A substantial sandwich dipped in spiced-up carrot soup makes for a comforting meal. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

As I write this on March 26, I feel proud to say that other than long walks in the woods along the cove, I have stayed home for 10 straight days. Even though my new shiny refrigerator is in situ, I haven’t rushed out to stock up. I’m still managing quite nicely with the food I already had on hand.

A friend once called my home on the cove “The Hermitage” and now it’s truer than ever. No one except for the deliverymen from Agren’s and the propane guy has been in my dooryard. I have decided to refer to my self-isolation as “a spiritual retreat” and I’m taking it very, very seriously. Some may think I’m overdoing, but I think not.

My usual routine hasn’t been disrupted too much except for the absence of getting together with my children and grandkids. Not being with them makes me sad, but I’m standing firm to do my part in making the separation from them as short-lived as possible. All in all, I’m extremely blessed.

My heart goes out to everyone whose lives have been turned completely upside down. I’m also in awe of all those who are joining together to usher us through to the other side of this extremely challenging time. Know that I’ll continue to offer simple ideas for nourishment along with encouraging words.

Feel free to share your favorite comfort food recipes with me. Support your local food stores, takeouts and farmers. Get outside. Other than that, I ask you to please stay home as much as you possibly can, help others if you are able to do so and be kind to all, including yourself.

Carrot Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
6 large carrots, sliced
1 quart vegetable stock
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

In a large pot, heat oil and sauté onion for 5 minutes, until softened. Add ginger and continue cooking for 1 minute. Add carrots and stock and bring to a boil. Add salt. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally until carrots are soft, about 40 minutes. Cool.

In a blender, puree mixture until smooth. Return soup to pot, reheat and stir in spices. Add more stock, if necessary, for desired consistency. Yield: 6 servings

Smoky Apple Sandwich

1/4 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
3-4 slices smoked turkey or hickory-smoked ham
1-2 slices Swiss or Gouda cheese
Dijon mustard
2 thick slices sturdy bread

Spread butter on outside of bread then construct sandwich. Heat cast iron skillet or panini maker and grill sandwich until golden and cheese is melted. Yield: 1 serving

Salted Chocolate Buttons

1 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup dark (at least 70%) chocolate, finely chopped
Flaky sea salt for garnish

Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Add sugar, salt and vanilla and beat for 2 minutes more.

Stop mixer and add dry ingredients. With a kitchen towel draped over the mixer to protect yourself from flying flour, mix at low speed for just a few seconds until flour is incorporated. Mixture will be slightly crumbly. Stir in chocolate.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and form into two balls. Roll each ball into a log 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least three hours or up to three days. (Dough can also be frozen up to two months with no need to defrost before baking — just add 1 minute to baking time.)

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. With a sharp knife, slice the logs into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. (If the dough is crumbly simply press it together with your fingers.) Place cookies on baking sheets, spacing at least 1 inch apart and sprinkle lightly with sea salt.

Bake for 12 minutes. Cookies will still be quite soft. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies cool on the sheets until set. Serve warm or at room temperature. Yield: 3 dozen

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