Getting all Martha Stewart Up in Here

Life isn’t all doom and gloom. One of the fun things about being trapped at home and the grocery stores being sold out of items is doing your best to make do with what you’ve got.

The first time I made an Onion Jam was after I stumbled upon a Martha Stewart recipe. Later on, I found out it could be made better with bacon. Whilst binge watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, I noticed many burger episodes had a common trend: Peanut Butter and Jelly Burgers. I had to try it.

Today, however, I was lacking buns, patties, and jelly. Luckily, I had some Spicy Thai Peanut Butter in stock.

For the buns, I tried to follow King Arthur Flour’s Bun Recipe. I had to rock with what I got, and used bread flour instead. My buns looked non-photogenic, but they tasted great. I wouldn’t say they were better than store bought, but in the midst of a pandemic, they were a relief from the insanity around me.

Two Homemade Hamburger Buns fresh out of the oven

Here’s a tip or a lie. You can split the dough into portions and freeze some for later. Do this before the initial rest. After defrosting in the fridge, if you let it rest at room temperature, it should hopefully still rise.

Sweated Onions and Bacon in a pot

The Onion Jam is time consuming but worth it. I cut the recipe down to a single onion since I’m cooking just for myself. The onions become really sweet after the browning and caramelization. Bacon adds a saltiness and fattiness that makes the jam an all around mouth pleaser.

Caramelized Onions and Bacon in a pot

For the burger patty, I used 1 lb Ground Beef, 2 tablespoons of Barrio Fiesta Bagoong, 1 tablespoon of Dijon Mustard, and some black pepper. I’ve always been told to keep the patties simple, but I always want to mess around with them. Fried it in some duck fat and called it good. Duck fat isn’t needed, but when I can’t go out to treat myself, I have to treat myself in some other way.

Open-Faced Thai Peanut Butter and Bacon Onion Jam Burger

For assembly, I put the peanut butter on the bottom bun, and put a loving spoonful of onion jam on top of the patty. The lemon grass inside of the peanut butter was a surprise, but overall, this is something I’d make even if it wasn’t the apocalypse.

Fully assembled Thai Peanut Butter and Bacon Onion Jam Burger

My neighbors have power washed their driveway every weekend since this has started. I’ve gained 5 pounds so far.


Day 29 of Quarantine

29 days of quarantine seems hard to believe. Some of my friends decided to quarantine before even I did. Obviously, no one knew it would get this bad, and no one knows how bad it will get.

For me, it all started with rumors and co-workers trying to fly back home before it was too late. I was confused because there had been only 1 documented case in the states so far, and barely anyone showed up to a work party. I later found out people didn’t go because someone had flown back from Wuhan and was not quarantining themselves for the recommended 14 days. In typical Seattle Freeze fashion, people avoided the problem instead of addressing it. I guess management can’t force someone to go home, and the best we can do at work is ask someone, “Are you feeling alright?” and hope they get the hint.

Still, the Coronavirus seemed like the Boogeyman. “If you stand to close to a stranger or if you don’t wash your hands properly, you’ll get the virus” was basically the message everyone was getting. The moment it seemed to turn real for most people was when it started showing up in our schools. Parents I worked with knew something was up even if tests were coming back negative. They already pulled their kids out of school.

The number of people in the office was quickly decreasing even before management started recommending people to work from home. Before any official declarations, our director told us to start working from home. There were rumors of a lock down, so I increased the frequency of my grocery subscriptions. While still thinking I was overreacting, Microsoft had its first confirmed case and even more unofficial cases were popping up.

Companies in the area were encouraging people to work from home. Some of my friends went on ski trips instead, and Facebook friends were making fun Seattleites for overreacting.

Shortly, it became real for me and for some of my Facebook friends. People who went on the ski trip became sick. We did not and still don’t know what it was because my friends couldn’t get tested. They did not travel out of country, and they didn’t interact with anyone who had tested positive. Luckily, their symptoms were mild and went away after a few days. We haven’t interacted in person since their trip though.

The virus has been spreading quick since then. My Facebook friends who were mocking me for overreacting are now under stay at home orders as well.

The toughest part for me has been trying to stay motivated while keeping up with all the news. The best advice given to me was to establish a routine. Even if I’m stuck at home, having a goal of things to do throughout the day help keep me motivated and make things feel normal.

Adapting to the New World

One of the toughest things for me is living with my parents. They’re in the high risk category, but they don’t like staying cooped up at home. In their mind, if this is the end, they want to go out living and not waiting it out confined indoors.

My parents want fresh produce and groceries. Instacart, Amazon Fresh, and other delivery options are delayed anywhere from 3 days to a week. Even if we place the order and get a delivery time, we’re not guaranteed to get what we ordered. It’s awkward asking my parents to stay home. They just want to be able to eat and drink what they want instead of pretending to be in the Chopped Kitchen.

I also feel lazy because I’ve been reading or playing video games all day. We can’t run out to do errands, and we can’t have company to pass the time. There’s not a lot to do other than try killing time. I’ve taken up braising meats and baking bread from scratch in order to pass more time while cooking. The food has been good, and the time well spent. However, I’ve gained several pounds since the start of self-isolation.

We’re almost a month into this, and the stay home order has been extended to May 4th. I’m not sure how much more of this I can take, but I’ll try to keep you all updated.


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