The coronavirus pandemic has affected millions of people around the globe, with several countries electing to quarantine people in their own houses to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. With the lockdown still in progress in many areas, people are finding it hard to stay productive with the extra time.
Whether you are an expert cook or someone who only goes to the kitchen to eat, the quarantine situation allows you to improve your cooking skills. There are always new things to learn about when it comes to cooking, and practice only makes your food taste better. We have rounded up some tips to help you hone your chef skills and be as productive in the kitchen as possible while stuck at home.
1. Practice Your Chopping Skills
We start with the basics first. When preparing ingredients, chopping garlic and onions are almost always involved in every recipe. While the task seems simple, many people chop the wrong way without them realizing it. While the incorrect chopping style can still get the job done, doing it right is more efficient. As with most things in the kitchen, efficiency is valued because the more time you save on each cooking step, the quicker you finish preparing food for your family.
Surely you have watched an episode or two of some famous chefs competing on national TV. You can see how fast it takes a professional cook to chop up his (or her) onions and garlic, and you don’t even see a single tear being shed in the process. The trick to chopping an onion efficiently is to place it on its side, with the sharp end of your knife pointed towards your non-dominant hand. Slice carefully in the same direction you did when you first cut the stem off, with each cut going all the way until the stem’s end. Focus on the quality of your chopping first; eventually, you will get faster and better with practice.
2. Master Homemade Pasta
It is normal to crave pasta now and then, but the lockdown does not give us the option to visit a restaurant and satisfy that urge right now. Luckily, you can also learn to make your own pasta at home to solve this problem.
You will need flour, eggs, and a manual pasta roller to create your pasta. First, mix flour with salt in a bowl. Mound the mixture in the center of the pot, creating a well-shaped opening. Beat a few eggs and pour them onto the opening, afterward slowly mix them all to form a sticky dough. ; The amount of flour you use will determine how sturdy the pasta is, so you can adjust according to your preference. Knead the dough thoroughly until the surface starts to feel smooth, then leave it in the refrigerator for half an hour. Once ready, use a pasta roller to get your desired thinness and slice it depending on what kind of pasta you will be cooking.
When you have mastered making your pasta, you can experiment with various sauces until you find which best fits your family’s taste.
3. Make Your Own Jam
It is easy to succumb to unhealthy eating habits during the lockdown, so learning to make healthy food in your kitchen is a must. Making your own jam allows you to pick your fruits of choice and create a healthy sandwich spread for the family.
Making jam is quite straightforward. First, you need to prepare fruits. Going to the grocery to stock up on fruits and vegetables should be done as much as you can anyway, so an extra trip to make jam should not hurt. Once you have the fruits, carefully peel its skin off and cut the fruit meat into small cubes. The fruit cubes will serve as the main ingredient of the jam, but you can opt to include the fruits’ skins to add more color and flavor.
Cook the peeled fruit in boiling water for no more than a minute, then place the fruit in cold water. After cooling off the fruit mixture, stir it together with sugar and salt in a heavy-bottomed container. Boil the mixture once more while stirring continuously until the chunks of fruit start to rise to the top. Skim any foam that stays on the top of the mix. Transferring the cooked jam into a container can be challenging due to its viscous state. However, if you have a piston filler machine complete with custom nozzles, you can use it to dispense the jam into your containers of choice without any effort.
These are only three of several activities you can do in the kitchen, and you can try all of them in just a week. Feel free to look for other kitchen skills you can add to your arsenal to make the most of this stay-at-home period.