Making Justice Real

The Official Blog of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia

Recipes from a Socially-Distanced Kitchen

In this time of uncertainty, we have found ourselves living a “new normal”. However, in the midst of everyday challenges and changes, one thing is certain to remain the same: we have to eat!

For over 20 years, Legal Aid has had a strong social connection with food—specifically, a highly anticipated weekly tradition: Friday Treats. Every Friday morning, staff members gather together in the break room to enjoy delicious sweet and savory breakfast items brought in our coworkers. Friday Treats offers the opportunity for staff to mingle across units and learn more about one another on a personal level.

In a similar spirit, as our summer fundraising campaign has evolved, so too has Legal Aid’s culture of building community through food. At the end of the Campaign, the top fundraising firms gather together in a friendly Iron Chef style cooking competition to celebrate and acknowledge the Campaign’s success.

This past year saw the advent of two new food centered events: the aptly named Baking Justice Real baking competition and a Chili Cook-Off!

In true Legal Aid fashion, “Recipes from a Socially-Distanced Kitchen” is our way of staying connected through the fellowship of food by sharing our favorite recipes here!

1) Breakfast: Sweet Potato Hash with Sausage and Cheese – submitted by Yoli Ramos

2) Lunch: Dig Deep Salad – submitted by Candis Scippio

3) Dinner: Pernil & Arroz con Gandules – submitted by Nicole Dooley


Sweet Potato Hash with Sausage and Cheese
(Paleo & Whole30)

Author: Michele Rosen
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil divided, for cooking
  • 2 small/med sweet potatoes chopped into small pieces about 1/2 inch
  • 1 med onion chopped
  • 1 small/med bell pepper red, orange, yellow, chopped
  • 1/2 lb fresh bulk sausage sugar free for Whole30*- see note
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp paprika or smoked paprika
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • Pinch red pepper flakes Optional, for the sausage
  • eggs
  • Thinly sliced scallions for garnish

Instructions:

  • **Note – You will cook the sausage in the same pan with the onions and peppers and the potatoes separately, until the end.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees (you will use it to bake the eggs into the skillet at the very end)
  • Heat a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium heat and add 1 Tbsp of the coconut oil to melt. Once sizzling, crumble the sausage into the pan, and stir while cooking to evenly brown. Sprinkle with a pinch of red pepper flakes.
  • When sausage is about 3/4 of the way done, add the onions and peppers and continue to cook and stir until the sausage is browned and the onions and peppers are soft and fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside until the potatoes are done.
  • Meanwhile in a separate skillet over medium heat, add the remaining 2 Tbsp of coconut oil to melt. Add the chopped sweet potatoes and stir to coat. Sprinkle with smoked paprika, sea salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cook and stir, uncovered, until the outside begins to brown, then cover the skillet (any cover that mostly fits will do!) and continue to cook to soften the inside of the potatoes, uncovering to stir once in a while. Adjust the heat if necessary to prevent burning, and add a bit more coconut oil if necessary. This step should take about 7 minutes total, give or take.
  • Once the potatoes are softened and browned, transfer them to the sausage mixture and stir to combine. Create 4 indents where you will crack each egg – then carefully crack the eggs into the spaces (I like to create a bit of space for the eggs so the yolks don’t break and the whites don’t run all over!)
  • Put the entire skillet in the 400-degree oven to bake the eggs to preference, about 10-15 minutes. Alternatively, you can cook the eggs by covering the skillet and cooking over medium-low heat until the eggs are done. I prefer the oven method to avoid burning the bottom of the hash, but either way should work!
  • Serve hot and enjoy!

Notes:

  • This is a great recipe to add any left-over veggies that you want to use before they go bad, like onions, peppers, mushrooms, kale, etc.
  • I made mine a little bit differently. I didn’t use the sausage suggested… in one of the recipes I used ground turkey and in another one I just regular chicken and Mozzarella sausage chopped up.

Nutrition:

Calories: 399kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Cholesterol: 204mg, Sodium: 461mg, Potassium: 523mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 10495IU, Vitamin C: 42mg, Calcium: 56mg, Iron: 2mg


Dig Deep Salad
(Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian)

Serves – about 6

This is a deliciously refreshing layer salad Grandma used to fix in the warm weather months. The blend of fresh, pungent, crisp and creamy made it my favorite as a child.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of iceberg lettuce, shredded (or 2 bunches of romaine, it just needs to be a crisp type)
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 3 stalks of celery, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 bag of frozen green peas, thawed
  • 2 cups of mayo, divided (I use Duke’s)
  • 1 (8 oz) bag of Italian blend shredded cheese (I use Sargento 6 cheese)
  • 3 boiled eggs, sliced
  • Salt & Pepper, optional

Instructions:

  • In a salad serving bowl, start with the lettuce. Then layer the onion, green pepper, celery. Sprinkle a layer of peas, use a spatula to spread the mayo.
  • Sprinkle the cheese layer evenly across.
  • Arrange the sliced egg rings evenly atop the cheese (here is where I use freshly ground sea salt and black peppercorns).
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving so it can get a nice chill on it.

Notes:

  • I recommend using a glass or transparent bowl so you can see the layers.
  • Sometimes I divide the ingredients in half so I can have two sets of layers in the bowl (except for the cheese and eggs – they always go on top).
  • You could also be fancy with the cheese and eggs by sprinkling the cheese all around the edge of the bowl and arranging the eggs in the middle – Grandma used to do that sometimes.
  • I welcome any photos of your finished product!

Dig deep to reach all the layers and enjoy!


Pernil & Arroz con Gandules

Pernil

Ingredients:

Pork shoulder roast, skin on and bone in (also called a Boston butt)

Per pound of meat,

  • 4-5 peppercorns
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp vinegar

Directions:

  • At least 24 hours in advance (preferably 48-72 hours), Cut narrow, deep (around 1-2 inches) slits every three to four inches all around.
  • Crush and mix together the remaining ingredients (my family uses a mortar and pestle for this – a food processor probably also works). Shove half of the seasoning mixture or so into the slits, and rub the remainder on the outside of the meat. Cover tightly with saran wrap (plus a plastic bag – with all the garlic, this gets really fragrant) and refrigerate.
  • The day of roasting, allow the roast to come to room temperature, and then roast at 400 degrees F for the first 30 minutes, then 350 degrees F, for a total of 25-30 minutes per pound. Baste every half hour or so once the fat starts rendering. Allow to rest uncovered 20-30 minutes prior to carving.
  • For serving, my family removes the skin and breaks it into large pieces to serve separately from the meat.

Arroz con Gandules

(disclaimer – I have never gotten this recipe to come out like my mom’s or grandma’s, and they cannot figure out why).

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp annatto seeds
  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 3 cups chicken broth (can use water or vegetable broth if vegetarians are eating)
  • 1 cup sofrito (see below)
  • 15 oz can of gandule beans (pigeon peas), drained
  • a few links of hot italian sausage or chorizo, sliced (optional, but if you skip it, may need to add more salt)
  • 6-7 pimento-stuffed olives
  • 5 oz tomato sauce
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

  • Using a Dutch oven, cook the annatto seeds in hot oil until the oil turns deep red. Immediately remove from heat and discard seeds.
  • Return pot to heat, add sofrito and sausage, and cook until the sausage browns and the vegetables turn translucent.
  • Add rice and mix to coat with color.
  • Add broth, olives, gandule beans, and tomato sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste (enough salt so that the liquid tastes slightly too salty). Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 5-10 minutes, until liquid is just absorbed.
  • Mound rice, cover, and cook on low heat till cooked, 20-25 minutes.
  • When done, the bottom rice will be crunchy and browned.

Sofrito

You can buy this at the store in a jar, or make your own:

Ingredients:

  • 1 green pepper, rough chopped
  • 1 onion, rough chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled

Directions:

  • Add all ingredients to a food processor and chop together.
  • Any extra you don’t use in the rice can be kept in the fridge for 2-4 weeks.
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