Eating at home has been one of the most prominent elements of quarantine. For some of us, this is a bigger shift in lifestyle change than for others – for instance, those of you who came to the harsh realization that you never learned to cook.
Fear not, the internet is here for rookies and foodies alike. Check out these YouTube videos for cooking inspiration and advice.
NYT Cooking: The New York Times has long had a well-revered food section, but now you can find their content in video form. They have full playlists dedicated to pies and Christmas cookies, as well as a handful of recipe tutorials from popular chefs like Jamie Olive, Melissa Clark, Yewande Komolafe and Alison Roman. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1rIOwTqDuWkFj87HZYRFOg/videos
Bon Appétit: This magazine has always prided itself in accessible recipes in order to make as many people fall in love with cooking as possible, and it shows in their video content as well. Its videos are laid-back with natural humor and raw documentary-like visuals. It is really just an educational hangout with some goofball chefs.
Binging with Babish: This channel is for those of you who like to bask in the glory of food while learning about it. Get up close and gorgeous video of the recipe process married with quick and concise instruction and flavored with a bit of dry wit for a twist. His featured playlists include recipes taken from meals in popular movies and television as well as recipes sorted by categories of difficulty, price and plant or meat based.
You Suck At Cooking: For the aforementioned group experiencing this revelation during quarantine, here is the channel to start your culinary journey. Learn how to modify prepackaged meals, as in their instant ramen video where they even have a hack for those of you who don’t own a measuring cup – use your leftover tall boy for a precise two-cup measurement. All jokes aside, this channel is great for folks who may not have a ton of interest in cooking but need simple ideas for cheap and easy nutrition.
Peaceful Cuisine: OK, this is less on the educational side and more on pure bliss side, but that just makes it even better for quarantine purposes. That said, this is the antithesis to all those sped-up, overhead cooking videos people share on Facebook. You will be taken through every step of the recipe in real time and with delicate, ear-tingling sound work. If you are a parent stuck at home with children yearning for a kitchen quiet enough to hear the gentle crinkle of a plastic bag, here is the answer to your prayers. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQBG3PzyQKY8ieMG2gDAyOQ
Test your knowledge with today’s trivia question
What is widely considered to be the national dish of England?
- Chicken tikka masala
- Fish and chips
Wednesday’s answer: Six
An apple a day
One of the hardest parts about minimizing trips to the grocery store is trying to make produce keep longer.
Here are some tips to help you stay home as much as possible and still be able to enjoy a steady supply of fresh, nutritious vegetables and fruits.
Asparagus: Do not wash asparagus until just before cooking. Trim a half-inch off the ends. Stand upright in a glass or jar filled with an inch of water. Freshness will last 3-4 days.
Bell peppers: Store in the crisper and make sure they stay dry.
Chopped carrots or celery: Store in the refrigerator in a container filled with water. These can last up to a week, but change the water every day or two.
Citrus: Store dry in the refrigerator but not in plastic bags or airtight containers. Mesh bags are fine as they don’t impede air circulation. Use the softest fruit first. Let fruit come up to room temperature for the most juice. Zest and juice can both be frozen if your fruit is spoiling before you can use it.
Leafy greens: Store in the coolest part of the refrigerator unwashed, wrapped in a damp paper towel and in a perforated plastic bag or beeswax wrap. An alternative is to wrap greens loosely in a tea towel and store in a glass container. Do not pack greens tightly.
Pantry vegetables: Onions, garlic, potatoes and winter squash can be stored longer than many vegetables when kept in a dry, cool and dark place.
Tomatoes: Keep ripe tomatoes at room temperature, away from sunlight. If tomatoes become overripe and have fragile skin and flesh, move them to the refrigerator. The tomato will keep another three days but will lose flavor due to refrigeration.
Apples: Treat like eggs – very gently. The adage that one bad apple spoils the bunch is true: Even a small blemish or bruise will quickly turn the entire piece of fruit bad. Also keep them at a cooler temperature, 31-35 degrees.
Spice of life
Having an herb garden is the most inexpensive and convenient way to have fresh herbs for cooking.
They can be grown indoors or outdoors, making them great for those in quarantine without their own outdoor space. It is easy to get going and in the long run gives you one less reason to have to run to the store.
The easiest way to get started is to pick up some herb plants at your local nursery.
- Select a potting mix. A mix has lightweight, organic matter and potting soil. Straight potting soil will not allow for enough air in the soil.
- Choose a container at least an inch or so larger in diameter than the container it came in. Something that allows for drainage is always best.
- Herbs like a lot of sun, although delicate leafs can wilt in hot, summer sun.
- Water the herbs thoroughly but be patient and allow the soil to dry out before watering again. If the top 2 inches of soil are dry, it is time to water.
- The herbs will eventually eat up all the soil’s nutrients. Fertilize with high-nitrogen fertilizer like seaweed extract or fish emulsion.
- Harvest or prune the herbs regularly to avoid the plant becoming woody or bitter.
- If you can’t purchase a plant, cut a few inches of the top of herbs purchased at the grocery store. Strip any leaves at the bottom of the cut stem and stick upright in water (a bottle with a narrow neck helps hold the cutting upright). The cutting will eventually sprout roots and can be transferred to soil.
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