While socially distancing at home, most of us are cooking a lot more than usual. But as quarantine continues for the foreseeable future, many are starting to feel like they’re running out of ideas in the kitchen.
How better to cure your lack of inspiration, cooking-wise, than with recommendations from people who make meals for a living? Here, four chefs share what’s inspiring them to cook through the pandemic, as well as their favorite dishes to prepare during quarantine.
Founded by registered dietitians and Certified Diabetes Educators Wendy Lopez and Jessica Jones—both of whom got their start in the food world working at farmers’ markets and doing cooking demos and nutrition workshops in underserved New York City communities—Food Heaven is an inclusive online resource and podcast aiming to make health and wellness more accessible. “The Food Heaven platform helps people transform the way they eat and find joy in food through intuitive eating and body respect,” Jones says.
How quarantine has changed Jones’s cooking habits: “I’ve been burnt out by cooking during quarantine. For whatever reason I have less energy and inspiration to cook elaborate meals right now. This is why I’ve been sticking to super simple recipes.”
Jessica Jones’s 4-Ingredient Pesto
Cook 8 ounces of your favorite pasta⠀
Sauté 4-6 cups of chopped kale in 1 teaspoon of olive oil⠀
Mix in 1 can of chickpeas⠀
Top it all off with a few spoonfuls of pesto ⠀
Spice it up with some crushed red pepper flakes and you’re donezo (serves 4). ⠀
Sophia Roe, the co-host of an intimate conversation series called the Pillow Talk Sessions, began cooking professionally at age 19, going on to collaborate with Ouidad, Uber Eats and more. She has been passionate about food for as long as she can remember. “I grew up in a pretty chaotic household. I remember staying up late watching Great Chefs of the World, and being transfixed by what looked to be pure alchemy. It turns out I wasn’t totally wrong.”
What cooking has meant to her while in quarantine: “For so many communities, access to healthy food was hard to come by even before quarantine started. This time has made me even more mindful about how I purchase, who I support, and how I can give. We are truly only as well as our community is well. Ultimately, the meaning behind cooking at home hasn’t changed much for me, it’s always been the highest pillar. What is more important to me now, is that others have access to the things they need, so that they may easily make cooking at home their #1 priority, as well.”
Sophia Roe’s Miso Caramel Green Beans
1 pound green beans
1 clove garlic, microplaned
1/2 shallot, microplaned
1/4 cup green onion, green only
1 tbsp miso (I used chickpea miso)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp chili flake (I like it spicy)
3 tbsp coconut aminos
1/2 tsp sea salt
4 tbsp grapeseed oil
Blanch the green beans in well-salted water for 2 minutes, drain, and place in ice bath. To make the sauce—whisk together garlic, shallot, miso, Dijon mustard, chili, rice vinegar, coconut aminos, and sea salt until thoroughly mixed. Whisk in 3 tbsp grapeseed oil, and add green onion. Set aside. In a pan or wok add remaining grapeseed oil on medium high heat. Right as you see oil start to smoke, add green beans. Toss green beans constantly until you get that yummy charred skin. Add 2 tbsp of sauce while cooking for added caramelization!
Pierre Serrao and Lester Walker are a part of the Bronx-born creative collective, Ghetto Gastro, alongside Jon Gray and Malcolm Livingston II. The collective’s mission is to celebrate their borough as the cultural influencer they know it to be, although it’s often overlooked in the mainstream. The Ghetto Gastro creates immersive culinary experiences that usually insight bigger conversations surrounding inclusion, race and economic empowerment. Since its founding in 2012, Ghetto Gastro has produced culinary experiences for clients like Nike, Cartier, Airbnb and more.
What cooking has meant to Serrao while in quarantine: “During quarantine I have been using cooking as a way to get my mind and body to its optimum performance level. I have always strived to be the best version of myself that I can be, and food is the fuel that enables me to do that. Between catching flights, becoming a new father and executing projects around the world, my body needs nutrients, antioxidants and protein to function at its highest point. I enjoy using food as a tool to test my mental strength by periodically removing certain habits from my routine. Recently, I did a three-day juice cleanse, and I am currently cutting gluten and white rice for the month of May. I don’t like to pigeonhole myself into a category of eaters but I lean heavily into the realm of the plant kingdom as opposed to any animal products.”
Açaí by Pierre Serrao:
Frozen açaí mix
Bananas- 6 each
Açaí powder- 30g
Frozen blueberries- 120g
Frozen blackberries- 120g
Almond milk- 110ml
Fresh fruit (we used dragon fruit)
Method: For the frozen mix add everything into a blender together and blend until smooth and homogenous. Place mixture into a container, cover with a lid and place in freezer overnight. Once the mixture is frozen, you are lit. What I do is make extra batches of this mix and leave it in the freezer for a quick and easy breakfast finesse.
Assembly: Remove the acai mix from the freezer about 5 minutes before serving, this allows the mix to temper a little and is easier for scooping. In your serving vessel place some granola and a few pieces of fruit at the bottom. Using a spoon or an ice cream scoop and place the açaí mix over the granola and fill the bowl leaving space for garnish. Smooth out the mix and cover with garnishes based on personal preference. Consume sooner rather than later because it will only stay frozen for so long.
What cooking has meant to Walker while in quarantine: “My cooking has meant more to others than to me because the act of giving fulfills me. I’ve learned more about culture through food than what any textbook offered in school. Research, development and the work I’ve done in the food space has given me the opportunity to be a provider and role model to my son.”
State Greens by Lester Walker
1 head Galactic (red leaf) lettuce
1 head Little Gem lettuce
1 bunch French Breakfast radish
Ginger Turmeric Vinaigrette ingredients:
3 oz. fresh ginger root
1 oz. fresh turmeric Root
8 g minced shallot
2 oz. Manuka honey
Maldon sea salt flakes
Fresh-cracked malabar black pepper
3 oz. Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar
3 oz. fresh-squeezed orange juice
7 oz. grapeseed oil
2 oz. extra virgin olive oil
Method: Using ice cold water clean gem lettuce, red leaf lettuce and cut in quarters. Set aside to drain water. Clean radish with cold water, remove stem and slice 1/8 inch vertically. Place in ice-cold water. Using a juicer, juice ginger and turmeric in same glass. Set aside. Clean juicer and put away. In blender place all vinaigrette ingredients inside except for oils. Blend slowly, adding oils until emulsified. Place in squeeze bottle and set aside.
Plating: In separate tray dress all quartered lettuces well with vinaigrette from squeeze bottle. Salt and crush fresh black pepper as well. Place dressed lettuces on plate as you wish and with tweezers add sliced radish sparingly. Finish with dash of fresh EVOO. Garnish with fresh fennel flowers. Enjoy this fresh delightful salad with fresh juices of your choice. Preggo.
Originally Appeared on Vogue