Cooking in a Lockdown
Author: Tony Trott
Everybody needs sustenance whether we’re in a lockdown or not. Since I found myself with a little more time at home, as well as the need to cook more as we’re not able to just run across the street for a meal at one of our usual haunts, I have taken the opportunity to become more familiar with some slightly neglected cooking tools we have in the kitchen. And believe me, we have a wide variety!
What I find myself using most, these days, is the air fryer. I find it is very helpful for cooking foods quickly and, according to the literature about air fryers, result in healthier meals. . I had used it in the past, for frozen French fries and roasted potatoes, but I’ve been using it more recently for everything from scallops to steaks. As is the case with new appliances and cooking times, it is a learning process. For instance, the first time I tried frozen burgers I followed directions that I found on an Internet site and the burgers were like hockey pucks! Based on that experience, I decided to cut the cooking time way down and it worked well. It just goes to show you, that when using any new appliance, the first time might not be optimal, but you shouldn’t give up. When you are learning to use an air fryer, there is definitely a learning curve!
Another cooking tool I ‘m becoming reacquainted with is the slow cooker. I had always gotten good results with the slow cooker, but I had used it very sparingly. I try to find recipes where you just put everything in the slow cooker, turn it on, let it go for 4, 6, or 8 hours, then enjoy what you cooked! Because I use a wheelchair, I find it a little tricky to arrange an accessible setup for safe and comfortable access to the pot, so that I can take things out easily when they are done. I find that opening a drawer and laying a board across it, gives me the access I need. My most recent slow cooker meal, barbecue chicken, was very good. The meat was tender and fell off the bone. It was juicy and had a good flavor. I still may make some tweaks and might even try the same recipe with pork loin.
I also have an Insta-pot in the kitchen (I should mention that it is Star Wars themed), so that will be my next appliance to try out. I have used it once and it worked well, but I haven’t focused on using it is often as I use the other appliances. I will though.
The one appliance that I can tell you that I have nailed down is our Calphalon waffle maker. I use the same set up with the board on the drawer. I have a big mixing bowl and put all the ingredients in, using gluten-free waffle mix. They cook quickly (four at a time) and I usually only need assistance getting them out with tongs so that they stay together. There is nothing better than a late morning treat of homemade waffles with berries and whipped cream with a little syrup.
I have thought a few times about adding a cooking page to the Happy on Wheels website. I guess I have the time now, so maybe I’ll do it!