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Carrie’s Kitchen: Recipes you can improvise from what you already have in your pantry, fridge

My, how our world looks so different now than it did two weeks ago. And not just the abstract “our world,” but our local communities. Cancellations and restrictions seem to change from day to day. What I write a week before it is published might be out of date by the time you read it, but we can take consolation that the recipes within my column shouldn’t be affected.

I was going to write about maple-based recipes this week, since I spent years writing about the Maple Sugarin’ Festival at Hashawha, and I’m personally a big fan of maple-y things. I have those recipes ready, and I’ll share them in the future.

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But this week, my mind is more on the craziness that we’ve seen in human behavior at stores as people started stockpiling and preparing to quarantine in their homes. I’m hoping that situation will have normalized by the time this is printed.

I, for one, did not go stockpiling. I thought about it, but my faith in God is bigger than the fear. I’ve been doing our normal shopping. Toilet paper and bags of rice may have been sold out, but salad ingredients and apples have been plentiful. Since my husband has gone vegan, I had plenty of meat in our freezer. I have yeast and flour and would love to take some time to get back into breadmaking.

We cannot know how long this is going to last, but we can be responsible for our own decisions and actions and do our part to create an atmosphere of caring and peace around us. If the neighborhood kids want to come in for a snack, I welcome them.

This week I have four recipes that you can make and improvise on using materials you have in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer. It might come down to using up every bit that we have, but then again, it’s also good to cycle through those back-up ingredients so nothing ever expires.

Be calm, be careful, and show that we are better than this.

Curry fried rice

1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil

1 egg, beaten

6 green onions, roughly chopped (or substitute about ½ cup chopped onion)

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2 teaspoons curry powder

4 cups cooked rice

Salt and pepper, to taste

Sesame oil, to taste

Heat vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add beaten egg and swirl the pan; let set, then transfer to a plate.

Add chopped scallions to the pan along with curry powder, and pepper to taste; stir-fry 2 minutes. Stir in cooked rice; spread in an even layer and cook for 3 minutes.

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Add the egg, and salt to taste; stir to break up the egg. Drizzle with sesame oil. Serves 2.

White bean and tuna salad with hard boiled eggs and dukkah

1 can rinsed white beans, cannellini or Northern

1 can tuna of your choice, drained; hold some oil back for the dressing if you like

1 small red onion, finely sliced into half moons

2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced in half

1 splash extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 lemon, juiced

1 pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 handful chopped parsley and/or scallions

3 dashes dukkah, or other spice mix of your preference

Place white beans and forked, flaked tuna on a platter. Strew with red onions. Season with glugs of extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add freshly chopped parsley and scallions. Place eggs on top, season with spice mix, and drizzle with more olive oil. Serve with warm, toasted country bread.

Frittata with broccoli and garden herbs

8 eggs, at room temperature

1/4 cup milk, cream, or water

1/2 teaspoons black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 red onion, cut in half, sliced thin

1/3 pound broccoli florets, chopped into bite-size pieces

2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried

2-3 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley, or 1 teaspoon dried

2-3 teaspoons chopped fresh basil, or 1 teaspoon dried

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk and pepper, and set aside.

In an oven-proof, medium size, nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and broccoli, and sauté until both are cooked through, approximately 5 minutes. Add herbs, and stir to combine.

Spread the vegetables and herbs evenly over the bottom of the frying pan, and pour the egg mixture over the top. Turn heat to low, and cover the pan. Cook for 8 minutes or so, checking every now and then to make sure the eggs are not burning.

While the eggs are cooking, preheat the broiler.

From time to time, lift an edge of the eggs that has set, and let the uncooked egg from the top run underneath. When the eggs are nearly set, remove the cover, and turn off the heat.

Sprinkle cheese evenly over the top, and place the frying pan under the broiler for 2 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and the edges of the frittata are beginning to puff up and brown slightly (timing will depend on your broiler). Remove from the oven, and let the frittata cool for 5 minutes before slicing.

Serve hot, at room temperature, or cold.

Quick tater tots bake

3/4 to 1 pound ground beef or turkey

1 small onion, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

1 package (16 ounces) frozen tater tots

1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted

2/3 cup 2 percent milk or water

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer to a greased 2-quart baking dish. Top with tater tots.

Combine soup and milk; pour over potatoes. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, 30-40 minutes or until heated through.

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