OK, I normally love to cook. I like to get in the kitchen and take simple, cheap ingredients taste great. All it takes is a little know how and decent ingredients and BAM! There’s dinner, kicked up another notch. All you need is a live band and moronic audience that claps and hoots when you “add a little gollick!” (that’s garlic, to you and me). And a failed sitcom and line of cookware and… Where were we? Oh, right. There are plenty of nights when this doesn’t happen and you don’t feel like cooking. What’s a girl to do?
Well, I keep a couple of things on hand that I can throw together quickly and still have something that tastes good. And no one in a paper hat had to ask me if I wanted fries with that. It’s even more awkward when I recognize them from highschool. Especially if it’s your Grade 11 Chemistry teacher. Eeep.
Anyway, here are a few things I keep on hand for when I’m not in the mood to cook.
Chickpeas aren’t just for hummus. They’re great in quick soups, sautes and vegetable dishes. I like to puree them with canned tomatoes, onion and garlic, a little stock and a bunch of Indian spices. That’s a really quick, healthy soup. Dollop a little yoghurt in the centre, a sprinkle of cilantro, and a little salad on the side and you have a light, easy dinner. Chickpeas are also great for a snack. You can make the obvious hummus, which is delicious, but you can also pan roast them. Just take a can of chickpeas, drain, rinse and dry them off with paper towels. You want them to be very dry. Get a pan on medium high heat, put in a tablespoon or so of oil and throw in the chickpeas. Let them sizzle and add whatever spices you like. I like paprika, cumin, coriander, salt and cayenne. After they’re roasted, let them cool a bit so you don’t burn the shit out of your fingers and then just eat them like popcorn. Yummy.
Pasta is one of the easiest, quickest things you can make. Just toss it with pesto, cheese and toasted walnuts for a delicious, pretty, green meal. You can also toss it with olive oil and chopped garlic, which is one of the simplest meals ever. Or you can make Nigella’s Spaghetti Carbonara, which is the ultimate quick, indulgent meal. Take some pancetta or a small slab of bacon, chop it into a small dice and cook it until crisp and the fat has rendered. Add some white wine and let it reduce for a moment. Add the cooked pasta and let it soak in the bacon juices. In a bowl, combine 2-4 eggs (depending on how much you’re making), a sensible amount of freshly grated parmesan cheese and a splash of heavy cream. Throw the pasta and bacon juices into the bowl and toss quickly to coat. You may need a little pasta water to loosen the sauce. Season with pepper and a little nutmeg. Heaven.
Frozen shrimp is the quickest protein that I know of to cook. Just saute it in a pan and as soon as it’s pink, it’s done. They’re great in stir fries, pastas and simply sauteed with veggies. But one way I love to have shrimp is to saute it with a ton of cracked black pepper, a few pinches of salt and some slivered garlic in some olive oil. It’s great as a starter with some aioli or as the main protein for your meal.
These are just a few things I do when I feel really lazy. And sometimes I’m even too lazy for that, so I end up ordering sushi. Mmmmmmm, sushi. One thing you will need is a way to organize your takeout menus. If you’re feeling too lazy to make one out of a binder, this might be what you’re looking for. That way you can always find the menu for that little Indian place that has an insufferably annoying website that you like to avoid at all costs.