1. Sundried Tomatoes
Sundried tomatoes are perfect additions for pasta or a salad. They have an intense flavor, so make sure you don’t overdo it. Most of us buy packaged sundried tomatoes, but did you know it’s not that difficult to make? You just need time. And as it stands, all of us have a lot of time on our hands at the moment!
Even though it’s called ‘sundried’ tomatoes, we technically mean ‘oven dried’. So even if you’re quarantined with rainy weather, you can still make this recipe! For best results, use ripe cherry tomatoes.
Line a baking sheet with baking paper (parchment paper). Place tomato halves on the baking pan (cut side up), and press slightly with a spatula. Season lightly with salt. Bake for 2 hours at 225°F (110°C). Remove tomatoes from the oven, again press them slightly to remove tomato juice. Return to the oven and bake 2 more hours until tomatoes are completely dried out. Optional: you can season the tomatoes with fresh or dried herbs during the last half an hour of baking. To store, place them in a glass jar, and cover completely with olive oil. Keep refrigerated. They can also be frozen! Place a single layer of tomatoes on a baking sheet, and place in the freezer. Once frozen, you can store them in a bag in the freezer, for up to 3 months.
2. Make Your Own Pasta
Have you ever tried making your own pasta? Once you start doing this, you won’t ever go back to dried store-bought pasta. It’s really easy, and with some experimentation, you can start making fancier pasta dishes, such as ravioli. You only need a few basic ingredients to get started: flour, salt, eggs, and sometimes olive oil. You can make the pasta dough in a food processor, stand mixer, or mix it by hand. Depending on what equipment you have, we found 3 recipes you should definitely try!
Fresh Pasta Without a Machine
If you are new to making your own dough and don’t have all the gadgets yet, this is the perfect recipe to start out with. No food processor or pasta roller needed! Just you and the rolling pin!
If you have all the pasta equipment already, but never actually tried making your own dough, now is the time! This recipe is great to use with a pasta roller machine, but they also give you a few pointers when rolling it out by hand.
Basic Homemade Pasta Recipe by Theprairiehomestead.com
An easy pasta dough recipe with just 3 ingredients! So you don’t even need to go shopping beforehand.
Homemade Pizza Dough
To save time, many people opt for store-bought pizza dough, either fresh or frozen. But it’s never as good as restaurant pizza! With some practice (and a very hot oven), you too can have restaurant-grade pizza for dinner. The basic ingredients you need to make pizza dough are flour, yeast, olive oil, salt, and sugar. There are so many pizza dough recipes on the internet, but we picked three of our favorites:
Homemade Pizza Crust
This recipe is quick and easy, and the only extra additions are garlic salt (for flavor) and cornmeal (for texture). If you’re new to making dough, this is a good recipe to start with.
72-hour Pizza Dough
If you really want to make the most of your time at home, then try this recipe. It’s not difficult, but it takes time…a lot of time. In fact, as the name states, it will take you 72 hours. That’s about 3 days. The payoff? Unbelievable flavor! The dough is proofed in the refrigerator, and this ‘cold fermentation’ is known for creating remarkable flavor in the dough.
If the thought of creating a pizza for 3 days scares you, why not settle for an overnight pizza? The flavor is still there because of the cold fermentation process, but you don’t have to commit for a full three days. It’s a win-win!
Tomato Sauce (for pizza or pasta)
What’s pizza or pasta without a great tomato sauce? Many sauces you buy in store can taste flat and metallic, and when you make it at home, it does not seem to be any better. The secret is to cook tomato sauce low and slow. This gives it enough time for all the flavors to develop. If you have a slow cooker, now is the time to use it! Start with our easy Marinara Sauce, made in a slow cooker!
In your slow cooker, add to together 1 diced onion, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 x 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes, 1 Tbsp tomato paste/concentrate, 1 Tbsp sugar, 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 2 bay leaves, a handful of fresh basil (or 1 Tbsp dried), 1 tsp dried oregano, salt, and pepper. Optional: a pinch of red pepper flakes; ½ tsp fennel. Stir to combine, and cook (covered) on low for 8 hours. If the sauce becomes dry, you can add water, but not too much. You don’t want a watery sauce!
Homemade Honeycomb for Dessert
With boredom, comes an unquenchable sweet tooth. So now is the ideal time to experiment with sweets. Making candy yourself is notoriously hard. Baking is a science, so in the world of candy, it’s all about getting the timing and temperature just right. Honeycomb has become a popular feature on baking shows, and home cooks are often amazed by the theatrical way of creating it. But with a bit of practice, you too can make impressive honeycomb nibbles at home:
Line a baking tray with parchment paper. In a medium-sized pot, combine 125 g golden syrup/corn syrup and 125 g castor sugar. Cook on a low heat until the color changes to amber. When the temperature reaches 300°F (149°C), remove from heat and immediately add 1 ½ tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda), and stir until well combined. The mixture will appear foamy and will increase in size. Pour onto the prepared baking tray and allow to cool. Once cooled off completely, remove the honeycomb from parchment paper, and break into bite-size pieces.
Are you using this time to experiment in the kitchen? Tell us below!