Cooking in COVID
by Marlowe Salerno
I'll admit it. I don't know how to cook. In these pandemic times, I figure it's time to learn at least the basics. Some of us may already know how to make the necessities: eggs, toast, and cereal. With the amount of quarantine and isolation lately, I'm sure we could all step it up in the kitchen. I'll be attempting to make cheesy eggs with jalapeños, cacio e pepe, and carrot cake.
Cheesy eggs are fairly simple. They consist of scrambled eggs mixed with cheese and a few jalapeños tossed in at the end. First, decide how many eggs. If it's just you, two eggs is a good amount to start learning. Crack the eggs into a bowl (if you don't know how, just crack the egg lightly against a surface and pull the shell apart so the egg can fall out), and add a tiny splash of milk or cream. I learned that this makes the end result tastier.
Stir the eggs with a fork, and set it aside. Turn one of the burners on your stove to medium heat, and put the same amount of butter you'd put on a half piece of toast (small spoonful) onto a pan. Pour in the eggs once the butter melts. Now throw in a handful of shredded cheddar cheese (or whichever cheese you like best!) and start stirring the eggs with a rubber spatula. Flip over the eggs and stir them around so all the sides get cooked.
Once they start to look cooked enough for you, take the pan off the stove and scrape it into your favorite bowl. NOW REMEMBER TO SHUT THE STOVE OFF (a big deal for the adults). Toss on as many jalapeños as you can handle and enjoy! This is now my go-to breakfast and I don't need to bug anyone to make it happen.
I think cacio e pepe was my favorite recipe. Cacio e pepe is a parmesan pasta with pepper
blended into the mix. I got the recipe from my good friend Ethan, who's already an expert in the kitchen at thirteen years old. Ethan’s recipe speaks for itself so I'm including it here.
This really was a simple recipe. For example, I went into making the pasta not knowing what
a colander was (a bowl with holes so pasta can stay in the bowl while the boiling water can seep out) and it still came out great. Ethan on FaceTime warned that making this dish was a little hectic, and he was right. However, that is what makes cooking fun.
Also, a heads up, the starch in the pasta will make bubbles rise out of the pan, so keep a
close eye on it and either stir or turn the heat down, otherwise, you’ll have a mess on your stove. Bon appetit.
Now last but not least: the carrot cake. This is the recipe I chose, Incredibly Moist and Easy Carrot Cake, and here's why. After looking for a simple carrot cake recipe and trying one that turned out terribly (it was crumbly, dry, and didn't taste like carrots were in there), I decided to go with the one that had ‘moist’ in the title and it paid off.
The trick here is to follow the recipe EXACTLY. With the first attempt at the carrot cake, I was more casual because I didn't realize what an exact science baking really is. For instance, I started grating carrots and to me, it looked like there were way too many. So I ignored the recipe and put half the amount. Big mistake.
After the second attempt at following the recipe it turned out perfect. Even the frosting that I thought would be incredibly hard to incorporate was super easy with only three ingredients (sugar, heavy whipping cream, and cream cheese). I ate a quarter of the cake in one sitting, and normally I don't even love cake. I had some tough critics taste my cake and everyone agreed it was delicious.
I hope these recipes interest you in the difficult time of quarantine. I loved making the cheesy eggs, cacio e pepe, and the carrot cake and I hope you do too!