Recipes from a Socially-Distanced Kitchen
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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: Gingerbread Pancakes with Apple Compote – submitted by Rebecca Harris

2) Lunch: Most Delicious Falafel Recipe (Fried or Baked) – submitted by Laura Bailey

3) Dinner: Mom’s Turkey Chili – submitted by Mel Zahnd

4) Bonus: In honor of Passover, a recipe for Charoset – submitted by Charlie Whitman-Barr

Gingerbread Pancakes with Apple Compote

Apple Compote


  • 2 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into half-inch pieces. Any type of apple will work.
  • Zest of ½ orange (reserve ½ teaspoon zest for pancakes)
  • Juice of one orange
  • ½ cup dried apricots, chopped finely, or any other dried fruit you may have purchased in bulk because you needed it for another recipe and only 5-lb bags were available at your local grocery store
  • A few drops of apple cider vinegar
  • Spices to taste (I used a cinnamon stick and a pinch of cloves, because I rarely used them in my pre-COVID-19 life and am now trying to use them up. Small amounts of cinnamon and ginger would also be great.)
  • ½ tablespoon butter


  • Put apples, orange zest, and orange juice in small saucepan. Cook, covered, on medium-low heat until apples begin to soften and release juice (about 5-10 min).
  • Add dried apricots. Cook an additional 5-10 minutes.
  • When apples have released more juice and have started to become mushy, push apple pieces to one side and add spices and a drop or two of apple cider vinegar to the juice at the bottom of the pan. Cook an additional 5-10 minutes.
  • When apples have started to disintegrate, so there is no longer a clear separation between apple pieces and the juice at the bottom of the pan, add butter.
  • Cook 5-10 minutes longer, or until compote reaches desired texture.

Gingerbread Pancakes (lightly adapted from NY Times)


  • 2 cups/256 grams all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of cloves (optional)
  • 1 ¼ cups milk (whole milk preferred, but please do not go to the store just to buy a separate kind of milk for this recipe)
  • ⅓ cup honey (original recipe calls for molasses, which would be delicious, but who plans far enough ahead to buy molasses on their biweekly grocery run?)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon finely grated orange zest


  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk milk, honey, eggs, melted butter, and orange zest until well combined.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently stir until combined. (A few small lumps are fine.)
  • Heat a lightly greased griddle or nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Drop the pancakes into the pan by the quarter cup, making sure to leave plenty of room in between for the batter to expand.
  • Cook until the batter bubbles on the surface and browns on the bottom, a minute or two, then carefully flip. Cook until the batter is completely cooked through and the pancakes are slightly dark brown. Repeat until all the batter is used.

Top pancakes with apple compote and any other desired toppings (powdered sugar, whipped cream, maple syrup, etc) and serve.

Most Delicious Falafel Recipe (Fried or Baked)

AUTHOR: Lisa Bryan
Prep Time: 45 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 55 mins


  • 1 cup dried chickpeas soaked overnight (don't use canned chickpeas)
  • 1/2 cup onion roughly chopped
  • 1 cup parsley roughly chopped (about a one large bunch)
  • 1 cup cilantro roughly chopped (about a one large bunch)
  • 1 small green chile pepper serrano or jalapeno pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp chickpea flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • avocado oil for frying


  • The night before, soak the dried chickpeas in water. Make sure the water covers the chickpeas by 2-3 inches, as they'll triple in size.
  • Drain and rinse the chickpeas and add them to your food processor.
  • Add the onion, parsley, cilantro, pepper, garlic, cumin, salt, cardamom and black pepper to the food processor and pulse several times until it resembles the texture of coarse sand.
  • Transfer the falafel mixture to a bowl and add the chickpea flour and baking soda. Stir together, then cover or add a lid.
  • Refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes to one hour.
  • Use your hands, an ice cream scoop or falafel scoop to form the falafel into balls or patties. If you find the mixture is too wet, you can add another tablespoon of chickpea flour. If it's too dry and crumbly, you can add a teaspoon or two of water or lemon juice.
  • Once the falafel are formed, you can cook them by your preferred method mentioned above.
  • To deep fry the falafel, add about 3 inches of oil to a pot on medium heat. Heat the oil to 350F.
  • Cook the falafel in batches (about 6-8 at a time) for 1-2 minutes or until golden. Use a skimmer to check the color of the falafel and make sure they don't overcook. Then remove them to a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Serve the falafel immediately, while warm and crispy on the outside.


  • Falafel are best golden on the outside, not charred. Make sure your oil doesn't get too hot. If it does, the outside will cook too fast before the inside can warm up.
  • The falafel should not break apart while cooking. They're slightly fragile, but should certainly hold together and retain their shape. If they don't, see my tip above about adding more flour or water.
  • Can you meal prep falafel? YES! Make the dough mixture and then freeze it for up to 2-3 months. Thaw the mixture in the fridge, stir it, then form in balls or patties and cook.
  • Cooked falafel doesn’t store well as the outside becomes soft.

Nutrition Calories: 62kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 170mg | Potassium: 138mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 350IU | Vitamin C: 5.6mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg

Mom's Turkey Chili
-Serves 6


  • 3 cups of chopped onion
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 3 pounds of ground 99% lean turkey (less is ok)
  • ¼ cup of chili powder (or less)
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons of paprika (hot, smoked, or sweet)
  • 1 tablespoon of dried oregano (optional)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of dried hot red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • 16 ounces of crushed or diced canned tomatoes
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons of vinegar
  • 3 cans of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 bell peppers cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 6 scallions, trimmed (optional)
  • Greek yogurt


  • Cook the onion in the vegetable oil, covered, over a moderately low heat, stirring a bit until softened.
  • Add the garlic and cook for one minute.
  • Add the ground turkey, stirring and breaking up lumps until it is no longer pink.
  • Add the chili powder, cumin, cocoa powder, paprika, oregano, red pepper flakes, bay leaf, and stir for one minute.
  • Add the crushed or diced tomatoes, the chicken broth, and the vinegar.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat so that the mixture is simmering.
  • Add the kidney beans and the bell pepper.
  • Allow the mixture to continue to simmer. Cover it, lifting to stir occasionally. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until the peppers are tender.
  • Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaf.
  • Serve with trimmed scallions and Greek yogurt.

Note: The chili can be made 3 days in advance and reheated. The chili will improve in flavor if cooled completely uncovered and then chilled covered overnight. If necessary, add more water when reheating the chili.


AUTHOR: Emily McKenna
Hands-On Time: 15 Mins
Total Time: 4 Hours 15 Mins
Yield: Serves 8 (makes 4 cups)


  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup kosher red wine (such as Manischewitz)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • kosher salt
  • 2 crisp apples (such as Gala or McIntosh), peeled and roughly chopped


Step 1
Heat oven to 350° F. Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven, tossing occasionally, until fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool, then roughly chop.

Step 2
Meanwhile, combine the raisins and orange juice in a small saucepan; simmer over medium-low heat until most of the liquid is absorbed, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool, then stir in the wine, honey, lemon zest, cinnamon, and ¼ teaspoon salt.

Step 3
In a large bowl, combine the apples and walnuts with the raisin mixture and toss to combine. Cover and let sit for at least 4 hours.

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