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Is your cooking improving in isolation?

Is your cooking improving in isolation?

Old Apr 11, 20, 7:48 am
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Is your cooking improving in isolation?

Initially I thought I would work on my baking. I have baked very little in my life and thought this would be an opportunity. However shortages of basic ingredients in the baking aisle put the kibosh on that.

i continue to grill 3-4 nights a week and have stuck to basics with maybe a little more fish and a little less beef.

i did make a nice peach salsa last night for the mahi-mahi.
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Last edited by BamaVol; Apr 11, 20 at 9:30 am
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Old Apr 11, 20, 11:26 pm
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Yes! I’ve cooked things that I’ve never made. I’ve followed some recipes well.

ive found baking ingredients in convenience and gourmet shops. Even inflated prices don’t cost that much when the recipe needs a tsp of cinnamon. I’ve loved our cooking so much and I’m excited to try other dishes.

we have a le creuset dutch oven and I’ve made some Moroccan chicken dishes (Kitchn recipes) as well as some comfort food stews. We also have a roasting pan with a rack for turkey, so I used it for Pessach brisket. Both items had been new in our cabinet for 7 or so years until March 2020.

It takes time for prep / cook / clean but I’ve loved it so much and want to continue this yummy cooking.
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Old Apr 12, 20, 12:59 am
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I've been using the Weber kettle every day. Getting the fire started etc gives me something to do, and I find it somewhat cathartic. Once a week or so I do a long slow cook like a lamb or pork shoulder. I did some wonderful rump cap (picanha) steaks for Easter lunch today. Reverse seared, so started them indirect on a very low heat and then finished for a minute or so a side over the coals. Turned out magnificently. Better than usual? Marginally, I guess in that I'm tinkering on tried and trusted techniques. Even when I was 11 or 12 and Dad was working late, I was on grilling duty – and we always used charcoal or beads, never had gas outdoors. So I have a fair bit of experience! Back then I think it was more about playing with fire than the actual cooking.

My weak point has always been seafood, so I have been trying my hand more at that. And with the lack of Chinese tourists, and no export demand, seafood is ridiculously cheap here in Australia at the moment.
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Old Apr 12, 20, 8:40 am
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Definitely cooking more; I cannot say if I am getting any better, though - I have always been a recipe-follower. What I find makes things much easier for me nowadays is doing any kind of prep work - peeling, mincing, chopping, etc. - before I start. Then it's just a matter of throwing everything together, which I can manage.
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Old Apr 13, 20, 6:01 am
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I won't say my cooking has improved - IMHO, I was already pretty good at it. But one interesting thing I've noticed is due to rotating supermarket shortages, my typical diet has changed. For example, there were a couple weeks where I couldn't find chicken, but there was plenty of pork (no idea why people hoard the things they hoard). So I've already made pork chops several times in the last month, where I typically might make them only 4-5 times per year. Also, during the great chicken blackout, I decided to try something similar, a bone-in turkey breast. I've probably roasted a turkey breast twice in my life before that.
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Old Apr 13, 20, 6:17 am
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Originally Posted by JBord View Post
I won't say my cooking has improved - IMHO, I was already pretty good at it. But one interesting thing I've noticed is due to rotating supermarket shortages, my typical diet has changed. For example, there were a couple weeks where I couldn't find chicken, but there was plenty of pork (no idea why people hoard the things they hoard). So I've already made pork chops several times in the last month, where I typically might make them only 4-5 times per year. Also, during the great chicken blackout, I decided to try something similar, a bone-in turkey breast. I've probably roasted a turkey breast twice in my life before that.
This is similar for us. We are working through our freezers, so we have a wide variety of meats that we are using.
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Old Apr 13, 20, 6:27 am
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I never thought yeast would play such an important role in my life!
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Old Apr 13, 20, 12:26 pm
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
I never thought yeast would play such an important role in my life!
Interesting. I can not find yeast anywhere. Is everyone now baking bread? I haven't baked bread in years but decided that it would be nice to do again. Alas, no yeast to be found. Guess I'll go with banana bread.
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Old Apr 13, 20, 2:38 pm
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I’ve gone through a lot of yeast recently. Live and dried. Pizza dough, bread, naan, you name it. It around the world dining here!
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Old Apr 14, 20, 6:15 am
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Originally Posted by bensyd View Post
I've been using the Weber kettle every day. Getting the fire started etc gives me something to do, and I find it somewhat cathartic.
I used to grill/bbq any time I wanted to, regardless of the weather. But now that I'm an old person, I'm less enthusiastic about keeping up a grill regimen when it's 40 degrees, windy, and rainy. In this nutty weather we're having in the DC area (well, it's always nutty here) I've taken advantage of the occasional 70 degree day to fire up the grill. In the meantime, I've become better at using the cast iron grill pan on my stove top, but I have to disable the nearest smoke detector when something's cooking there.
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Old Apr 14, 20, 6:23 am
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I was always a reasonably good cook but was often too tired after work to do more than the basics. Iím finding I have more energy and interest now. But one thing that is still hard is spending an hour or more on a nice meal and having my three sons scarf it back in 5-10 minutes. We always have a nice time at our dinner table and chat quite a bit for 30 minutes or more, but the food is gone so fast.

I managed to get a pound of yeast for $8 on Amazon the other day. Looking forward to making Bittmanís no knead bread for family and try some homemade gluten free for me. Boys want to make big pretzels too. flour is hard to come by though and I have only one bag now. Grocery store perennially sold out.

My work (from home) is slowly down some and so I will need some family cooking projects.
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Old Apr 14, 20, 6:36 am
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Due to yeast shortages in the store, I have started a sourdough starter and now have a plentiful supply for daily baking (if I want to do it). and yes my diet has changed; eating supplies from shelves and freezer with rare shopping trips
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Old Apr 14, 20, 8:01 am
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Originally Posted by obscure2k View Post
Interesting. I can not find yeast anywhere. Is everyone now baking bread? I haven't baked bread in years but decided that it would be nice to do again. Alas, no yeast to be found. Guess I'll go with banana bread.
Basically everyone has decided it would be nice to bake bread again. Shortages on yeast and flour in Chicago. I don't have much patience for baking, and try to limit my bread consumption, so it doesn't really affect me, but interesting to see what people turn to.
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Old Apr 14, 20, 8:26 am
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Originally Posted by moxie13 View Post
Due to yeast shortages in the store, I have started a sourdough starter and now have a plentiful supply for daily baking (if I want to do it).
We have found that sourdough discard can be easily used to make very tasty crackers; there's tons of recipes online.

Overall, +1 was a bean hoarder via the Rancho Gordo club before all of this went down; we're now expanding into our cookbooks for new ideas for them and whatever else we have on hand. We did a virtual joint baking session with family in Oregon and that was a nice diversion.
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Old Apr 14, 20, 9:18 am
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I have always been a pretty damned good cook. Have great skills in the kitchen... thanks in part to my mother and being single into my 30s and not your typical "carry out and pizza" kind of guy. I always loved great food.

I was "hobbled" while in Thailand in February. After hiking around the Railay Beach area in 90+ degree heat, Kachanaburi, Earawan National Park, and the streets of Bangkok -- my feet were destroyed. I ventured out one evening heading towards the Artbox Night Market just to listen to some music and get some Mango and Sticky Rice and I couldn't get past the lobby of the Conrad Bangkok. I resigned myself to the hotel bar and a hefty tab. The next morning, I decided to give myself a break and sat by the lovely pool... and by noon I was a bit stir crazy.

So I called Silom Cooking School and got into an afternoon Intro to Thai Cuisine class and hopped a cab for the 1.5 mile trip. It was a few Baht very well spent. At Silom, it's a required class before you can take any other classes. I learned a bit and realized why I love cooking... <Cut To Covid-19 Lockdown>

If I don't come out of this lock down 200 lbs. heavier with a destroyed liver... it will be a miracle.

As I am no longer commuting... I am sleeping a bit better and later and my commute from my master to my workspace takes 20 seconds. I have standing conference calls where I am not a primary participant. Although I have a home office space, I prefer to work at my kitchen table because when I don't have to look at my screen or pay too much attention, I am prepping.. chopping, dicing, chilling, washing, seasoning...

I have smoked a 6 lb. brisket, rotisserie'd chickens, made Tom Yum Goong, Tom Yum Gai, home made dumplings (pork, chicken, and vegetarian), home made spring rolls, fried rices, mangos and sticky rice, hand made pastas, a variety of American Chinese dishes, Chicken Curry Coconut soups, salads of a variety offerings, eggs a dozen ways... too many cocktails to mention. Was supposed to be in Dublin at the end of March so since that was canceled by the Irish authorities... every afternoon was Irish Coffees (ala Buena Vista in SFO) and Guiness. Then Hydroxychloroquine was all the rage so Vodka and Tonics were a medical necessity. Then there's bourbon... and being a Manhattanite relocated to Wisconsin you must drink Bourbon and Rye Manhattans (one for each region) and Bourbon Old Fashioned's and good beer.

This has to end soon because my gas and electric bills along with my booze bill is going to destroy my savings... (and please note -- this last line was a bit of levity. I do know that there are millions who are under serious fiscal duress. My wife and I are doing our part to help by buying local carryout to help our community businesses and contributing cash and items to our local food bank and Second Harvest).

AGE
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