You probably already know from Instagram that Greasy G's 24-Hour Diner (what we now refer to our kitchen as) has been consistently killing the game. It is sincerely never lost on me how lucky I am that G enjoys cooking just as much as I love baking. Our shelter in place hasn't been a full-blown fancy food fest. Cereal has served as the base for many a meal and we've eaten our fair share of "expired" products in our effort to avoid unnecessary market trips and reduce waste. That said, while we've been enjoying a number of delicious meals and beverages over the course of the last few weeks, there are a few that really stand out as being especially memorable. Since so many of you have been asking for recipes, I figured it was about time I compiled them into one list, for your ease and ours:
I'd recently been dreaming of the pork katsu we ate on a trip to Japan a few years ago, and have been (not so) subtly dropping hints to G that it is high on my dinnertime wishlist. Though pork has been hard to come by, we did find some frozen chicken breasts that G ended up pounding, breading, and frying (in that order). What was planned to be Chicken Milanese quickly transformed in a moment of sheer culinary serendipity when we remembered that we had two brioche buns in the freezer. We threw together a quick spicy aioli (jarred mayonnaise and some chili powder), added a few sliced pickles from the fridge, and went in on what was arguably the best fried chicken sandwich I'd had in a while. The beauty was in its simplicity and playful nature; it tasted just like a fast food fried chicken sandwich, just with higher quality ingredients and sans drive-thru line.
While this dish has been a weeknight standby for some time, it has received a little upgrade during quarantine. What used to be thrown together in under an hour pre-Bachelor, has transformed into an all-day, low and slow process—something we could previously only enjoy on the weekends. The results are incomparable. The meat now has time to fully break down, the tomatoes to gently caramelize, and the flavors to become very well acquainted with one another. G's been making double-batches so we can keep the sauce in the freezer to whip up with fresh pasta if we need to!
Though I bake very regularly, it had been a minute since a Key lime pie graced our household. In fact, I'd fully forgotten which recipe I previously loved, and only figured it out after searching through several cookbooks. When I landed on a splattered, bent-cornered page in my Cook's Illustrated Cookbook, I knew I'd found the right one. I took a picture of the recipe and saved it to my Story Highlights here, and have been pleasantly surprised by the number of pie pics I'm tagged in daily! What I love most is how quickly the whole dessert comes together. With a buttery graham cracker crust and just tart-enough filling, it is an ideal first pie recipe for anyone fearful of rough-puff.
Before it closed about two years ago, Malo was one of our favorite spots for incredible crispy tacos and even better "no-compromise" margs. A few weeks into quarantine, when we were starting to feel like there was nothing distinguishing the days, we decided it was time to bring Taco Tuesday back into our weekly rotation. One of our close friends actually gave us the idea to make Malo's famed beef and pickle tacos, which, upon hearing the description, sounds like an unexpected pairing. When G and I went live on Instagram to make the recipe with all of you, the overwhelming response to our taco filling was, "Wait, what?!" In many ways, the recipe is like a taco-cheeseburger hybrid. You mix chopped Russet potatoes with the ground beef (adding a starchy creaminess and nice body to the mix), then load it up with lots of hot sauce, some shredded cheese, and a few crunchy pickles for a delicious, deeply satisfying meal! Trust us on this one.
I planned to make strawberry shortcake around mid-May for two main reasons: 1.) It reminded me of an incredible spontaneous day-trip I'd taken with a few of my best friends to Ojai this time last year and 2.) It happened to be my grandma's favorite dessert, so I wanted to honor her memory by making it for the one-year anniversary of her passing. As with most of the baking projects I've taken on lately, it felt immediately meditative. Stirring up the fresh strawberries with sparkly sugar, watching the viscous sauce come together, and, eventually, ooze out from the soft biscuits was the momentary escape I needed. Making it was also such a lovely reminder that, with summer nearly upon us, life is still in motion and worthy of celebration! Plus, it's another one of those perfectly fool-proof recipes that taste good no matter what happens.
As someone who usually isn't into sweet drinks, this made for a very surprising exception. Geoffrey had been mentioning how much he'd been craving a piña colada, so I made a point of gathering the necessary ingredients (we don't usually keep fresh pineapple or cream of coconut in the house) to surprise him for a mid-week cocktail hour. We followed this Bon Appetit recipe almost exactly with one caveat—we skipped the step where we froze the fresh, juicy pineapple for six hours, and just added a few more ice cubes to make up the difference. It made our evening feel like a Friday night, and, while it doesn't replace the trip we had planned (and subsequently cancelled) to Mexico last month, it still sparked plenty of joy in our day.