At the start of shelter-in-place, I admit I was in a tizzy over all the shortages at grocery stores.
Sure, the scarcity of hand sanitizers and rolls of toilet paper had me a little troubled. But what really got me worked up was the run on all-purpose flour and, yes, rice.
After all, I am Chinese-American. So to me, a pantry without any rice is a very sorry one, indeed.
Fortunately, when I was nearing the last few grains in my cupboard, I managed to find a 25-pound bag of jasmine rice online for a reasonable price. Now, normally, even I, in a household of two, would never buy such a huge bag. But because this was the only one I saw, I grabbed it without a second thought.
Good thing I did, too, because it’s come in so handy. It’s also inspired me to seek out new recipes to enjoy this mother lode of rice, including this one-pot wonder for “Rice with Andouille and Kale.” It’s a recipe by the late-great food writer Molly O’Neill that was published in the New York Times, which she wrote for regularly.
While Rick and Ilsa of “Casablanca” may always have the memories of that magical city they met in, my husband’s and mine will have to wait.
Although I’ve traveled to Paris a couple of times, he never had. This was to be the year that we got serious about planning our first trip to Europe together. But so much for that. A killer virus, planes grounded to a halt, and the unbelievable complexities of going anywhere — even the corner store — put an end to that trip for the foreseeable future.
That’s why discovering this recipe for “Kidney Bean and Mushroom Bourguignon” was such a gift.
You should be — because “Black Cod with Hoisin and Ginger Sauces” is one of those gifts of a dish.
It’s incredibly easy, made with a succulent fish that’s forgiving should you accidentally overcook it, and amped up with a compelling sauce that’s a whirlwind of ginger, honey, garlic, chili paste, hoisin and soy sauce.
In short, it eats like classic Chinese steamed fish with ginger and green onions — but has a much more powerfully tasting presence.
Or you can hand them a can-opener to wield upon tins of tuna.
These days, the latter may be much more practical, given how canned (or jarred) tuna ranks right up there now with toilet paper, disinfectant wipes, and fabric masks, as commodities we apparently most value when we think the world is coming to an end.
If you’ve already had one too many tuna sandwiches or casseroles, then you’ll surely welcome this novel tuna dish into your arsenal.
Ah, yes, it seems like a lifetime ago — though it was merely a few bewilderingly months back — that I was contemplating a trip to Chicago later this year.
How I looked forward to taking one of those architecture-themed boat ride tours on the lake that I’d heard so many good things about. How my husband was salivating at the thought of deep-dish pizza and loaded Chicago-style hot dogs. How I had looked forward to trying one of the restaurants by chefs Stephanie Izard and Paul Kahan. How I had already circled on my calendar the exact week I should start trying to snag a coveted reservation for my bucket-list meal at Alinea.
So much for that.
I have friends who swear they’re curtailing any traveling whatsoever until a vaccine is available to defeat this deadly virus. Me? I can’t say that getting on an airplane holds any appeal for the foreseeable future. If I do venture out of my area when restrictions are finally lifted, I think the car is the way to go, because I wouldn’t want to be too far from home with so many ifs, ands or buts still looming on this precarious horizon.