Do you hate to cook?

If you answered no to this question and enjoy meticulously scrolling through Pinterest planning your meals for the next month, or spend hours and hours perusing the aisles at your local grocery store, this is not the column for you. Swipe left and continue on your way.

If you answered yes to this question and were off put by the fact that the title of this column even contains the word “cooking,” then hopefully I will have the privilege of capturing your undivided attention for the next five minutes.

Cooking – that thing you have to do in order to obtain enough calories and a fraction of the latest and greatest vitamin and mineral allotments out there.

We all have those weeks with class, work, meetings, organizations, going out and what seems to be never-ending existential crises. Whatever positive outlook that first cup of coffee in the morning gives you, the next eight to ten grueling hours is soon awash with the reality of angry emails, annoying cohorts and the barrage of hundreds of things to complete over the next week. Where is there time to live, so much as to cook? Well, I can assure you it’s there.

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If you think inadequate kitchenware is a barrier to entry, I can assure you it is not. I live with 34 other dudes, cook primarily from a two-burner electric hotplate and do not have access to a freezer. That being said, you will need a few essential supplies:

Kitchenware

  • Medium pot with lid
  • Medium fry pan with lid
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Spoon
  • Small to medium mixing bowl
  • Regular drinking glass
  • Dishes and utensils for two (because who likes to eat alone?)

Courtesy of Jonathan Sogin

Let’s begin.

Caprese salad with mixed greens

This week I was inspired to make caprese salad because there was a horde of basil growing outside my neighbor’s house (see picture above). Let’s just say I was doing them a service by taking some off their hands.

Many of you probably know how to make caprese salad already, so if you do, let’s just consider this a warmup. If you don’t, this is a very easy recipe to make, tastes great and looks very pretty without a lot of effort — I would even argue Instagram worthy.

Nevertheless, this recipe is great as a straight up salad to serve with bread, or you can pair it with chicken or fish and white wine (Franzia, of course).

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Ingredients (2-3 ppl, 10 min prep)

  • Spinach — 2 large handfuls
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese balls, preferably ‘Ciliegine’ brand — 6 oz.
  • Cherry tomatoes — 1 large handful
  • Olive oil — 1 tsp.
  • Fresh basil — 5 large leaves
  • Salt — 1 tsp.
  • Cracked black pepper — 1 tsp.
  • Balsamic glaze — 1 bottle

Courtesy of Jonathan Sogin

Directions

  1. Start by washing your produce — make the best effort possible to dry the spinach and basil.
  2. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half (does not matter which direction, but I like to cut them at a diagonal going the long way).
  3. Cut the Ciliegine mozzarella into fourths — after cutting, gently mix the cheese with tomatoes in a small bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Cut the basil via chiffonade (see picture above) by rolling the leaves and then cutting small strips from the roll — if you’re afraid of cutting yourself you can just mince the basil and add it to the tomatoes and cheese.
  5. Lay the spinach out on the plate to make a bed, and then place the tomatoes and cheese in a mound in the middle (see plate below). If you’re feeling really fancy, you can toss the spinach in some salt and olive oil prior to plating to make it shiny.
  6. Finally, drizzle balsamic glaze over the plate in a crisscross pattern and finish the salad by placing the basil on top.

Voila!

Please (I am begging you) shoot me an email at [email protected] with what you want to learn to make, and I will do my best to appease.

That is all for now,

Chef Sogs