Quarantine kitchen

Chef Laura Frankel provides easy recipes to make at home during the coronavirus quarantine.

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Using some pantry staples and feeding yourself and your family with healthy and easy food is something on everyone's mind. These family-friendly recipes are wholesome, fun, and delicious. Eating homemade food will soothe our soul, boost your immune system, and calm anxiety. Feel free to use whatever you have on hand and make substitutions where needed.

Pantry Risotto

A big bowl of hot, cheesy rice is the sort of comfort food I am looking for right now. I use leftover bits of this and that for my risotto. You can also use frozen veggies. Serve with creamy mascarpone or softened cream cheese for an extra dose of rich comfort. 

7 cups vegetable stock or water (homemade or purchased)

3 cups fresh or frozen (thawed if using frozen) coarsely chopped veggies, (asparagus, broccoli, peas, green beans, Swiss chard, kale) whatever you have on hand!

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 medium shallots, minced finely

3 cloves garlic, minced finely

2 cups risotto (arborio) rice, or whatever rice you may have at home (brown rice works as do other grains like barley and farro)

1 cup dry white wine 6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces

1 cup parmesan cheese, grated Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper

½ cup mascarpone cheese or softened cream cheese (optional)

  1. Heat the stock to a simmer and continue simmering while cooking the rice.
  2. Heat a sauté pan lightly coated with extra virgin olive oil and sauté veggies for 3-5 minutes until tender. Set aside.
  3. Place a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add oil, shallots, and garlic and sweat vegetables until they are translucent and very soft (about 5 minutes). Add rice and stir to coat with oil. The rice will take on opaque sheen after 2 minutes.
  4. Add wine and increase heat to medium high. Stir constantly until wine has been absorbed. Once wine has been absorbed, add one cup of hot stock and stir until completely absorbed. Continue adding stock and cooking until rice is very creamy and flowing; you may not need all of the stock.
  5. Remove risotto from the heat and add the cold butter and cheese. Return the pan to the heat and vigorously stir the risotto trying to get a little air worked into to the mix (this makes the risotto creamier) until the butter has melted. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add vegetables and stir to combine. Serve immediately and garnish with a dollop of mascarpone or softened cream cheese if desired.


Banana-Chocolate Coffee Cake

Just try and let this cake cool before digging in. 

8 ounces of butter

1 cup of sugar

2 eggs

1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ cup bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 ripe bananas, mashed with a fork


Streusel topping

3 tablespoons softened butter

1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt

3 teaspoons cinnamon

 ¼ cup light brown sugar

¼ cup dark brown sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 10-inch bundt pan or loaf pan.

  1. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy and no longer gritty. Add eggs, one at a time mixing each egg completely.
  2. Add sour cream or yogurt and mix completely.
  3. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix until just combined.
  4. Fold in chocolate and bananas.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top with a spatula.
  6. Stir together streusel ingredients and sprinkle over the top of the cake.
  7. Bake 30-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out with just a few crumbs on it. Cool before serving.


Laura Frankel is a kosher chef and cookbook author.


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