Monday, March 12, 2012

UnRecipe: At Home With the Lazy Cook

I like to imagine that if I had my own TV cooking show, it would be me, in my jammies, rummaging through the fridge and pantry, and just literally throwing together haphazard meals. And the opening credits would read: At Home With the Lazy Cook. It would probably be written in Crayon. With some of the letters written backwards.

At Home with the Lazy Cook presents... Brinner - Photo by Wasabi Prime
Not that the food on my pretend cooking show would be bad. It would just be very fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-styled meals. Cooking without a net, as it were. Take for instance a recent Sunday dinner. Too busy to really go grocery shopping that week and on the tail-end dregs of our CSA delivery, I looked in the fridge and saw we had some thawed phyllo dough, a package of chopped spinach, goat cheese, and eggs. Sure, it doesn't fill anyone with a sense of culinary wonderment, but for something basic that's quick to prepare, it sure looked like Brinner to me. (Brinner = Breakfast for Dinner, get it? Thanks, Scrubs)

Brinner and a movie - Tron 2 = nostalgic and weird - Photos by Wasabi Prime
And so became the Sunday night casserole of eggs, cheese and spinach,with a phyllo crust, topped with more phyllo sheets. It was like an odd combination of spanokopita and a frittata, but gosh darnit, it worked. It kind of looked like a casserole that took a running leap through a pane of glass, as the phyllo crisps up nicely and just gets... well, shard-like. And we ate this, much to Indy's pleading stares as we finally saw Tron 2: Legacy. I think we were the last people in the First World to watch this movie that everyone was going nuts over, like, a million years ago. It was very pretty and looked like a world without dust, needing constant applications of Windex, and somewhere between all its heavily-dressed scenery, there was a plot. But if you asked me now what it's about, I couldn't tell you beyond the fact that Computer Generated Jeff Bridges skeeved me out. It did make me want to watch the original, which I loved for nostalgia's sake. My nostalgia also made me hungry for salty snacks so I mixed popcorn and rice crackers to make our movie night complete.

A Wasabi's work is never done -- what I'm doing when I'm not being lazy - Photos by Wasabi Prime
I don't want to make it sound like I'm The Lazy Cook out of pure sinful sloth. I commit way better sins than that - and how! I just didn't want to fuss in the kitchen anymore, as I'd already done some projects like pickling beets and making the latest supply of chicken stock. Making stock is like a two-day event for me. It takes time to let the ingredients simmer away, and a nuclear half-life to get it to cool down enough to put it in containers. At the risk of angering food safety inspectors, I let the stockpot cool overnight before portioning it out into the small army of yogurt containers I hoard, er, collect. The Mister hates that we have not some, but ALL of the yogurt containers. Like, in the known universe. I wait until they pile up and that's the Bat Signal that it's time to make another batch of stock. The holidays left me rich in chicken and turkey bones, along with a huge bag of vegetable and herb cuttings that I store in the freezer. When I can't put real food into the freezer because it looks like a compostable ice age in there, that's also an indication to get cooking on some stock. In a way, this feeds into my Lazy Cook mentality, as I always have a supply of stock at the ready, no need to hit the store. I tend to defrost one container a week, using it to deglaze pans, make quick sauces, or when I'm feeling the Lazybones Feeling come on, I'll make soup. Soup is the ultimate lazy dish, as you can throw in as many or as few ingredients as you have, but it's also deceptively lazy, as when you make your own stock, it's got a richness that you can't find in most store bought products. You feel like you're treating yourself to something really good, when you just threw some odd bits together into a bubbling pot of flavored chicken water. For a Lazy Cook, making your own stock is worth the fuss, because you can bank more time to be lazy later on. Makes sense, right? 

1 comment:

  1. I've tried to tell my friends that I make stock because I'm lazy....and cheap, not health crazy. The container thing made me laugh! That's just what I do... "Wow, the container basket is full, time to make more stock!" Love your blog.


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