Monday, June 8, 2009

Cooking without turning on the oven

For obvious reasons, my favorite recipes are ones that involve just a few household ingredients and don't require that I turn on the oven or stove.

I've been on the lookout for yummy dishes that take almost no time to make and yet still qualify as cooking. Here's what I came up with so far:

Chickpea Salad with Lemon and Parmesan courtesy of Orangette, who recommends that you use the best quality ingredients, especially a good brand of chickpeas (I used Sahadi's).

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 ½ tsp. olive oil
A pinch of salt
¼ cup loosely packed shredded Parmigiano Reggiano

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and stir gently to mix. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve immediately, or chill, covered, until serving.

I had no problem draining and rinsing the chickpeas and squeezing in some lemon juice. But then I realized I didn't have any Parmigiano Reggiano (is that the same as plain old Parmesan?) I sent Avo out to the overpriced corner market where he nabbed a $10 (!) slab of gourmet Parmesan/Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. By the time he returned, I had poured in the olive oil and added a pinch of salt.

I took a bite. Not bad, but the recipe said season as necessary, so I figured I'd add a bit more salt.

Oops. Apparently, I forgot to put the top back on the salt from earlier. The entire shaker full of salt emptied into my lovely chickpea salad.

Without thinking, I attempted a daring recovery.

I quickly grabbed a damp paper towel and mopped up the pillars of salt. Then I cupped some remaining piles of salt with my hands until the chickpeas were no longer buried under a snowy layer of salt.

I can't believe I messed up a five ingredient recipe that doesn't even involve cooking!

Avo just had a taste and didn't think it was over salted, so I guess on some level, I succeeded. One mark of a good chef is being able to salvage culinary disasters, right?

Clearly I could use some assistance here. Please post any basic recipes that don't involve turning on the oven.


Bernie Bernstein said...

IMM - Here's a recipe that I got from Aunt Sheila and the only thing you have to cook is the pasta. Recipe can be doubled

Sesame Noodles - Serve hot or cold
Serves 3-4 (perfect for your family).

8 oz. cooked thin spaghetti

Whisk together:
1/4 Cup reduced salt soy sauce
1/4 Cup sesame oil

Add and whisk in:
A little less than 1/4 Cup sugar

2 scallions (green onions) thinly sliced
1/8 Cup sesame seeds

Toss well with spaghetti and ENJOY

I'll keep looking for more no-cook items, but I really think you should get over your fear of the stove/oven. They don't bite...just be sure to use pot holders to protect your dainty, undomesticated fingertips.

riva said...

Go back to Sahadis and pick up Fava bean salad, hummus, baba g'noush, tabouli and some pita bread and you'll never have to turn on the oven again.

Undomesticated Me said...

I'll try out the recipe, mom, but Riva's suggestion is awfully appealing!

Dori said...

The problem was the salt shake. All salt used for cooking should be kosher or sea salt (I use the former both because I'm cheap, I like it and most average sea salt isn't that great in my opinion). Actually, you should never use table salt. You'll get enough iodine without using in your cooking. No-cook cooking is very much NOT an oxymoron. In fact, I had my favorite summer treat: baguette with tomato, pesto and mozzarella with canned sardines (we love 'em). Kraft even has a page devoted to such "cooking":

Or you can just search on the site for "no-cook" and see what comes up. (most of the recipes on the menu page now don't look so great).

Keep on, keepin' on sister

Dori said...

I meant salt "shaker." I'm assuming that that's what you meant by putting the top on.

Another tip, start reading Mark Bittman's The Minimalist column in the Times. His recipes are sometimes missing basic ingredients like, say, SALT, but mostly they're good and easy and make you feel like a fahncy cook. And I really like his Minimalist video podcasts.

Next up: discovering the slow-cooker

Undomesticated Me said...

Of course, we use only Kosher salt, Dori. But we dispense it out of a shaker! I guess that's pretty domesticated of us, huh?

Meanwhile, thanks for the tip about Kraft's No-cook cooking pages. I'll check them out and report back on the blog!

Undomesticated Me said...

Oh yeah, I've tried the slow cooker, but I can't seem to find easy recipes that are also delicious. Avo still isn't convinced there is any reason for a slow cooker.