Now is the time for complicated projects

A great number of people who normally work in an office are currently working from home. Others are staying home for less fortunate reasons, such as layoffs and store closures. In both scenarios, a lot of us have a little extra time on our hands, and also could use a little positive distraction. Perhaps now is the time to jump into a cooking or baking project that we never seem to find the time to do because it requires an investment of time or has many steps.

Saveur recently posted about tackling cooking and baking projects you wouldn’t normally try. The story linked in their IG post includes recipes that they say “you can really sink your hands—and your brain—into for a couple of hours.” Most of the recipes lean heavily on pantry items and are geared to help you make something from scratch that you would not ordinarily attempt.

Another project well suited to the current time is making couscous from scratch. The process is not complicated, but it is repetitive and lengthy, perfect for developing a rhythm and allowing yourself to relax. This task does require specialty ingredients (coarse semolina flour) and it’s easier if you use a specialty apparatus called a coucoussier, although the latter is not strictly required. You can make do with a universal steamer.

The recipe that I chose to escape into was red mole, using Rick Bayless’s Simple red mole enchiladas with shredded chicken (Enchiladas de mole rojo). While not difficult technique-wise, the recipe has many components and requires you to concentrate on the task at hand, especially when you are cooking the ancho chile puree to a thick, dark paste. I was rewarded with a complex and rich sauce, and the multi-step process provided the calming distraction that I needed.

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  • hillsboroks  on  March 20, 2020

    The recipe that caught my eye this morning is Milk Street’s Cardamom-Lime Chicken and White Beans that came in my email. I have been eyeing those cans of beans in my larder and trying to find something fun to do with them. As an added bonus I just happen to have a jar of Persian dried lime I wanted to use up and the recipe notes say that in the original recipe it calls for dried lime and that they simplified it to use fresh lime zest. EYB has been and will be my sanity saver the next few weeks or months as I cook to relieve stress and to keep the family happy and healthy.

  • lkgrover  on  March 20, 2020

    I am planning to make homemade ravioli next week, although I haven’t decided which recipe yet.

  • Rinshin  on  March 20, 2020

    We have had shelter in place this whole week and it is like living in the 60s again with people taking walks and kids riding bikes (all keeping safe distance to limit exposure) a constant parade of neighbors some I have never seen. Used my first same day order of fresh items from Costco. Worked out ok. I expect our life may never be the same after this Sars-cov2.

  • annmartina  on  March 21, 2020

    Bread Ahead in London is streaming baking tutorials on InstaGram every morning. They’re quite fun to watch.

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