Make a Masked Meal that Sucks

This recipe collection is a thought experiment.

What would a Thanksgiving meal look like if you never took off your mask?

There is “no more important time than now for each and every American to redouble our efforts to watch our distance, wash our hands and, most importantly, wear a mask.” Dr. Henry Walke, CDC COVID-19 Incident Manager

For Thanksgiving 2021, my family is going with the Zoom version. No masks are required with this plan!


A Masked Meal Would Look Like

Masks with flaps and liquified … everything. Below is a combination of suck-worthy recipes along with edible straw pairings.

Masks with Flaps

Eco-Friendly, Edible Straws

Make edible straws to match your meal course. Example: Beacon straw with soup, cookie straw for desserts or candy straw with Loaded Punch.

*Modification for the cookie straw (to serve with vegetable courses) – leave out sugar and vanilla.

Liquified Meal Recipes

Once your meal course is complete as the directions indicate, add the last step of throwing everything in a blender. Blend until it’s smooth enough to make it through a straw.

Photo Credit: Peggy Greene


Photo Credit: Peggy Greene

Beverages

Edible Straw Pairing Recommendation: Candy or Cookie

Loaded Cranberry Citrus Punch

1/4 cup cranberry juice
Juice & zest of one lime or lemon
4 oz lt. rum
2 oz. vodka
1/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
2 cups ice cubes (if using frozen cranberries) or 1 cup water (if using fresh cranberries)

Optional

1 tsp. white sugar, if you wish to rim your edible straw with it. (Dip straw tip into water, then into sugar.)


Hot Apple Cider Punch


Vegetables

Edible Straw Pairing Recommendation: Cookie, without the sugar or vanilla

Baked Sweet Potato with Lemon Roux

Carrot Soup

Cucumbers and Cream

Leek and Potato Soup

Tangy Rosemary Butternut Squash Soup


Main Course – Meat & Veg Options

Edible Straw Pairing Recommendation: Cookie, without the sugar or vanilla or Beacon

Any Culture Shredded Chicken Soup

Black Bean & Tomato Sauce – Rewilding Chili

Luscious Liquified Ham & Bean Soup. Photo Credit: Peggy Greene

Raw Asparagus Salad with Goat Cheese

Sauteed Onions and Chia Seeds over Butternut Squash

Three-Meat Giant Meatball Soup


Desserts

Edible Straw Pairing Recommendation: Cookie, Candy, or Chocolate with sprinkles

Kiwi Fruit Pie Modify this recipe by leaving out corn starch, cooked kiwis, and pie shell.

Pumpkin Pudding (don’t refrigerate, so it is straw suck-upable)

Rose Peach Soup or Pudding (don’t refrigerate so it stays liquid)

Get your blender motor running! If you have blender recipes you’d like to share, send it along with a creative straw photo (if you have one) and I’ll add them here (through November 30th, 2020).

Humor and Foreboding

A meal that sucks says it all. Twenty-twenty was a sucky year!

While it was entertaining to re-imagine how a traditional shared Thanksgiving meal might look during COVID times, I’m already cringing at the headlines that will begin around December 12th. For the COVID spread, the suffering caused by a medical system unable to care for the sick, and for the friends and family members who will be lost, my heart is constricting with sadness, and tissues are filling with tears.

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” – Philip Dick, from Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire

References & Resources:

This is A Year to Do a Zoom Thanksgiving – Possible Medical System Overwhelm

NBC – Crowds Seen at O’Hare as Travelers Depart Chicago Ahead of Thanksgiving Holiday

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Social Distance Podcast – Katherine Wells podcaster for The Atlantic & James Hamblin Preventative Medicine Physician and journalist – How to Cancel Thanksgiving (Because You Should)

Risk Assessment Map, updated regularly, calculates the odds of encountering infectious people. Enter your group size and location.

Example: In Nevada County today, for a group of 10 there’s a 1 in 7 chance of an infectious person being part of my group. If I lived in South Dakota, there’s a 7 out of 10 chance of an infectious person being part of my group. (The safest way to think about group interactions is to assume everyone is infected, including yourself, even though people aren’t acting sick.)

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https://covid19risk.biosci.gatech.edu/

Bubble & Virus Exposure Visualization

Overlap sections show were exposure can occur that infect everyone in the large bubble.

Event Organizers have a Community Responsibility

Back in spring 2020, for a work function, I organized a gathering of ten people from four households. Once we’d gone beyond selecting the date and equipment needs, I realized COVID community responsibility was a factor that needed its own detailed plan.

As the hostess, it was my responsibility to keep everyone safe, informed, and ensure that we didn’t increase the community caseload.

Our activity was outside, with greater than six feet distance between families. Masks were on consistently, except for when we were drinking water, and we did not share food. Back then, active cases in my county were low. Hospital ICU bed capacity wasn’t a concern and we weren’t worried about sick people, exposed from our event, being unable to access emergency medical care three weeks in the future.

The following section and the PDF you can print-out and fill-in for your event are what I created to reduce gathering risks. It includes contact tracing elements that are part of the John Hopkins Contact Tracing online course.

Minimize Social Awkwardness with a COVID Behavior Plan

Before people come together, outline a detailed movement and behavior plan. Send it to each household. Request a response so you, and everyone else can verify universal understanding and agreement.

Include a contingency for the unknown. If there’s a major change, if an attendee isn’t behaving as agreed, or something unexpected happens, create a word or hand signal anyone can use to pause the action.

Assess what needs to happen next, ask attendees if they are comfortable with the change. Make an easy, guilt-free out if someone becomes uncomfortable or feels unsafe.

SARS-CoV-2 Gathering Plan Outline PDF

The host or hostess should remain in contact with attendees, checking for symptoms for fourteen days after the gathering. If anyone becomes sick, the host or hostess should notify other bubble contacts of an exposure and make gathering information available to County Health Department contact tracers.

Chimichurri Sauce

A spicy Argentinian parsley-based green sauce for …anything; soups, eggs, salad dressing, pasties, chicken, steak, or fish.

 

In a blender, add

1 1/2 cups olive oil
1/2  cup red wine vinegar
pinch or two red chili flakes
pinch or two of  salt
couple shakes of pepper
3 – 4 cloves fresh garlic
1/2 – 3/4 tsp. cumin powder
2 bunches fresh flat-leaf parsley – most of the stems trimmed
1 bunch fresh cilantro – most of the stems trimmed

Pulse on high or ‘ice chop; setting – more olive oil if needed – until just blended (rustic).

Taste and adjust spices as desired.

Other Variations:

red onions
fresh oregano
lime or lime juice
sherry or balsamic vinegar (instead of red wine vinegar)
basil

For a creamy version, add:

avocado
sour cream or
mayonnaise

Resources:

Skirt Steak, Chimichurri & Veggies | Feli & Jamie Oliver (herb brush seasoning)

Argentinian-Style Fresh Herb Salsa and Marinade

Creamy Chimichurri Dip

Traditional Chimichurri

Boiled & Spiced Citrus Chicken (or Pork)

It takes time and patience to prepare chicken this way, but it is so worth it!

6 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs OR about a 4 lb bone-in pork shoulder – chunked into quarters

Rinse, pat dry and place meat into a large food-safe plastic bag

Add to the bag;

1 tblsp. cumin powder
1 tblsp. sea salt
1 tblsp. garlic powder
1 tblsp. oregano
1 tblsp. cayenne pepper (reduce to half or less if you don’t like spicy food)

1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup lime juice

If you remember Shake-n-Bake …do that. If that reference is meaningless, then shake everything inside the bag until the chicken is evenly coated with the spices.

Place the spiced chicken and citrus juice in a pot. Fill it with water – just until the chicken is covered. On the stovetop (uncovered), cook on high until the chicken begins to boil, reduce heat, but still keep it bubbling.

This where the patience comes in. Keep an eye on the pot as the liquid boils. This can take anywhere between 2 and 3 hours. Once the liquid is almost gone, let the meat brown – turn it so it cooks evenly – but not so much that it burns.

Liquid almost all-the-way boiled down.

 

The chicken meat can be shredded, chunked or eaten off the bone. Use it in salads, soups, on tostadas or in tacos…and the list could go on and on!

Next time I make it, I will double this recipe so that leftovers will linger longer.

boiled and spicked chicken

 

Christmas Salad

christmas salad

Fresh persimmons in a salad?  Are you kidding?!

Opening one’s mind and taste buds to new thoughts, ideas and flavors is what keeps life interesting. The idea of including fresh persimmons in a salad presented itself when I attended a supper club meal at Polly’s Paladar. This creation was made with bitter greens, pomegranates, and candied pecans. It was topped with hot pork chunks and served with a vinegrette dressing.

Here is my modified version.  I named it ‘Christmas Salad’ because I first made it right after Thanksgiving – using turkey left-overs – and everyone exclaimed that the colors (spinach, pomegranties, persimmons and mandarines)…looked just like Christmas.

 

Candied Pecans

Coat as many pecans as you plan to use with maple syrup. Spread them out flat on a baking pan and cook at 200 degrees until nuts are lightly toasted (and dry) …..approx. 30 minutes.

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Fresh spinach

Fresh persimmon(s) – soft…almost squishy…peeled and seeded – chopped into bite-sized bits

Mandarines – peeled

Pomegranate seeds

Top wth your favorite protein

Cilantro Lime Salad Dressing

 

pomegranate-1076657_640

 

 

Poached Eggs on Cheese Bread

Delicious day old bread uses.

2 cups chicken broth

2 tblsp. cilantro sauce

day old bread slices

Kerrygold Dubliner cheese – shredded

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Use a little bit of the chicken broth to poach the eggs in.

Slice and toast day old bread.

Place the toast into a baking pan.

Top each piece with shredded cheese.

To the remaining chicken broth, add cilantro sauce.

Pour chicken broth/cilantro sauce over bread then microwave for 30-45 seconds to melt cheese.
Let this sit until the bread has soaked up enough liquid to make it soft.

Remove cheese bread from pan, put on plate then top with poached eggs.

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Click here for more uses for hard bread.

Lime Cilantro Salad Dressing

A versatile sauce / salad dressing bursting with flavor.

2 bunches fresh cilantrocilanatro sauce

juice and zest from 4-5 limes

Place all in a blender or food processor.

Blend till smooth.

Add water to reach desired consistency.

*For a creamy sauce, add plain yogurt.

Salsa

Base:salsa web

2 tblsp. olive oil in saute pan
4 cloves garlic – chopped
1 habanero chili (or 3 Thai chilis…or any type / combination of hot peppers that you like) – finely chopped

Saute garlic and peppers in oil just long enough that you start to smell the aromas
(garlic should be slightly browned …turn off heat before it burns).  Remove from heat.

to the sauted oil, garlic & peppers add

1 can tomato sauce – set aside to cool

Chop:
4 stalks celery
1 large yellow or white onion
1 carrot
3 or 4 bell peppers
6 or more large fresh tomatoes
2 bunches fresh cilantro
juice and zest from 5 limes
salt & pepper to taste
1 tblsp. cumin seeds

Pour sauce base over chopped vegetables and mix.

Great freshly made…but even better after sitting over night!

Lisa’s notes:  Salsa…. I have been known to eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I love mexican food and can tell in the first few moments if a restaurant is good by their salsa; if it is awesome, then the rest of the food usually is too.

My favorite salsa of all time is Casa Lupe’s.  My parents first took me to a restaurant that was in Gridley, CA when I was a child. Since then I have eaten mexican food all over and have yet to discover a salsa that’s better.  ….I have often contemplated applying for a job there so I could learn their salsa secrets!  This recipe is the culmination of many years of experimentation in attempts to match Casa Lupe’s awesome salsa.

Making the Most of Produce – Oranges, Lemons & Limes

Use these simple techniques to improve getting every use possible out of fresh produce.

 Oranges & Lemons

When oranges and lemons are in season and abundant, 

peel them and set the peelings out to dry

store in a cool open place and check frequently to make sure they have plenty of air circulation (and are not growing mold!)

once peeling are dry, tear them into quarter or dime sized pieces and store them in a glass jar

use them to make tea, grate into dishes, or put into a coffee grinder to make powder

juice the insides and freeze the juice in ice cube molds

****I froze the lemon pulp that was the waste product from the juicer… thinking it would make a great cleaning product – but have yet to figure out how to get it from point A to point B.  Any ideas?

 

Limes

Zest them  – set the zest out to dry

Place dried zest in clean baby food jars for storage

Freeze the juice in ice cube molds.