Cooking should be a fun science experiment , blending basic chemistry with culinary alchemy to create tasty dishes, However many of us don't have the time to cook anything. It's a quick trip to the grocery then dump frozen dinners in the microwave or call take out for the usual pizza or Chinese. don't despair, Yet again, the Times Food section comes to the rescue.
Today's issue is entitled Ways To Win The Week and it is a definite keeper issue. The sections greats have weighed in and contributed some very helpful and informative recipes and advice. Food editor Sam Sifton gives one of the best nuggets - expand your pantry.A well stocked one is crucial in preparing varied dishes. Mr. Sifton suggests His though has an Asian flair to it as he advocates keeping soy sauce, fish sauce, miso along with some truly exotic ones like the Indonesian chile sauce,sambal oelek and Goechujang, the thickly fermented Korean red pepper sauce.Also shrimp paste, the filling for shrimp toast,is also a must have as well. Mix any of these with melted butter and you have a nice , flavorful glaze or sauce. They work with any meat, from pork to chicken , and any vegetables. Throw in some noodles and rice and you have a quick delicious meal. Julia Moskin goes a step further with providing the basic ingredients for a pasta dish. Take a basic element like pasta and add a garnish. The last is a rather stretched interpretation with avocado, any kind of egg, bacon, crushed chiles or leftover veggies. Mix with butter or olive oil and voila, an instant dinner.
Melissa Clark of A Good Appetite, David Tanis of A City Kitchen and Martha Rose Shulman of Recipes For Health also weigh in.Ms. Clark starts off with giving all her recipes the name of any like any meatballs or any fish. In other words you don't have to adhere to a strict recipe that calls for specific ingredients, Her philosophy is use generic ingredients for a hot , satisfying weekday meal. There are five basic recipes from the two mentioned above to chile, roasted vegetables and even scallopine. She also urges not to use measuring cups or spoon, All that measuring out slows down the process, along with creating more to wash up later on.Figure out what pinches and dashes are , using just your eyes or hands. Approximate.Of course adjust the flavor if it's too bland. Add that extra pinch or salt or pepper. Use fresh herbs for both color and flavor.Mr.Tanis gives a yummy and quick dish that just involves mussels , white wine , and of course French baguettes. Mussels are steamed in either white wine or water and then served with garlic rubbed toasted baguette slices. This is a great dish to serve n a warm fall night. For a healthy spin Ms Shulman gives us garlic soup.This Provencale recipe is just cooking minced garlic cloves with water, salt, and bay leaves. Pasta is then added along with any kind of veggie from peas to broccoli. Croutons and cheese can be added to gild the lily.
Weekday cooking shouldn't be such a chore. Have a well stocked pantry and basic recipes.These two combined can provide you with a week and weekend of hot , tasty meals, fresh from the stove.