Peek into the lives of home cooks in Austin, and you’ll see bakers making bread for their neighbors, new moms making osso buco for the first time, parents and kids baking cinnamon rolls together and nostalgic travelers making dishes inspired by their far-flung adventures.
This week, we’re continuing our #Austin360Cooks project, which puts the spotlight on everyday cooks creating everyday and not-so-everyday dishes, every day of this cornavirus lockdown.
To find home cooks to highlight this week, I headed to Camp Quarantine, one of the many food and domestic arts Facebook groups that has popped up in the past six weeks. This one is based in Austin and has more than 700 members, many of whom know one another through the local food blogging community.
Sara Laird Weber has mastered a quick yeast bread, which she’s making for her staff and her neighbors who haven’t been able to get to the grocery store. She’s making it “until I run out of flour.”
Rachel Matthews embraced her inner forager by picking loquats and mulberrries last week, and Lori Moffatt has been trying her hand at making loquat syrup.
Shefaly Ravula made her first batch of no-knead bread, as well as preserved lemons and pickled blackberries. (She also made paneer with Mill-King milk.) One of the biggest changes to her cooking routine, Ravula says, has been playing around with new kitchen gear, such as baking pans and a crepe handler.
Tom Sunstrom was in Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day, but because of the coronavirus, he ended up eating Chinese takeout in his hotel room. To make up for the missed St. Paddy’s Day meal, he cooked a corned beef for 10 hours using the sous vide method.
Megan Hinojosa made brownies from scratch for the first time, mostly because she wanted a brownie sundae, she says, but she didn’t have any regular ice cream. She did have an ice cream Crunch bar that she chopped up to serve on top, along with homemade Cognac whipped cream and sliced bananas.
Paul Czarkowski has been cooking many dishes inspired by his international travels, including Japanese dishes omuramen and omurice and Polish pierogies. (He made a demonstration video for those pierogies on his YouTube channel called “No Paul, Don’t Eat That.”)
Michelle Nezamabadi says she overcame her fear of pressure cookers to make a ginger chicken soup. Fellow new mom Kristin Vrana signed up for a meat subscription from 1915 Farm, and she used the beef shanks to make osso buco for the first time.
Jane Bachner King discovered a love of spaghetti squash, “both for its versatility and how long it’s lasting through three or four days of recipes.” This is just half of one.
Carmen Toro-Gallo says she had never baked with a skillet until she recently made a banana walnut bread in a cast-iron skillet.
Brenda Johnson has been keeping a sourdough for the first time, and, with the help of her daughter, she’s been using that as a leavener for cinnamon rolls, focaccia and ciabatta bread.
Several members of the Facebook group have been watching videos on YouTube of the so-called Pasta Grannies, the pasta-makers in Italy (and beyond) who are keeping traditional pasta shapes alive. Tracie Chan and Molly Frisinger both tried new pasta shapes they’d seen on the videos, including farfalle and pappardelle.