What will you distract yourself with next, sorry, cook next?
The big star of the beginning of quarantine was, of course: bread. Everyone was baking bread–your family, your friends, people you didn’t know, everyone. So, what’s next? What food will be the next big breakout star of this horror story we call our lives? Let’s take a look at some of the contenders.
Let’s relax for a bit, shall we? Let’s just relax our brains and keep things simple and make a pizza. Just a regular pizza! It’s like bread, but more–bread with cheese and meat on it. This fact alone makes it the obvious next step in your culinary journey. You can make it super complicated on yourself and do the whole shebang, making the dough from scratch, or you can go easy on your little mind and get a pre-made dough and throw whatever you want on top. It’s whatever you feel up to, my sweet baking friend. All I’m saying is that pizza is the perfect distraction from…most things (if only for a few moments).
The scone is the pretentious cousin of the muffin, and a flakey, buttery, pseudo-biscuit it’s hard to not love. Therefore, the scone is certainly worthy of your next quarantine baking obsession. First of all, you can make all sorts of variations–there truly is no limit to the sorts. Cranberry, blueberry, pumpkin, cinnamon, maple…the possibilities are pretty much endless. You can even go classic, and add nothing–how perfectly European of you that would be.
Let’s face it, in this time, we all deserve a little more cake in our lives. Another close relative of bread, cake can be simple or it can be complicated, but at the end of the day, it is cake and that is all that matters. If you’re new to baking, or cake, or just don’t want to put much thought into anything at all, try a simple white cake recipe. If you are a champion who would like to complicate things for yourself, there are plenty of much more difficult and intricate cakes that you can tackle, with toppings abound and different layers of ingredients and mousse stuffed places. Perhaps start simple and move to more challenging cakes–it’s a marathon, not a sprint, should you choose to distract yourself by throwing yourself into a world of endless cake baking.
Just Wrap Everything in Bacon
At this point, I think it would be a fine idea just to wrap everything up in bacon. Pork tenderloin? Wrap a little bacon blanket over it. Shrimp, chicken, hot dogs? Wrap those little guys up in some bacon, my friend! Bacon also wraps nicely around tater tots, sliced avocado, and scallops, as well as asparagus and mushrooms, if you’d like to get your vegetable on at the same time as having a lot of bacon. Heck, wrap a bratwurst with bacon and add some grilled peppers on top. We’re gonna be inside for a while so it’s highly advisable that you start wrapping everything up in bacon, who cares. If you do not eat bacon, this advice does not apply to you and I respect you–however, in that case, there are plenty of plant-based vegan options.
Okay, you know what? Yeah. Let’s combine both of them. Let’s combine them together, who even cares at this point. This decadent (meatless, if you choose!) dish is essentially just this: a pasta in a pizza cloak. It’s prepared by mixing veggies and noodles in a pan (like you would a regular pasta) and then moving that into a baking dish and covering it in pizza sauce and cheese–pasta pizza. Learn it.
Before we know it, it’s going to be fall, and we’re still going to be inside, which means pretty soon it’s going to be time to start baking autumn-themed treats. The pumpkin roll is a startlingly easy place to start–it’s essentially just baking a regular cake, but then rolling it up, refrigerating it for a little bit to cool it down, unrolling it, adding the cream cheese frosting, and then rolling that guy back on up again. Not only is it a tasty treat, it’s fun to make (due to all the rolling and unrolling).
Is this technically bread? Sure. Yeah, sure, of course it is. Is it different enough (and delicious enough) to the point warranting a well-deserved place on this list? Yes. Cornbread is the perfect transition, when we eventually move from summer to fall. It’s a late summer, sweet bread treat while also being autumnal enough to make you go, “Hey, it’s almost October.” With minimal ingredients needed, you’ll just mix everything in a bowl, pour it in a pan, and bake.
A Whole Turkey
Who cares what month it is anymore, and a lot of the time, who even knows what month it is anymore. That said, let’s have a little bit of fun and cook a whole damn turkey. Is it Thanksgiving? I don’t know! I’m pretty sure it’s not. But, hey, it will be, at some point, so why not have a dress rehearsal and make yourself a whole roasted turkey, in the middle of the summer. We’ve all got to let go of control as to “when this will all be over,” and time is kind of just a construct at this point, so it’s time to switch up the holidays and possibly confuse yourself to the point where you don’t even care about things like “holidays” anymore (if only just for now) and cook a whole freaking turkey, in your home, in honor of this absolutely bonkers time that is sincerely hard to make any sense of.
Want something with a little less commitment? Try a dip–go through a dip phase, make every kind of dip there is, and dunk all sorts of things into it, from healthier options (veggies) to more breaded options (chips, pita, crackers, baguettes). Spinach dip can be made healthier (using yogurt) or not as healthy (using pure mayonnaise, baby). Same deal with buffalo chicken dip—you can make less good-for-you versions using cream cheese, blue cheese, or ranch dressing; which, not a big deal if that’s what you’re into. However, a healthier version of the dip can be made using Greek yogurt and cottage cheese, giving you more protein and less fat. Make your own hummus, guacamole, bean dip…and the list goes on. Probably forever. Make some dips and dunk some stuff in it. Happy quarantine.
Hmm, does it seem like I’m just telling you how to make a Thanksgiving dinner at some points during this? Maybe I am. I am very disoriented, generally. Anyways, you can’t go wrong with a pie. Try a cream pie–or as I like to call it, pudding in a bread bathtub. You’ll combine graham cracker crumbs with butter and sugar to make the crust, bake it for a little while, then mix up your cream filling and pour it on in there. Chill that baby for about 15 or so minutes, and bam–you got yourself an easy breezy cream pie, perfect for the summer months.