What Duke employees are cooking during the coronavirus

Kortney Fleming created a meal so good it will make you scream, “Oh, my God!”

During the first few weeks of the pandemic, while trying to use pantry staples, Fleming created a cereal bowl recipe with Quinoa, Sweet Butternut Squash, Creamy Goat Cheese, Crunchy Pumpkin Seeds and a lemon dressing.

“My friend called it the ‘Oh, my goodness! Bowl “because the flavors are well balanced and delicious together,” said Fleming, Special Events Coordinator for Sarah P. Duke Gardens. “Since I cook more at home and everything in the bowl has a long shelf life, I do this frequently.”

Fleming is among 51% of Americans who cook more than before the pandemic, according to a January report by Hunter Public Relations, a food and beverage communications consultancy. People cite financial savings and healthier choices as the top reasons for cooking at home.

Check out these must-have pandemic recipes from colleagues at Duke.


Gruyere Puff

Allison Besch and her daughter Cassidy are making a gruyere puff pastry.  Photo courtesy of Allison Besch.Allison Besch and her 9-year-old daughter Cassidy find solace in a butter and cheese breakfast.

Besch, director of the Career and Professional Development Center at the Nicholas School of the Environment, and Cassidy frequently write articles in the New York Times’ Gruyère puff pastry for breakfast. They found the recipe while participating in a new favorite hobby: reading the New York Times Cooking website every week for new recipes.

They tried tofu and green beans with chili crunch, chocolate chip pancakes on a plate and shakshuka with feta, but the puff of Gruyere is what they come back to most.

“When the puff pastry goes into the oven, it just warms the house with those delicious smells of cheese and bread,” Besch said. “Cooking with Cassidy has been a positive over the past year.”

French toast baked in the oven

Peggy Luu Walters, Application Analyst for Duke Health Technology Solutions, takes stale challah, sourdough or brioche and soaks the bread in Bailey’s Irish Cream to make it.French toast baked in the oven“about once a month.

Peggy Luu Walters French Toast.  Photo courtesy of Peggy Luu Walters.Walters love the recipe because it can be prepared the night before. The bread is soaked in a mixture of milk, eggs, sugar, and liquor in the fridge before bed, and Walters wakes up the next day with a ready-to-oven dish.

After baking, the French toast is garnished with fresh raspberries, strawberries or bananas.

“There’s nothing better than a decadent start to a lazy weekend morning,” Walters said.

Lunch dinner

Creamy Tomato Chicken Skillet

Clint McCullen prepares his tomato chicken dish.  Photo courtesy of Clint McCullen.Clint McCullen and his wife, Kristie, have found a meal that meets their three requirements for a weeknight recipe.

Creamy Tomato Chicken Skillet»Takes less than an hour, includes veggies, and requires little cleanup. The meal combines browned chicken, tomato paste, heavy cream and four cups of kale to make a delicious pasta-like dinner, without the noodles, in about 45 minutes.

McCullen, financial care advisor for the Duke Heart and Lung Transplant Clinic, cooks the dish almost every week for Kristie and their 3-year-old daughter, Hadlee Jo.

“It’s delicious, healthy and easy,” said McCullen. “Pasta is my weak point. The fact that this creates a pasta-like sauce with no carbs is great. ”

Palestinian cuisine

Jennifer Lord rolls out the dough to make meat pies.  Photo courtesy of Jennifer Lord.Jennifer Lord, Duke speech therapist, gives her husband and two children a taste of home with Palestinian food.

Lord’s husband, John, grew up in a Palestinian-Canadian family, and they usually visit John’s family in Canada for the holidays when they bake Fatoosh, a bread salad; Djaj Mah Ruz, chicken and rice with cinnamon and pine nuts; and Fatayer Bi Laham, portable meat pies.

Since they couldn’t visit their families due to the coronavirus, Lord makes the bread salad, meat pies and chicken and rice as part of the family’s meal rotation at home. She uses recipes from “A taste of Lebanon: cooking today the Lebanese way»By Mary Salloum.

“Having a meal that we traditionally have with my husband’s family is a little way for us to feel connected with them while we are apart,” Lord said.

Roasted carrot couscous with sesame and feta

Jan Little made a couscous dish with roasted sesame carrots and feta.  Photo courtesy of Jan Little.Jan Little worked his way through “The Flavor Equation: The Science of Fine Dining Explained in Over 100 Essential Recipes” by Nik Sharma.

The book – part of science class, part of cooking guide – explores how emotion, sight, sound, feel, aroma and taste affect flavor. Little’s favorite recipe is “Roasted carrot couscous with sesame and feta. ”

The dish includes couscous, a tiny pasta made from wheat or barley, roasted carrots, black and white sesame seeds, cilantro, mint and Aleppo pepper, a sweet and spicy pepper. She makes a rice vinegar and maple syrup vinaigrette to go with it.

“There are a lot of sweet, sharp flavors,” Little said. “I learned to season every step of the cooking process. Nik made me a more competent cook.

Chicken and Asparagus Pasta Casserole

Karen Locklear holds her cheese chicken and asparagus pasta.  Photo courtesy of Karen Locklear.Karen Locklear, certified medical assistant for the Duke Float Pool, and her two children started a new tradition during the pandemic. Once a month, Locklear, his 20-year-old son Andrew, and his 16-year-old daughter Sarah take a chicken and asparagus pasta dish and play “UNO” or “Monopoly” together.

Sarah cooks the pasta, Locklear browns the chicken and Andrew sauté the asparagus. They don’t check smartphones, talk about school, or walk. Instead, they sing Dolly Parton, chat about the shows they watch, or talk about their dog and three cats.

“Even though we’re all quarantined together, we feel like we spend less time together as we all go on our electronics,” Locklear said. “It was nice to have time to have fun with each other. I just smile thinking about it.

Cheese macaroni

Working from home gave Andrea Cable time to try out new recipes with her “Ninja Foodi”, a pressure cooker and an air fryer.

Crispy and Creamy Mac and Cheese from Andrea Cable.  Photo courtesy of Andrea Cable.While Cable enjoyed roasting vegetables and chicken wings in the appliance, his family’s favorite recipe is baked. cheese macaroni. The pressure cooker part of the Foodi allows pasta to cook quickly in a mixture of heavy cream, butter and cheddar cheese. The Foodi air fryer then kicks in to create a crispy breadcrumb filling.

Cable, a compliance specialist for the Duke Patient Revenue Management Organization, often makes a double batch so that her husband, 16-year-old son, and 23-year-old daughter can have it during the week.

“It’s not calorie conscious at all, but it brings us happiness,” Cable said. “We can all use a little cheese in our lives.”


Banana bread

James Prince, in 2019, and his banana bread.  Photos courtesy of James Prince.James Prince, sous chef at Duke Dining, creates a delicious dessert from what could end up as food waste.

Prince developed his own Banana Bread Recipe during the pandemic after being tired of seeing his family throwing bananas after they turned brown and mushy.

“It looks like we would buy bananas and they would turn from yellow to brown in a day,” Prince said. “I hated throwing them away.”

Prince’s banana bread recipe calls for five very ripe bananas, four eggs, and a cup of shortening to create a moist dough. He also uses banana bread dough for pancakes.

“Turn something that goes in the trash into a treat,” he says. “Invest a little in this brown banana.”

Cakes with chocolate chips

Blythe Tyrone takes her chocolate chip cookies out of the oven.  Photo courtesy of Blythe Tyrone.Blythe Tyrone, communications strategist for Duke Learning Innovation, scored a big win this year perfecting chocolate chip cookies.

For years, Tyrone experimented with cooking times, fat content, and types of chocolate chips before settling on a recipe that results in a cookie with a chewy center, golden bottom, and crispy edge.

Tyrone said his recipe is similar to that of Bon Appetit “Best chocolate chip cookiesBut she uses semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of bittersweet, halves the amount of vanilla extract, doesn’t brown her butter, and refrigerates her dough before baking.

“It was a fun challenge,” Tyrone said. “Baking cookies once a week is not uncommon in my house.”

Happy Days Lava Cake for Sad Friends

Annee Nguyen’s little dessert brings a great boost of happiness on the days when she feels depressed.

Annee Nguyen prepares her chocolate cake.  Photos courtesy of Annee Nguyen.The “Happy Days Lava Cake for Sad FriendsIs a chocolate cake that Nguyen, a laboratory research analyst for the department of neurosurgery, cooks in a cup. Elizabeth Thomas, Laboratory Research Analyst for Pathology, passed the recipes on to Nguyen as a feedback.

Nguyen mixes flour, cocoa powder, and a few other ingredients in his favorite coffee mug, which has an “A” and floral designs, and microwave it for a minute for a chocolate treat.

“I hope this recipe provides a little serotonin for people who are in need of solace, who are going through tough times and in need of a hot chocolate hug,” said Nguyen.

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