Cooking in the time of coronavirus
March 14, 2020 5:35 AM   Subscribe

What are your favorite things to cook/bake that may take a little extra effort or babysitting but feel fun and special?

Going to do a grocery run, want to channel some energy into cooking and baking things that I might not have the time or patience to tackle otherwise.

Examples that come to mind for me:

Homemade bread
Homemade dumplings/wontons
Made from scratch pizza
Nime chow/summer rolls
Homemade ravioli

Other ideas?
posted by geegollygosh to Food & Drink (24 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Homemade bolognese sauce!
posted by one of these days at 5:37 AM on March 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

Tiropides: Greek cheese pastries. They freeze well so make a lot. Individually, they are easy to make but you've got to use the whole package of filo dough so it's some time forming all of these.
posted by tmdonahue at 5:42 AM on March 14, 2020

A whole chicken, deboned, stuffed and roasted. This recipe is one approach but the stuffing can be almost anything. I vaguely remember a Julia Child recipe with a stuffing of cooked eggplant, herbs and a little bread that I liked a lot and made a number of times.

If it's your first time deboning a chicken whole, it will take a while but it doesn't take training at culinary school. Forget your mama saying "Don't play with your food." And remember that if you leave a little meat on the bones, you can scrape that off and just stick in with the stuffing. No one will know.

And, of course, make stock from the bones.
posted by tmdonahue at 5:49 AM on March 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Eggplant parm
Chocolate babka
Smitten Kitchen's salted caramel brownies.
posted by somedaycatlady at 5:53 AM on March 14, 2020

Croissants. Anything else requiring laminated dough. Babysitting in and out of the fridge between steps at awkward time intervals.
posted by pemberkins at 6:05 AM on March 14, 2020 [2 favorites]


I've made it once, it took waaaaaay too much effort. But damn it was good.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 6:45 AM on March 14, 2020

Homemade cinnamon rolls were always my go-to for being snowed in.

Homemade soft pretzels are fun.

Homemade bagels.
posted by FencingGal at 6:54 AM on March 14, 2020

I'm smoking a brisket.
posted by advicepig at 7:54 AM on March 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm making these Cinnamon Sugar Scones this morning
I'm also going to do a pot of minestrone.
posted by unstrungharp at 8:51 AM on March 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

I’ve ordered a marmalade kit from my farm box company; it comes with 1.5 kilos of Seville oranges and a couple of lemons. Marmalade-making is fussy and time consuming, and exactly the sort of thing I would like to distract myself with now. If no Sevilles are available in your area, you can always use any sort of unwaxed citrus.
posted by skybluepink at 8:51 AM on March 14, 2020

Asian grocery stores are less populated/picked over because racism. Good time to learn about new cuisines and ingredients and support businesses that may be suffering? I like the Chinese fusion recipes and snark at Lady and Pups, and I think she has been talking about her own quarantine experience. Her cookbook is actually called The Art of Escapism Cooking and I can whole heartedly recommend ever recipe of hers that I've tried, especially her homemade instant noodle series and assorted bread/pastry recipes such as Hokkaido milk bread.
posted by unstrungharp at 8:56 AM on March 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

If you eat pork and have freezer space, the ubiquitous Bo Ssam ala David Chang. Takes a long time but little effort, relatively cheap if you skip the oysters, makes your house smell amazing. Eat a lot the first night and then tuck the rest of it away in your freezer in small portions. A little of it will dress up any noodle or fried rice dish splendidly, and it's neutral flavored enough to go in non-Asian dishes as well.
posted by Knicke at 9:13 AM on March 14, 2020 [3 favorites]

I just made the Gimme Some Oven rosemary focaccia recipe and it was CRAZY GOOD and dead easy, especially if you have a stand mixer.
posted by athirstforsalt at 9:28 AM on March 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

Starting work on my first lemon meringue pie today in honor or pie day. Making the pastry & everything from scratch. All the blind baking & rebaking and faffing with lemon curd should keep me busy all day.
posted by wwax at 10:00 AM on March 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Macarons are famously challenging! You could make small batches to perfect the texture and feet, and make a variety of fillings.
posted by esoterrica at 10:04 AM on March 14, 2020

Bread, in any form. Yeast Cinnamon rolls or bread. Pizza dough, homemade sauce and homemade pizza, which is spectacularly good. I've been making flatbread.
posted by theora55 at 10:04 AM on March 14, 2020

Breakfast: make yourself some Eierkuchen
(I usually add a splash of vanilla and/or almond extract, too)

Lunch/dinner: homemade pita bread in a 450F oven
(I have got away with just laying the bread gently on the oven rack, rather than bothering with cookie sheets or whatnot. Also, bacon grease instead of olive oil is treyfalicious)

lunch/dinner: pizza. make your pizza dough, and start it in a cast iron pan on the stovetop, finish it under the broiler in about 3-5 minutes. wonderful crispy bottom crust like pizzeria.

Also a good time to start your homemade fermented sauerkraut/sauerruben or whatnot, if that is your jam. You just need to chiffonade your ingredients, massage them gently with salt, and let them age in a jar for a week or so. You're not going anywhere, why not make a food-baby?
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 11:29 AM on March 14, 2020

Cassoulet? You probably don't confit duck legs every day. Follow the spirit of the dish—if you can't find Tarbais beans or a Toulouse sausage and you have to substitute something, it's not the end of the world. It's not a difficult dish to make, just one comprised of several sub-recipes. It makes a lot, keeps well, and reheats even better, so you'll have several days' worth of feasting off it.
posted by mumkin at 12:12 PM on March 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

These recipes all look delicious and they are definitely time-consuming.
posted by mumimor at 1:03 PM on March 14, 2020

Homemade marshmallows.
Candy making in general is challenging and fun. And even if you end up with fudge you have to eat with a spoon, it’s still fudge.
posted by FencingGal at 1:17 PM on March 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

I made crisp today and am contemplating the Danish rice pudding with cherry sauce from the last Smitten Kitchen cookbook for later this week (I happen to have about 6 cups sour cherries in the freezer from last U-Pick season.)

There’s a birthday cake to do this week too, chocolate with cream cheese frosting.

Baking will take you a long way!
posted by Lawn Beaver at 3:04 PM on March 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Make a jam or jelly. You can use frozen fruit for these.

Work through a classic cookbook or themed family favourites from when you were a kid.
posted by slightlybewildered at 5:19 PM on March 14, 2020

Biscotti requires the second bake. It's minor extra work, but it's also the whole point of them being biscotti. It's not a lot of work, but it's a nice sense of accomplishment when you master the process and can regularly produce perfectly crisp, snappy biscotti.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:43 AM on March 15, 2020

I went to the store and found these very fine round courgettes, and immediately thought they would fit well with what's in my pantry: I'll stuff them! So when I came home I found this recipe, and even though it's still in the oven I think it's gold after I tasted the stuffing. They are so pretty, and tasty. I made the vegan version, with rice instead of meat. It's definitely project food, and I should have made a lot, because according to the recipe they are best at room temperature so I could have made for tomorrow.
Two things I changed: I added a few drops of fish sauce instead of salt for the last seasoning, and some lemon juice because lemon juice brightens everything up
posted by mumimor at 10:44 AM on March 16, 2020

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