Several days after posting my last blog, I received this text from a friend:
“Just took the last bite of Dorie’s Portuguese Cod & Beans. OMG FABULOUS. Thanks for blogging this amazing recipe this week, and fun to make. Hope you are well and staying safe!” Karen Bristol PS I am so “out of ideas” this was excellent.”
I’m pleased to hear from readers. Usually I would shoot back a thank you and return to watching Space Force . But there is nothing “usually” about these past three months of quarantine.
Why not Pay Karen’s text Forward, sending it to the lady who actually created the recipe. I don’t care how many cookbooks you’ve written or awards you’ve received, everyone likes to be acknowledged and thanked. That includes Dorie Greenspan.
Dorie wrote that the compliment I forwarded ‘lifted her spirits,’ also. I vowed to do more of the ‘spirit lifting’ thing when life returns to the new normal. In Part 1 of my last blog I wrote about responses from subscribers who I’d asked what they’ve done or not done, accomplished, hoped to accomplish or not during this time.
Here’s Part 2, compelling responses from long-time friends who’ve followed me for years. Some have lost jobs, need to reconfigure their businesses to fit the times and managed to create a family life under quarantine. Most, however, are retirees who stepped out of the professional world and into a life of volunteerism. Call us fortunate Americans. But what I’m hearing is we all have tweaked or enriched our lives in ways we hope to carry into our future.
You definitely don’t want to miss today’s recipe, one of the best dinners I’ve made while sheltering-in-place. Comfort food. For the resulting taste and flavor, this recipe couldn’t be less complicated. Vegetarians can grab an Impossible or Beyond Burger and make this sandwich happen! Don’t forget, Readers, if you make and like this dishes, Pay It Forward ….. to me!
PART 2: QUOTES from Readers
“This has definitely been a significant time. Our family is approaching it as a time of transformation—we are cocooning and transforming into someone new and better.”
“We bought E-Bikes and get up at 6:00 to ride because of the hot weather.” (NOTE: Many respondents said they’d purchased E-Bikes and Pelotons.)
“I have made bread and soft pretzels. Why? I don’t know. It just seemed like fun, and it was.” (Note: Axios/Ipsos poll found 45 percent of Americans said they were cooking more in April. Dietitians are seeing people developing healthier lifestyle habits, becoming more aware of where their food comes from.)
“Reconnecting our own backyards to our own tables, and to the tables of our friends and family, has been a passion of mine since I can remember.” says Rachel Kulchin, who graduated from UC Santa Cruz in Environmental Studies and is a graphic artist by profession. “Being under quarantine has helped me take the time to develop The Blue Heron Project (Link here) because I believe in the power of food, because I believe that linking our own backyards to our tables and to the tables of our friends and loved ones is one of the most powerful acts of connection and because I really enjoy eating good food.” ( I’ll be interviewing and devoting a post to The Blue Heron Project in an upcoming blog.)
“My goal was to maintain the discipline to make every day special. Getting up early, walking, hiking, having special meals planned, and I’ve also done daily online Mass and read the Bible a lot. Our book club book this month is This Tender Land.”
“Learning to write in cursive/calligraphy.” (Note: From a college freshman, one of many projects. Recently I’ve seen articles discussing the dearth of the younger generation’s ability to write cursive.”)
“First of all, I am now retired from retirement! Just think about that for a moment…we work all our lives so that when we retire, we can have time to do all the things we’ve wanted to do…like travel and expand our horizons. Well…now I have even retired from that and have all the time in the world to do…what? Hmmmm.” ( Note: She went on to list about ten activities on her plate.)
“I happily live in 600 square feet, so every spring I scrub and purge and organize — it’s like living on a boat! But during this shelter-at-home time, I took my time and listened to the informative, entertaining BBC Reith Lectures online (LINK here) as I worked through closets, cupboards, shelves and photo albums. I’ve enjoyed Hilary Mantel talking about writing history as fiction; Jonathan Sumption discussing law versus politics; Eliza Manningham-Buller lecturing on securing freedom; and the outrageous Grayson Perry explaining contemporary art and the ravenous art market.” (Note: #metoo)
“I have not done my gel manicures and shockingly the world has not come crashing to an end. No in person meetings lightened much of the overhead of activities. Not having to drive someplace has added hours to my week.”
“I started doing yoga. To my total surprise and delight my husband even decided to join me!!!” (Many responders have begun Yoga.)
“I had been wanting to read more during Quarantine but studying and tests filled my time. I created a reading challenge for myself for 30 days. I wanted to read at least 20 minutes per day. I have now passed my 30 day mark and am continuing reading this summer.” ( Note: from a high school senior)
“Communication with my family and friends has broadened and multiplied. Instead of a quick “how are you doing” or being riddled with guilt because I don’t have time to call, there’s been Zooms at cocktail hour, FaceTimes with the grandchildren and long, warm and comfortable telephone conversations with many who might have thought I’d dropped off the earth.”
“I know that when I go back to ‘working normally,’ I will not live the same way that I used to. I’ve learned an incredible amount… just by being still.” Chef Kristen Kish, Radio Cherry Bombe
These burgers have lots of goodness packed inside, which helps to keep the meat juicy and flavorful. Cook these burgers on the grill, in a grill pan or in a cast-iron skillet. To help keep the burgers from sticking, heat the pan first and then add oil or Pam Sauté and Grill Spray.
Make Ahead: The burger mixture needs to be refrigerated for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day in advance. The uncooked patties can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 1 month.
1/2 large home-roasted or store-bought roasted red bell pepper, patted dry (about 3 ounces)
6 sweet and/or hot jarred Peppadew peppers, patted dry ( 1/2 medium jalapeño pepper, seeded
1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 pound lean (80/20) ground beef
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 soft hamburger buns, plain or toasted (I used brioche buns.)
Arugula or other lettuce leaves
Sweet and/or hot pickle slices finely chopped
Red or Vidalia onion slices
2-3 Avocados, cubed and mashed
Lime (squirt on mashed avocados)
Grey Poupon mustard Country Dijon (mix into mayo, if desired)
Hot sauce (optional)
1. Finely chop the roasted pepper, Peppadews, jalapeño, basil and cilantro and transfer to a large bowl. Add the salt, pepper, cheese and ground beef.
2. Use your clean hands to blend and lightly mix the ingredients until just incorporated. Don’t overdo it not knead the ingredients. Shape into 4 equal patties, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day.
- When you’re ready to cook, heat a large, heavy skillet over high heat — cast-iron is great for this. Add the oil or Pam Grill and Sauté, swirling the pan to coat the bottom evenly.
- Add the burgers. Reduce the heat to medium-high. Cook to the doneness you like. Four minutes per side over medium-high heat should give you medium-rare burgers. They’ll be seared to a crisp darkness on the top and bottom, and visibly juicy on the sides.
- Build the burgers on the buns (toasted, if desired) with lettuce, avocado, mayonnaise with or without mustard, chopped pickles, sliced tomato and sliced onion.
- Serve with a small green salad, cole slaw, french fries, potato salad or your choice.
This post follows my progress cooking each recipe from
Dorie Greenspan’s “Everyday Dorie, The Way I Cook” along with those participating in the online group