Saturday, March 21, 2020


And, on the seventh day, I shopped. I parked as far from the market as possible, for a chance to stretch my legs, and donned rubber gloves. (No masks available anywhere.) Officers on patrol pulled up next to me, saw my shopping bags and moved along without a word. At the market, the butcher and fruit vendor handed over receipts to show as proof that I was out and about to purchase food, almost the only movement outside home that is permitted. Such is life during the coronavirus crisis lockdown. 

Another customer at the butcher’s (keeping a 1-meter distance from others) asked if business was suffering with people keeping to their homes. Francisco, the carnicero (butcher), replied that, no, he had had the best four days ever. “But, nobody is buying meat with any joy,” he said. It seemed true. Usually a feast-day food, meat and poultry were being purchased for survival. Everybody seemed pretty glum.

But I was overjoyed to have a fat pollo amarillo (free-range “yellow” chicken) for roasting, a bundle of fresh asparagus and local avocados to replenish my menu planning for another week in quarantine.

Still, I haven’t eaten too badly in the seven days of isolation, using frozen and canned foods plus produce from my garden—cabbage, kale, chard, carrots and snow peas. Here are some of the dishes I ate during the first week of lockdown.

Snow peas from my garden, for an easy stir-fry with beef (from the freezer).

For St. Patrick's Day, a recipe from Epicurious--Cabbage Potato Pie. Only, instead of potatoes, I used mashed zucchini. (For anyone following my blog: this is the last cabbage from the garden!)

Chickpeas in the freezer from a previous meal go into hummus with tahini. Great snack food. I use the leftovers as a dressing for salads and cooked vegetables.

Harira, a spicy Moroccan soup (this recipe also from Epicurious--see the link below), is a great lunch dish. I had vegetables from the garden. You could use canned chickpeas. Add beef, lamb or chicken to make the soup even more substantial.   

From the pantry: canned mussels in escabeche. These are canned with pieces of algae from Galicia.

To make sauce for pasta: Add contents of two cans of mussels in escabeche to sautéed garlic, ham and kale.

I served one portion of the mussel-kale sauce with noodles and the other with zoodles (zucchini noodles).

I kept myself entertained one afternoon making these cauliflower patties, using leftover cauliflower "rice" that I had made for the stir-fry earlier in the week. I wanted crisp crackers, but they're not. But they make a tasty snack, nice with a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Cauliflower Patties
Tortitas de Coliflor

Makes 16.

2 cups cooked cauliflower “rice”
1 cup (unsweetened) almond flour
1 egg, beaten
½ cup grated Manchego cheese
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon smoked pimentón picante (hot paprika)

Heat oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Combine the cauliflower rice and almond flour in a bowl. Add the egg, cheese, salt, pepper and pimentón. 

Drop spoonfuls of the cauliflower mixture onto the baking sheet. Use the back of the spoon to press them into 2-inch patties.

Bake the patties until golden, 15 minutes. Serve hot or room temperature.

To make cauliflower “rice”: Cut out and discard the center stalk of the cauliflower. Cut the cauliflower into florets. Add the florets and small stems to food processor and pulse until they are chopped to the consistency of rice grains. Place the cauliflower kernels in a microwave-safe bowl and drizzle them with olive oil. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir. Microwave for 1 or 2 minutes more or until cauliflower is the desired degree of doneness. Add salt.

Links to recipes pictured above:
Harira (Moroccan Soup), by Joan Nathan.
Cabbage Potato Pie by Anna Stockwell.

More recipes for cauliflower rice here.
More recipes for cooking with algae here.
More recipes for lockdown meals here and here.

KitchenQuarantine  a Facebook Page.

By the way, it's SPRING! Orange blossoms.


  1. Is that Colcannon? It looks fantastic, as do the tortitas.
    I was thinking of making mejillones en escabeche this week if I can get some mussels.

    1. MadDog: Inspired by colcannon, according to the article accompanying the recipe on I used canned mussels with algae in escabeche for the pasta. When you make them, how long can you keep them?

    2. It depends on the quantity of vinegar if they are unpasteurised - I think if you can them properly they last a long time, otherwise, probably a week or so.

    3. Thanks. I'll have to try mussels in escabeche.

  2. Thanks for the ideas, I like your lighter take on "cloistered cooking", especially after a winter of hardier meals.

    1. Dina: I never thought of it as "cloistered cooking"! This week, with return of wintry weather, I am craving hearty soups.