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Quarantine Cooks with Pepper: August Edition

Welcome to Day 100-something of quarantine. It feels like we’ve made everything we’ve wanted to make. But nope! We can do this forever. (Not the being in quarantine part; the cooking part.) That’s the great thing about food—it evolves, it changes, it adapts. These days, don’t you just wish you were food?

Vegan Mac and Cheese

To make this classic dish vegan, we use orange vegetables (you can use carrots, squash, sweet potato, or a combo), oat milk, and nutritional yeast as our “cheese.”

Serves: 4 people | Time: 45 mins

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups macaroni, uncooked
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup squash, chopped
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 300ml oat milk (we used Oatly)
  • 2 tbsp mustard
  • paprika, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • chili flakes (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta in salted boiling water according to package instructions. Set aside.
  2. Boil carrots and squash in salted boiling water until very soft. You can also roast it if you prefer, until vegetables are almost overcooked and very soft.
  3. Blend vegetables, nutritional yeast, mustard, paprika, and oat milk until thick (consistency should be like a thick cheese sauce).
  4. Pour sauce onto pasta.
  5. Top with pepper and chili flakes before serving.

Japanese-Inspired Microwave Elote

This off-the-cob elote recipe incorporates Japanese flavors. And all you need is your trusty microwave and a couple of ingredients to make it!

Serves: 2 people | Time: 20 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 cans (net wt. 420g each) canned corn, drained
  • 2 tbsp salted butter, cut into small squares
  • 1/4 cup Kewpie (or regular mayonnaise)
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 2.5 tbsp lemon juice
  • kani
  • furikake (we made our own here using nori, sesame seeds, sugar and salt)

Instructions

  1. Place the corn and butter in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Heat in microwave on high, for about 2 minutes. Stop halfway and mix corn-butter mixture so butter melts evenly.
  3. Remove from the microwave and add mayonnaise, cream cheese and lemon juice. Mix until combined. If there is too much liquid, you can drain using a strainer.
  4. Place corn mixture into a bowl of your choice.
  5. Top with kani and furikake.

Italian Bread

This Italian loaf is like a sandwich that’s already been made for you. It’s savory and filling, making for a great heavy snack or light meal.

Serves: 6-10 people | Time: 2 hrs

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in water then drained
  • 2 tbsp  + 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 recipe bread dough
  • 200g assorted deli meats (we used 100g of spicy salami and 100g of pancetta)
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. In a food processor, mix together mozzarella cheese and sun-dried tomatoes until a rough paste forms.
  3. Set aside.
  4. Evenly spread 2 tbsp olive oil over a large sheet pan.
  5. Place dough onto the sheet pan and spread to reach the edges.
  6. Spread the tomato and cheese mixture over the bread.
  7. Layer the cheese and tomatoes with assorted deli meats or any filling of your choice.
  8. Take the short side of the dough and fold over 1 inch.
  9. Fold in the sides of the dough then tightly roll up the dough until a loaf forms.
  10. Place the loaf in the center of the sheet pan, seam side down, and tuck in the edges.
  11. Brush the dough with the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil then top with the grated Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and salt.
  12. Let rise in a warm place, covered, until double in size, about 1 hour.
  13. Bake the bread in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until dark golden brown.
  14. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Half-Half Oat Balls

This quick recipe makes a delicious, heavy, energy-boosting (or whatever it is that oats do) snack. The half cocoa part makes it a little bit more fun, and adds a nice deep flavor.

Yield: 1-2 people | Time: 15 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup instant oats
  • 1/4 cup powdered milk
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 tbsp hot water
  • 1 1/2 tsp cocoa powder

Instructions

Coconut and Coffee French Toast

Take your coffee on the go, in the form of some French toast. The combo is not a totally new concept, but our version gives it a tropical (?) twist. *insert coconut emoji*

Serves: 2 people | Time: 20 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 4-5 slices of bread (depending on thickness)
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup cold brew coffee (or regular coffee that has been cooled)
  • 1/8 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • butter

Instructions

  1. Mix eggs, coconut milk, coffee, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract in a deep tray.
  2. Soak your bread in the batter.
  3. Heat butter in a pan and put your bread. Once toasted, flip the bread to toast the other side.
  4. Remove from heat and serve with butter on top.

Pasta Puttanesca Bake

We’re giving your classic puttanesca a cheesy twist—one that kids (and kids-at-heart) will want every bite of. Oh, and can we just say how much we love those crunch pieces of spaghetti that comes with every pasta bake. It’s the best part.

Serves: 6-8 people | Time: 1 hr

Ingredients

  • 6 gloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 3/4 cup pitted black olives, drained and sliced
  • 1 tin (about 56g) anchovies, drained
  • 1/2 cup capers, drained
  • 2 cans (around 411g each) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (425g) tomato sauce
  • 1 pack spaghetti, cut in half
  • Shredded cheese, based on your preference
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F/190C.
  2. In a pan, heat oil over medium heat.
  3. Sauté garlic and onions, making sure not to brown the garlic. Cook until onions are soft.
  4. Add anchovies and stir until they break into small pieces.
  5. Add olives, mushrooms, and capers. Stir to combine.
  6. Add whole cans of diced tomatoes, including the liquid.
  7. Add tomato sauce little by little, until desired consistency (i.e. thicker or thinner sauce).
  8. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Cook over low heat for 5 mins.
  9. While waiting, cook spaghetti 1 minute less than package instructions.
  10. Once spaghetti is cooked, drain and add pasta to sauce mixture. Mix until well combined.
  11. In a 9” x 13” bake-proof pan, add pasta and top with cheese.
  12. Bake until cheese has melted, around 5 minutes.
  13. Serve and enjoy.

Chorizo and Crab Garlic Butter Pasta

Does chorizo and crab count as surf and turf? What is surf and turf anyway? Surf? Turf? Sturf? Anyway, here’s a quick pasta recipe.

Serves: 4 people | Time: 30 mins

Ingredients

  • 400g pasta
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chili flakes
  • 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 can crab meat
  • 250 g chorizo/garlic longganisa, chopped
  • lemon juice
  • Parmesan

Instructions

  1. Cook your desired pasta according to the package instructions. Drain, but save a little pasta water for later.
  2. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add your butter, then your garlic, and chili flakes, letting them infuse.
  3. Add the chopped up chorizo, until cooked.
  4. When cooked, fold in the crab until it is heated through.
  5. Add your pasta to your sauce, adding some of the pasta water to loosen. Coat with a little more olive oil.
  6. When serving, add lemon juice and cheese.

Whole Wheat Cheese Chapatis

Life’s all about balance. We use whole wheat flour for these flat breads, sure. But we also use a whole lot of cheese.

Serves: 4 people | Time: 1 hr

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, salt, and garlic powder.
  2. Add olive oil and hot water, and mix with a wooden spoon until a rough dough forms.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
  4. Knead dough until smooth, about 10 mins.
  5. Cover and let rest for 30 mins.
  6. Divide dough into 8 pieces.
  7. Working one piece at a time, flatten dough into a circle with your palm, then place a handful of cheese in the center of the piece.
  8. Gather the edges of the dough, sealing the cheese inside, then roll into a ball. Repeat with the rest of the pieces.
  9. Roll each ball into a flat circle.
  10. Cook each piece in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until lightly browned on each side, about 1 minute per side.
  11. Keep warm.

Buffalo Scrambled Eggs

Eggs on toast are even better with buffalos(auce).

Serves: 2 people | Time: 15 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. butter or oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. ranch dressing
  • 1 tbsp. Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (or a smaller amount of preferred hot sauce)
  • 2 pieces bread, toasted

Instructions

  1. In a skillet over medium heat, melt butter.
  2. Add eggs, ranch, and buffalo sauce then stir continuously and cook gently until the scrambled eggs are soft but cooked.
  3. Spoon eggs over toast and finish with more hot sauce.

Nectarine and Pluot Salad

With great ingredients, it takes little to no effort to make something spectacular. Case in point: this simple, bright, delicious salad.

Serves: 2-4 people | Time: 15 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 small wheel camembert or brie cheese
  • 1 nectarine, cut into wedges
  • 1 pluot, cut into wedges
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp dried or fresh thyme
  • 4 slices prosciutto (optional)
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp balsamic glaze

Instructions

  1. Cut cheese in half to expose the inside and place on a plate.
  2. Torch cheese until browned and melted (alternatively place under a broiler for 5 minutes).
  3. Add the nectarine and pluot over the cheese.
  4. Season the fruits well with salt, pepper, and thyme.
  5. Add prosciutto to salad, if using.
  6. Drizzle over the olive oil and balsamic over the fruits and serve.

Difficulty

Easy

Serving Size

Active Time

Total Time

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