A few weeks ago I started “This Podcast Will Kill You.” Hosted by two graduate students, the show covers a different infectious disease each episode, delving deep into its history and long-term effects on society.
The very first episode covered influenza, and while the two hosts agreed that we’re better prepared now than during the pandemic of 1918, we should be very prescient of the chance of a new disease spreading across the globe. That episode is from 2017, and it all seems eerily clairvoyant now.
Culinarily speaking, this is a tough time for us foodies. Restaurants are closing left and right — as they should be, mind you. Support your local foodservice workers by ordering takeout or delivery if available. Plenty of places are offering it, but be sure to call ahead or look up individual restaurants online before making any assumptions.
In the meantime, as we’re all boarded up in our homes, it’s a great opportunity to practice cooking skills. Here are a few of my own simple snack recipes that can be made at home and stored for a while. Stay safe and healthy and, as always, keep a clean kitchen!
1.5 cups whole pecans
5 tbsp butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, melt the butter and stir in the brown sugar. Pour the mixture over the pecans in a mixing bowl and stir until the pecans are thoroughly coated.
Spread pecans onto a foil-covered rimmed baking sheet in a thin layer. Sprinkle with salt. Put into the oven for 6 minutes. Stir and place back in the oven for an additional 6 minutes or until fragrant. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Once cool, break the candied pecans into small clusters. Store in a tightly-sealed container for up to a week.
Strawberry Lemonade Freeze
7 strawberries (fresh or frozen)
2 tbsp sugar (or more to taste)
2 tbsp water
Juice the lemons and remove seeds. Quarter the strawberries and add to the lemon juice with the sugar and water.
Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pour into a zip-top bag.
Place bag in freezer. As it begins to freeze, gently mush the liquid in the bag every 20 minutes. This will stop it from freezing into a block of ice, instead becoming a slushy.
Once the mixture reaches slushy consistency, pour into a bowl or glass and enjoy, or store in the freezer for up to a week.
1 english cucumber
1 red bell pepper
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
3/4 cup rice vinegar
5 sprigs cilantro
Partially peel the cucumber and slice thinly. Slice bell pepper into thin strips. In a collander, mix cucumber and pepper and sprinkle with salt. Allow mixture to drain into the sink for 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes.
While mixture is draining, combine the rice vinegar and sugar in a small sauce pot and warm until sugar dissolves. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Combine liquid with vegetables in a medium bowl. Roughly chop cilantro, including stems, and sprinkle over the vegetables. Stir.
Tightly wrap bowl and store in the fridge for up to four days.