As you may have read, be it via a friend’s social media status or an actual journal or news article, there’s this weight gain thing happening as we hunker down at home during this extended period of time. Seems we’re all college students again packing on the proverbial freshman 15.

While I’m trying to keep my consumption in balance with my Zoom yoga practice and epic Jeter walks, it is not easy. Especially with the online NYT food section and  that darn Bon Appetit magazine continuing to land in my mailbox. What’s a foodie with a decently stocked pantry to do?

As someone who is fortunate enough to have an excess of yeast, an item which has reportedly been missing from many grocery store shelves, this focaccia recipe compelled me to bake bread for the first time in months. This version of the Italian favorite was of the No-Knead variety making for a satisfying, yet nearly effortless process. I went with the overnight extended rise and added a smattering of fresh rosemary and couldn’t have been happier with the result.

I’m a big believer in having a well stocked pantry and have more than once claimed that my super power is making a meal out of an array of disparate, but on hand, ingredients. If you need a little help putting together a list of essentials, check out this article for recommendations.

I always have a few pounds of basic dry pasta in the house and only needed to add a couple of items from the grocery store to make both of these recent meals. First up was the Pasta e Ceci.

This is one of those perfect recipes that provides the cook with an endless variety of options. Don’t happen to have escarole? Use kale or spinach or broccoli rabe. No rosemary on hand? Substitute oregano. I swapped veggie broth for the water and added an extra can of chick peas because they’re my favorite. You could easily do the less brothy version as a pasta dish and then add additional liquid to make a second day soup. Easy-peasy!


Spaghetti al Limone with Asparagus from Bon Appetit takes pasta into spring with bright flavors and a simple collection of seasonal ingredients. I made this and followed the directions pretty closely, despite innately knowing that the pasta to veg ration was a bit off for my preferences. I will make it again but decrease the pasta by at least a quarter. The technique of using pasta water to emulsify the sauce is an excellent skill to master and puts you in a good position to work on your Cacio e Pepe process.


Since most Chinese restaurants in our area are closed (Miss you, Peter, at Ocean Palace!) satisfying the craving for the flavors of one of my favorite cuisines is a bit of a challenge. While I don’t often fry food, this simple recipe for Scallion Pancakes caught my eye and provided the perfect lunch to share with my son. They weren’t as crispy as when prepared by a more experienced chef, but they were pretty damn tasty. I’ll give these another try, perhaps with a splash more club soda to thin out the batter, and maybe some grated carrot or sweet potato to up the veggie content.

Speaking of vegetables, I’m not a vegetarian but find myself drawn to more meatless meals these days. I guess that’s a good thing, as there are reports that the meat supply in our country is becoming a little less plentiful. If you feel the need to add a protein to either pasta, sausage, pancetta or ham would work.

Eventually we’re all going to have to fit into our summer wardrobes, so keep moving and get cooking! Don’t forget to share your recommendations and recipes with a comment.