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The Recipes We've Always Been Afraid To Cook, But Plan On Making Now

How we are challenging our quarantine kitchen skills this week.
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We're going to take a wild guess and say we're not alone in having looked at a recipe outside of our usual repertoire and almost immediately deciding that it's just not going to happen. Whether it be because of a difficult technique, extensive ingredient list, or lengthy cooking time, some dishes are simply more intimidating than others. As many of us find ourselves spending much more time in our respective kitchens, we thought it would be fun to challenge each other to finally give these recipes—the ones we bookmarked for a later date that never came—a try in the coming weeks. If not now, when?! We look forward to sharing the results of our culinary adventures soon, but in the meantime, here are some of the recipes that we will (finally) be attempting this week and next:

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It's no surprise that I've found a lot of solace in baking while stuck at home. It's such a controlled thing to do, and I find comfort in the process of weighing and measuring ingredients, the incredible smells that eventually come from the oven, and, obviously, having dessert around. I've been relying on a lot of my go-to classics, like chocolate chip cookies and key lime pie, but it's also made me realize there are a lot of desserts I've never tackled, like a diner-style chocolate cream pie. The recipe I'm interested in has a paywall since it's from Cook's Illustrated but I'll be sure to post it to my Stories as soon as I make it!

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Image via Kitchn

Image via Kitchn

The idea to make (obsession with making??) dumplings popped into my head as soon as I realized I could use the lasagna setting on my beloved pasta maker to make homemade dumpling wrappers. Dumplings are one of my very favorite foods and one of the few exceptions I make when it comes to eating pork, but the closest I've ever gotten to making them at home has been Trader Joe's frozen dumplings (which I stand by whole-heartedly). Enter: Unlimited time to dedicate to perfecting these guys! P.S., I've already conquered the mountain that is homemade bagels and will be sharing that recipe very soon as well!

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Image via Bon Appetit 

Image via Bon Appetit 

There are few things more warming than a big bowl of ramen on a chilly day. It's salty, rich, and delightfully crafted, somehow balancing smoke and spice in each and every bite. I've never once considered making it myself though because it takes forever (or in this recipe's case, two days) and is relatively technique-heavy for my direction-averse way of cooking. Between the meat preparation and egg soaking, the dish is easier and cheaper to experience at a local restaurant. Enter: social distancing. With this extra time, I'm ready to attack it from home. I think an at-home bowl of Shoyu will be something to look forward to and brighten even the most isolated of days.

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Since my family and friends are clearly passing on a Passover seder this year, I'm going to bring the festivities to my own, two-person home. Everyone's grandma claims their version is "the best," but with five stars and over 500 reviews, I'm going with Joan Nathan's recipe. It takes over four hours, but I know it'll be worth it when I take that first bite and the nostalgia, warmth, and feeling of family wash over me.

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Image via Food52

Image via Food52

Jess's sister Stacey is a baker at Bub & Grandma's, and she made me the most insane cardamom buns for my 30th birthday last summer. I grew up eating cardamom buns that my Swedish grandmother would buy from her local Scandinavian bakery (I mean, she still buys the exact same buns every time I see her, so I've been eating these things for decades!!), and the taste transports me back to being 10-years-old, playing on my grandparent's farm in Minnesota. Stacey's cardamom buns were same same but SO different (sweeter, in a good way!) and I've been plotting to make them since last year. But here's the thing: I'm scared of yeast. I wouldn't exactly call myself a "baker," and I've baked something with yeast maybe once in my life. I also can't find yeast right now (I've heard this is a common theme in L.A.), so maybe once I find it, I'll finally scratch this off my bun-ket list.

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A few weeks before shelter in place went into effect, I was on a small quest to eat my way through all of the best Thai restaurants in East Hollywood. I didn't end up dining at very many, but it feels somehow fitting that the last restaurant I made it to was Jitlada, famous in LA for their spicy Southern Thai dishes, 200+ item menu, and of course, the late Jonathon Gold's stamp of approval. Chef Jazz's green curry was some of the best I'd ever had, and I've since watched her prepare it on The Chef Show at least ten times, dreaming of the day I would eat it again. While I think it is incredibly important to make a point of ordering in takeout and supporting the restaurant industry when possible during this time, I've become inspired to make this dish, curry paste and all, from scratch at home. I couldn't find a published recipe of Jitlada's herbaceous, Thai green curry online, but will cross-reference this recipe with what I've learned from studying Jazz's skillful preparation online.  

P.S. If you are challenging yourself to make any new or intimidating recipes while you're sheltering in place, please share with us in the comments section below!

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