Oh, the glorious carb: always there to fill the lonely quarantine emptiness. As millions worldwide have found themselves self-quarantining in their homes, stress cooking has never been this popular. Baking staples like flour and sugar have been flying off supermarket shelves. However, for those who are just getting in on the cooking craze, the scarcity of these basics necessitates creativity in the kitchen.
From attempting to bake bread to mastering the art of the omelette, here are a few ideas for your next “quarancooking” experience. And conveniently, cooking up elaborate dishes is also a great procrastination technique when you can’t stand the thought of watching yet another Zoom lecture.
Veggie Omelette Brunch
Coronavirus may have canceled your Le Peep plans, but it can’t cancel brunch. For the beginner chefs among us, making brunch after getting up at noon is a solid introduction to the world of quarantine cooking. Although it took more attempts than I’d care to admit, I can now actually flip an omelette without ending up with scrambled eggs. Pair your omelette with pancakes, tomatoes, and/or sausage (or veggie sausage as pictured) for a relatively easy, satisfying meal.
Irish Soda Bread
It wouldn’t truly be quarancooking without baking bread. I jumped on this trend with a sweet wheat Irish soda bread mostly because it didn’t need yeast – why bother with the whole proofing process when you can have a fresh loaf in under an hour? While maybe not the most photogenic bread, it turned out delicious. I recommend throwing in some warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg for extra flavor. I had to literally dust off an old cookbook for this recipe but a similar one can be found here. This bread is well worth a skipped psych lecture.
Split Pea Soup
I am a firm believer in the powers of a good soup: satisfying, warm, hearty, and healthy enough to justify extra quarantine snacks later. This split pea soup is pretty straightforward and uses ingredients probably already in your pantry, even in quarantine. Split pea soup tastes comforting and surprisingly filling. It’s even better when you ditch cooking from scratch and pair it with a classic Pillsbury crescent roll.
Another soup, because soup is amazing, and I refuse to limit myself to just one. Hot pot soup is a broth-based meat and vegetable soup that allows for plenty of creativity, a necessity for quarantine chefs given that ingredients can be hard to come by these days. Follow a recipe, such as this one, or seize the opportunity to experiment and use up those veggies in the back of the fridge. Either way, the beauty of hot pot is that there’s not a wrong way to cook the soup, and it’s all but guaranteed to taste amazing.
For the serious procrastinators among us, myself included, any excuse to avoid a Spanish reading is welcome, especially if it involves food. Luckily, making manicotti takes a few laborious hours and fills the longing for closed Italian restaurants. Lost in the heaven of melted cheese, tomato sauce, and pasta, you might even forget about the pandemic for a moment. The recipe for the dish pictured came from an obscure cookbook, but this NYT Cooking recipe is pretty close.
Macarons with Espresso Buttercream
Despite their reputation for difficulty, macarons are surprisingly simple! This recipe gives a great overview for daring beginners. We recommend espresso buttercream to top a perfectly puffed macaron – just throw in some instant espresso while mixing. It’s a perfect dessert at the end of a day of dysfunctional Zoom calls.
Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
Of course, at the end of the day when the stress of living through a pandemic hits you, there’s no better way to cope than an ugly cry, a bunch of cookies and a Netflix binge. Hence, the perfect coconut chocolate chip cookies. It's essentially your basic chocolate chip cookies, but with some coconut sprinkled in (which makes it healthy and totally acceptable to eat the whole batch). The only possible downside is that they might worsen your Bennison’s cravings. These chunks of sugary deliciousness might be the only thing getting me through quarantine, and honestly, I’m okay with that.
Cooking (and eating) can be very therapeutic, so while we’re stuck inside we might as well eat good food. Hopefully these recipes have inspired you or at least made you hungry enough to embark on your own quarancooking adventure.