When Hannah Day wound up laid off from a job as creative director for a local cosmetics company earlier this year, it wasn't the pandemic's fault. Still, she found herself in quarantine alongside her family—you know, like everyone—and discovered that not working wound up gifting her with some extra creative energy.
"I was home with my kids, which took up a lot of energy, but I had some to spare," she explains. "And while we're becoming so much more aware of the inequality that's still in our country, I felt like I had to do something."
That something is the Kitchen Meets Quarantine cookbook, an impressive compendium of recipes culled from Day's own private reserve as well as roughly 30 other contributors from her network, here known as "friends." Everything from the contents to the design was provided pro bono, and 100% of the proceeds made after Day recoups printing costs, will go to the Know Your Rights Camp, an organization founded by Colin Kaepernick to educate Black and Brown communities on liberation, self-empowerment and leadership.
"The people who contributed are bonafide creative professionals, stay-at-home moms, lawyers…it's a wide gamut of skill and professional levels," Day tells SFR. "They're all keeping us keeping on, and some are highly skilled, complex recipes, some are easy and use a packet of ranch."
The book's split up into sections covering starters, salads, soups, main courses, breakfast and sweets and sips—some cocktails, some not. The main idea is that everything in the recipe lineup can be made easily, and Day sweetens the deal both with alternate ingredient ideas for every recipe.Don't have celery? Not a problem—this book has suggestions, as well as personal stories from its contributors.
"Some are really funny, some are sad, some are personal reflections about how they were feeling at the time," Day says. "I think that's actually my favorite part.
As for Day herself, she's learned a little more flexibility while pulling the book together. She's giving meat sauces more of a chance, for example, and found a pea, mint and feta salad she adores. It's also something she can do with her kids and something that's purposefully accessible to all levels of home chef.
You'll find tons of photos through the @kitchenmeetsquarantine Instagram account and hashtag, plus the warm knowledge that you've done something to help marginalized communities.
"There's no time for wasting anymore," Day says. "Know Your Rights Camp is a pretty special group because they empower youths to get involved and engaged. It sounds corny, but our hope lies in their hands. As much as we can do to make the world better for them…they'll have a better chance."
Find a recipe developed by Day in this very column, and get one for yourself ($40) at Sote (108 Don Gaspar Ave., 988-9588), Arroyo Vino (218 Camino La Tierra, 983-2100) or kitchenmeetsqurantine.com.
Red Curry Chicken Soup
The coconut oil, fish sauce, lemongrass and red curry paste in this sweet & savory soup give it a Thai-inspired, very Tom Yum-my flavor profile. Vegetables and mushroom type included are really flexible. With long stretches between grocery visits, I have just been using the remaining few pieces of whatever I have in my fridge that day. A solid combo is shitake mushrooms with carrots and celery, but I've also had success when I was all out of mushrooms and onions and used leeks, celery and Trader Joe's broccoli slaw instead!
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
- 2 tbsp white miso paste, divided
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh garlic, finely chopped
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- (shiitake, crimini, or white)
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups diced vegetables of choice, such as carrots and celery
- 4 tbsp Thai red curry paste (store-bought)
- 4 tbsp fish sauce
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1 15-oz can crushed tomatoes
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 large stalk lemongrass (or 2 small)
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- juice of one fresh lime
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
It is a good idea to have all your ingredients ready to go, as there is not a lot of time between steps. To prepare the lemongrass, roll stalk(s) with a rolling pin, then slice into 1" pieces. Set aside.
Rub the chicken breasts with 1 tbsp miso paste and sear in large pot with the coconut oil. Brown both sides (no need to cook through), remove and set aside. Don't clean pan.
Add more coconut oil if needed, then the onion, ginger, garlic, and the remaining 1 tbsp of miso paste. Saute for a few minutes until onions are translucent and all is very aromatic. Separate any miso clumps. Now add your mushrooms and vegetables and sautee 3–5 more minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk together the curry paste, fish sauce and honey and add to pot. Shred or cube the chicken and add back to pot. Stir and let simmer for a few minutes. Now add the chicken broth, crushed tomatoes and lemongrass pieces. Stir. Next incorporate the coconut milk. Simmer until all is tender and the chicken is cooked through. Taste and add any more of the curry/honey/fish sauce combo, or salt as needed. Cover and simmer on low for 10-20 mins so lemongrass flavor permeates. Finally, and right before serving, add the fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro. You may need to advise your kids not to eat the lemongrass—or have fun watching them try.