eggs in a large, heatproof (metal) bowl. Add a little of the warm milk mixture to the eggs, whisking constantly to temper the eggs. Add the remaining milk slowly, whisking as you go. Whisk in the mustard. 

Slice the sweet potatoes into ⅛-inch thick rounds with a mandolin or a sharp knife. Mix the two cheeses together. 

Shingle the potatoes across the prepared baking sheet, overlapping the layers slightly. Season with a bit of the salt and black pepper to taste, then pour half the egg mixture over the top. Top with ½ the cheese mixture. Repeat with the remaining potatoes, egg mixture and cheese. Bake until the potatoes are cooked and the cheese is browned and bubbly, about 45 to 50 minutes. Cool slightly, slice and serve warm. Serves 8.

Make the ingredients last ...

Sweet Potatoes: Raw sweet potatoes last two to three weeks on the countertop, but give them a cool, dark and dry storage spot, like the root cellar of our ancestors (think basement, or a dark corner on the floor of a tiled kitchen in a wooden crate, where air can circulate), and they will last about a month. 

Parmesan: The best Parmesan is already aged 12 to 24 months and produced to be a good keeper. Stored properly, it can keep another 4 to 6 months unopened in your fridge, as long as you don’t touch it. Once opened, keep it wrapped loosely in cheese paper, butcher paper or muslin so it can breathe, then put it inside a sealed airtight container with plenty of room around it, so it doesn’t dry out; it will keep for up to 6 weeks. 

Gruyere: Semi-soft or semi-firm cheeses, like Gruyere, Grand Cru or Comte (all alpine-style, sweet and nutty cheeses) will keep 3 to 4 weeks in the fridge if stored properly. Like parmesan, keep it wrapped loosely in cheese paper, butcher paper or muslin so it can breathe, then put it inside a sealed airtight container with plenty of room around it, so it doesn’t dry out. 

about the author

Sarah Copeland (@edibleliving) is a writer, culinary star, and author of Every Day is Saturday: Recipes + Strategies for Easy Cooking, Every Day of the Week

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