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how to cook more 
... and avoid takeout temptation by Yee-Fan Sun
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3 Keep canned and frozen goods in the pantry so that even when your fridge is bare, you can throw together something that resembles a real meal. Frozen spinach and frozen baby peas, canned or frozen corn, individually-frozen chicken breasts, canned beans and tomatoes are all essentials in my kitchen.
4 Always keep a few luxury ingredients on hand: Things like sun-dried tomatoes, dried porcini mushrooms, dried shiitake mushrooms, capers and good jarred/canned olives keep pretty much for eternity and provide a quick, easy, and flavorful way to dress up an otherwise ho-hum dish. Sometimes it really does pay to splurge a little when you’re stocking your kitchen: having these easy-to-use, heavenly-to-eat ingredients available for cooking will give you one less reason to eat out. After all, why pay the big bucks for a fancy dish at a restaurant when you can whip up a similar epicurean delight at home?  Real parmigiano-reggiano, for instance, is an absolute staple in my kitchen, as indispensable as salt and pepper – it instantly transforms the most boring pasta, risotto or salad into a gourmet meal. I am a total cheapskate when it comes to the pasta I buy, or the cereal I stock, but when it comes to parmesan cheese, it has to be a big chunk of the real thing. To store it properly so that it keeps for a good, long time, remove it from its plastic wrapper. Wrap the cheese in wax paper, followed by a second layer of foil.

think ahead
Assuming you don’t hate cooking altogether, you probably have days – a lazy Sunday for instance -- when the idea of spending a few hours in the kitchen getting culinary sounds like a perfectly fine and even rather lovely way to spend the afternoon. Take advantage of these occasional spurts of domesticity to whip up meals you can freeze – so that when you’re exhausted and starving at the end of a long working day come mid-week, you’ll have a homemade meal that just needs to be popped into the oven or microwave for you to enjoy it. Lasagna, tomato sauces for pasta, stock and soups, Chinese dumplings, ravioli, enchiladas are all perfect for making in large quantities and freezing for later use.

the minimalist cook
Sure, long, complicated recipes can provide a fun cooking challenge.. But if you’re going to be cooking up meals on a daily basis, it’s simply impossible to do an elaborate 10-course meal night after night. For everyday cooking, one-pot/one-dish meals are generally your best bet – a hearty stew or curry, a quick fried rice, Asian soup noodles, a big bowl of pasta.

It’s also a great idea to have a few killer recipes that you can make with very, very basic ingredients, so that even when your fridge is looking sad and bare, you can throw together something filling and tasty enough to satisfy your hunger at a moment’s notice. One of my favorite almost-time-to-go-shopping-again dishes is pasta with garlic, onions, and parmesan. Simply sauté up some minced garlic and diced onion in olive oil; season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Toss with cooked pasta and plenty of grated parmesan. Simple, super-fast, and amazingly yummy.

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