Cooking in Quarantine: Bored of Your Cooking? We Asked Local Chefs to Share Some of Their Favorite Recipes

Quarantine popcorn and biscuits from Heather Earnhardt of The Wandering Goose
| Updated: April 8, 2020
 
 
  • Heather Earnhardt's isolation comfort food? Popcorn.
Heather Earnhardt's isolation comfort food? Popcorn.

It's going on who-knows-how-many-days of quarantine and we figure that, like us, you are tired of your own cooking. We asked local chefs to share some of their favorite safe-at-home foods to cook during the isolation period. Interested in submitting a recipe? Email chelsea.lin@tigeroak.com.

"We decided to temporarily close The Wandering Goose to keep both our customers and staff healthy and safe. We will be reopening as soon as we think it is appropriate to do so. At my other place, Tokeland Hotel, we are doing curbside take out for now.

My kids are all here with us at the hotel and I’m cooking a lot of comfort food at their request. Things like spaghetti and meatballs, beef stroganoff, meat loaf, and fried chicken and biscuits of course…I’m also making a lot of popcorn for some reason, probably because I’m too stressed out to eat much. I love popcorn at dinner, lunch (even stale, leftover popcorn for breakfast), but chefs tend to eat odd things.

Tokeland is probably one of the best places to be right now. It has such a small population (150 people) and lots of wide open spaces, including the beach which is currently empty other than our family and yellow lab Gus. Gus doesn’t know what the fuck is going on. He is used to people coming and going all day, guests that lavish him with attention, so he’s probably wondering “What the hell? Where’s my extra snacks and scratches?”

The kids are driving me bat shit crazy (teachers should make one million a year at least) and I’m stressed the fuck out, worried about my employees, wondering what the new normal will look like. But for now I’m going to try to do what I can for my family and employees and keep popping popcorn and work on this new Tokeland restaurant cookbook for the hotel and try to have confidence that it will all work somehow." 

Heather L. Earnhardt is the chef and co-founder of The Wandering Goose and Tokeland Hotel, the author of Big Food Big Love and The Wandering Goose. Gift cards can be purchased for the Wandering Goose at The Wandering Goose website or by emailing info@thewanderinggoose.com, and the Tokeland Hotel & Restaurant or by emailing info@tokelandhotel.com.

POPCORN FOR SUPPER

  • 6 tablespoons Canola oil
  • ½ cup popcorn
  • ¼ cup Brewer's yeast
  • ¾ teaspoon Diamond brand kosher salt (I like it salty)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch of cayenne powder 

In saucepot with a tight-fitting lid over high, heat oil until shimmering. Add popcorn and cover shaking the pot vigorously as soon as the kernels start to pop. Turn the heat down just a tiny bit and keep shaking. Once kernels are three seconds between popping take off lid and dump into large bowl. Sprinkle onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper cayenne and brewer's yeast and toss around with your fingers to coat. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.

BEST BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

If you can, use a soft winter wheat flour such as White Lily. We use Booneville Biscuit flour from North Carolina. Start with super cold ingredients and a super hot oven. Don’t twist the biscuit cutter, press firmly straight down (they will rise better this way).

Makes 1 dozen three-inch biscuits:

  • 6 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon Diamond brand kosher salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, diced and chilled
  • 3 cups buttermilk, chilled
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

* Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium low and mix in the butter until it is the size of large peas. With the mixer running, add the buttermilk, mixing just until blended. Do not overmix; the dough will be a bit shaggy with bits of unincorporated dry ingredients. Add a bit more buttermilk if it seems too dry.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Using a floured rolling pin, or your hands, pat or roll it gently into a 1 ½ inch-thick circle. Cut out 10-12 biscuits using a 3-inch cutter, dipping it in flour between biscuits. Do not twist the cutter; this will seal the sides of your biscuits and they will not rise as high.

Arrange the biscuits onto two baking sheets and brush them with the melted butter. Right before baking, reduce the oven temperature to 425 degrees F. Bake the biscuits until golden brown on top, 22 to 25 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through baking.

Serve hot with gobs of homemade jam. [Ed note: extremely important.]

 

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